Autumn Changes

This morning I have a beautiful woman sleeping soundly in my bed. Her long red hair spread out across the pillow; her bright blue eyes closed and dreaming. 

 

I’ve been seeing Lexie for over a month. It’s not very long, but we’ve gotten to know each other quite well. I met her online. When we first started talking, I was drawn to her sense of humor and ability to discuss philosophy. On our first date, she brought me tiramisu because she knows it’s my favorite dessert. We slept together on our second date. A month later, she is moving in. 

Clearly, we are moving very fast. We both know and understand the risks of moving so quickly. She wouldn’t actually be moving in right now, but she had to move out of her old place and had nowhere else to go. She has been living with her grandmother since she was a teenager. I don’t want to speak poorly of her family on here, but I will say that it is mentally and emotionally unhealthy for her to continue living with her grandmother at this time and that is why she must move out. 

I ended things with Shanna as soon as I met Lexie because it was obvious that Shanna and I just weren’t clicking, and Lexie and I were great together. Shanna and I are still friends. Mel and I are having trouble with the time difference and each of us dating other people. She is seeing a girl named Chloe. 

I don’t know what will happen between me and Mel. We still love each other; we always will. We can’t be together, so we’re seeing other people whom we both really like. It’s still very hard on us. I have done well saving money, so I am confident that I will have enough money saved to visit her in Australia next year in July. I want to go for her birthday (July 16).  I don’t know if Lexie and I will still be together in a year, or if Mel and Chloe will. I don’t think that either of us should be in a relationship when I visit. 

 

I have been working two jobs for a little while now. My second job is elderly care. I take care of a sweet 92-year-old woman named Jean. That job has become my main source of income, and I love it. I love Jean and I love the work I do there. Some days I work up to 14 hours a day between the two jobs. I was afraid this would happen if I got a second job. I am a workaholic and I have a hard time prioritizing my health and well-being over financial gain. I am admittedly money-obsessed. I would say money is the only thing I hoard. I’m great at saving money; I always have been. I think it’s because I grew up in poverty. I’m not making millions, but I’m making enough to feel secure and not worry about emergencies. 

Speaking of emergencies, my cat got sick recently and I had to take him to the vet. It was the most wonderful feeling to be able to make an appointment and have the funds to treat him immediately. If I had still been living in my old place under my mother, I would have had to just wait out his illness. My mother wouldn’t have thought he was sick enough to even go to the vet. The way I feel about my independence here, especially financial independence, is simply indescribable. Hence my obsession with money and being a workaholic. 

 

I also have another roommate. His name is Brett and he’s a 19-year-old gay boy. I say “boy” because he’s still very much a child. He is not my ideal roommate, but he’s not too bad. 

 

All in all, I am very happy. Life is wonderful right now. Lexie makes me happy. Every other girl I’ve dated since moving here has not officially made it to the “girlfriend” status. I called them my girlfriends sometimes just because it was easier than trying to explain the causal dating thing every time, but Lexie and I are actually official. I asked her to be my girlfriend on June 23rd. 

 

That is all for now. Thank you for reading. 

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New Endeavor

I know I’ve been absent for quite some time, but I have returned now and am reevaluating my life.

 

My beautiful ex-fiance forcefully encouraged me to go back to college. Sometimes you need someone in your life who won’t take your excuses. I haven’t been very happy with things lately. My roommate/best friend moved out and now lives too far away for me to visit. I was saving money to go back to college when this happened, but then had to spend it on rent because I no longer had a roommate to cover the other half. I have failed at finding a new roommate… repeatedly. I have no friends currently because I’m apparently too intelligent for them all and they “can’t keep up.” And my boss has decided to cut everyone’s hours in the midst of all this. Nonetheless, I am going back to school. I’m too intelligent to be scrubbing toilets for a living, and as for money… well, I will figure it out as I go. In terms of school, FASFA is a good place to start.

As some of you know, I was homeschooled. As a result, I did not learn anything about college and haven’t received any of the usual preparation that most people get. That makes going back to school more difficult for me than others.

