Excerpts from a Book I’ll Never Write

“You don’t understand! All I did my entire childhood was watch them scream and holler at each other! What if I turn out exactly like them? What if I finally take that step and start a real relationship and it ends like that? I refuse to do that!”

He looked at her with sadness in his eyes. 

He saw the pain. 

He saw the hurt. 

He saw the uncertainty. 

He knew she wanted this just as much as he did, but he also knew it scared her to death. 

“We will never end up like your parents,” he declared to her, crossing the room to stand in front of her. 

She backed away.

“You don’t know that!”

Tears fell from her eyes. 

He stepped forward again, wiping them away. 

“I do know that.”

“How? How are you so sure? How are you always so sure?”

“Because I know you. You are the kindest, most loving person I have ever met. You are patient and would never hurt anyone. You care deeper than anyone I know. And I know me. I know that I love you with my entire heart and I know that I would never do anything to hurt you. We will not spend the next 70 years yelling at each other. Our children will never witness the things you endured as a child. We will raise them in a loving home with two parents who love and respect each other. We will watch them grow and show them what a family is.”

Her eyes fell to the ground. 

“But I don’t know what a family is…” came her weak voice. 

Carefully, he pulled her into his arms. 

“This is a family. People who love each other. People who will always be there for each other. People who take care of each other. When someone needs help, their family is there.”

“You really think we could be a family?”

“If you want.”

“Do you promise to never abandon me?”

“I promise.”

“Good because I would never abandon you.”

He held her tight against his chest. 

This was home. 

This was family. 

This is where they belonged. 

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Your Makeup Looks Good Today

In general I like to think of myself as a person who is not easily offended. I understand all people are human and sometimes they make mistakes. They might slip up and say something they don’t mean in the heat of the moment or even just on an ordinary day. If something offends me, I tend to take it with a grain of salt – until it’s repeated to me multiple times. Such is the case with the title of this blog “your makeup looks good today.”

Now – I know what you’re probably thinking. “Chels – it’s just makeup! Why on earth would you be offended if someone told you your makeup looks good today?” And perhaps offended is too strong of a word here – thank you for noticing that my makeup looks good today. Is it only the makeup that looks good? I’m not one to fish for compliments – I’m more of the “please don’t let me be the center of attention” kind of person, but when my makeup is the only thing you’re noticing, I question if that’s even a good thing to begin with. 

I should backtrack. Let me start by giving the brief history of “Chels and Makeup.” Around the time I was a teenager, I developed a small interest in makeup. However, given that my mother never wore any, I didn’t recieve an allowance, and I was too young to have a job outside of babysitting, the interest was short lived. Add that to my dad instilling in me that I was beautiful without makeup and I never felt a need to put any on. Around the time I was 21 or so, one of my friends offered to do my makeup for me after I expressed interest in it once more. I remember being mortified at the thick line of black eyeliner on my eyes and she immediately took it off my eyes before I would leave the house. I didn’t touch makeup again for four years. Towards the end of last year, the redness in my face started to bother me. Maybe I grew more self aware, maybe I was just growing up, I’m not sure. I slowly started to notice beauty gurus on YouTube and began following some. When I started using makeup, I started with just BB cream and concealer. As time went on, I started to try new things – foundation, powder, mascara, eye shadow, brow color, lipstick, color correctors, blush, and undereye corrector. Now, I don’t use all of these things on a daily basis. I still prefer to go makeup free, but I like knowing that after months of practice (and a lot of YouTube videos to teach myself!) I have gained the skills to successfully do my makeup when I need to. When I have a meeting at work, I tend to put more time and effort into my makeup for the day. If I’m going to be sitting in my office all day then I stick to BB cream, concealer, and mascara. 

Over the last few weeks (around the time I added blush into the mix) my boss has commented multiple times that “your makeup looks good today.” I shrug it off and just tell her I’ve been playing around with it. As I’ve said before, I don’t like to draw attention to myself, which is why I subtly over time started adding things to my makeup routine. She mentioned it multiple more times after that. Part of me wanted to tell her it bothered me, but I tend to let a lot of things go. Whereas most people would compliment someone by telling them they look good or that color of shirt looks goods on them, she had zoned in on the one thing I’m most uncomfortable with – the one thing I feel I don’t need and only wear when I’m feeling like it.

