Friendship-more than just a word

20190531_213012_0000.pngFriend/Friendship. One small word that means different things to different people. And it goes so much deeper than just someone that you know and spend your time with.

I do not have many friends.  I know a decent amount of people but they are not all my friends.  I interact with many people but they are not all my friends.

Friendship has always been a touchy subject for me. Growing up, we moved often due tot he military and I never really seemed to have a hard time making friends.  And as we moved, I managed to maintain contact with many of them.   When we finally settled late in my 8th grade year in Connecticut, I struggled making with making friends.  My friendships truly started to cultivate in the middle of my freshman year of high school.  I stuck with mainly the same group of people throughout high school although I did associate with many different people in the different “cliques” throughout the years.  As I graduated and left for the military, had a baby, became engaged… only a few people stuck around. Many had left for college or went on with their post high school lives and we lost contact.  I believe that all of these events are normal as people and change.

As a child and teenagers, I remember my friends being important to me.  But even then, I was a homebody and preferred to be alone more than being with other people.  With people, I would feel out of place and insecure.  With people there was drama.  And then as I got older, some of the “friends” closest to me betrayed me in ways I could not imagine and my mindset towards friends and having friends changed.  I began to think that as an adult, it wasn’t important to have friends.  I have my husband, my sisters, my parents so if I really needed someone or something, I had my little group of people.  I began thinking that nothing good could come from friends, that people expect too much when they are friend, that friends are overrated.

My thought process as of late has grown. I value friendships.  I still do not believe that everyone you meet or talk to, needs to be your friend. I strongly believe that people I consider my friend, must have earned that position as I would hope they would feel the same towards me. I feel now that friends are people that become like a family and that quality is so much more important than quantity.  I hold my “friends” to a higher standard than I ever would have before and I do not use the term loosely.  Friends is not just a word to me. I am cool with a lot of people, I am FRIENDS with a handful.

Sometimes these friends are biological family members, sometimes they become family through trials and experiences as friends.  Friends are people that I feel able to talk to in confidence.  You do not have to be a “ride or die” to be my friend.  I have to admit, I am not always ride or die with my friends.  I do like to know what certain things entail, who is involved, why we were are doing things before I hop fully on board. I will almost always jump on board, but I am going to need some answers first depending on the situation.  And if that makes me unworthy of being your friend, then I will respect that fully.

I consider my friends the people who understand that for me, going out and about all the time is too much.  They don’t need to understand my social anxiety, but I demand that they respect it.  I do not want friends that agree with everything I say or think that every idea I have is a great one.  I want my friends to be people who challenge my thoughts at times and push me to do better.  My friends now are people that remind me that I sometimes need to lighten up and that it is okay to be uncomfortable.  The encourage me to step out and let loose and live more freely at times.

We all need to be very particular with who we spend our time with.  We  need to spend time with people that we trust, respect, and enjoy spending time with.  I want friends that will support me in new endeavors all while keeping me grounded and holding me accountable.  Sometimes this means cussing me out when I don’t follow through or questioning me when I may be making a questionable decision.  These are things that I would not have wanted or even accepted just a few years ago.  And since making these belief changes surrounding friendships, my life has slowly been evolving.  I am surrounded by some of the most amazing people almost all the time. I am constantly being pushed to pursue and learn more.  I have become more creative, more open to new things.  The changes have been astronomical.

Some people need a small group of friends like this, some just one friend, others large groups.  Some people name these groups or people- things like my tribe, my people, my crew, my squad, etc.  I am more of a “my people” gal.  All of these words mean something different to each person we ask.

As I sit here and describe what friends or being friends means to me, I should also point out that hold myself to the same standards for others. And because of that, I fall short as a friend daily.  However, if you are working towards something big- I will cheer you on! I will support you and shout you out. I may not make it to every get together, but if you need me to watch a child, pick up some groceries, rescue you if you are stranded- I got you.  I do not always have the right words of encouragement, but I am really good listener and will sit in silence with you if that is what feels right.  I will accept you as you are and not try to change you.  I may not talk to you everyday, but you will get a random “Hi” or “just checking in”text from me just to remind you that I feel you are important and you have crossed my mind.  I may forget that we made plans 3 weeks ago to go out for drinks, but I will remember your wedding anniversary, your birthday, your children’s birthday, the big test you have coming up, the doctor’s appointment you are nervous about, the new project you are starting. That is just the kind of friend that I am and the kinds of friends that I strive to gain.

It doesn’t matter what you call your friend group- or even if it is just 1 person.  All that matters is that the people that you allow to use that title when referring to you are people that you would vouch for. People that have earned your respect and that you are honored to be around.

Friendship is so much more than a title to me- it is truly a bond.

