“We accept the love we think we deserve” – Stephen Chbosky

Ivybelle: We accept the love we think we deserve is one of my favourite quotes of all time! To me it’s a quote that reminds me that I deserve the best and not what I think I deserve. I haven’t really been with a lot of people however, all of them ended badly. I should be able to be with someone who makes me happy, who can open a door for me, be nice and respectful.

Madison: what I think this quote means to me is, when it comes down to falling in love if we think we deserve negativity we will look for a negative relationship. An example of this is when say you found someone you really care about and everything is going well, you will start doubting yourself and your relationship, and pulling way because you don’t believe you deserve to be happy. This can be very upsetting because this can lead to you putting yourself in a dangerous situation. On the brighter side there is always a positive side and if you believe you deserve the best, you will get the best. The meaning of this quote I feel is a lot about self-worth, and having confidence in yourself. I was always told if I did not believe I worth anything then how could anyone one else. If you think about how much you are really worth, how high would that be? Would you keep yourself on a pedestal or would you be down in the showdowns? I believe it is all about how you present yourself, I’m not the most attractive women in the world, but I still believe I’m beautiful which my fiancé find the most beautiful. So no matter what you believe you deserve, everyone deserves to be treated with respect and you are so much more then you are worth.

Marie: I’ve read plenty of things on why we have this idea of what type of love we deserve, and I’ve read many reasons. For instance no one sees a person in the same way as others do, and no one can see themselves for what others see them as. We know every dark secret, every mistake we’ve made, and know all of our own baggage; which affects how we see ourselves and sometimes for the worse. We also know how we’ve been treated whether in past relationships, by family, friends or others in general and all of that impacts how we see ourselves and how we think we deserve. Sometimes it goes beyond that and to the relationships we see our loved ones go through. However one thing that is definitely true is that we deserve better than we think when it comes to love.

Howie: The quote happens to be very true about some people,especially the ones who have been ‘scorned’ and hurt in th past.  For we put up walls and barriers made of the hurtful things and words used against us. The words there to make us feel like we don’t deserve the love we are given by anyone. Even people that truly love because we have been conditioned to think we do not deserve it, that it is too good for us. We do not even believe it sometimes we are shown genuine affection. Too afraid risk the belief, the faith, and the trust that we can be loved for who we are. The sad thing is that often we are proven right in that aspect for there are so many people that will hurt a person in their lives.

Even the people you do not let in, will hurt you sometimes or trigger those walls. We have to find a way to love ourselves and accept that we will get hurt. If we don’t those walls could trap us, making us bitter and cold. Afraid that we don’t deserve love and we’ll just be hurt again.

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Ivybelle On The Fear Of Intimacy

The Fear Of Intimacy

 “Aphenphosmphobia. The fear of intimacy phobia is known by several other names such as  Aphenphosmphobia (which is the fear of being touched) as well as Philophobia
(which is the fear of love).” – www.fearof.net/fear-of-intimacyphobia-aphenphosmphobia/

Intimacy means being vulnerable and that’s something that I’ve been struggling with for years. Growing up being sexually abused, bullied, and feeling like I’m not good enough or pretty; I think it has a lot to do with fearing intimacy. A lot of people knew I was vulnerable as a kid and they took that for granted by doing what they pleased with me.

Standing there and letting someone else put their hands on me or take off my clothes off is something that scares me a lot, I become very vulnerable. Knowing that the man standing in front of me and seeing every part of me is very hard. How do I know if they like what they see? How do I know that they aren’t using me? How do I know if I can please them?

When they lay their hands on my leg, on my arms or grab my hand and give me a back massage all I can feel is my heart pounding, my stomach is in knots and my legs start bouncing and hands shaking. All I want to do is cry and scream and for them to go away. There’s nothing wrong with the men who I try to date or who try to get intimate with me, there’s just an issue with me that I need to fix. Often I feel the pressure that I need to sleep with them to sleep with them but most of the time I’ll walk away or wont bother going on dates or get into relationships.

A few months after my dad sexually abused me, I moved with my mom and she could tell I needed help. Sometimes my mom would put her hands on my knees and I would start shaking and bouncing my leg. I knew that she wouldn’t sexually abuse me but there’s another part of me that wasn’t sure anymore. I would get very uncomfortable when someone would hug me or touch me…I really hope that one day I can face my fear.