That was all fine and dandy until we were talking about a job I want, but was told I wouldn’t get. That’s okay, I’m a big girl, I can take it. However, then she started talking about things I could do to get ready. While I agree with some things – I know I talk fast – other things I felt weren’t as necessary. Appearance was brought up. I always make sure I’m dressed up for meetings, but the majority of my days consist of sitting in my office alone for eight hours and some days I don’t even see anyone. On those days, while I still dress appropriately for work, I tend to dress down – these are the days I’ll do my simple makeup routine. She made sure to point out that she wasn’t saying I should run out and buy new clothes – something I wouldn’t do anyways because I don’t plan on fitting into what I currently own in a few months. 

Then came those words “I’ve noticed you’re wearing makeup, that’s good, it shows you’re putting some effort into your appearance.” It took every ounce inside me to not roll my eyes. Why am I, a girl, being held to a different standard? I’m never one to get political, but I couldn’t help but notice the irony that she wouldn’t have made the comment to a boy. It takes me a solid 45 minutes to get out of the house in the morning, and sometimes an hour if I’m putting extra effort into my appearance that day. A boy can typically wake up, do his hair in a matter of minutes, throw on something to wear, and be done in a fraction of the time it takes me to get around. Why does it matter if I choose to spend 10 minutes on my makeup or not? Why does it matter if I spend 10 minutes straightening my hair or if I spend one minute to French braid it into a nice up-do? There are so many other things I could be doing with that time. I’m not saying appearance isn’t important – you should always dress correctly for your job and even dress for the job you want instead of the job you have. But when people start making a big deal out of if I’m wearing makeup or not, it bothers me, especially since I was taught that I don’t need it to be beautiful. 

Maybe it’s a generation difference. I’m transitioning from who I am to who I want to be. She’s already who she is. But if you’re going to compliment me, please tell me that I look nice, that means a whole lot more to me than telling me that my makeup looks good. Maybe it’s that I’m still self-conscious about my appearance some days and people pointing out the one thing I’m most unsure of doesn’t help. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of makeup or I wouldn’t wear it to begin with. I’m not a fan of people implying that I only look good when I’m wearing it. Tell me I look good on a day when I’m wearing BB cream and some concealer. Heck, tell me that you trust my judgement. Compliment my brain. Ask me about life. In a world with a thousand different opinions, there’s so many other things to say to me at work other than my makeup looks good. Say something if you must, but please notice everything else about me too. 

Flashback – Dear Society – A Letter about Love, Being Single, and Faith (2015)

Disclaimer: As always – writing has been edited for misspellings/grammar/etc and some parts may have been deleted for privacy. 

March 7, 2015

Dear Society – A Letter about Love, Being Single, and Faith

Dear Society –

I feel like we need to take a minute to discuss something that has been on my mind a lot lately: love. Not just love, but the standards that are set on single individuals – by society, by their closest friends, by themselves. Maybe it’s on my mind because I feel I’ve had the same conversation with various people this past week and I’m frustrated. Maybe it’s because I’m tired of the pressures society puts on people to get married and settle down. Maybe I’m just tired of this conversation and want to get everything I’m feeling out in the open once and for all.

Society has this need for people to be “paired up” and I think it’s ridiculous. Is being single really the worse thing a person can be? Is being single worse than being unfair, greedy, passionless, uninspiring, cruel, prejudice, selfish, empty-headed, mean, vindictive, lazy, dishonest, arrogant, cynical, obsessive, pompous, or irresponsible? I don’t think so. I would rather be single over any of the other things any day. I think the need for society to pair people up is sad – like there is no possible way I can be happy because I’m single.

For a while, I bought into that notion; until the day I realized I was happy and I could be just as happy rather I was single or in a relationship. I was the girl who wanted to be in a relationship more than anything. I was the girl who would hang out with the boy I had no interest in because I felt the pressure from society to be in a relationship. I was the girl who wanted to be married more than anything else in the whole world.

Then I got the best advice about love and marriage and being single that anyone has ever given me: it’s better to stay single than to marry the wrong person. It’s deep. Very deep. I’m the type of girl who dates someone and knows there’s only two outcomes: either we’re going to break up or we’re going to be married. There is no in-between. If I’m complaining about you after one date, chances are I will be complaining about you for the rest of time. Which means you’re not the right person for me to marry and I’d rather not pursue a relationship with you. (Author’s Note: I understand people complain, myself included, but there are certain things that are deal breakers and when I start complaining you are/do/act/etc one of them, that’s what I mean by complaining)

I’m also taken aback by how people react to this way of thinking. Perhaps the greatest gift I was given in therapy so many years ago was the ability to understand myself on a level I never had before. I understand my needs, my wants, my desires. I’m in-tune with my emotions, feelings, and thoughts. I’m a good judge of people and I can figure out if I’m going to get along with you or not. I’m also stubborn, and once I make up my mind about someone, it’s incredibly hard to make me change my mind.

