Category Archives: Life

An Ode To Hadley

I put every dent in that car.

Hadley arrived two weeks after my 19th birthday after a desperate plea to my father about escaping my current living situation. It wasn’t outright, my mother taught me well how to manipulate. Instead, I called him up and said, “I’m working two jobs so I can save up for a car. Once I get a car, I’m going to move out of B’s house.” And my father, never too excited that my boyfriend and I lived together, was right on board with me getting away from that house.

Hadley already had over 150,000 miles. Her paint was peeling slightly, but when we pulled into that parking lot and I saw her for the first time with that “Happy Birthday” banner taped over her bumper, it was love. She was escape. She was freedom.

And I drove her like we were free, like we were above the laws of man and nature. There were never any serious accidents, but we squealed tires and skidded to stops and hydroplaned and slid and a few times, I thought the car was going to flip on turns I took too sharply. Once, someone ran into the side, and another time, I ran into the guardrail on a turn I took too early. There were the occasional “hitting things against the bumper”. There was no air conditioning. When it rained, I would have to drive with the windows down. The heater would have to be kicked at from the passenger’s side up until I got the actual fan fixed. I worked on the engine more times than I can count. Christmas presents were parts for the car, something else that needed fixed.

But through all that, she persevered. We persevered. In 2012, someone said she wouldn’t last the year. She could’ve gone another five, I’m sure of it. She was magic.

And there were the memories we shared. Cigarette burns trailed up the driver side near the window. I was learning how to smoke and drive, and A sat next to me and my hands would shake, I was so nervous around him. I would watch him drive my car, gripping the “oh shit” handle but still having faith in him that he’d get us back to his house.

There was Jay in the passenger seat and Ida in the back as we blasted Beyonce out of the one good speaker and danced at stoplights.

There was driving home from the Gogol Bordello concert, falling asleep in the backseat at a rest area cause I couldn’t make it all the way home.

There were those months where I was homeless and slept in the car in a Walmart parking lot.

There was my father and I fixing the spark plugs.

There was my mother helping me filled up my oils and liquids before heading back to Maryland. We both agreed that car never should’ve made it there with how low everything was, but it had.

There was this last time, where the radiator hose split and I knew I could fix it, I knew. And so Beatrice and I stayed up all night, trying to find that stupid part that no place open had carried.

Hadley was more than a car; she was my best friend. And I wish I could’ve passed her on to someone else, for someone to appreciate her as much as I had. But with over 250,000 miles and a back door that won’t open, dents and scrapes and no a/c, no one would buy her and it broke my heart, but I took her to the junkyard. I got $270, but she was worth so much more than that. She wasn’t broken. She could still travel.

Is it ridiculous that I’m this upset about a car? It was just a car, right? Just five years of my life.

When I worked at the restaurant, my friends painted my car for my birthday (back when my name was Jessica). That's Kelsey with her handywork on my car.

When I worked at the restaurant, my friends painted my car for my birthday (back when my name was Jessica). That’s Kelsey with her handywork on my car.

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Toxic Relationships

I’m not the best at holding relationships of any kind.

Friends, lovers, family; I’ll write them off, take it back, and then rewrite them off consistently. It’s not really a good and healthy practice, but it’s just something I do. Don’t be like me. Once you start writing off people, it becomes a bad habit. You start writing people off for stupid reasons and stop working on repairing relationships until the only “real” and good relationships you maintain are in video games, where you’re looking up cheats so you can say exactly what they want to hear and your approval rating goes up.

That being said, sometimes you need to let go of a person. Sometimes, that person is so toxic that they’ve seeped into the core of your very being. Sometimes, it’s healthier to say goodbye.

I’ve gotten a lot of grief for writing off members of my family over the years. I wrote off my mother time and again, but my love for her family has brought us back together repeatedly. She has done some truly messed up things over our lives together, but we’re in this weird kind of shaky friendship at this point. I am re-learning how to love my mother, and it terrifies me, but I am actually trying to make this work between us.

My father, though, is a different story. My family understood how I could write off my mother like I did (like I said, REALLY messed up things she did), but they’ve been on my case about my father since I took that step and officially kicked him out of my life a year ago. I wasn’t able to talk about it before, but I’m finally ready to now.

My father was the most toxic presence in my life. It wasn’t entirely his fault. When you love someone as much as I loved him, you take disappointment a lot harder than you would for anyone else. You take their criticisms harder. You take everything they say to heart and it becomes a very unhealthy version of you.