Here are some things that might help understand the fear a bit…

(This may or may not be accurate for everyone)

What causes the fear of intimacy

  • Being sexually abused as a child
  • An abusive Childhood
  • Alcoholism
  • Self-esteem problems
  • Body image issues
  • Performance Anxiety
  • Previous Abusive Relationship
  • Betrayal

How to know if someone fears intimacy

  • They avoid any physical contact
  • They become very distant
  • They struggle expressing their feelings
  • They blush a lot when talking about anything intimate
  • They may be a bit shaky. Eg Hands shaking, bouncing their legs, etc.

How to Heal from it

  • Therapy
  • Taking time to fully trust someone
  • Try to find closure with the source of the problem

Please remember that even though you may be struggling with the fear of intimacy, it doesn’t mean that you’re not normal and there’s nothing to be ashamed of. If you need help please do not be afraid to communicate it with your partner or get some therapy. One day you will be able to trust and be able to be intimate with someone.
Don’t give up. Have faith.

Stay Strong. Stay Beautiful. Keep Fighting.
~Ivybelle~ Xx

Marie Talks: Safe Sex

I don’t want to come off sounding like a PSA with this topic but it is one that we can hear a thousand times but still not completely use in our lives. We have heard it a thousand times.. ‘Wrap it before you tap it’ ‘Wear a condom’ etc. But how many people can say that advice is always taken to heart. Who can say that they don’t know anyone who doesn’t use a condom on a regular basis with a partner who is not a long term partner? Whether it’s you, your friend, or sexual partner (current, ex, or just a fling), do every one of you make sure you are not at risk of contracting an STI or creating a child when you get intimate? Most likely we all know one person who has carelessly forgone using a condom because sex isn’t the same with one on or they don’t have one ready, even just once.

Chances we’ve all heard it before but I’ll cover this because you can never hear it enough. Wear a condom, not just to avoid an unwanted pregnancy but to avoid STIs. No one wants to find out that they caught anything from a fun night, whether it’s anything from Chlamydia to HIV.

Get tested regularly, make sure you haven’t contracted anything.

Be honest with your partner if you do have anything, whether it be Chlamydia, herpes, herpes, HIV or anything.

YOU CAN WALK AWAY AT ANY POINT IF YOU ARE UNCOMFORTABLEWITH ANYTHING. JUST BECAUSE YOU GAVE YOUR CONSENT AT ONE POINT DOES NOT MEAN YOU CANNOT CHANGE YOUR MIND AND NOT CONSENT. It doesn’t matter why you changed your mind… whether it’s because you aren’t in the mood any more, they won’t wear a condom even though you want them to, they have a weird bump on their privates/mouth or they do something you don’t approve of, it does not matter you are not obligated to have any contact with each other’s genitals or any other intimate act.

Questions You Should Ask a New Sexual Partner?

  • Do you have a condom?
  • Do you have an STI? Is there anything I should know about?
  • When was the last time you were tested for STIs? Are you clean?
  • Are you on a form of contraceptive? If so what? (You should still use a condom)

You should also divulge all this information to your partner as well, it’s not a one way street, you both should be fully aware of what you are getting yourselves into.

There is nothing to be ashamed or afraid of about asking these questions to the person you are wanting to be intimate with. You are not bound by contract to have sex with them, you can change your mind at any point and there is nothing fun about having a fun night only to find out it led to a not so fun consequence. You can make a decision regardless of what comes out of their mouth, and you should not feel guilty if you find yourself doubting anything they say, it is your personal health that you are protecting.
Story Time:

When I was eighteen I started dating this guy, lets call him Dion. I had gone to get a STI screening and Pap smear recently and just gotten the results back, I was clean. I had the ritual of going every three months regardless of whether I was sleeping with a single partner, wasn’t sleeping with anyone or had had more than one partner. I also was getting tested after I slept with a new partner. Anyways me and Dion had the conversation about our sexual health and been through all these questions and I had trusted his answers. We used condoms the first few times and he agreed to get tested as it had been a while since he had been, he said he came back clean. We had been dating for a while and we stopped using condoms, as I was on depo provera (The shot), and I had felt comfortable trusting him.

