Category Archives: Family

To be made and unmade, and made again.

I grew up living with my sister, Ashley, and my mother, Ann. This is because my biological father (whose name I don’t really care to share) was is a real piece of work. He has a wrap sheet that’s pages upon pages in length, from stalking to battery and neglect. He has never outgrown being the self-indulgent child that he was before he ever met my mother. And all the other ruthless mothers and broken families he made. He created a handful of broken homes and left our families shattered, picking up his messy pieces and finding other families in the same situation due to him. For years. I have one sister that I was raised with, and many that I was not. Some, I did not even find until just a couple years ago. We bound ourselves together into a semblance of one really big, really fucked up family.

I remember the first times I met each of my siblings and their families. Siblings who I should have had an entire lifetime of knowing. It was extremely emotional. And awkward. But we grew to like and love each other, despite living miles and miles apart and being too young to really grasp what we were forced to deal with. So we grappled instead of grasped. We clung to what we knew, because it was all we knew.

Though it is confusing, conflicting, and unimaginably strange, my family is beautiful. It is the only blessing my father bestowed me. He made me, and then he left. My mom met a man named Jordan, who adored me, even though I was two, and not his. He spoke to my biological father and said, “Hey, you’re not here, and I am, let me have her” (I’m paraphrasing). So my father gave me up for adoption, and Jordan became my dad in all legal respects.  He became my shiny, smiling new dad by loving me in a way that only a father can love a daughter. When I got older and my dad (Jordan) and mom had divorced, things got rocky. When I learned I was adopted, that Jordan was not my dad, I had an identity crisis between the ages of 8 and 9. I did not know who to call “dad” any longer. I didn’t know what family meant. I didn’t understand. I couldn’t look at the man I thought was my dad all along but wasn’t, and not know what I wish I hadn’t known. I played the cards dealt me, and I got over it with time. Things got back to normal between my mother, my dad Jordan, and my Sister and I. Now, I just also happen to have a long story about a sperm donor who made me, along with a lot of other younger sisters and a youngest brother. He gifted me with the relationships that I now have with them and aaaaaalllllllll the rest of the family that came with the package. It’s confusing, and any man that decides to marry me is going to have a helluva time trying to get the family tree straight, but that’s okay 🙂

I can honestly say that I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Strength, and sometimes lack thereof

HAAAMIGAWD! I know, it’s been a very long time. My sincere apologies to all.. thirteen of you who keep up regularly. I’ve been really busy, but I guess that’s just no excuse. Honestly, I’ve mostly been waiting for something worth talking about publicly.

Okay, so here’s some updates on me:

1. In December, I took a trip to Colorado and spent some time with family, and then in the rockies at Breckenridge resort with someone pretty rad who helped me deal with some shit.

2. I have about a week and a half left of this semester at a community college, which leads to my subsequent..

3. I am transferring to a state university soon to finish out my last two years (Almighty Universal Forces please help me, whoever you are).

4. I have quit my job and am now in the middle of switching between two jobs.

5. My new job is at a local chain restaurant. I’ve never been in the serving industry, but hey, a girl’s gotta make a livin’.

6. I like to get outside, which is why I am never here, at my laptop, writing to you. Mah bad.

Now that that’s out of the way, I would like to talk about what I came here to talk about today.

Strength.

Yeah, I know, yadda, yadda, yadda. It can be so cliché. Look away if you must. I want to say that I know people personally, and have heard stories close to the hearts of those I love, that have touched this base within me recently. It takes strength to fend off the ghosts that haunt us. We’ve all experienced things that have left us scarred.

To face things in the moment takes monumental strength and courage, and sometimes even sheer defiance and willpower. I know what it’s like to have to only focus on making it through the day – to hell with any other goals, there’s no room for other goals right now.

yeah, I know. Ibeenthere. Eventually, after facing that goal of surviving day in and day out, you reach a precipice without even knowing it. You recognize the strength within you, the power you command over yourself.

Don’t deny yourself that feeling. You deserve to feel in control, powerful, and strong. You fought with everything in you not to cave, and somehow, you fucking made it.

You cannot control everything that happens, obviously. But you can control how it all affects you. You don’t have to be chased by ghosts. You can face them. You are strong enough, trust me. It’s not easy and it’s usually not quick. You won’t know what you’re doing all the time, or how to feel. That’s okay, because at some point, you’re going to come out on the other end, looking back thinking I can do whatever I need to do. I can do anything. You can move on and let go, truly.

Now I hope to remember that next time I’m facing another situation that is by all (logical) means impossible – Nothing is impossible for me.


Top 5 Awesome Winter Sports

So it’s getting to be that time of the year – the blistery cold wind is howling and snowfall is imminent. It’s fun to bundle up in – let’s face it – the most comfortable clothes in the entire wardrobe. Cozy is what it’s all about! Winter is kind of a love/hate thing for most people who truly experience it. Some days are gorgeous – trees covered in a layer of sparkly ice and snow, deer leaving tracks in the snow and bounding up to your house to stay near a heat source, bright white light when the sun makes an appearance. However, that’s a small portion of real winter. Most winter days are dreary and unbelievably cold, at least here in MN. Last winter consisted of few days of sunshine and about two to four feet of snow at any given time (give or take), coupled with literally single digit temps and sub zero wind chills. The wind gets so cold it actually burns.

