Excerpts from a Book I’ll Never Write

And perhaps that’s what she was most scared of – admitting that she really did want it all. She wanted to fall in love and she wanted to get married and she wanted to have children with the man she loved. It’s that stuff that filled her dreams at night. But she knew that once she admitted she wanted it, she was taking a chance with her heart – a risk of admitting her dreams and fear they may never come true. And that, that is what scared her more than anything. 

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A Letter to My Brother

You’re pushing me away. I know you are and I can’t figure out why. You’re picking fights with me simply to fight. You don’t want to talk about anything – if something is bothering you, you want to argue about it, even though arguing has proved to get us no where. Then you finally pushed me over the edge and I snapped. 

I have done too much work on myself in the last five years to sit and listen to anyone talk to me the way you feel the need to talk to me. I don’t have to listen to the lies that come out of your mouth. I won’t let you disrespect me. I am not a bad person – just because I don’t ageee with you doesn’t make me horrible. And just because I don’t agree with you, doesn’t make either of us wrong. We have a difference in opinion. It’s as easy as that. 

I don’t know how to talk to you. I’ve told you before that your communication skills aren’t good and I still believe that to be true. You would rather fight and argue than have a conversation to work out a difference in opinion. You pick fights over stupid things – cars and coats and cities – things that don’t warrant an argument from anyone, much less siblings. 

Why do you continue to pick fights with me? Are these things really worth fighting about to you? They aren’t to me. Are you bored and need something to do? Is something wrong and I’m the easiest person to take it out on? Let me in. I want to help, but I refuse to fight. 

I closed the door. Well, I tried to. You sent me straight to tears and told me that I deserved to be crying and that you didn’t believe me that I was. You treated me worse than anyone ever has and after so many times of letting you get away with it, I put my foot down. I told you to not contact me unless it was to apologize. You decided to continue to text me and be me until you realized I wasn’t going to let you off or back down, and then you blocked me. 

You really are mean. I don’t believe you’re mean in the center of your soul, but right now, you’re mean. You’re mean and you hurt people and you say you don’t care. 

What happened to you that made you that way? We both had the same rough childhood, we both left home too soon, we both lost dad and had hard relationships with mom. Maybe it became a matter of how we chose to deal with everything. 

I decided in January 2012 that I would do everything I could to be happy. That’s all I wanted that year and that was my only resolution. It was also my last resolution and has become my motto. I don’t claim to be perfect by any means, but I treat others like I want to be treated, even when they don’t treat me that way. 

You built walls. You built walls that I can’t figure out how to break. You built walls that made you mean. 

Perhaps it’s because I was also in therapy in 2012. I had somewhere to go to talk about everything. I had somewhere to go where I felt I could gain the tools I needed to become the person I wanted to be. You weren’t given that same chance and have denied opportunities to do so. 

Maybe it’s because I found a family. I learned a new defintion of family. I discovered that family isn’t always blood related, sometimes family is the people who said they will be there for you, and then prove it. Family is the people who hold you when you cry and want to take away all your troubles. Family loves you despite everything you’ve gone through, not because of it. 

I couldn’t listen to you degrade my character anymore. I couldn’t listen to you call me a liar and say I was making things up. I couldn’t listen to you pick fights with me anymore. 

Maybe that means I’m not strong. However, the true judgment of strength is knowing when to say enough is enough. I said enough is enough. I closed the door and you barricaded it. All you have to do is knock, and I will always be here. 

I’ve tried to set ground rules with you before. You promised to talk before fight and then went back on that promise. I guess I feel like it’s a one-sided relationship at points – I don’t fight or get upset until you push me there, while it seems like you want to fight most the time. 

Perhaps one day we’ll be on the same page at the same time. Maybe you’ll grow and understand how to communicate with people in a healthy way. Maybe you’ll stop picking fights with people. Maybe these things happen in order to help us grow into the people we need to be. Just know that even though the door is closed, I never lock anyone out – including you.

Learning to Love My Body – Falling Off the Wagon

A few weeks ago I started a post called “Learning to Love My Body – Skipping the Gym is Not an Option” – it came from one night when my brothers wanted to get together and I told them I had to go to the gym first. Usually I would have just skipped the gym, but I had made a commitment to myself to go to the gym and I wasn’t going to skip. That post has yet to be published, or even started beyond the title, because in the weeks since, life was about to teach me a lesson. Sometimes skipping the gym is an option and sometimes you fall off the wagon. 

