Author: Alexandra Absi

Writer & Fashion lover www.TheStyleStudies.com www.DeeperThanWordsblog.wordpress.com To further contact me, you can reach me at my email: alexandraabsi5@gmail.com

Journal Entry 4: Counting Days 

It has taken me 47 days to write this. Mostly two days of writing, many days in between of feeling nothing, other days crying, and a few feeling anxiety at the thought of finishing it, of putting myself through finishing it, of acknowledging my feelings, of sharing them. Sharing my life experiences is how I get through them; writing is how I reflect, learn, grow, move on – sharing it is how I come to peace with my experiences, bond, and reflect more. It is by far my favorite thing to do.

Therefore, I leave you with this disclaimer: This post may hit you hard. I have yet to post anywhere about this matter in my life for the past month and a half because I don’t want or need anyone’s sympathy, pity, attention… but as I said, my writing is my passion, my soul, my strength. And I hope that from my posts, you can feel and connect with something extraordinary.

Here’s the reality: my life is insanely eventful, and not always in a good way.

Reality #2 – Maybe I will never be a good blogger because of it.

Reality #3 – I’m sitting here explaining to you yet again that I am a bad blogger because of my dramatic life, like I have for every journal entry.

Reality #4 (the saddest reality of all) – My hectic life makes for good content. But this post, in particular, took me a lot of courage and anxiety attacks to get to you.

So, per usual, here goes nothing…

Why is it that we designate or expect so much from certain people just because of their titles in our life? “Mom”, “Dad”, “Aunt”, “Uncle”…

Why do we let them give us emotional/personal problems because of their lack of fulfillment within those roles?

Why do we typically look at them as that role and only that, rather than a human being going through whatever it is that they may be experiencing?

Why do we shun them for not being able to fulfill that role without considering their own problems?

I sat for countless hours and I flipped. And flipped and flipped. Two large 5 subject notebooks filled to the brims – 873 people’s names (and counting) scribbled along the lines. I had found my fathers notebooks buried in the bottom of the bookshelf in his room from his time in rehab (while in rehab from drugs/alcohol you go through the 12 steps). 873 people, 322 pages, one mans entire life spilled and separated into sections of analytical reconciliation. These were his deepest feelings, his fears, his anger, regrets. I was getting inside his head.

15 years.
It has been 15 years since my dad had gotten into a motorcycle accident and sat in a coma, soon to wake up with minor brain damage, but still able to once again live a high functioning life.
“Rhode Motorcycle & Bike,” he wrote, in one of his lists (in one of the steps, you write about the places & things you did, and the negative actions you took)…
“No helmet. No pads.”
“Accident,” he wrote…
“Lost house, job, fiance, money, relationships, hope, faith, God.”
“Another motorcycle,” he wrote…
“Made people worry about me.”

47 days.
It has been 47 days since my dad tossed his leg around his motorcycle for the first time in years and decided to take it for a spin.
47 days since that night when he pulled it into a bar parking lot to meet a friend.

47 days now that my dad has been in a coma.
47 days of tubes. Of nothingness. Of sleep. Of stability with no signs of change. Of sadness. Of confusion. Of numbness.

9 days I sat there next to him in the hospital wondering where he was. A body there but a soul wandering. Some days sitting there watching him I felt so alone. He wasn’t with me. Other days I could see his lids flickering, his fingers twitching and lips rumbling. I wanted to believe then that he was there with me, somehow.

I was always embarrassed of my father. Writing that sentence alone hurts my soul. I was embarrassed. Cheer competitions, graduations, even out to dinner – I was embarrassed to be with him, because I knew (the sum) of his past, his life, his mistakes. I knew about the drugs and the alcohol. I didn’t want to be in pictures with him or let him take pictures of me in fear he would post them online.
13 years since I’ve owned my own camera. 13 years with the ability to take my own pictures. 13 years of memories piled in boxes in my bedroom – none with my dad.

But since I’ve become a young adult, I started calling him 3 times a week and speaking to him for hours on end about life, about mine, about his, my relationships, his, his jobs (or lack-thereof), his substance abuse.
I called him when I was upset and I would cry.
I called him when I was in one of my depressive funks and he would make me laugh.
I called him when I needed help and he was always surprisingly there. When I was stranded at a gas station alone in the middle of a snow storm somewhere in Maryland. When I needed a car. When I needed a phone, even though the bill wasn’t always paid. The first time my ex and I broke up and I needed a flight home. The second time, too. When I called him crying and needed a flight to California.