A month or two later my birth control was running out which meant I needed to go back to the doctors for the shot and my routine screenings.  As always I thought nothing of this visit it was routine, take a pregnancy test, do all the STI testing, Pap test, get the shot, and come back in three months. However I got a call a week or two later, it was the clinic asking me to come back in asap, that they needed to talk to me. When I went back in they told me I had Chlamydia then gave me the pills I needed and did all that fun jazz, I immediately thought there was a mix up, both Dion and I were clean, and he wouldn’t lie to me. Afterwards I called Dion and asked him if we could talk about something, he was reluctant but finally agreed and met up with me to talk. When I told him what happened he started screaming at me that I was cheating on him, it was impossible for him to have something and all that. Through all of his fuss I had determined he had three things set in stone 1) he did not have chlamydia, 2) he would not get tested (nor would he take the pills to be safe), and 3) we weren’t breaking up over this. Well I was not happy with his response nor did I want to put myself in this position where I would be constantly putting myself in risk of getting chlamydia again, so I broke up with him and got retested two weeks later coming back clean.

I learnt a few things from this experience and the most important one being people can and some will lie about important aspects just so they can sleep with you. That I should trust my gut instinct when someone tells me something, and safe is always better than sorry, even if it means putting a barrier in between me and my partner in a moment of intimacy.

Stay True. Stay You. Stay Healthy Lovies,
Marie Olsson xx

Howie discusses self esteem

Hey blog readers, it’s Howie Defranco and today we will be talking about self esteem and this is going to mostly be a personal story. Self esteem is how you see your own personal worth, and how you judge yourself. Often people confuse it with confidence as that is believing in yourself and I suppose if you have confidence you should have a good self esteem. As there is a correlation between believing in yourself and having a good view of yourself. In this day and age though self esteem just seems to be a fleeting thought though when you hear stories of people hating themselves, hurting themselves, or just not trying because they think there’s no point.
Which brings us to the personal story, about my own level of self esteem and how it came to be. I truly think sometimes that I do not have a great amount of worth in my life, as a kid I was raised to believe I could do anything, or be anything. Every time I try though I mean yes obstacles come up in life, but when it feels like life is taking a baseball bat to your head for trying you lose faith in that. It all starts with my mom who is a yo yo of emotions, as in one minute she’s the best mom in the world, the next she’s saying she wishes you were never born. Sometimes this is said in the heat of an argument and sometimes it is just said, growing up with that I never could tell if I was doing the right thing.
All I’ve ever wanted to do as far back as I can remember is be a good person, and I love my mom but stuff like that is why I question things in my head so much. I mean can you blame me there was that, and then in elementary school I was the smartest kid in the class but my teacher always said I acted like a 40 year old in a 10 year olds body. A part of that I like to think meant I had a good head on my shoulders, truthfully though he meant that I didn’t fit in. I was an outcast in elementary school except for like two close friends and I don’t even mean the guys I’m friends with today. We weren’t close back then and I spent quite a few lunches aimlessly walking around the school.
Then you know if you read my blogs I had a rough time emotionally in high school, after high school and recently. Even now I question my worth everyday at my job and in my social life. At work they’ve been talking about promoting me for two years and I feel like it’s an eternity, every time they say it’s gonna be you Howie and then they’re like oh sorry. In my social life I just I can’t help my own brain, it always thinks someone is mad or upset and I obsess over it and over apologize and I don’t know I just can’t accept when my friends say I’m the best guy they know.
Self esteem is one of the most important things for you to have in this life. It can drive you to be better and believe in yourself so if you have it hold on to it and don’t let anyone destroy it.

Brian View on Suicide

Suicide is a scary thought that no one should ever consider doing. Some of us I know if not most of us in the world go through a lot in our life and often times all we want to do is go somewhere far and just give up and end our life. Let me tell you something, I have been there many times in the past couple years and I cant even count the times I have attempted to end my life, at times I’m like why didn’t I kill myself when I had the perfect chase, why cant I just give up and go somewhere no one knows me or find me and kill myself, like why am I living, let me tell you something I wouldn’t be here right now if it wasn’t for the support of a couple friends holding me down and breaking me emotionally telling me how much life is going to get better soon. I should have been dead years ago when I held a gun to my head and couldn’t pull the trigger no matter how hard I tried to I just couldn’t do it, the one person that came to my mind when I closed my eyes was my baby niece, whenever I feel low I think of her and she just makes me feel better. Even though I can’t see her she is always close to me when I close my eyes.
I know how hard it is, where there’s days you just want to die and not live because you feel alone boys and girls whoever is reading this I want you to know, you are never ever going be alone in the world there is always going to be someone else in the world that is going through the same situation as you and that is ready to give up but I want you to know hang in there. No matter how hard life feels like its the end of the world its not, life is tough, life is rough, and often times we don’t know what to do, but there is so much you can do about it, when you feel like you want to end it all think of a love one and how hurt they would be if they found out you died? Think about the people that care and love you even when you deny that no one loves you, honestly you are loved and cared for its our intentions and negative thoughts that make us believe and think different. I know we all heard it before in life don’t be so negative and don’t be so upset, honestly its not a bad thing to be upset often times its good to be upset so you can release emotions and crying is good.
When you feel upset when you feel like the world is giving you hard times and feel like ending your life, think of someone you love dearly and talk to someone, talk to someone you can trust and tell them how your feeling, tell them that you want to give up be honest with them, I know I wouldn’t want anyone to go to that extreme, I know the struggle of suicide but remember there is someone else wanting to give up but don’t. The pain your battling, and your scars will change someone else’s life, I have my scars and I have my wounds but I’m still here surviving but what didn’t kill me in the past only made me stronger, I am a stronger and better person each day that goes by, each day I learn new things from people and talk to them about what I went through because I realized what I hid from everyone else only made things worse. Talk to someone about how you feel and don’t worry everyday is going to get better and better you are not alone.
this is Brian O’Connor stay beautiful

