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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

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Elegant Gardens…

 

Top: Boohoo

Skirt: Forever 21

Choker: Revolve by Ettika

Shoes: Aldo

I ventured through the beautiful gardens of Dumbarton Oaks in Washingston, D.C. yesterday and felt like a princess – like Drew Barrymore in Ever After, to be exact (if you haven’t seen it, you must!) The beauty was astonishing, even with the flowers out of bloom. Of course, I had to wear a lovely outfit to match! This Forever 21 pleated silk skirt glowed in the sun. Instinctively, I wear this Ettika Choker with whatever outfit I possibly can, possibly being many, because it surprisingly brightens up more outfits than you would think! It’s not a simple piece, yet matches most things in a very simple yet eye-catching way. See more about this choker and Revolve on my latest Ettika post. It’s safe to say, the scenery is the real beauty here. Find the little treasures around you and explore them as much as possible!

Weekly Inspo’…

Current inspiration feels: european, floral, classic, pastels, sweet, elegant, artistic. 

Pictures taken from high fashion F16 runways and tumblr.

Enjoy.

X

 

Kimchi Blue…

Dress: Urban Outfitters

Shoes: Zara

Sunnies: RayBan

It was an ongoing joke on the 4th of July to count and see how many people complimented this dress, and there were so many we couldn’t even keep track! It’s just so casually, effortlessly beautiful and elegant. I know I use the term effortless quite a lot, but if I could erase every other time I’ve used it and change the definition of it to this dress, I would. Though the front is very lowcut, thanks to my lack of packages it didn’t seem revealing. It’s very light, breezy and cool in the heat, but does shrink in the wash! I almost lost it when I struggled to button it around my ribs, but as the day went on it loosend back to its original fit. It’s a true beauty!

Staying True To You – The Blue Hair Dilemma…

“I can’t agree, it’s too much… I would never.”

“Anything but that… Don’t do that.”

“I don’t want to wake up in the morning next to that.”
I heard it all. It was as if the world was ending just from merely mentioning the idea of adding any type of color to my hair that wasn’t the typical. I was so sure I wanted this too, and for so long! It had been nearly over a year and I never stepped up to the plate, which for me is odd, as I typically tend to do spontaneous things that are out of norm. But the words were replaying in my head and eating me alive, and the panic had set in. I found myself starring in the mirror at my hair for longer than what was normal and thinking about how much I loved it the way it was, which was something I never felt before. And then, cracking under pressure, I told myself I wouldn’t do it… ‘how could I do it? I look great!’ and I soon found myself searching online for “safer” options.
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Then I gave myself a good smack in the face –> THIS IS NOT ME. “Safer options”?? That’s just not my style. I’m the artsy type; The spontaneous type; The ‘I like ugly things’ type! Why was I negotiating myself out of my true character because of the opinions of others who were nothing like me!? I was frustrated with myself. I felt at that moment that I didn’t even know me. Was I who everyone wanted me to be, or was I who I wanted to be? Was I going to let everyone else tell me what to do? Was I really going to let others opinions of me sway my own opinions and decisions for myself? I thought I was going to vomit – and I know that sounds so dramatic, but I felt nauseous at an abnormal degree. That’s exactly the type of person I have never wanted to be – scared to do out of the box things because of others opinions. Who even cares if anyone likes it if I like it? And it’s just hair… It grows back, can be dyed over again, can even be cut off!
 –
I escaped to my friend’s apartment for the weekend and it was then that I realized it. As she encouraged me to do it, talked about her hair-goals herself, and bounced around the room with me to our favorite tunes, I really realized it. There are going to be tons of people in your life that are nothing like you, and you’re going to love them for that – but you can’t let their opinions of what you like persuade you, nor can you let anyone’s, really. Therefore, I don’t say this lightly, it’s great to have friends of all types, but never forget to surround yourself with people that are very much like you, and not just people, but your environment. Find that place, somewhere out there in this world that you automatically feel in love with even for the first time. It’s those people and those places that will bring out your truest, you-est you, and we all need that. We become who we are because of the people and places we surround ourselves with. How does one enhance their creative soul and be creative to the best of their ability in a non-creative environment? For instance, all of my poetry is usually about love, and my best writing and deepest emotions about love all come out when it’s written in bed, my comfort zone, next to the person I love… it makes sense, right?
 –
So don’t settle. Don’t have friends who you don’t click with right away. Even if they aren’t anything like you, if you click with them they will bring out amazing sides of you, some that you didn’t even know you had, and don’t live somewhere that doesn’t describe who you are. Move. It’s more simple than people make it out to be. And always do what you want to initially. Your gut and instincts are your truest self talking to you. Don’t ever let anyone, or the status quo, influence your style, your choices in friends, hobbies, etc. What makes you special is being you and no one else, and not catering to other peoples desires or opinions. If they love you, they will still continue to do so anyway, for the you inside, not your blue hair.
xo, Al.
p.s., they all loved it (;
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Ettika X Revolve 