I happened upon this blog with a great challenge. Here’s the link to it:

http://thejackieblog.com/4255-2/

I’ve decided to join the contest and challenge myself to learn something new about college every day. The timing is perfect because I just began the FASFA enrollment process yesterday, which is the first step.

For the next 30 days (at least), I will post a new blog every day tracking my progress. This is actually going to be quite embarrassing for me because I will be learning things that most 15 year olds already know, and sharing it all with the world. Oh well, everyone starts somewhere. I’m just starting at 25 instead of 15.

Wish me luck!

Work

Yesterday, the head of housekeeping told me that she’s quitting.

I really like her, and I hate to see her go, but I admittedly saw this first and foremost as an opportunity. Is that wrong? I would love to have her position!

For the next couple weeks, I’m going to really buckle down and try to prove myself to the bosses. If I could be head of housekeeping, it would mean more work, more hours and better pay. It would also mean more control. I could actually put into place some of the changes I’d like to see at the hotel. I could eliminate some of the things I see wrong there, and improve the quality of cleanliness in the rooms.

It’s been driving me a bit crazy that I’m the only one who cleans thoroughly. I mean, they clean well enough, but not as thoroughly as I think they should. Certain housekeepers miss specific things that I do every time. Since I’ve had medical issues they’ve been placing me with other people to clean rooms. That’s great, except that I have to go behind whoever I’m working with and clean what they miss.

I had accepted that. What really gets to me is that I catch things that the head of housekeeping misses. She shouldn’t be missing anything. I know I’m a bit OCD, but still.

If I actually manage to get the position, I know the housekeepers are not going to like me. If they think the current head if housekeeping is tough, they definitely won’t like me. Good thing I’m not in it to make friends. The only thing that makes me sad is that Michelle wouldn’t like be anymore. She’s the assistant head of housekeeping and we were sort of becoming friends.

Honestly, I think Michelle would be the first one up for the position. So, it probably depends if she wants the position. I wouldn’t like her as head of housekeeping, but only because she has certain things going on in her life that would make it too hard for her to give that position the time and attention required.

I’m off to work now. I’m going to talk to the owner today if I get the chance, just to see if he’d be willing to consider me for the position.

The Good

As soon as I moved to this town, I felt the energy here coursing through my spirit and changing me for the better.

Everything we do in life changes us just a little. Everything has an impact. Everything affects us in some way.
Moving here has been the biggest step in the right direction that I’ve ever made. I did it right. I made sure I was moving in the right person (my best friend), made sure I had the finances needed to make the move properly, made sure I had my pets and their needs in order, made sure I had the right moving vehicles, made sure I had a job and some means of transportation… Just made sure that everything was right. I think that’s partly why this move has been so good. The hardest part was actually finding a place to live, and at the last moment we found the perfect place. Not to sound too far out there, but there really is an energy here that is syncing with my own and guiding me in the right direction in all that I’m doing here. It is affecting me deeply and opening me up.

I’ve felt less anxious, stronger and braver. I am able to do things that I haven’t been able to do in the past. I’m meeting more people and making more friends, being more social than I ever was before.

I get judgement for being a housekeeper, but everyone has to start somewhere. I chose that position; I wanted it. On my first day of work I was offered two separate promotions. Yesterday I was offered one of them again. Clearly I’m impressing someone with my work. I’ll probably accept the promotion.

My bosses like me. They’re all working to get me more hours and better pay. I knew if I went into this job with a positive attitude and eager spirit, everything would work out and I would be happy. I’d hoped that maybe I could move up in position after proving myself, but I didn’t stress about it. I certainly never expected to be offered a promotion on my first day.

I didn’t stress about money, or transportation, or friends, or anything. I stress once in a while, it’s unavoidable. Life is just stressful sometimes. But for the most part, I don’t stress. I am more carefree than I even thought was in my nature. It’s good for me. I can be too intense sometimes.

My house is modest, I guess, compared to anyone with a higher income. Maybe it’s even smaller than normal, more run down. I don’t know. To me, it is beautiful. It is perfect. It is home. My first home. I think it’s big. My room is definitely big. I have plenty of space, and the place even almost looks empty compared to other people because April and I don’t like to keep a lot of stuff. I’m finally living in a decent sized house that’s clean and clutter-free. Moving from my mother’s hoarded trailer where I only had one room to live in, this is amazing.