90% of days of the winter season in MN, everyone has to spend 30 mins scraping ice and snow off their cars and shoveling snow away from tires. Then we proceed to deal with cars slipping and sliding all over the damn place like the roads are a pinball machine, due to a sheet of ice about an inch thick. Aaaah, winter. The time of the year when everyone’s fifteen minutes late to work every day – and the boss can’t say a damn thing about it.

So, I know that after the first two weeks or so of snow, MN winters can get pretty depressing. Days are short and cold, so we spend way too much time inside. I’m here to make a list of things to do that will help people like me, who are hellbent on remaining active year round, do just that.

 

Without further ado, I give you:

 

The Amazing List of Winter Wonderful Awesomeness

Or simply,

Crap To Do When There’s Snow

1. Snowboarding or Skiing:

This is TOTALLY how cool everyone looks when doing snowsports.

Granted, this picture is totally glorified (thank you, Google), but you get the idea. Whether you can ski downhill or cross country, it’s a great workout and a lot of fun. Snowboarding, in my opinion, is much easier than skiing, so give both a shot and see which you prefer. You can get all the gear you need for a couple hundred bucks, maybe less if you buy used, and you can keep it for many years – believe me, the gear will probably outlast you.

2. Tubing!!:

It only looks dorky

Yeah, so… you might think it looks totally retarded – but you’d be sorely mistaken. It is probably literally THE most fun you can have all freakin’ winter. Bring your whole family, cousins included, and go rent a few tubes. I guarantee you will spend an entire day doing this shit. My family goes every year, it’s kind of a ritual.

3. Sleigh Rides:

"Mush! You silly horse, mush!!"

Yeah, there’s only two ways to go about this without it being lame. The first is to make a date of it, go with someone you wanna knock socks with. The second is to go with (ironically) your family, especially if there’s kids. They love this crap, and it’s pretty fun to see them get all excited.

4. Snowshoeing:

"Damnit. She told me to follow the trees."

Contrary to what one may believe, this is a serious workout. It can be fun if you bring a group of friends or family with you, so make a day of it and bring food and some extra gear – have a wintertime picnic atop a big hill!

5. Dog Sledding:

"Oh. NOW we say 'mush.'"

Yeah, for real. Ever tried it? Bet you haven’t. It’s actually a lot of fun, especially for those of us who adore anything with fur. A common practice in MN, dog sledding is a winter pastime that probably won’t ever die. If you’re a fan of Siberian Huskies or Alaskan Malamutes, this is something you should look into. This is such a huge (yet oddly unmentioned) hobby that there are marathons every year all along Minnesota’s North Shore. The Beargrease race starts in Duluth, Minnesota and takes a 411 mile trail (Gunflint trail) all the way through Grand Marais and Beaver Bay to the final destination at Grand Portage. I’ve personally seen this route and it is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen to date. The race honors a man named John Beargrease who was the son of an Anishinaabe chief and worked to deliver mail through the North Shore by – you guessed it – dog sled. His route is remembered yearly by many enthusiasts to date.

For your viewing pleasure, here’s a recent video from the Beargrease Race:

 

 


Occupy.

I’ve been inspired to share the plight of the 99%.

I’m a full time college student and part time worker. I work for a mom-n-pops shop trying to stay afloat in a fucked economy. I’m getting a major in journalism and a minor in PR, and I’m terrified ever day. I’m scared of every dollar I incur in debt and the possibility that I won’t be able to pay it back. I’m scared that in pursuit of a decent life, I’ll ruin my chances of said life. I’m angry, and I can’t be silent any longer. I must speak for my generation.

Occupy Wall Street

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


tell it like it is

My apologies for not having anything important to talk about lately. I’ve recently begun my  classes for the semester and have been attempting to acclimate to my new homework schedule.

That’s a lie, there are definitely important things going on in my life lately. I’ve been silent because I didn’t want to speak too soon, but the time has come.

So, as most of my readers tend to be people who actually know me, most of you will also know that I have some issues. Lately, my problems have been coming to a head and I’ve realized that I can’t keep avoiding facing them. The problem is, I have no friggin’ idea where to start. I guess I’ll start with a list of past experiences that have shaped me.

1. The birth of my beautiful little sister Ashley

2. The divorce of my folks and the subsequent numbers Three and Four, all of these events happening at about the same time

3. The burning of my home and,

4. Finding out I was adopted.

5. Finding out I have many siblings from my biological father

6. Dealing with a lot of crappy men that my mom dated

7. Being diagnosed with Scoliosis

8. Meeting my best friends

There are many more events that shaped me, but I will not speak of them publicly because they involve other people in my life.