 

 

I recently received this beautiful choker from Ettika, and was extremely delighted to hear the news that it is now a product for Revolve! (yaaaaaay, Ettika!!) The company fell as much in love with the piece as I did, and therefore it’s now available at Revolve.com.

There’s nothing I can say I dislike about this piece. I was skeptical if I would like the tassel part and really be able to wear it with anything at first, for I felt it was very western looking, but with this gorgeous mustard H&M blouse (similar here) and a pair of jean shorts, it looked anything but western! It was festival, boho chic and looked so casual on my dinner date. I‘ve realized that regardless of my skepticism, this is a great piece for many different outfits! For instance, a denim on denim ensemble or a black dress with some gladiators, it’s can be rocked on more occasions than I imagined! A good piece of jewelry really changes the entire look of an outfit; I’ve learned this through my experience with Ettika altogether thus far.

Now, this is me being extremely picky, but after all this is a review and I’m being as honest as possible. The only slight disadvantage with some of Ettika‘s chokers is how hard they are to put on. The chain to hook into has very tiny loops and then bigger loops throughout, so you can clip into the bigger loops. But, it just so happens that no bigger loop fits the size of my neck. So I’ve had to find a way to fit the clip through a small hole, after much exhaustion. But, if I do clip it on the closest loop to fitting, it does rest lower on my neck but still has the choker look, as well as looks good.

Regardless, Ettika continues to amaze me.

Get the necklace here. Get a similar blouse here. Check out more Ettika pieces here.

 

It’s Okay to Have Half-Assed Friends…

It wasn’t until this past weekend visiting home that I realized and understood what a good friend really is. I was dreading the thought of it – being home without a car, staying at my Grandmothers depressing house, having nowhere to even go! I knew the general routine – I spent time with my family and that was that. Rarely did I go home and spend any time with friends from home. It had gotten to the point that they have gone on with their lives without me. Yeah, we still kept in touch and were the same good pals we always were when we did hang out, but my effort was the only one that was present. Relentless texts and calls, to the point my brother snapped, “Are you kidding me? No, do not text her again. Why do you even try,” with a sassy ‘ugh’ and an eye roll. I realized then that I was just making a fool of myself. So, this weekend in particular, I made it clear in advanced that I would be home for the weekend. I wasn’t expecting them to drop their plans at my beck and call because I just so happened to be in town. Yet as predicted, they never called. But it was this visit home in particular that I truly felt I needed them, their comfort, the distraction. And still, nothing.

I had arranged a ride from the airport from a very close family friend who I have known for years, mainly for being best friends with my older brother, but had grown closer to me in the past year or so. She was there to get me, and how grateful I felt. I was intent on expressing my gratitude and desire to spend the day together after I got in, and we did just that. We had spoken briefly of spending some time the next day together as well, but I knew how that went. People have lives, they’re not always there to spend time with me when I need to. Life doesn’t stop for me, nor did I expect it to. It was destined to not happen. And yet it did. She was my mediator for an awkward brunch, my reliable driver and laughter for long car rides to visit my brother, my puppy cuddling, relationship gossiper for the rainy afternoon and she even chose dinner with me over it with her boyfriend. It was all so nonchalant, so natural, so easy. I went away, back to my second home, content and looking happily on the weekends visit – something I didn’t think I would feel. It was then that I realized good friends do exist, and after twenty-one years, I finally had one.