In all things find beauty,

~MRC

I am not ashamed

20190518_183614_0000.pngThe topic of abortion and women’s reproductive systems has been a headline topic quite recently.  Lots of politics surround this topic lately and I tend to steer clear of politics.  I don’t know much about politics, laws, government and that sort of thing, so I don’t normally feel “qualified” enough to discuss.  Not to mention that I almost never have a cut and dry opinion about topics and the fear of not having enough knowledge keeps me quiet.

However this topic is not at all political to me.  The topic of abortion runs deep in my soul and writing about it has just been eating away at me.  It is personal and I am not ashamed.

This topic is a sensitive one.  It gets people riled up and is highly controversial.  It is not a topic that many women want to discuss and men get “iffy” about whether or not they should discuss it.  But, since I am comfortable talking about myself and things that I have experienced, I am going to touch briefly on my experience with abortion.

Let’s get right to the point here.  I have had an abortion and I AM NOT ASHAMED!  Does this mean that I am proud of my decision? Not necessarily- it just means that I am not ashamed and that I am confident enough with myself to not hide behind it or to lie about my experience.

Please make sure that while you are reading this, you are truly reading the words and not just reading INTO them.  I do not feel that every woman that has had an abortion should share their story or feel like they must divulge the information at all.  This is a personal matter and not one that someone must feel obligated to share.

And please remember as you read, that I can only share about my experience, not anyone else’s.  I have come to terms with decisions that I made.  I am at a point in my life where the more open and honest that I am, the freer I feel.  I also understand that many people reading this right now, that know me personally and haven’t read some of my other blog posts, may not have realized that I have had an abortion before.  Some of these people are my family— my cousins, aunts, uncles, brothers in law, sisters in law, extended family of my husband.  Some of these people may be friends of my children, parents of friends of my children, friends of mine, coworkers, acquaintances, etc.  There are people that may read this that may change their opinion of me, be angry, and judge.  And that is their right.   And I will respect it fully.

With a situation so sensitive, it only seems right that people have such strong opinions about it. It makes sense.  The belief that it is murder, the belief that it is wrong, the belief that it is a woman’s right, the belief that it is the governments choice. These are all very real beliefs and opinions that are bound to cause some drama.

I am not looking to cause drama, but am aware writing about it may do so.  As a 19 year old, I found myself in a position where I felt confused and scared.  Not confused about how I got pregnant, not confused about who the father was, but just confused.  Scared about what to do next and scared about what may come in the future.  Getting pregnant is the easy part.  And to many, the moment of conception means that your future is already determined- you will be a mother.

I didn’t feel that way.  I had a choice.  I did not make the choice lightly, and I struggled for a little bit.  Especially when I went to the doctor the first time thinking that the procedure would be done and they told me that I was too early and I would need to come back.  I then, had to make a choice again.  To come back and go through with the procedure a week later.  I remember that at this point in my life, I honestly never wanted to have kids. I was on birth control, although I had clearly missed some pills her and ther, and had only recently lost my virginity. I made the choice to return and then experience what comes after.  Many people reading this (if they have continued to read this far) are probably expecting me to now right about the guilt and shame that I felt after.  I can’t give that answer though.  I don’t remember exactly what I felt right after.  I know it was Valentine’s Day, a Thursday or Friday, and I was tired.  I bled and cramped like they said I would after and then went back to UCONN the Monday following. I didn’t talk about it with anyone and just continued to live my life.

It wasn’t until my mother called me at work one day after an ex of my “boyfriend” at the time had called her and told her what I had done that I thought about it again.  And in the moment of talking to my mother, I am pretty sure what I felt was shame.  Shame for making a decision that seemed to disappoint so many people, shame for being secretive, shame for doing something so controversial.  My mom wasn’t happy- and I think it is because it is not necessarily a decision that she would have liked me to make.  And yet, I know my mother believes in the right to choose.

This is something that I feel is important to note because many people feel that just because you believe in the right to choose, that this means that you would automatically have an abortion.  And I KNOW that this is not true for everyone.  I know that I believe in the right to choose and I have made the choice to terminate a pregnancy.  I know that I believe int he right to choose, but I have no idea what choice I would want my own daughters to make if they felt they were at a crossroads.  I do not know if choosing to have an abortion would be something I encourage, but I can tell you that I pray that I would have the ability to support them in whatever decision they made.  I cannot tell you what my advice would be to my son if he and a female found themselves in a situation that they were unsure about about other than that I hope he is just willing to support whatever decision that young woman chooses for herself.  I feel that conversations would need to be had, but the ultimately the decision would be on the person with a missed period,  peeing in cup, or on a stick.  I know that I chose to have an abortion, but I also chose to have 3 amazing children. I know people are pissed by my words.  I understand the anger that people feel surrounding this.  I truly do.  I am very close to people that I have shaken their finger at me and spoken their beliefs and scolded me for the choice I made.  I also know that some of these very same people came to a point in their lives where they felt that needed to make a choice and they chose the same path I did that Valentine’s Day.  And maybe they wish that the choice wasn’t an option because they feel shame and guilt and I understand that also.  And I also know some of these same people that would never even consider it an option regardless of having the right to choose or not.