I was having this conversation about relationships the other day with someone I trust and I was getting annoyed. I made the comment that I’m not worried about the future, about getting married, about finding “the one” because when God wants me to find him, I will; and that if I’m ever having trouble trusting God, all I need to do is look back on the last 7.5 years of my life because through everything, God led me to where I’m supposed to be: right here. I believe with every fiber in my being that I’m right where I’m supposed to be, and I can look back on my life and realize how God worked in my life to land me here; through all the ups and downs, through every time I cried out to Him for help and every time I cursed at Him for taking my dad or the way my life was turning out, through every time I questioned what He wanted me to do and thanked Him for keeping me safe. God has proven to me over and over again that He has my back and He is not going to let anything happen to me. If I can trust God in every part of my life, I can trust Him to lead me to my husband.

What shocked me most about this conversation with this person was that they agreed with everything I said. Then the next day were back to trying to set me up with someone again. I was taken aback. After expressing how I felt, and being agreed with, I felt like once again society was trying to make me feel bad for not being in a relationship. Society was trying to set me up with someone I already said I was not interested in pursuing a relationship with. Society was so focused on the fact that I was single, that society didn’t care that I was happy being single right now – that I would rather stay single than even be in a relationship with the wrong person. I want to find a person who is so focused on God that the only reason he even notices me is because he hears God whispers “there she is” and looks up to see me. I want to be so focused on God that the only reason I notice my future husband is because I hear God whisper “there he is” and I look up and see him. I want a relationship built on faith and trust and kindness and loyalty and friendship.

Love will come when it’s supposed to come. Marriage with come when it’s supposed to come. Kids will come when they’re supposed to come. Being patient is hard, but dulling on what you don’t have is only going to keep you from living your life to the fullest. It’s impossible to know what the future holds, but God has already promised us that He knows what the future holds for us. That He knows where we’re going to end up. That He has everything under control. If I can trust God with every other part of my life, I can trust Him with leading my future husband and I together when the time is right.

Being single is not the worse thing a person can be and it’s a shame that society feels that it is. But then again, society feels that way about a lot of things – topics I do not wish to get into at the moment. It’s okay to be single. It’s okay to wait around for the perfect one. It’s not always going to be easy, but when I look at people who waited and have wonderful relationships with their spouses, I know that waiting around for the perfect one will be worth it in the end – regardless of what society says.

Love, Chelsea May

Learning to Love My Body – Gaining Control

I was at a crossroads. I had to make a choice. Was I going to let everything in the world weigh me down or would I work at becoming the person I wanted to be?

I chose to work at becoming the person I wanted to be. I’m still working on it to this day. I wake up every morning and am still faced with the same choice – let the world win or continue to fight? It’s scary. But I choose myself. I choose myself every single day. I try to make good choices and I think I’m getting better at it, but it’s still a struggle. 

Because getting healthy isn’t just about working out and eating healthy. For me, it’s a bigger issue than that. It’s about taking complete control over my life. I’ve had health insurance for a couple years now, and while I go to see the eye doctor yearly and I go to see the dentist twice a year, I have yet to make it to the doctor.

It’s scary to me and it’s not something I talk about publicly. However, since I’ve started this blog, I’ve made it my goal to talk about everything. Even the things that scare me. 

Let me ask you something – do you want control or not? – Jody

My friend and I were talking about doctors and how I was scared when she point blank asked me that. I didn’t even hesitate. I want control. I want to know what is going on with my body. I want to know if there’s anything I should or should not be doing. I’ve taken the first steps to becoming the person I want to be. I’m eating better. I’m exercising. I’m trying to not follow the footsteps left by family members in regards to health. I know that health problems run on both sides of my family. I know that my dad had a lot of problems with his heart. But I don’t know the full story. There isn’t anyone to ask either. If I want to know, I have to take the first step to find out. It’s the only way I’ll ever know. 

Taking the next step to see a doctor is scary. It’s scares me to think of what might be wrong. Not that I think anything is wrong, but the sheer thought that something could be wrong is enough to keep me up at night. Regardless that I know that God is in control, it still scares me because I don’t know anything about my family health history. I have bits and pieces of information, but nothing real solid. 