I fall asleep every night listening to the sound of traffic driving by my window, and it’s somehow exhilarating and calming at the same time. Maybe because I grew up in the woods with the nearest civilization about 12 miles away. Maybe it’s less lonely knowing society is right outside my window.

I know a lot of people who can’t stand the noisy city life, but it’s comforting to me. I remember the first time I spent the night with someone in a city. I lay awake smiling by the window, listening to the sounds of the city below. The street lamp on the corner gently lit the room, glistening off the shiny decorations my friend hung from the ceiling. I knew then that I belonged in the city, not in the country with crickets and chickens. That peace, that incredible calm that overwhelmed me that one single night made me fall deeply in love with the city. Any city. I loved the lights. I loved the noise. All the cars and motorcycles, the trains passing by. I was filled with an excitement and peace that I’d never known, and I sought it since then. Now I have a little bit of that.

I’m living in a smaller town than I’d like, but for right now it is wonderful. I will someday move to New York City. My heart is there. I know that will be my home someday, but it may not be for many years yet, and that’s okay! I’m happy where I am now, and as the years pass I will enjoy every place I call home until I make it to New York. Everyone who knows me associates me with New York. I have never lived there, yet they call me a New Yorker. My mother is from New York, so I’ve even been told that I have a slight New York accent. I bet I’ll live in a few different places before getting to New York. I look forward to every single experience.

Our house is technically a duplex, just bigger than a normal one. Our duplex neighbor, Jessie, and her three little boys are the best neighbors ever. Right from the very first day we moved in, Jessie was warm and welcoming. She has made dinner for us and given us things like trash bags when we’ve run out. She has allowed us to share her washer and dryer so we didn’t have to buy our own. The washer and dryer are on the porch, so we can all use them and even help each other out with laundry. April, Jessie and I are like an odd sort of little family. April and I watch Jessie’s boys whenever she needs, we attend parties together and plan events. We take care of each others’ pets. We spend evenings on the porch sharing wine and chatting. We share our friends and go out together in groups.

My cats are just blissfully happy in the new place. I even got them a cat tree so that they’d have their own piece of furniture, complete with toys and scratching posts. They have so much room now to run and play , windows to stare out, multiple soft places to sleep, and uncountable little hiding places. One of my cats crawls up into my vanity dresser and has claimed a drawer all to himself. Whenever I can’t find him, I pull out the drawer and there he is, all curled up and sleeping peacefully.

Oh and the beach… Can’t forget the beautiful, sunny beach. I’m actually beginning to get a tan. Mostly, though, my freckles are just coming out. Haha. I love the beach and I’ve really enjoyed going with friends and taking pictures. We dance in the water and lay out in the sun. I haven’t let my fair skin keep me from the beach! It will get used to the sun. Haha.

So you see, there is so very much that is good in my life here. I’m changing every day, growing stronger and becoming better. I am so filled with gratitude for all these amazing things in my life. Good things and opportunities keep coming my way, too. In addition to my job, I’ve been able to do things on the side like cleaning houses or babysitting to earn extra money. I haven’t stressed and it’s all been working out. Things here are just amazing. I’m making friends and thoroughly enjoying my life.

I know I’ve repeated some things here that are in other posts, but thank you all for reading anyway.

The Bad

Failed relationships are so damn painful. Even more painful is trying to be friends afterwards.

My girl broke up with me, then got back together with me, and broke up with me again.

I’m bipolar, but stable. She was diagnosed bipolar just a couple months ago. I think our relationship became bipolar, too.
Because I’m bipolar, I had decided some time ago that I could not date someone who was also bipolar; at least not someone who wasn’t stable. By the time we found out, though, I was in love.

There are two sides to every story. Her side is surely different from mine, but I don’t really know what it is. This is my side.

I’ve been riding this emotional roller-coaster with her for the past two months. I’ve been 100% available to her every time she’s needed someone. She has struggled and suffered breakdowns. I’ve talked her through everything as best I could. I’ve listened and empathized, even when it hurt me to do so. I’ve given all of myself.
Currently, and for the past two months, she has been incapable of giving much back. When I’ve needed her, she’s shut me down, pushed me away, or offered nothing. I guess I could have handled it if she had just told me clearly what she could and couldn’t handle. She doesn’t want me assuming or analyzing her, obviously, but she wouldn’t really talk to me. I just don’t know what to do with that.