I’m a hopeless romantic, which means I’m an over-emotional, over-caring love giver in all types of relationships I get myself into, and it has always been hard to remember that not everyone is as caring and loving as I am. I would drop anything and everything for someone I care about, and never felt like anyone ever did the same in return, but that’s just who I am. Through much stress and frustration, it is not till this very day that for the first time I’m really starting to understand friendships, on a level I never thought possible, which is why I share this with you…

IT’S OKAY TO HAVE HALF-ASS FRIENDS. Lots of people half-ass their entire lives. Yeah, no, this is no excuse and doesn’t mean it’s okay to have bad friends, but it takes a lot of understanding to realize that even some of the half-ass ones are good friends.

A good friend is a different definition for everyone, but we all know the basic rules and that it takes caring and loving. It takes being there for that person when it really counts; maybe not for all of the weekend visits or random phone calls but when when they miss your birthday two times in a row, thats a deal breaker. When you need a shoulder and they’re never there, deal breaker. When you’re the one waiting all day to spend time with them and cancel all other plans and they go hang with other friends instead, deal breaker (yup, I’ve had to learn the hard way). These are pretty understandable things, but its tough realizing that not all people are going to be as caring as some, and they really just can’t. For many, it’s not in their genes. Not everyone is equal amounts of caring or giving or appreciative or reliable. And it’s not true, that ‘if they’re a real friend, if you really connect and bond and are soul mates, they will be the most caring and loving no matter what’ (this goes for relationships too). Its not like the movies for every person. It’s not all thoughtfulness and love and caring. they may not go to extremes for you like what you would do for them. It’s not taking it personally and understanding that that’s just who they are. It doesn’t mean that they’re not good friends, they may love you unconditionally, be there for you when it counts, and love you just as much as you love them, but don’t have the same level of understanding and ideals in terms of commitment and care that you do. But what makes people best friends are the ones who connects with you because you share the same level of understanding and desire in terms of being a good friend; they would do the same for you that you would do for them.

I’ve had a lot of half-assed friends. They most likely don’t see it as being half-assed, but i do just because I’m the type of person who gives it my everything, and it took my a long time to understand that IT’S OKAY, they’re still GOOD FRIENDS, they’re just not the same type of person I am. Any type of relationship requires balance and having needs fulfilled to make them flourish, but some people will never meet your needs and you either have to accept that they aren’t that type of person and love them anyway, or move on. Maybe you’re not the type to give it you’re all and wear your heart on your sleeve but you need a friend who is, and vice versa. It’s understanding the type of person you are, understanding the type of people you’re dealing with and what will come from the relationship, realizing what you need and accepting what you can’t have and loving them anyway. Man, life’s complicated, as are you and everyone else, and we’re all just trying to figure each other out, one step at a time. We’re all unique in our own way and it’s understanding peoples individualities that make it all so interesting. Therefore, always remember, everyone’s different, and it’s okay.

Falling in Love…

I do this really awful thing, called falling in love…

And I don’t do it casually. I do it madly, deeply, to an extreme; to the point my heart is spilled out on the floor and I’m dragging it wherever I go.

You see, I do this really awful thing, called falling in love… I engulf myself into the lives of others and make it mine, because why would they not love me more that way, involved in what they love? Why would I not love what they love, solely because such a beautiful person loves it? I get lost in the swirling sea of their life.

You see, I do this really awful thing, called falling in love… Their single glance, their tone, their actions towards me dictate my emotions and drowns my days. I take my dragging heart through woods, puddles, let it get stomped on by boots, and yet it still holds on and loves just the same. Maybe stronger because it was so weak.

And that’s why it’s such an awful thing, falling in love. I let my heart fall so brutally to the floor and leave a hole in my chest, with none left for me. It falls so quickly that it has no time to breathe, decide, realize…

Maybe one day, I’ll be a little wiser, softer, lovelier… Maybe one day, it won’t be such an awful thing, falling in love…

 

To the Regina George’s, the Cinderella’s, and all the Carrie Bradshaw’s In-Between…

I’ve felt very strongly about this topic since I moved to one of the richest areas in America, and never felt more compelled to write an article about it than I do now…

Since I was 18 and left home I have been, with the help of very close loved ones who I am so very, dearly lucky to have, living ‘independently’  without the support of my family and it has been hard. Unable to get a loan, shattered credit, ruined chances of financial aid for school, shi**y incomes and no qualifications. I felt like every time I tried to take the next step I hit a new brick wall. A few thousand saved and I finally get a car and it lasts me a mere year. The struggle between wanting to have fun and enjoy now and planning for a future. Arguments on the phone with financial aid officials, trips to the hospital with no health care. The list truly does go on. And I know I’m not the only one young in their 20s and struggling. But here, in this affluent area of families and their cheeky children who think their parents wealth is theirs, I do feel like the only one.