A little background information on my life – I work two jobs. I commonly work anywhere from 52 hours a week to close to 70 hours a week. Yes, I could downsize and work only one job, but I also know that I could have the majority of my debt (student loans, credit card, etc) paid off in the next year if I continue to work both. As someone who watched my dad struggle with debt until his death, getting my debt paid off is very appealing to me – and therefore, I will keep both for the time being. In the previous months, I went to the gym on the nights when I didn’t have to work both jobs. I seemed like it was working. 

Then I got sick. I was sick for about two weeks and during that time I didn’t go to the gym. At first, all I wanted to do was go for a run. As the days went on, I didn’t want to anymore. I enjoyed the extra two hours a day that I use to spend at the gym. I stopped eating well and I started to feel horrible. 

I fell off the wagon. 

Learning to love my body is about understanding that sometimes you will fall off the wagon. It won’t always be easy – even when heathly snacks are in my fridge, some days it’s easier to grab for the more convenient option. It’s about trying again – making a new plan to get back on track. Learning to love my body is about trying again. It’s about never giving up, even when I stumble. It’s about focusing on my goal – be healthy and the weight will take care of itself. Learning to love my body is about never giving up, even when I fall.  

Teacher’s Pet | Golden Child | Chosen One

The things that people feel the need to call others is mind-blowing. I’m not talking about nicknames or names that your friends call you – both of which are typically good natured or an inside joke, showing that you’re familiar with the other person and comfortable with them. I’m talking about the names that are said to aggravate you – not directly negative but that cut at your soul.

I’ve been called a “teacher’s pet” for as long as I can remember. I was always a good student – straight As – I knew the answer in every class, except Science, but even then, I studied hard and made an A still. I grew up knowing that studying was my one way to get a better life for myself. My parents didn’t graduate college, my dad dropped out and my mom never attended. Their parents didn’t either. My dad and I had talked about me going to college since before I could remember. My education was very important and he wanted to make sure I got to where I wanted to go. I was setting an example for my younger brothers. Some subjects came easy to me, others not so much. But I studied. And my dad helped me study. And I participated in class and my teachers knew they could count on me. Did that make me a pet? Debatable. I always saw it as being a good student. I wanted to succeed in life. I wanted a better life for myself. I wanted to get away from all the bad things that had happened. My education was the key to that and I wasn’t about to let that go – even when people called me a pet. 

In college I was too busy with work and school – I barely made it by because I never had enough time. No one can consider you a pet when you’re average like the rest of the class. It was a refreshing change, but one I struggled with. Although I enjoyed no longer being referred to as a pet, and I liked being able to blend in with the crowd in college, I knew by slacking in my studies that I was not living up with my full potential. I walked the line between needing my full time job and needing more time to succeed in school. I passed college, barely at times, but I passed and I made plans to go back for my Masters degree when the time is right – ideally the next two years. 

Entering the workforce as an adult proved difficult at times. Although I had been working since I was seventeen, I wasn’t prepared to deal with some of the attitudes the bigger city had to offer. People once again saw me doing my job as being a pet. I’ve never understood that notion and I don’t think I want to. If you do your job and get along with your coworkers, your boss will get along with you. If you prove that you can be trusted and relied upon, your boss will in turn trust and rely on you. If you go the extra mile, it will pay off. 

When I switched jobs and started working in a different department for a company, I found myself lost in a sea of individuals who had at least a decade of experience on me. I felt intimidated – I was the youngest one in the department and I felt I always had to prove my worth. I had been the youngest person at my first job for five years, but that was a small town restaurant, this was a big city company and I had a lot to prove. I threw myself into learning everything I could about my job and the company and I threw myself into helping to fix problems. I knew I had good ideas, but as the new and youngest person, I knew I had to take the time to build trust and respect. I did those things. I put in the time. I came up with the ideas and implemented them. I went the extra mile. When someone asked me to help with something, I always did whatever I could to solve the problem. I asked questions because I genuinely wanted to know the answer and how to fix my own problems. I spoke up and let my voice be heard, but I also learned to pick my battles and I learned when to back down and abandon a project. I also learned when to keep pushing a project until someone heard me. 

I did everything I knew I had to do to set myself up for success. Where did it land me?

“You’re the teacher’s pet.”

“You’re the Golden Child.”

“You’re the Chosen one.”

I’m sorry – but what world have I just been transported into. These people have children my age and feel the need to say that. How would they feel if someone said that about their children?