We used to talk about everything. She used to like that I never let anything stew, that I always wanted to talk about things. Then suddenly I couldn’t talk about anything that was upsetting me. As a result, things grew bigger and more upsetting. She knows me well and she would ask me what was wrong, but I can’t pour my heart out just to be shut down afterwards.

I can’t do the uncertain, undetermined relationship. I can’t show affection just to get none in return. I can’t give all of myself and get nothing back at all when I need it. I can’t even do this in the contexts of a friendship, let alone a romantic relationship.

I tried to help her through the bipolar stuff because I’ve been there, and she wanted my help. However, after a while she no longer wanted my help and instead perceived it as self-righteousness. That wasn’t my intent at all, and if I come off that way to people, then I need to change something. I don’t know everything about bipolar disorder. I only know what has worked for me. I see so many things in her that I’ve felt or done. I guess I didn’t word things the right way and got too intense with my suggestions.

She is such a strong person and she is capable of so much, but there’s no reason for her to have to struggle with everything or do it all on her own. I guess I handled things wrong. I don’t know. She doesn’t talk to me enough beyond an argument. I’m trying to admit my fault in this, too, but it’s kind of hard when I’m so confused about what went wrong. It’s not all on her, but I only know my perspective of the situation.

We used to feel the same way about each other and express it equally and openly. She used to shower me with love, be romantic and affectionate. She used to tell me multiple times a day how much she loved me, missed me, needed me. She used to be there for me in any way that I needed her. She used to return everything that I gave her. She used to be loving and supportive.

She had a breakdown and I suggested she see a doctor. We both suspected she was bipolar, and she is. After that, everything went downhill. I don’t know exactly what happened, but she changed completely. I have tried and tried to accept her as she is, but it’s not easy when she’s so completely different. I see glimpses of who she used to be, and think she’s returning to normal, but she’s not.

She tells me that she can’t handle any drama, and I get that, but my need for love and support shouldn’t be drama. My need for her to not brush away my feelings after pushing me to express them shouldn’t be drama.

Go back to my post “Not Okay” and that’s where I’m at lately. A little bit stronger, a little bit happier, but still not really okay. I can’t seem to accept the good and the bad in my life at the same time, so this was the bad and my next post will be the good.

Thanks for reading.

My Beautiful New Life

I love this town, I love the people, I love my roommate, I love my neighbor, I love my house, and tomorrow I will love my job! 

 

I am just so incredibly happy here. The only problem has been money (naturally, haha), but we’ve just barely started off here, so it’s going to even itself out quickly. I’m finally starting work tomorrow! That will surely help. I wasn’t able to start sooner because my boss was in the hospital. I am just beyond thrilled to start tomorrow! I’m excited and relieved, too. 

Today is a gorgeous, bright, sunny day. April and I have some errands to run, and then we’re going to the beach! We’re going to take more beach pictures today and I will share them on here again. 

 

I’ve been spending a lot of time with my neighbor, Jess, and she just awesome. I’m so happy to have such a great neighbor. Her three boys are great, too. Jess is a wonderful, loving mom. I enjoy listening to her tell me all about her boys. She speaks about them with so much love and pride. Motherhood is a beautiful thing, and sadly there aren’t enough good mother’s who truly appreciate the blessing that their children are. Jess does, though, and she’s one of the great mothers. She has also been helping me and April out in little ways that mean so much. She jumps on any opportunity to help her neighbors. I was hungry one night and she went right in and brought me some chips and homemade bean dip. I mentioned that April and I ran out of trash bags, and she gave me several. We’ve been sitting on our porch sharing drinks and just talking and getting to know each other. It’s been really nice and I like her more every day. 

 

Since moving here two weeks ago, I have been invited to multiple parties and gatherings and I’ve met more people than I ever did in my old town. People here like, accept and respect me. It’s a wonderful feeling. 