It’s a tiresome, grey day in the glorified Northern VA (NOVA, as they say) and I’ve come to a red light for a left turn to go down a road that leads to a secluded gated community (shock). A grey Mercedes quickly pulls up next to me (shocker #2… don’t you love my sarcasm?) and a blonde head leans forward from the passenger seat and onto the dash, peering at me (past the blonde driver, nonetheless… ok, I swear this is a coincidence; blondes in a Mercedes, shocker #3). She bursts into laughter and they rush away, so fast that before I am even fully around the corner, they’re already turning into the community. What just happened? Is my hair that messy? I mean, I am rocking a pony with a bit of a crazed curl today… but I thought it looked good? What was she laughing at?

And then it hit me like a slap in the face; I’m driving a ’98 Volkswagen Cabrio and they’re swinging around the streets, platinum locks and rap music oozing out of the windows, and here I am, next to them. Why else would she have been staring at me laughing? She definitely couldn’t have been hating on the hair, it was a chaotic masterpiece to say the least. I felt disordered… They just laughed at me…!? And I didn’t even get a chance to flick them off!? I felt like they were Jessica Simpson in Public Affair 

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Or yet worse… the mean girls from White Chicks…

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And I was Kristen Wiig in Bridesmaids

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Exactly… hilariously ridiculous to everyone else but taking myself way too seriously.

Alright people I know, there’s no reason to get butt-hurt over some snobby young girls in a Mercedes their Mommy and Daddy got them, and I’m not, but I’m sad. I’m sad for our generation. I’m sad for those girls. I’m sad for my adorable Cabrio named Val. I’m sad for the girls that do grow up getting bullied and real-hurt because of girls like this. As I walked in the door to see my boyfriend I moaned, “I hate young girls in this area. They’re such snobby, rich kids,” (…aka giphy

 

…) and he stopped me. “I’ve lived here longer than you have to find out for myself that there are a lot of people like that, but there are a lot who aren’t. Most of the people I know aren’t.” And of course I rebutted, but only because he made me realize I was being just like them. I was assuming all girls here are like those two (& the many others who I’ve met that are the same… I mean, I did have a point) but he was right. I was generalizing all girls in the area to be snotty, just like those girls were generalizing me to be a (clearly outrageously funny) loser. I was committing the same evil.

kristen-wiig

So I write this to everyone, not just to the people who are struggling to be independent in their early 20s while their supported friends and randoms are driving in their parents Mercedes, or even new Toyotas; not just to the people who are obnoxiously flaunting their parents success, or the humble people who have nice things but aren’t, this is for all of you and everyone else. Be humble, stay humble. Be sweet and thoughtful and kind. There are a lot of people who don’t have nice things because they have chosen to make poor decisions in life, then there are people in life who don’t have the nicest things because they’re living a completely different life than you and are working hard every day to create a better life for themselves. There are people who have beautiful expensive things because their parents work hard so their kids can live a life filled with them, but also taught them the moral values of being a good person. How would I know if they were or weren’t a good person by the car they drive or clothes they wear? (unless they are laughing at you from their window…l o l ) Respect that. Respect that everyone has a story to tell and never judge a book by its cover. Be grateful for your assets, big or small, and just always, always, always be kind. You never know what someone else may be going through and how much a small pinch of kindness can change everything. And lastly, to the bullies who think their parents money is theirs, who think money makes you better than others, you’re losing out. You’re losing out on all the things that money can’t buy; respect, kindness, and the people in life that you’ll meet that come along with those values.

(*drops the mic*)

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(I swear, we really are the same person)

Alex

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deeper Than Words Blog…

After some long thought, I have decided to make another blog! This one in particular is just for my writing. Poetry, creative writing, short stories, photography and inspiration from other writers, it will all be there. The title The Style Studies just didn’t suit my creative writing style 😛 so therefore, I’m introducing Deeper Than Words.  

Check it out and if you like what you see, follow subscribe & share! 

xo