He always wanted to give to me, even when he didn’t have much for himself.

It took me a long time to learn about and understand substance abuse.
It took me a long time to learn who my dad really was.
It took me a long time to grow the courage to look past the addict and see the human, to stop hurting when he fell back into it again, to stop trying to be his reason for change and to simply just enjoy him when I had him sober. For so long I wanted to be his reason to not pick up the bottle. I thought that maybe I could change him, but I couldn’t. No one could.

Rarely, even after my love for him grew, did I have the courage to admit that to anyone – that he was human, that I cared about him even though he couldn’t always care about me, that I wasn’t enough for him to change. It was my kept secret because I was embarrassed. I didn’t want the judgement or ridicule for caring so much about someone who could only care about me while they were sober – who could care more about his addictions than me. And I know that that’s not true; being an abuser is a mental illness, but that’s how it felt. The only way that I can understand it is by comparing it to depression – sometimes, when suffering from depression, one is horrifically sad for no reason at all, or for reasons that are no longer relevant to their daily life just because their brain is making them sad, telling them to be sad – so sad that they think that life isn’t worth living and that they should die. Imagine that? Wanting to die? Your brain is tricking you into thinking that your life should end, and for some, it does. When I think about addiction I think the same thing – your brain is tricking you into thinking you need that bottle, that puff.
My dad suffered from depression. He wanted to die multiple times and even tried to kill himself. Growing up he was bulimic and had severe insecurity issues and still did till this year.
I’m not making excuses for him. He chose to get on that bike and ride it to a bar. He chose to leave his last rehab (and countless ones before that).
Really, the point I’m trying to make is going back to what I was saying at the beginning of all of this… Do we ever really see the human, or just the title?

I suppose we see the title because we, as their children, are supposed to be that exception – us, the mini blobs of them that they chose to bring into this world. Keyword: chose.

But even then, still, I question it.
I’m not saying that any mistakes are okay just because someone might be going through something personally that they can’t get control of – but overall, in any relationship we have with someone in our life, all I can say is think about them, too. Think about if it was you. And for those dealing with loved ones with addiction: that it’s okay.
It’s okay to give up, to not be strong enough to deal with their issues, to think about yourself and your feelings first.
It’s okay to bury your hurt and their issues just to keep a relationship with them when they’re sober.
It’s okay to hurt and then not hurt at all.
It’s okay to be too forgiving – you are not weak.
But it’s okay to not always stay strong.
It’s okay to hurt for them and still not be able to help.
It’s okay to still love and care even after they may have hurt you for the drugs and alcohol.
And that it has nothing to do with you – you are enough.
And being there at all can mean the world to someone in need, even if they aren’t showing you or you can’t give them what it is they’re needing.

Stay loving.
Stay compassionate.
It’s all okay.

-alex

Honey…

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Shirt: Victoria Beckham for Target | Shorts: PacSun | Shoes: Forever21 | Bag: Zara

It was 10 AM on the Saturday morning that this Victoria Beckham for Target collection was released and I was running down the aisles of Target with excitement and fury to get all the pieces as quickly as I could – yes, I was that b*tch. I scooped up this button down bee top immediately, along with a few other Alice in Wonderland, Spring themed items. Everything was max $30 – how could you go wrong? My next investment – an iron. Yup, this girl can’t wear half of her closet because of all the wrinkles invading it. So, considering the circumstances, I tied a small front-knot into this bad-boy and gave it a whirl and it looked pretty cute! Always trying new things with new pieces because, why not?

 

Summer Nights Series: Champagne

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Dress: Missguided (similar 1 / 2 / 3) | Shoes: Steve Madden (similar) | Necklace: Ettika

This is by far my favorite dress of all time. ALL TIME. I bought it a year ago off of Missguided for a Magazine Party I had went to and felt so comfortable and effortless in it. It has that bit of sex appeal all while still being appropriate and reserved. It is all around perfection. The color alone is breathtaking. Mostly all dresses from Missguided have the same memo – elegant class with a sexy touch. For all events moving forward I’ll be shopping from there! The toughest part is that it’s all online – but I’ve come to find through experience and taking the risk with ordering from there that they are pretty true to size (including jeans, shoes, etc.). Always turning to my Ettika jewelry to add that extra glamorous touch! Get 15% off Ettika here.