Healthy Relationships – Brian O’Connor

What makes a healthy relationship? The number one thing that makes a healthy relationship in life is communication, then there’s trust. Every relationship should have great communication between involved parties or else the relationship won’t really go anywhere; because if not you’re going to question whether something is wrong, or if something happened. In order to have great communication you need to speak up, talk about what is going on, talk about if there is something bothering you, or even talk about what you both can do to make things better for the relationship. A relationship is a two person job not one, and nobody else should be involved either. When other people get involved in a relationship it becomes to get iffy because your friends may not like the person you’re with or they tend to try to take you away from that person. I know I’ve been in a couple relationships where my friends would take me away from my girlfriend and stop me from seeing or talking to her because of how jealous they were since I was spending more time with her then them and I had some people who I thought were my friends try to hit on my girlfriend and I’m going “are you kidding me right now.” Stand up for yourself and stand up for your partner don’t let anyone walk all over them because they don’t like the person, communication is the key to a healthy relationship.

The other thing that makes a healthy relationship is trust, and I know for some people trust is a big issue now a day’s that most of us have. I for one have trust issues and don’t get me wrong some people think I’m stupid for having trust issues but what do you expect having being cheated on multiple times by people I trusted… If you’re going to be in a relationship with someone get to know them first, see how they are, try and build yourself up to talk to them about anything and everything gain their trust because it’s not given just like that its earned. Everyone in a relationship should be able to go out and do things with their friends or even have time to themselves relax and chill just because you’re in a relationship doesn’t mean you need to be each other 24/7. Often times it’s good to have some space and just do you, go out and have a boys or girls night, go out to a sporting event or go out with the girls to the spa do something away from each other where you can still make time for others and know that you can trust them that their not going to do something else. Trust each other, compromise on something that works for both of you. Work things out together and know that if you have been with the person for a long time they’re not going to do anything to break that, have faith in them trust them and work it out.

If you’re like me that gives to people and don’t expect anything in return just know that it will cost you big time in the long run. It’s good to give in a relationship like buy a gift here and there or even go for dinner and treat your partner out, but remember don’t go overboard with it. Don’t get me wrong if I had a girl I would do whatever I can to make sure she’s happy and has what she needs but at the same time make sure you don’t go blowing all your money and stuff, guys don’t feel bad either though if your girl wants to pay a bill instead just split it or something. If your girl buys you gifts or something you like, thank her with flowers or surprise her by making dinner at home or something she loves, it’s the small things in life that goes a long way. At times do something you both love to do go for a walk, join a cooking group, or book club, or have movie nights. Do something you love to do together or chill at home watch T.V and play video games. Doing what you both enjoy will give you a strong and healthy relationship plus you can have fun while doing it, plus a relationship doesn’t always have to be so serious, you can always make time for each other. Regardless what your schedule looks like.

One thing for certain is that don’t let anybody come in between your relationship, don’t let people bring you down, you guys can still have them as friends but if they’re trying to ruin your relationship then they’re not really friends at all are they? But that’s just my opinion, I wouldn’t want anyone coming in between my relationship if I had one, because of who I’m seeing, who I see is my business no one else’s. If you love someone or like someone and are together or planning to be just remember appreciate the small things in life you have together and build on each other’s weakness learn from one another and see where your relationship takes you guys. Think of it this way where you guys are right now rather in a relationship or not just know communication and trust comes first talk to each other and don’t hide anything, it’s your relationship and no one else’s.