 

I am so grateful for my new life here and all of the opportunities presented to me. 

Hoarding

A Personal Thanks: 

I joined an online support group for children of hoarders some time ago. I didn’t share posts on there very often because I really hate complaining and being negative. When I did share something, though, there was always an outpouring of support from the other members. I joined the group because I was still living in one of my mother’s hoarded trailers and sometimes I just needed to know that other people out there understood what I was dealing with. When I finally moved out, I updated the group with the first good news I’d had since joining. I was thrilled to be able to report something positive, something going right in my life, improvement. When I updated the group, I decided to also share this personal blog with them. I left the link in my post, inviting anyone to come check out my blog.

I didn’t realize right away, but now I know that someone shared my blog on their own site. I’m touched that anyone would even notice, let alone share my blog like that.

Thank you, Joe Hoarder’s Son! http://www.hoardersson.com/

And thank you all who have found your way here via Joe Hoarder’s Son!

 

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A Bit About Hoarding:

As most people know by now from the increasing awareness of hoarding (many people have seen A&E’s “Hoarders” at least once), it is a mental disorder often caused by a traumatic event or loss. As most of my readers know, my mother is a hoarder. In fact, my stepfather is a hoarder, my cousin is a hoarder, my aunt was a hoarder, and I’m sure I have several other relatives who are hoarders, especially on my mother’s side of the family.

Growing up in a hoarded home was like living in a filthy prison- a physical prison and a mental/emotional prison of guilt, shame and abuse. The house was constantly messy and cluttered after my father died when I was 9, but the first time it truly resembled the worst of hoards was when I was 11 or 12 and my step-aunt had offered her old furniture and belongings that she didn’t want/need when she was moving. My mother has never been able to resist something that was free (or even cheap). Instead of choosing a couple things that she wanted, she literally took every piece of furniture and “stuff” that was unwanted.

In with the new, out with the old! Or not…

I was excited at first. I thought it was better than Christmas. We were getting all new furniture, couches, shelves, bookcases, cabinets, tables and chairs! But then we never got rid of our old stuff. Everything was just piled into our living room (where I was sleeping at the time), with barely a pathway to get through. I think I was the only one small enough to fit through the maze of stuff, actually. At first my parents were happy and excited about all the new stuff, but after a few days of not being able to use our living room or even walk through it, tensions rose and they were angry all the time.

I tried my best to stay out of the way because I couldn’t handle the anger, cursing, yelling. Our kitchen was hoarded, too, so I would slip in and out as quietly as possible to get food. Dishes piled up, trash piled up, junk mail and random papers piled up, “stuff” piled up everywhere. The house could no longer be vacuumed, swept or mopped. Counter tops and tables couldn’t be wiped down. Insects and rodents infested all the cabinets and corners. I remember picking weevils out of my cereal or pasta before eating it; brushing roaches off of dishes before using them.

In my bedroom, I slept every night with cockroaches and spiders in my bed. Those weren’t even the worst, though. The worst thing was being bitten constantly by fleas. Right now I have several cats, but I have always kept fleas away from them, myself and my home. I will never forget the hours I spent lying in bed trying to fall asleep but being kept up by the constant itching and pain from the fleas biting me. They covered my legs, crawled through my clothes, nested in my hair as if I were a stray animal. Whenever I asked my mother about the fleas or complained about them, she said it was normal and this was the price we paid for living in the country and owning pets. She said if I didn’t want the fleas I had to get rid of all my pets. I never knew then that she was wrong, that people actually had pets and did not have fleas. I didn’t know until I was much older and my pets were fully my responsibility.

Hoarders tend to refuse to take responsibility for what’s going on in their lives. They will redirect blame to anywhere or anyone else, and often it is the children who end up taking the blame.

I didn’t wash dishes enough. I watched too much TV. I was lazy. I left my stuff everywhere, never cleaned up after myself. I didn’t do my chores. I stressed her out too much for her to get anything done. I was in the way, distracting her. I forgot to close a bag of chips or I spilled crumbs and that attracted roaches and ants.