I was shaped by these events and others. I’ve learned to be strong. Growing up, I felt like I had to be strong for my family and for myself. I didn’t know I was doing it until recently, but I ignored my own problems and issues. My strength became a barrier. As I got older my strength evolved into a wall between myself and the people I love. I felt like I had to keep everyone at arm’s length, loving them, but not letting them in. I became incapable of making the decision to ask for help, even with minor things like a flat tire, and even when help was necessary. Somewhere along the way, without my knowledge or recognition, I began to feel that I couldn’t afford to let anyone know who I really am, and I hated conflict. These things combined to make me a compulsive liar. I wanted to tell people what they wanted to hear, rather than tell the truth. I wanted the path of least resistance. Looking back, I also recognize that because I was capable of dishonesty, I had the upper hand in every relationship and I didn’t feel a need to open up and be vulnerable to anyone. My dishonesty became yet another impenetrable wall I built to protect myself.

As time went on, the people around me (and one person in particular) were able to see through my walls to my weaknesses, which was exactly what I had been trying so hard to avoid. There is one person who has seen me for who I really am and did the exact opposite of what I feared would happen. They reached out to me and began helping me. This person will never know how much they mean to me, they’ve become my Saving Grace. I finally learned how many mistakes I’d been making and that I need to change. My way of survival has been detrimental to the people I care about and myself. I’ve made a promise to myself to change my behavior, which has been easy enough so far. I’ve been honest, even when I’m scared of the consequences. But the root of this behavior stems from my fears and my past, and I know I need to change that, too. I can’t get through it alone. I’ve been reaching out to my Saving Grace, my friends, my family, and now, a therapist. I’m ready to shed these feelings of self-loathing. I’m ready to put my anger, hurt, confusion, and sadness to rest. I’m ready to let people in and I’m ready to be a better person. I’m ready to accept myself, finally.

It’s about damn time.


Delta Company-you got my back, I got yours.

What’s been on my mind lately?

Well, mainly, my little sister. Her name is Ashley and she’s nineteen now. She’s in the army, and now she’s training at Ft. Leonard Wood in Missouri. Before she left, I will be the first to admit that I was worried about her. She was fairly immature in the sense that she was floundering for a good direction to take her life. She liked to hang with her friends, she hated school, and she hated the crappy jobs you have to settle for (generally) without a higher education. She wasn’t a fan of responsibilities. Mostly, I think it’s because she was scared to grow up.

Ashley has always wanted to be a member of the Almighty Armed Forces. When she was twelve years old she wanted to go to Camp Ripley boot camp. For fun. Like it’s totally normal that someone thinks getting screamed at while running around an obstacle course is a blast.

Ash and I have always been close. Granted, when we were younger, we used to beat the shit out of each other silently so that my mom wouldn’t catch us and tell us to knock it off (funny, because as soon as anyone besides me tried to pick on her, I’d set heads to rolling). We are as different as night and day, but it seems to work well for us. So when she left for MO, I was sad to see her go (duh), but I was glad that she had a chance to make something of it. I was nervous because she’d had yet to show any real signs of maturity, but hopeful she’d take what she was going to learn to heart.

We’ve been writing letters back and forth the entire time she’s been in training, and I’m surprised to say that the distance between us has made us closer. Much closer. Before she left, I knew she loved me, but I didn’t know how much she really appreciated my efforts as an older sister and how hard I tried to look out for her. I’d always been supportive of her, no matter what, but I also had to balance that with trying to steer her toward good life decisions.

In her letters, she reports doing very well with the training. She got a score of 211/300 on her first PT test and ran two miles in seventeen minutes. For her second test she scored 275/300 and ran two miles in fifteen minutes (she placed fourth out of like 65 in her company, I believe). She does extra training activities to earn herself  phone calls to home. The good news is that because she’s handling things so well, she’s been promoted to a Team Leader. The bad news is that because she’s handling the training so well and scored 275, her next (and final) test has to place her with a score of 300/300.

Ashley will be training until Christmas, when she comes home for two weeks. After the quick home visit, she’ll be off to AIT for another fourteen weeks. Then she’ll come home for another two weeks. Then she’s off for three and a half years of active duty. When it’s all said and done, she’ll be gone from home for about four and a half years. It makes me sad, but I’m proud of her.

Reading her letters has showed major change in my little sister. She’s growing up, and quick. Being an older sibling is tough. It’s a lot of responsibility if you want to take it seriously. But I’m telling you, it’s SO worth it. My little sister is like the right leg to my left leg, and I feel a loss of balance when she’s not around. But I’ve learned that I wouldn’t have it any other way. I could never imagine not having Ashley as a sibling. She can be annoying, she can be dumb (sometimes), and she can be a little squirt, but she can also be very supportive, loving, smart (most times), and silly. She’s full of life and vitality, she’s humorous, she’s scared and brave at the same time. She’s learned to step up and be respectful, proud (of herself and the things she can accomplish), and surprisingly humble.

I miss the shit out of my little sister. I love her with my whole heart.

This blog post is dedicated to anyone in the armed forces and to anyone with a sibling, younger or older. I’m sure you can relate, and I give you guys kudos.

This blog post is especially dedicated to PVT Ashley Zur of the Delta Company Death Dealers, 3rd BN 10th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Platoon.