I want to say the fight at my brother’s graduation caused this whole mess, but I knew the night before that I was done with him. I was done being hurt by him. After years of dealing with his verbal abuse and constant let-downs, I’d finally had enough, though it wasn’t entirely my decision. A lot of my other family wonders how I could just kick him out of my life like I did. A lot of them think it was about the fact he wasn’t going to help me in school after promising he would.

They’re wrong. The truth behind it is that he got rid of me first. When he returned to his almost-ex wife this last time, he stopped talking to me. He chose her over me, and that hurt more than anything I could ever imagine. It still really fucking hurts, because I did love him more than anything, but he chose first. I went from seeing him once a month to not at all. And each month, I got angrier and angrier. And then promises he had made while he and the wife were broken up were null and void, and I. Just. Lost. It.

I left the day after graduation and I haven’t reached out to him since. My brother has, and good luck to him for it, but I won’t continue to be around someone who would choose his third wife over his child. I won’t be around someone who could never respect me as a person because I’m a woman. I won’t be around someone who would abandon his own son.

I won’t say that it was easy, and it’s still not. I have dreams of him trying to apologize, to try and fix this. I went through that deep, deep depression this whole winter and some of spring. He texted me during the Baltimore riots while I was on the phone with my mother, and I burst out crying. This hasn’t been easy, but you know what? It’s been worth it.

I can make a list of at least ten good traits about myself now. I’ll catch myself saying that I’m stupid or crazy, and forcibly correct it. I’m learning to love myself and for that to be okay. I’m learning that being a woman is nothing to be ashamed of, and neither is having people think that you’re gay (even though I’m not). I’m learning that it’s okay to have feelings. Having feelings doesn’t make you crazy. Being a woman doesn’t mean you’re crazy. I’m learning how to actually channel my anger into more constructive means. It’s okay to talk well about yourself. It’s okay to eat what you want. It’s just goddamn okay to be me.

I had a realization the other day, and I texted it to my brother. I don’t know if he got the sigh of relief that I received when I thought it, but wow, it was such a powerful thought. By removing my father from my life, I have years of hurt and pain and damage, but it won’t continue past 2014. He can’t hurt me anymore. The hurting has stopped and everything past that point where I cut him out of my life is healing. There will never be new wounds.

You might be wondering why I’m sharing something this personal. I’m sharing it because you have that toxic person in your life that you’re scared to get rid of, and I want to help. I want you to read this as a success story. I want you to be able to read this and finally get the courage to remove them from your life. It won’t be easy, but if you ever need help, you can talk to me about it personally. Do this for no one but yourself. Do this for a better, happier you.

Resolution Update

So it’s June, and it’s time we check in to those rather ambitious resolutions I made at the beginning of the year. I took a lot of them away and accomplished a few, but a lot more are still works in progress. Let’s see what kind of progress, okay?

  • Get my motorcycle license. Sadly, this was taken off of my resolution list. I have a lot of things I need to focus on this year, and this just shouldn’t be one of my priorities.
  • Lose 100 50 pounds. Yes, I changed the number of pounds, and I’ve also only been gaining weight, but no one could’ve forsaw how bad my winter was.
  • Play a sport! I actually accomplished this one! I signed up for softball. I didn’t make it through the whole season, but I still played some games, and I just absolutely loved it! I will be playing a lot more sports…once I get money.
  • Get my shit together. HAHHAHAHA. No.
  • Buy a new car. 
  • Visit a new state. If I can get my money right, I plan on renting a car and driving out to Kansas (and my cute coworker out there has absolutely no influence on why the state is Kansas this year).
  • Get a new job. Things got better, but then they didn’t. I signed up for the Peace Corps, but they rejected me, so I’m currently looking.
  • Reconnect with what I love. I have actually been doing this on and off. I played softball. I’ve been letter writing. I’ve been dancing, cooking, listening to music. I’ve been video gaming and talking to my Mom and spending time with family. I’ve been doing puzzles and reading. I haven’t had much money to do anything else.
  • Get LABC its own web address. No progress made yet.
  • Do more art. Yeah, I’ve failed at this one so far.
  • Take care of my general health. I have a dentist appointment Friday! Take that!
  • Get my tooth fixed. Dentist appointment, hello?
  • Read all the books on my shelf. This one is coming. I have 47 more books left to read. I don’t know if this is actually achievable though.
  • Learn to love myself. Yeah…no.
  • Make 50 new friends. 
  • Talk to my mother. I actually did this, at my worst moment this winter. I called her, crying, and said I just needed to know the truth. She wouldn’t come out and say what had happened, but it was a really good talk.
  • Figure out who I am.
  • Escape escapism once a month.
  • Change my name legally. I’m just waiting until I have the money together on this one.
  • Stop settling. I feel like I’ve made decent progress on this. I’ve definitely avoided some unpleasantness because of this.