Nautical…

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Top: Victoria’s Secret (Alternative 1 / 2 ) | Shorts: American Apparel (similar) | Sandals: Forever21

 

These pictures are up there with some of my favorite pictures I have ever had taken for my blog. I know, the main focus is supposed to be the outfit, but how could it be when the backdrop is that beautiful? Santa Barbara, you never cease to amaze me. And this outfit fitted the occasion perfectly.

These F21 lace up sandals originally had tassels on the ends but it looked cheap (I mean, it is Forever21) so I pulled them off. Of all shorts I own these are my favorite, but unfortunately American Apparel’s online store is down at the moment until their new line comes out, and I got these babies a few years ago. They are the most flattering fitting high-waisted shorts! This shirt I also bought when I was in high school, which was… well, a long time ago. This is the perfect example of why sometimes you should just hold onto some pieces. I haven’t worn it in years but now love it even more than I originally did!

 

Summer Nights Series: Emerald

Dress: Bebe (similar here) | Shoes: Aldo (see better options below)

Sad reality – these shoes aren’t the greatest match with this dress. Sadder reality – when you move across the country with your life packed into two suitcases, packing the perfect pair of dress-up shoes isn’t quite on the top of the list.  But hey, these Steve Madden babies would look killer with a dress like this… or these, or these, or these… You catch my drift. This has to be by far one of my favorite fitting dresses of all time. As you can see, the seeming on the lines along the hip are coming apart – which is probably why I stole this dress for a whopping 80% off, but regardless – it’s too beautiful (and an easy fix). It’s a bandage dress, so naturally, like all bandages dresses do, it sucks in all the little extra blub you might have laying around and makes you feel firm and tight (I think all of us wouldn’t mind that feeling in a tight dress every once in awhile). The fabric is ultra comfy and the details are all so flattering. I’ve never been able to complain about the fit on any of my dresses from Bebe – they’re magical!

Summer Night Series: The White Lace Dress

 

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Dress: Bebe (similar) | Shoes: Steve Madden (similar)

 

My closet is packed to the brim with party wear that I haven’t really had the chance to party in (or blog, for that matter). I tend to fall in love with extravagant dresses that don’t quite fit into my life necessity list, but buy them anyway because they are simply gorgeous. Therefore, I’ve decided to start a Summer Nights Dresses Series, where I showcase every week a new dress I have that works great for a summers night out (a very dressed-up one, at that).

This one by far is one of my faves. It is stunning yet so simple, and can look very dressed up or down! The lace look on this piece is done so elegantly – where some lace pieces can look trashy. Not just that, but it is SO SOFT, I don’t need to wear a bra (well, I never do), and it shines. Something about it just catches all eyes. I got this as a gift to myself for my 21st birthday, as I thought it would be a big fun bash. Unfortunately, it was not, but I don’t regret having this gem in my closet! 2 year later and it’s as cute as ever! Successful shopping is not just finding items you are going to wear often – it’s finding pieces that you might not wear often, but are timeless statements!

June Gloom…

Top: Boohoo [similar] | Skirt: Forever21 [similar] | Sneakers: Adidas

June Gloom is upon us here in Santa Barbara, but that won’t stop my extravagant, summer style! Well, it may come with a sweatshirt in hand, but hey – I’m here to conquer you with my sunshine, gloom! Ain’t nothing stopping me. I have to say though, in all honesty, this skirt isn’t the most comfortable… but, we pay the price to have style (literally and figuratively). Maybe only for a few hours, though, as I’m all about being comfortable – so in a few hours time I was in a pair of leggings, bumming it. I’m also on an intense bra-less kick this 2017. If it’s not totally necessary, it’s not on me. Sorry peeps, free the nip 2017!

Journal Entry 3: 30 Days in Cali…

I’ve been a bad blogger …again. I hope that every time I add to my Journal Entry chronicles, I am not self-confessing my lack of interaction. But yes, I’ve been a bad blogger again.

I’ve been scared. I feel like I’ve used that word a lot since I’ve started my journal entries – but this time around, I’ve been scared that I would jinx the happiness.