Even though I was a kid, it was never my mother’s responsibility to clean up after me or to teach me how to clean up after myself. I didn’t know how to do anything properly. The reality is, you cannot teach a child how to clean when they’re living in a hoard. You teach a child not how to fix a disaster, but rather how to keep an already tidy home tidy. You teach them how to clean up messes that occur, not how to attempt to vacuum around 500 pieces of junk that they aren’t allowed to move.

I learned how to hide things- how to cram things into places and cover things with sheets so no one could tell what they were. I was never able to clean my room, so I was constantly punished and degraded for it being a mess. I had a friend visit once. My mother had told me to clean my room, and I honestly tried, but I couldn’t do it. So, when my friend came over, I wasn’t allowed to have her in my room. I was okay with that because I was embarrassed by the mess. However, I wanted to show my friend my new fish, so I left her waiting in the hallway as I slipped into my room and retrieved the fish bowls. When I came out, there was my mother. She had this look of horror, rage and disgust on her face. She screamed something at me, I don’t remember what, and slapped me hard across the face right there in front of my friend. I nearly dropped the fish bowls. I had no clue what I’d done wrong, and I still don’t know. She had just appeared, screamed, slapped me, and disappeared again, leaving me in tears and ashamed.

I had that same friend spend the night once. We had to keep moving from room to room because the cockroaches and fleas scared and disgusted her. She never came back.

My parents got sick of the hoard and they bought a new trailer. They moved into the new trailer on a different piece of property down the street and I and my brother stayed in the old one. We were both teenagers by that point. I had just turned 14 and I was going to go to public school for the first time in my life. I had been homeschooled up to that point, but actual schooling never really happened after my father died, so I chose to go to public school with my brother. I’ve always loved learning, but my mother had turned into a monster and she couldn’t teach us anymore. A kid can’t learn amongst piles of junk and with an angry, impatient, screaming teacher.

Hoarders seem to love bargains and anything free, so they tend to go to thrift stores a lot and even dumpster dive. My mother was the queen of the dumpster dive, and certainly the queen of the thrift store. It would have been fine that I got all of my clothes from thrift stores, except that none of them ever fit. I got in trouble at school constantly for wearing clothes that didn’t fit. Most of my shirts were too small, because too big would have been even worse, and my jeans were all different sizes except what I actually needed.

Looking back, I can only imagine how bad I must have smelled. It didn’t register at the time, but my brother and I didn’t even have trash cans or trash bags. My cousin was living with us and she was an adult, but she was (and still is) completely crazy. I don’t know what’s wrong with her, but she has always had something wrong with her. She is like a little child with adult responsibilities. She never cleaned anything, and she’s always been a hoarder. She just barely holds a job at Wal-Mart. They can’t fire her for being mental. Needless to say, there was no “real” adult in the home. It was her, me, my brother, and an infant. Wal-Mart gives people some crazy hours to work, so I was constantly woken up at odd hours of the night when I had school in the morning. I never got enough sleep between the fleas biting me and the odd hours that I was always woken up at.

I don’t know how I even got ready for school every day in all the mess and filth. Sadly, it was cleaner than it had been when my mother was living there, but it was still bad. Since there was a baby living there, there were always dirty diapers piled around. The “adult” in the home left food smeared, splattered and just laying anywhere. I remember an open jug of Sunny Delight sitting in the fridge for months with barely a serving left in it. My brother and I never had help with our homework, never had someone there to share meals with us or see us off to school in the morning. My mother tried to get us to go down to her place for dinner sometimes, but I hated it. She was always angry and frustrated, and she had hoarded her new place quickly.

The damages done to children of hoarders can last years, or for life. Children need love, patience, attention, structure, order, and guidance. Children of hoarders don’t often get those things. In one of my recent posts on here I wrote about my little cousin “J.” She was the baby I was living with as a teen. From what I wrote about her, you can see the emotional damage incurred largely by her mother’s hoarding. Clearly her mother has other issues, too, but it’s the hoarding that is the biggest issue for poor J. Hoarding breeds other issues- anger, resentment, lack of structure and order, neglect, guilt, and all sorts of emotional abuses.

Hoarding can cause anxiety, OCD, depression, personality disorders, and more in children raised in those conditions.

It’s so much more than just a messy home. It is abuse and neglect, isolation and imprisonment.