Ultimately- this topic makes us go around and around.  It is wrong. It is right.  It is murder. It isn’t murder. You are selfish. You are not selfish.  You don’t care about human life.  You care enough to think it through. You are a slut. You know how this happens, be mature enough to live with the consequences. Don’t sleep around. My body, my choice. Pro-life. Pro-choice. F*** your abortion ban. People who abort are criminals.  It should be a choice if you are raped. It doesn’t matter how you became pregnant, a baby is a life. The battle words are endless.

I don’t think for one minute that these conversations should fade. I DO think that we need to respect one another. We don’t need to understand where someone else is coming from, but we need to understand that people are allowed to think differently than us.  I think the issue is far greater than females versus male, religion versus non religion, entitled white rich humans versus everyone else.

I do believe that we must understand that just because someone believes in a woman’s right to choose does not mean that they will automatically choose themselves to get an abortion with their next pregnancy.  I do believe that this topic is so extremely sensitive that the shame surrounding it causes many mental health issues among women.  I do believe that some people use abortions as a form of birth control, I mean, many people would feel that that is exactly what I did and maybe they are right. I do believe that this subject will be one that causes us to fight one another for a very long while if not forever. I do believe that abortion bans will NOT stop abortions, they will only make them more secretive and very dangerous.  I do believe that abortion bans will decrease the amount of abortions being done that are public knowledge.  I do know that just because abortions are legal in many places that not all ob/gyn providers will perform them and not all ob/gyn nurses and anesthesiologists will scrub in for them.

Again, I don’t write a single one of these words to downplay anyone’s opinion surrounding this issue.  I write them for the complete opposite reason actually.  I write them for those people that have such strong opinions regardless of what side they are on.  I write these words as a safe place for people on both sides. I write them for people to feel comfortable sharing their opinions. I write them for those that are so full of judgement, because I know there are many.  I write them for the scared who feel they have no choice.  I write them to be read, to be thought about, to be responded to.

This issue is sensitive. This issue is personal. This issue was mine once and will continue to be mine while I raise young women and a young man and they go one to grow their families if they so choose.  This issue is scary.  This issue is deep.

But I write about  it because it needs to be addressed- over and over and over again.  It isn’t just going to go away.  Rules are changing, laws are being made, rights are being taken away. People are angry. People are scared. This is huge. And while I will never have to make the choice for myself again, I am so very grateful that when I found myself scared and confused, that I had the ability to make the choice. The choice I made didn’t necessarily take away the fear or the confusion, but it gave me options that I am confident would have been different had I not had the ability to choose. And yes- I chose to have an abortion and I am not ashamed.

MRC

Mother’s Day YOUR Way

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(Photo courtesy of http://theeverymom.com

Happy Mother’s Day 2019— Even if you are not a mother or do not celebrate mother’s day for any reason, this post may be an important one for you.

Mother’s Day comes every year.  No surprises. In May on a Sunday there will be a mother’s day.  A common question to mom’s is, “How do you want/plan to spend your mother’s day?”  This question always makes me antsy at first.

For starter’s, I do not always go and visit my mom.  She lives 10 minutes from me and somehow, most often, I do not take the time to go over to her house to see her.  Sometimes the day falls on her wedding anniversary, but her and my dad are homebodies, so they are normally home.  This means that I really do  not have much of an excuse.  And a lot of people seem bothered by the fact that I don’t always have that in my plans for the day.

The second is that I almost always say that I want to spend the day without my kids.  Yup- I said it.  I don’t normally want to spend my Mother’s Day with the 3 reasons that I even “celebrate” the day.  And while it sometimes makes me antsy to say it to people, I have decided that from now on I will no longer feel guilty for that.  I completely understand that I should probably want to spend the day with them, but I don’t.  And I don’t apologize for the way that makes other people feel anymore, my children included.  Sometimes my kids don’t even want to spend the day with me.  OR rather, they are okay that I don’t feel we need to spend the day together,

And third is, I normally only want to have my house entirely cleaned by someone that isn’t me, . And for the past 14 years that I have been “celebrating”- I can tell you- that has never happened, even though it has been on my “what I want” list since Mother’s Day 2008 after I got married and had someone else living with Madison and I.