These past 30 days have been the best days of my life. 

I promised to myself at the end of 2016 that 2017 was going to be my year – my year to do what’s right for me – my year to be strong, to adventure, to make life happen for myself. I was worried that moving to Cali could actually result in me failing that. I was in a new place with one person to call my friend who had her own life to live. I worked from home, which isn’t the best way to make friends. I had no way to get around, not that I really knew where to go. The cost of living was haunting me. I was scared. I was scared of failure and loneliness.

But then it all so quickly started to fall into place and all that fear went away. And then I was scared to write. The words being printed indefinitely on paper made me feel like they would be left there as a closing and make it all come to an end. I would be jinxed. But before this I ran around the entire house knocking on every piece of wood in sight – so, here goes nothing…

They say that when things are meant to be, they work out in mysterious ways. A large part of me wants to believe that that’s true – that this move was meant to be, that everything happens for a reason, that secretly our inner being knows what’s right for us and gets us there, eventually.

This experience for me thus far has been a fairy-tale… And maybe, just maybe, it’s not a fairy-tale at all – maybe it’s just how life should be, I just haven’t lived like this yet …until now.

Since the immediate second I stepped foot into Santa Barbara I’ve been taken in by my loving cousin who would tear down bridges for me (…literally). She brought me into her world and made me a friend to everyone she knew. I was worried that, like being in a relationship somewhere new, I would then in result be living her life instead of one of my own – but oddly enough, I wasn’t.

I have new cousins who aren’t my cousins at all but have me over for family dinners, and don’t second guess my company when I crash their Sunday beer pong games (even without the OG cuz), whose kids run around calling my name to jump on the trampoline and take silly selfies with me. They add me to their group texts, invite me to movie nights and for glasses of wine and hunt down bagel bites with me at every Starbucks in town.

The same goes for every other friend of my cousins that I’ve been introduced to – I can now call them my own. Every day, without fail, someone is asking me to hang out. Fashion shows, bottle service and sparklers on my birthday, classy parties in giant houses in giant hills, photo-shoot’s, signing my first lease, consuming my body length in burritos, sun bathing on beaches with palm trees in them…

I took my first shot of tequila, drank more in the past 30 days than I have conclusively in my entire life, champed through an oyster shooter and even ate cow just for the sake of the In-N-Out experience.

The list goes on… I went into this experience very scared, overwhelmed, sad… I set my expectations very, very low and did some burying of the excitement I did have. I forced myself, instance after instance, to not get my hopes up.

So now I ask you – Is it really true, when they say what’s meant to be will be? Or is it that we (I) tend to aggressively overthink things into such intense mannerisms that we destroy all sense of hope and expectation until we take the risk, so that it has to end up being more amazing than we anticipated? Maybe knocking our expectations down (not aggressively, but you know what I mean) is what we need sometimes to be grateful and remind us that life and people really are amazing? (Not to get confused here – I mean, get out of your own inner fairy-tale of expectations – I don’t mean let people treat you like sh*t).

I’m not exactly sure what direction I’m going in with this post, because there’s so many different things I’ve learned in my 30 days of this new life so far – So I’ll give you the sum of it:

1. Life is what you make it. Plain and simple. 2. YOLO 3. Take the risk. ALWAYS. 4. It will all work out. 5. If you’re scared to do something that you really want to do, just do it. Chances are at the end of the day it will be one of the best decisions you have ever made. 6. Be kind. Smile wherever you go. Let things roll – it’s usually useless to get worked up. And don’t forget to make friends wherever you go. 7. There really are nice, inviting, friendly people out there – sometimes it just takes time to find them. Don’t let any selfishness and ignorance you’ve experienced with others bleed into your judgments of humans as a whole. 8. Even if it’s not what you want in the moment, force yourself to do what’s best for you (we all have that little gut monster telling us what’s right). You will look back, even in a weeks time, and thank yourself for it. 9. Always be genuinely you. No matter how weird or imperfect it is. If you are raw from the get-go, then your friends will be your friends – everyone will love and choose to have you around for the crazy human that you are, not who you think they want you to be. 10. Look at everything, and yourself, as a constant learning experience. Take it in – all of it.

30 days down, a lifetime to go.

xx,

Al