For a long time, I made the same statement whenever questioned about my health “with God in control, I have nothing to worry about” and I still believe that is true. I trust God in every aspect of my life, so naturally I trust Him where my health is concerned. However, there is a difference between trusting God and being irresponsible with my health. 

I have been irresponsible with it for a long time. Too long. I’m taking control of my health, my life, my wellbeing. It’s all part of learning to love my body. If I’m responsible with how I treat it, it will help me in my journey to loving it. I need to treat it well. 

I also understand that I am fortunate to be able to do something about it. I’ve had health insurance for several years and never taken advantage of going to the doctor. I know a lot of people aren’t that fortunate. I’ve made the choice to not go when that isn’t even a choice for some people. I can take control over every aspect of my life. 

I’ve always felt not knowing what just easier. It’s easier to not know than to know. If I don’t know, it can’t hurt me. But in not knowing, I’ve been giving up my control. For a young adult who longed to have control for so long, I willingly gave it up to fear. 

I’m still scared. I would be lying if I said the thought of the doctor didn’t scare me to my core. But I know I don’t want to follow in my dad’s footsteps and die when I’m young. I have a lot of things left to do and God willing, I’ll be around to do them all. 

Taking control is loving my body. Letting fear control my decisions is not loving my body. I want my body to love me just as much as I’m trying every day to love it. I’m still going through the ups and downs, but I know I’ll thank myself if I continue to focus on it. It’s a struggle though – a struggle between what scares me and what is best for me. I try to live fearlessly, but sometimes fear wins the battle. Fear just can’t win the war – if fear wins the war, I give fear control and I will continue to fight to never lose control – even when I’m scared. 

I’m learning to love my body by taking control. Taking control in all aspects – even the ones that scare me. There’s still so much more to learn on this journey of learning to love my body. 

To be continued…

An Open Prayer for My Future Husband

I remember sitting in Wednesday night Bible study when I was in my teens. I don’t recall the exact topic we were discussing, but we ended up talking about marriage and husbands and families. We talked about how God already knows who we’re going to marry one day. The teacher told us that even if we don’t know who we’re going to marry, it’s never too early to start praying for him. At the time, I thought it was the craziest thing I’d ever heard. Did it make me weird to pray for someone I didn’t know but knew God had planned out for me to marry? However, that thought has stuck with me through all the years. This is my open prayer for my future husband.

Dear God, it’s me again –

I don’t know where my future husband is. Maybe we’ve already crossed paths, maybe we haven’t. Maybe we’re currently best friends and don’t even realize it or maybe we’re complete strangers. I’m honesty not sure. But I know You have it all worked out. I know that when the time is right, You will lead us together and it will be better than either one of us ever imagined. 

I’m trying to be patient. I hope he is too. The wonderful blessings you have in store for us will be amazing. Thank You for that promise.

If my future husband has not found You yet, I pray that he will come to know You. Please keep him safe from harm and continue to guide him through his journey. If he’s having trouble making a decision, please be with him and lead him in the right direction. If he’s going through a tough time, comfort him. If he’s struggling, remind him that You’re always there for him. Surround him with wonderful people who will help him grow and discover who he is. Please don’t ever leave his side. 

Maybe he’s like me and finds himself wondering where his future spouse is from time to time. Surround him with pleasant thoughts that you’re saving something great for us. Remind him, like I’m often reminded, that I’m waiting for him just like he’s waiting for me. 

However, I pray these thoughts don’t consume him. I pray that he lives a wonderfully filling life. That he doesn’t dwell on things he cannot control. That he lives each day to the fullest and has a reason to smile at the end of each day. I pray You guide him and guide me until the day we find each other. 

I also pray that he always sees the best in people. That he is surrounded by goodness and happiness and helps others out. I pray that he finds joy in every single day. That he never goes to bed crying. That he is strong enough to pick himself back up if the world knocks him down. That he never takes a single moment for granted. That he becomes the person You made him to be. I pray that he finds his passion in life. That he finds a passion that leaves him feeling fulfilled. That he always knows he’s loved. I pray that no matter what happens, he never loses focus on You. That no matter what life throws at him, he always finds him way back to You. 

And there’s one more thing. 

Please keep him safe. Every single day. Protect him and guide him and help him. 

Amen

Family isn’t Always Blood Related

I know that’s been said countless times over the years by people other than myself, but family has been on my mind a lot lately and I feel the need to say it as well: family isn’t always blood related. 

As I’ve eluded to in the past, family is complicated in my world. My “blood related” family has always had a difficult dynamic – one I’ve decided not to try to figure out. The endless drama was tiring; trying to remember who was angry at who and why was not a game I was interested in playing. I wanted something different. Something simple.