In the next sentence they would tell me that I had earned whatever good things happened to me and they knew I would succeed and do well. It was confusing. When someone calls you a pet, it makes you feel like you’re being handed something – that you didn’t earn it on your own. When that same person tells you that they know you’ve earned something, it contridicts itself. It’s complicated. 

Are they upset about something not related to me at all?

Are they frustrated because they feel like their hard work hasn’t paid off?

Are they discouraged because they feel my voice was heard and theirs was not?

People are always going to have opinions about everything. It’s not always easy to listen to them – especially when someone you view as a friend has an opinion about you that seems harsh. You can’t control how others feel about things and trying to fix it won’t get you anything if they aren’t willing to let you in. 

It’s at that point that you’re left with two options. You can either let their words eat at your soul or you can shrug it off and realize that as long as you’re doing what you need to do and not hurting anyone in the process, you’re going to be just fine. 

It’s not always easy to shrug it off. Words can cut at a person’s soul. But it’s important to not let those words ruin your life. You have to keep being true to yourself. Everything else will work out. 

“You are not your dad. You’re Chelsea.”

How often do we find ourselves comparing ourselves to our parents? I feel it’s a daily occurance in my life. Conversations drift to how I don’t want to be like my parents. Don’t get my wrong – my dad was the best dad I could ever ask for. My mom – we’ve had our struggles but I’ve finally come to a point where I except our relationship for what it is. 

However, I still find myself referencing how I don’t want to be like them. 

For my dad, the common topics are:

  • I don’t want to have financial trouble like my dad.
  • I don’t want to have heart problems like my dad. 
  • I don’t want to die young like my dad. 
  • I don’t want to struggle with my weight for my entire life like my dad. 
  • I don’t want to ever question if my spouse loves me like my dad. 
  • I don’t want to miss out of my kids growing up like my dad. 
  • I don’t want to worry about my health like my dad. 

For my mom, the topics are more emotionally based:

  • I don’t want my kids to ever question if I love them. 
  • I don’t want to rely on someone for every aspect of my livelyhood. 
  • I don’t want to be desperate to be in a relationship. 
  • I don’t want my kids to ever feel like I’m discouraging them. 
  • I don’t want to not pull my own weight in my future marriage. 
  • I don’t want to ever treat anyone the way my mom treats me. 
  • I don’t want anyone to doubt me when I’m telling the truth. 

And then there’s the biggest “I don’t want” of them all:

  • I don’t want to get married or have kids because I refuse to ever take the chance of turning out like them. 

That last one is also the biggest lie on the face of the planet. I do want to get married and have kids – one day – when I’m ready, when God knows I’m ready. I’m no where near ready and sometimes I get tired of being asked so I revert to the aforementioned lie. Not that I promote lying – sometimes I just get tired of having the same conversations and claiming I don’t want to get married or have kids is easier than admitting I’m scared it might never happen. 

Then there’s the bigger issue – I spend so much time comparing myself to my parents and how I don’t want to turn out like them. I don’t want the health or financial problems of my dad. I don’t want the emotional distress of my mom. I have made so many life choices based around it turning out like them, that sometimes I question if I’m happy with my life or simply trying to avoid repeating the past. 

Eating healthy and going to the gym to avoid health problems is a good decision – any doctor will tell you that. Is keeping a second job because I’m scared I’ll fall into a financial hole like my dad a good decision? Am I scared of having a relationship with a guy – or heck, a good relationship with family – because I’m scared I’ll become completely dependent on other people?

Then there’s the biggest dilemma – I have spent so much of my life doing things simply because they are the opposite of what my parents did. I remember being a child and making a pack with my younger brothers to never treat our children how our mom treated us. And I’ve continued to make packs with them, and with myself, ever since. 

The question becomes – how much time and energy am I spending doing the opposite of what my parents did? Or doing something out of fear that I’ll become them? Am I letting fear run my life?

I like to think of myself as a strong independent woman with a mind of her own, so the thought that I could be letting fear run my life scares me. Perhaps it’s time to stop thinking of life decisions in “I don’t want tos” and start thinking of them in “I want tos” – instead of “I don’t want heart problems like my dad” it becomes “I want to have a healthy heart” or even “I will have a healthy heart.” Changing how I phrase the statement and setting my mind to that. Change it from a negative into a positive. 

No one wants to repeats the mistakes of the past. Sometimes it’s hard when we feel like the mistakes are all around and a part of everything we are. It’s hard when you had a rough childhood, not as tough as some, but still rough, and feel like people don’t understand you because of it. 

The important thing is to remember we are all individuals. We are in charge of the choices we make and the things we do. All it takes is wanting to make a change.