Much love I hope you can have that strong and healthy relationship.
Brian O’Connor

Healthy Relationships – Marie

I have been through my fair share of relationships, which is something I am not very proud of. However they have taught me a couple of things about relationships that I didn’t know prior or did but had not put into play. As with anything in life, relationships are full of a lot of guessing games and are definitely a long process of learning, as every relationship is different.

When I hear ‘healthy relationship’ a list comes to mind. Which I will share along with my reasons.

Communication
* Communication is key to any relationship, whether it’s between you and your significant other, parent, friend or boss. Being able to discuss what’s wrong or just what makes you happy will make the biggest difference in the long run. To build or maintain a strong healthy relationship both parties need to be able to vocalize what is going on or what they have an issue with.  It is important to be able to discuss a problem civilly without saying something to purposefully hurt your partner or getting physical.

Trust
*   What is any sort of relationship whether it is romantic,  platonic or family without trust? Now I don’t mean you have to give it to them all at once,  trust should be earned, however a relationship would not last without being able to trust the actions and words of the other person.  Blind trust is not healthy,  but trust is,  without trust you can spend hours analyzing every word and action of the other person trying to disect what their motives are.

Balance of Give and Take
*Whether we are talking attention,  money,  blame or any resources it is healthy for both parties to take some of weight.  Don’t expect your partner to pay for everything,  or expect to pay for everything yourself.  There’s nothing wrong with both or either parties splitting the cost of things or taking turns.  We all crave the affection and attention of our partner but it’s a two way street,  both need to relieve and give the attention. Both parties also need to be able to give credit and blame where it’s due not just push it on one party.  For anything it needs a balance,  and I don’t mean it needs to be equal in all aspects but for both parties to make an effort into the relationship not leave it all up to the other.

Ability to admit you need your partner
* This I’ll admit I struggle with,  the ability to admit I need my partner,  however it is important.  Your partner should enhance your life and support you not just sit there on the sidelines.  Your partner is your equal,  and can be one of your best supporters. If you need a hug or just to talk to them there’s nothing wrong with expressing that need.  Beyond that though when I say that it’s important that you have the ability to admit you need your partner I mean that you can admit they do make your life better,  that things would be different.  I don’t just mean that you should be able to express when you need your partner for something,  but also that just their presence in your life makes a positive impact on your life.

Future
* Being able to see a future with your partner and not just a here and now is important, as is striving towards having that future.

Commitment
*Being committed to your relationship,  to your partner. Willing to work on your relationship,  to put an effort into it. The ability to not put it off to the sidelines so you can focus on everything else but keeping a balance.  Along with being loyal,  faithful to your partner.

Compromise
*We will never always see eye to eye with our partner and it’s important to find a happy medium between the two. Or being able to come to an understanding of where your partner is coming from and vice versa., not everything is black and white being able to see the grey (or colourful) and find a happy place there.

Balance of time spent with and without your partner
* Just like it is important to spend time together it is also just as important to have time apart. Whether the time is spent alone or with friends space from the other person is good and healthy.

Forgiveness
* I’m not saying that you should forgive your partner for cheating (especially not repeatedly) or anything else that crosses your personal boundaries. What I am saying letting go of the little things when appropriate (like after an apology) and not holding it over your partners head.

Listening
* This goes with communication but it’s a whole different topic. As with any relationship whether it’s romantic, platonic, family or work related you need to use put your active listening skills to work. By active listening skills I mean not putting your attention anywhere else but on the other person. Paying attention to their words, their tone, facial expressions and body language.

Don’t just be partners be best friends 
* In a relationship with all these previous points it’s hard to not become best friends but this is also an important one. The want to share your joys and your downs with the person. The wanting to include them in the things you do and wanting to spend lots of time together.

It is healthy to disagree
You don’t have to agree everything, and not always having the same point of view is good, and discussing both sides. However it is not healthy to argue in the sense of yelling, belittling or anything possibly hurtful.

Hard work
* Just like anything good in life, a relationship takes a lot of hard work. It takes a lot of dedication, time, and is a non stop process. Whether it’s been one month or sixty years the relationship still needs to be fed. In the end though it can be very worthwhile.