So how are your resolutions coming along? I’ve got two down, but still a lot more to go!

A Little Less Conversation, A Little More Action Please

I had a dream the other night that involved a guy I liked in high school. I ran into him again, and instead of actually pursuing him, I did the same passive-aggressive flirting ritual that I had used on him in real life. I was actually pretty pissed at myself when I woke up. Six years have passed, and my methods, that haven’t gotten me results, haven’t changed? What gives?

This is how I live my life though. It wasn’t just about Cody and my three year crush that involved absolutely no action on my part. The few times I’ve acted, I’ve gotten results, but that’s never pushed me to incorporate that as a regular thing in my life. I’d like to blame the years of bullying, but I told myself recently to stop playing the victim card. This is all me. This is my life, and I need to start taking responsibility for what is happening in it.

I literally just finished watching American Beauty for the first time (starring the ever-handsome Kevin Spacey) and the message I got from that was along the same lines: Go after what you want, and stop putzing around. I’m not saying blackmail your work into a severance package like in the movie, or seduce your young daughter’s friend, but stop waiting! Stop letting other people dictate your life for you! Stand up for yourself. Stop holding yourself back.

I’ve always admired how people can just pack up and move to a new state. What about a job? Money? But sometimes, that means doing jobs you don’t like while finding jobs you do. We all want that sense of security, of knowing that next week, our paycheck will come in on Friday and be for x amount. This false sense of security is holding me back from my dream of traveling, of moving to New York, of just doing.

If I don’t change anything about myself and my life, how can I ever expect different outcomes?

It’s odd timing that I decided to watch this movie the same week I had the dream about Cody, but I get it, World. It’s time to stop talking the good game and simply act. It definitely is possible to think too much before you do something.

Here’s a guarantee to myself and my blog readers: Two of the biggest issues in my life right now are money and my weight. This week, I will exercise every day. I will only spend money on bills and gas. This is talk right now, but this is also a promise. I will check back in next week with my results, but I’m telling you now, something has got to give and it’s time that it wasn’t me. Self control for the win!

Death Is A Six-Letter Word

If you had asked me only a year ago how I felt about my mother, I would’ve shrugged and said, “I take her with a grain of salt.” If you could’ve read my thoughts, you would know that I was actually thinking how I have tried so hard to love her, but it has left me exhausted to the point where I have no feelings left for her. My mother, she simply exists, nothing more.

If this had been going on last year, I would’ve simply said, “That sucks” and move on, but this isn’t last year. This is 2015, and I love my mother, just in time to watch her die.

Nothing is certain as of yet. They found something on her lung. It might be cancer, but they’re going to give it three months and see if it grows any. It won’t matter if they catch it early though. If it is cancer, she’s as good as dead.

My mother told me, as we were sitting around the dinner table on Saturday, that if it is cancer, she’s not going to pursue chemo. She’s not going to wait until it gets bad, either. She’s going to kill herself. I can’t tell if she’s saying this simply to get a reaction from me or if she really means it. I can’t tell if this is because of the conclusions we’ve come to throughout the week, about how she won’t be able to stay at home to do chemo, about how I would take off of work to take her to appointments and to basically hold her hand, about how my brother would have to step up and help. I don’t know if this ties into the fight we had with my brother Tuesday night, where I found her crying in her room and she told me she feels like she’s holding him back, that maybe he really should move up here with me. I can’t tell what she means by this, so I say, “You know, if you kill yourself, life insurance won’t pay out.”

Because that’s all I really can say. I don’t know what’s going through her head. Everything I am feeling, she must be feeling ten times worse. Do I agree with her decision? Absolutely. If it was me, I wouldn’t kill myself necessarily, but I also wouldn’t pursue chemo. It’s entirely selfish of me to want her to destroy herself just so she might live long enough for me to settle down and have her some grandchildren. I won’t push that on her.

I keep thinking about how we are finally getting along after 19 years, how I finally feel like I’m part of a family again. I keep thinking that if only this had happened sooner, before I allowed myself to start loving her again. I keep thinking that parents die and it’s just something that happens.  Maybe we’ll get lucky, but we’re not known for our luck.

So here we sit, in limbo, for three months.