I think a lot of people assume that my not wanting to spend the day with my kids means that I must not love them as much.  I know this assumption to be true because it has been said to me. Although, Not true!!

I love all 3 of my kids.  I think the cards and gifts they make at school are adorable.  I love hearing them say Happy Mother’s Day.  I love when they sometimes make breakfast for me with or without the help from their dad.  All of those things are priceless and I am grateful for them.  I don’t want gifts that need to be purchased or are given just because it is believed that you should give your mom something.  I have them and that truly is enough (sometimes, too much to be quite honest)

And still, I would prefer to have the day to myself.  Binge watching my shows, showering and putting back on pj’s, writing, reading and listening to books/podcasts, cleaning, and sometimes even taking myself out to get something to eat if I want, etc.  Now, let me explain this further… I do these things anyway.  On any day that I really feel the need/want to. My kids are a little older so they do not need my attention 24/7 so it has become easier and easier to do them when time allows.  The difference between doing them any other time and doing them on Mother’s Day is that I feel less guilty doing them on Mother’s Day, so I crave this even more.

This year, Madison asked what I wanted. I told her for the house to be cleaned, she even told me that she knew that is what I was going to say.  It never got done.  I stopped expecting it to , but will continue to answer this way for Mother’s Day, my birthday, and Christmas.  I am optimistic that one day it will get done.  Damian asked me if I wanted the day with or without  kids.  Without kids was my response, of course.  So his plan was to take the 3 kids down to see his mom and Grandma.  And I thought that was a lovely idea.  They would get to see most of the members of that side, hang out, and definitely well.  However that did not happen.  Mayci was refusing to go because she felt very strongly that because it was Mother’s Day, she must stay home with me and hang out. This is the first time this has ever happened with any of my kids.  Madison, a typical teenager, decided last minute that she didn’t want to go and was going o stay home as well.  Now, I know that decision had nothing to do with spending time with me and that is perfectly okay.  Myles woke up super late and ended up going with Damian- he didn’t even wish me a Happy Mother’s Day, he just simply rolled out of bed, brushed his teeth, got dresses, grabbed his electronics bag, and left.  Again, I wasn’t even bothered by it.

I will tell you that Madison and Mayci completely surprised me by baking a cake for me and making me breakfast this morning.  I was up pretty early, so I made some coffee and then headed to my desk to work on a project that’s deadline had already passed and I didn’t even realize they were upstairs working on their own project.  20190512_091927.jpgI love how they decorated the cake with cut up strawberries, because then it became a healthy cake for me haha.  Myles didn’t participate because he has had some pretty late nights and did not get up after the several times that his sisters told him to. (Perfectly okay with me).  So the girls and I had a nice quiet day at home each doing what made our hearts happy while the guys went and filled their hearts with joy.

I think the reason I chose to write about this is because I feel that we need a reminder constantly that what works for us does NOT work for other people.  And we need to be reminded consistently that this is OKAY!

I understand that there are mommas out there that would give anything to spend the day with their child that they lost, or gave up, or don’t have this weekend, or have longed for but cannot conceive, etc.  I know there are people out there that would give anything to see their own mom again or for her to be closer to them so they could see at all.  I also know that this feeling doesn’t come and only stay for the day for them but that it is in their heart daily and for all time and on a day like Mother’s Day, it stings just a little worse sometimes.  I know there are moms that have lost children, are longing for children, are estranged from their children, are exhausted raising their children, are loving their children, are struggling with their children, are praying extra hard for their children, and the list goes on and on and on.  I also understand that it may just seem that I am not grateful for what I have been blessed with. I no longer feel the need to justify why this is how I prefer to spend my day, it just is what it is.  And I am grateful that I have a husband and children that understand and respect my feelings when it comes to this.

Regardless of your status on this Mother’s Day— please be kind to yourself!  Allow yourself to spend it in a way that makes YOU feel good, not in a way you feel obligated to.  Make sure you allow yourself to honor your feelings and allow them to show up in whatever manner they may.  If the title of mom is one you hold dear than this is YOUR day for sure-but honestly—— so is every DAMN day.  Celebrate yourself today and EVERYDAY and do not let titles or “holidays” dictate your moves, wants, needs, etc.  If gifts and spending time with your children and/or your mom is what makes your heart happy than raise your children that way and be that example to them.

Most importantly- just remember to be gentle with yourself and others.  Days like these are sometimes extra hard for some however that does not mean that you need to feel guilty if it not that way with you.  It’s all about finding ways that make the day be about what it is meant to be.  Celebration of amazing woman- regardless of their status within the “mom” role.

Happy Mother’s Day.  Now let me get back to doing nothing….

In all things find beauty,

MRC