Stay Proud. Stay Loud. Stay Loving Lovies.
Marie Olsson xx

Infidelity -Brian O’Connor

Infidelity also known as cheating is a pretty common subject now a days that everyone has experienced or is dealing with. I personally think that if you’re going to cheat on someone then you shouldn’t even consider being with them or at least be honest and now a days that’s one thing that ruins a relationship. When a person is hiding the fact that they cheated on someone, their partner has to find out through a friend, or find out for themselves by walking into their partner being with someone else. To be honest it’s the worst feeling ever to think or find out your partner is cheating on you. I went through it multiple times and it hurts a lot, I don’t think anyone should ever really go through it. If you want to be with someone don’t have others on the side you flirt with because most relationships end knowing that there’s other people involved and can cause a lot of trust issues. The lack of trust now a days will end a relationships really quickly and depending on who you are and how you deal with things it can either be good or bad. Everyone has different ways dealing with the fact they got cheated on rather that’s by moving on real quick or by letting the hurt get to most us.

My experience with cheating was pretty terrible. The first time I was cheated on I found out by overhearing my girlfriend at the time talking to our roommate that she cheated on me with four guys in four days. To hear the fact that your girlfriend did that to you and having her hide it sucked big time. After that I didn’t date or see anyone for the longest time really; my previous relationship I had a gut feeling that my girlfriend was cheating on me just by the way she acted towards me and the way she treated me. Along with seeing her with a guy five minutes before she texted me saying that were breaking up. I really don’t know what hurt more, over hearing the fact I got cheated on or getting a text message saying were breaking up… Still to this day I can’t understand what went wrong, did I do something? Or was it because I wasn’t good enough for them that they would cheat on me?

I have grown to realize now that we need to leave the past behind us and that we all move on to finding someone better one day, it may not be today or tomorrow but one day we all can find someone we trust. I for one have a lot of trust issues now a days that I’m not ready to be in a relationship with someone yet, whether I have known them for a couple years or not. As much as it sucks to be cheated on, I just want you to realize you are not alone and there are many people that have been through or dealing with similar situations as you. Be positive though a right relationship will come your way when the time is right and you will find someone that won’t cheat on you.

Love Yourself First

Brian O’Connor

Marie Olsson on Grieving a Loved One (In honour of her Granddad)

Personally I am struggling even trying to write this blog for you; as I am still struggling with accepting the loss of my loved ones. However I am going to do my best to give you guys something, even if it is short. For that I apologise. Without further ado here is my blog on grieving a loved on.

—-

  “There are as many sorrows as there are people who feel them and there are no rules…

It is solitary… Grief is such a lonely thing. There is no-one in it with you – others may grieve for the same soul, but they do not grieve exactly for what you also grieve. No-one has lost precisely what you have lost. Not exactly, never exactly. We are in it alone…

 Oh it is wild and it is lonely. It is as if you’ve woken to a world that you recognise but it has been tilted, somehow – coated, or rubbed down, or made colder or less bright. It echoes where it should not echo; where it should echo, it is as echoless as a single, muffled thud. And grief is not merely sadness, as if sadness alone was not enough to bear. I had imagined the sorrow to be as deep as a well, a howling grief, but I had not imagined the other feelings that have no right to be there, which seem wholly misplaced in a state of grieving – rage, impatience, self-pity, disgust. They come from the dark and rush in upon you…”

― Susan Fletcher, The Silver Dark Sea

No one does things the same way another person does, no one feels the same way either. For some people moving forward is easier and for others it feels a lot harder. Everyone takes different amounts of time to move through the steps of grieving and encounters them in a different order; but everyone who has ever lost someone has been through them, and could still be going through it.  However I feel as though you’ll have seen all about the stages of grieving in at least one other blog so I will not be covering that.

As I am currently writing this it is five days before the fourth anniversary of my grandfather’s passing, and as the date (Saturday, Sept. 26) grows closer I am realising that I really am not done grieving. I’ve yet to accept he is really gone, that I will never hear his voice on the other end of the line, or be able to give him a hug.  For months after he passed I would still call my grandparents’ house hoping to hear his voice, asking me how I’ve been, yet I was met with a short clipped message of him apologising for not reaching the phone. I tried again and again, not ready to come to terms that he wouldn’t one day pick the phone up and we’d talk and laugh together. Eventually the number was disconnected and that’s when I started to really feel the loss. When reality hit me I didn’t break out sobbing or lock myself in my room for days, although I would have much preferred that, instead I felt numb… absolutely numb.  I continued on with life as I had been prior, I was just void of any and all emotions.

For months after the loss of my granddad I tried to fill the void in my heart and find some emotions by drinking every weekend. I found comfort in the alcohol induced emotions, figuring that even a ‘fake’ emotion was better than the nothingness I was feeling.  However that did not get me anywhere, when I would sober up I was back to feeling nothing, it did not help me move forward.

“You can’t truly heal from a loss until you allow yourself to really FEEL the loss.”

Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass

I didn’t realise by feeling numb it wasn’t really helping me and the worst hadn’t even started yet. I had thought feeling numb had been a good step towards healing. However when the numbness faded I was not prepared for the tidal wave of emotions which rushed over me. I was a mess, I was crying, I wanted to curl up in a ball and rock back and forth, but I expected that. What I wasn’t expecting the short temper, exhaustion or codependency that came along with it.

“The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.”

― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

I have come a long way in my process of grieving for my granddad, but I still have a long road ahead of me. I don’t think the hurt will ever go away but I’m closer to fully accepting that he’s not with me anymore. I’ll love him forever and always, and he’ll always be alive and well in my heart, and that’s good enough for me.

“But in all of the sadness, when you’re feeling that your heart is empty, and lacking,

You’ve got to remember that grief isn’t the absence of love.

Grief is the proof that love is still there.”

― Tessa Shaffer, Heaven Has No Regrets

 In Loving Memory of my Grandad,

Marie Olsson xoxo

Grieving A Loved One -Howie Defranco

Hey blog readers, it’s me Howie Defranco and today we’re gonna be discussing grieving the loss of a loved one.  Well not so much a discussion as its one sided with me on the keyboard and you doing the reading.  I guess the best thing to start out saying is that everyone deals with with the loss in different ways, not in the sense that they don’t encounter each stage of grief.  Instead it’s more like you don’t go stage one, two, three, four and five, you go stage one, two, one, three, two, four, one… Etc as it has no limit to how long grief can go on for.

Now I have not experienced the loss of a loved one personally since I was a child at least not anyone I was close to.  Therefore I’m unable to really speak from a personal standpoint about what it’s like to lose someone you love to death.  In spite of that though I’ve lost people in my life and seen others lose people in their lives go through different stages and cycles of grief over the loss of someone they love.  It’s painful and although the stages usually can bounce around and people need time to get past it, people can get lost in.
In the same way, the fallen loved one is lost the one still alive can become a shell of the person they were or who they want to be.  It starts because people have trouble letting go of the past, when they put on obstacle in the way of letting go.  Overworking, drug and alcohol abuse, compulsive behaviour, avoiding emotion and minimizing feelings are ways people avoid and obstruct themselves from moving on from the pain and learning to accept their life moves on.  It’s as simple as breathing to not even notice that you’re doing it, that you’re holding on to the pain of your loved ones memory.
Earlier I mentioned the stages of grief, they’re are five of them and everyone deals with them in their own time and way.  Denial and shock are supposed to be the first stage in which you don’t accept the fact that they’re gone, you just don’t believe it which is a good thing as it can diminish the impact of the loss on you.  Bargaining trying to figure out a way, a way you could have helped them something better you could have done, how you could of treated them better.  It helps to bargain as you come to better terms with what happened.  Depression is the worst of the stages although it’s only natural, if it persists too much can cause a lot of stress on your mental (feelings of isolation and loneliness) and physical health (with loss of sleep and appetite).  Anger is the stage that causes you to feel like your loved one abandoned you even though you know it wasn’t their fault and can cause you to just be angry at the world.
The fifth stage is acceptance the stage every one needs to reach but get trapped in the mentioned stages.  The best ways to help yourself or someone you know with dealing with these stages is to give them a way to express yourself or confide in someone you trust.  Allow yourself to just have sometime, to draw, to write, to create, something that opens your feelings and let’s out your emotions for you and others to see.  As well you could talk to a close friend, they’ll help you more than you think, find a support group that has people going through the same emotions or better talk to a therapist if you wish.  That’s what they’re there for, me personally I have a fear of speaking to professionals just cause I always have a fear of what there thinking.  How they’re reacting to what I’m saying, if they’re judging me, or fitting me for a straight jacket in their head.  So I don’t see them but it’s what they were trained to do and it’s an option for those of you who liked to talk.
Speaking of acceptance I mentioned earlier when I was kid was the last time I lost a loved one it was my great grandpa.  I was four years old, and he died peacefully in his own home in the kitchen, my great grandma found him in the morning.  My great grandpa is the reason I wasn’t given up for adoption when I was kid, I was an accident and my mom, and her parents wanted to give me up.  Mind you my mom wasn’t set on the idea but my great grandpa basically put his foot done, said I’m family and I belonged with them and that he and my great grandma would help my mom anyway they could.  I loved him, even though he was tough sometimes.  To be fair i hear they were times I was a little monster but the worst thing I ever did was I tried to climb up this old ladder.  It was outside my grandpa was doing something on the roof and I tried climbing the ladder, he comes over picks me up and spanks me.  I deserved it and when he died, my mom brought me to a therapist so I could process it properly.  He asked me to draw a picture and I drew my great grandpa climbing a ladder up to heaven.  That was my acceptance in my mind.
There’s not really much else to say I think but that if you feel the loss of someone you love is the end of your life.  Then talk to someone, I’m not saying your wrong because it’s your choice if you want your life to end or to wallow in self pity.  Just take some time talk to someone, express yourself, find something that gives your life meaning again.
Bibliography
“Stages of Grief: How to Cope With Grief and Loss.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 04 Sept. 2015.