Family is always supposed to be there for you, right? Family is the people you are there cheering you on and also the ones who hold you when you cry, right? Family is who you’re born into, the ones who will raise you but protect you, right?

My dad was my family. My mom and I have had our fair share of differences but I kept trying, per my dad’s request. One brother I made the conscious decision to distance myself from. The other two brothers and I have had our differences throughout the years, but we always find our way back to each other, and for that, I will forever be grateful. My grandparents (my dad’s parents) died when I was young, so I don’t have many memories of them, however, I keep their pictures near. My mom’s parents are more difficult (and yes, people have pointed out that I don’t call them my grandparents, it’s hard to call someone a grandparent when you don’t have many good memories of them) – there was always so much drama on that side of the “family” that I couldn’t keep up.

As for the rest of my relatives, I don’t know much about them – we never really met when I was a child, and although I know they’re out there, figuring out how to approach them is difficult. Do you just chat them up on Facebook like “hey, I know you don’t know me but we’re related, maybe we could hang out sometime?” Anything is possible I suppose, but I’m not sure I want to open that can of worms again. The last time I decided to open it was right after my dad’s death – I wanted to search out my family. I reconnected with an aunt. We decided to have lunch. During that lunch I learned a few important things:

  1. Why I had not had contact with my cousins in over a decade – for the record, it seemed to be because of a fight my parents had with them. They decided not to mend fences. I lost my cousins. 
  2. My aunt was sorry that so much time had passed. 
  3. She wanted to know why my dad had defended my mom when my mom was clearly wrong. For the record, my dad was my mom’s husband, and to him, that’s what husbands did – stand by their wives. 

I left the conversation flusterated. I wanted to find my family. I didn’t want to dig up the past. 

While all of this was going on, I was still trying to come to terms with my dad’s death. I was also about to make a huge mistake and through this mistake, I would begin to learn how different variations of “family” would react. 

I’m not going to go into the specifics of what I did, that is a story for another time. 

When I told my mom, I was angry with her. I wanted her to shut up and telling her was the fastest way to accomplish just that. Her reaction was to scream and yell and ask how I could be so stupid. 

When I told Allison, she sat down before me as tears fell from my eyes; I was completely heartbroken and it was ripping my soul apart. She asked me if I was okay. She asked me if there was anything that she could do to help. She held me while I cried. She told me that no matter what happened, I would be okay and that she would be there for me. 

Thankfully, everything worked out well. However, I could not shack the difference in reaction. My mom wasn’t there when I needed her most, and while I understood she was still dealing with my dad’s death, I needed her in that moment. Allison had the reaction that I longed for my mother to have – she was supportive and comforting. 

I ended up moving in with Allison’s family about seven months later. I was trying to make positive changes in my life. First I started going to therapy. Then Allison offered to let me move in with her family – they were scared I wouldn’t finished school and were worried about me. Over the next ten months I got to witness something I hadn’t seen before – family interacting like family. 

It was vastly different from the family I grew up with. There wasn’t yelling or drama. When Allison and her husband had a disagreement, I noticed how they took it to another room, not raising their voices to each other in front of their children. I admired their relationship – it became my first glance at how “normal” families interacted.

I know that might sound strange, but it’s true. It’s difficult to explain to someone who hasn’t walked in my shoes. But I remember longing to understand how families interacted and behaved and I remember loving that I would finally get to see it. 

However, I would gain something more than just an understanding of how families interact. I gained family. Today, almost eight years since I first met Allison, I consider her family to be my family. Her kids call me “Aunt Chelsea” and I have been around for birthdays and holidays and the births of some of their kids. They have welcomed me into their home and hearts since day one and I am forever grateful. They have seen me at me lowest low and at me highest high and they have never looked at me any differently. Allison knows about my past but she never holds it against me; she doesn’t bring it up or remind me of my past mistakes. Instead, we talk about the present and future plans. She’s become one of my best friends and her family has become the family I always dreamed about. 

Family isn’t always blood related. Family is the people who are there with you through everything. They don’t come and go as they please. They make a silent promise to be there with you through everything life throws at you. Then they prove it and never leave you behind. 

“Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.” – Disney’s Lilo and Stitch


Author’s Note: This is not meant to discredit my brothers or the relationship I’m trying to build with my mother. I understand they are my “blood-family” just as I understand that I have other “blood-family” out there. Families come in all different ways, and this is the family I’m discussing today.