Brian on Grieving a loved one

Losing someone is always, always, always hard and tough to swallow because you don’t want to believe the fact that their gone. We all have lost someone we love the most: from grandparents, to parents, to aunts and uncles, to cousins, to brothers and sisters, and even a close dear friend. Some of us even may have lost a husband or wife and honestly it sucks every time because you can be doing something and out of nowhere their memory hits you. It’s like how does one person digest the thought of losing someone they love. It’s not easy and it takes a lot of time to get through it; but eventually through time and talking to someone it gets better, not saying it will be right away but it does get better.

 I know from my experiences after losing my grandpa six years ago have been getting better slowly each day that goes by, the first couple years to be honest was the toughest for me especially losing him on valentine’s day and I had to really accept the fact that he is gone. Although there is nothing I can do to change that or get him back and it sucks a lot but that is the honest truth. I wish there was a way I can bring him back every day but I know I can’t. Life is too short though to be upset I know if your loved one was still here today they wouldn’t want you to be upset they wold want you to be happy because they are in a better place.

 There are ways of dealing with grief though some of us deal with it by drowning ourselves in drugs and alcohol, some of us deal with it through depression, and some of us just need a distraction. Keeping yourself busy is one way to deal with grief and helping to control your emotions. With that said, ways with dealing with grief vary person to person. Find yourself a peaceful spot where you can go and just relax and calm your mind from everything. Just remember to stay strong and that you will overcome this ordeal at your own pace and in your own way.

  • Brian O’Connor

Lynn Rascal’s View on Love

“I’ve become skeptical of the unwritten rule that just because a boy and a girl appear in the same feature, a romance must ensue. Rather, I want to portray a slightly different relationship, one where the two mutually inspire each other to live – if I’m able to, then perhaps I’ll be closer to portraying a true expression of love.”  – Hayao Miyazaki, Co-Founder of Studio Ghibli

This quote changed how I perceived love. Before, I had the stereotypical Disney view of love; true love, one and only, first love lasts forever fairytale-like stuff. I hadn’t seen many other types of love, seeing how my parents had been apart since before I can even remember, so it was my only real ‘reference’. After a while, I realized that that type of love only really exists in fiction and that love was so much more than what I was shown.

Even in regards to family, developing love and bonds takes time and work. Lots of it. The basis of a true and honest love, romantic or not, is trusting and knowing the other person and them being able to know and trust you in return. Supporting each other through the hard times, even when it seems too much to bear, and inspiring each other to keep moving forward. You need to genuinely care and understand each other, faults and all. It may not be easy and it surely won’t be quick, but if you’re dedicated and patient with each other, your feelings will bloom into something honest, true, and beautiful.

Love doesn’t have to be romantic either. I love my friends and family more than I could ever say. We care for each other, help each other through the bad times in our lives, and they’ve definitely been my driving force for facing my issues head on. To me, that is what real love is.

  • Lynn Rascal

Madison idea of Love

The true definition for love is “A warm personal attachment or deep affection towards another person.”

Love to me can be many different things like I enjoyed tormenting my siblings and making them flustered and angry, but yet I would still lay down my own life for each and every one of them. To me that shows my love towards my siblings, but also seeing an elderly couple holding hand that have been married for years. Also I believe love can be so many different things that you really can’t define it. One of my all-time favorite quote is “a younger sister asked her older brother what love was and he turned around and said, “love is me knowing you steal my chocolate everyday out of my back pack yet I still hid it in the same place.”” I don’t know what to say but every time I read it, it makes me feel all warm inside. I believe love can come in many different forms and in many different ways. I think the difference between you think you’re in love (lust) and when you are actually in love, that you will actually be able to tell which one is true, and you will enjoy every minute of it. So just wait for it because sometimes love will come when you least expect it.

-Madison Taylor