Saturday, May 21, 2011

I don't even know...

I can't begin to count how many times I've started this post over and over again. So many feelings rush through my heart, and so many thoughts are stuck in my overwhelmed brain.

The past few weeks have been hard. I chose to work as hard as possible to make the money to go to Europe. It's something I've wanted for years. I've wanted to travel the world, meet new people, learn about new cultures, and better myself and others through positive examples.

At times the day seemed to hard to finish. I cried, I laughed, I ranted, and I even blew up at my boss. I wanted so badly to find a remote like the one in click just so I could fast forward through the bad and get to the good.

It wasn't until I came home from work one night that I realized that fast forwarding time doesn't get you through the bad. It won't fix things, and that for something to be worth it you have to go on the journey, and find the inner strength you posses.

I came home from work one day to find my dad sitting at his computer, and an overwhelming sense of tension in the air. The words he said are ingrained in my mind.

"I have some bad news. Your Uncle Tom passed away." It didn't hit me. Even walking into the kitchen and seeing my moms eyes filled with tears didn't process. It wasn't until I was eating a bowl of fruit salad on the couch that the tears came.

The only memories of my Uncle were the ones of him taking my siblings and I upstairs to a room stacked high with memorabilia he collected in hopes of striking it rich. If something wasn't valuable he gave it to us.

I never knew my Grandpa since he died while I was only a baby, and my Grandma had had multiple strokes in life leading her to be disabled, and leaving a shell of a person. I was so scared of her when I visited. She sat with her caretaker at the kitchen table while my Uncle Tom made us hot cocoa and insisted on refilling the whip cream whenever what we had melted. He'd order Chinese food, and as a child I viewed him as one of the only connections to extended family on my dad's side.

It wasn't until my Grandma died that I began to see his true personality. He selfishly let my father pay for the entire funeral. He sold the half million dollar home and gambled away the money that should have been shared between him and my dad. The calls on our birthdays stopped, and I only talked to him once or twice after all of this happened.

I grew to resent him. I grew to hate him for his selfishness, and his inability to involve his nieces and nephew in his life. I felt so conflicted because I wanted to have him in my life, but I was scared he'd take advantage of me just as he'd done to my dad.

When I heard the news that he'd died I was sad. I felt terrible for not trying hard to mend the riff in our relationship. I felt like a terrible niece for not thinking positively about him. But worst of all I was mad at him. He didn't leave behind anything but trouble.

He told friends he had no family. He wanted pity from fellow church members, and because of it it caused more problems than needed. The one thing that made me the most upset was that instead of trying to talk to his family, he lied, he gambled, he abandoned us.

It was through this experience that I've come to realize that the end of something isn't always good. I had the chance to make the journey my Uncle and I shared into a positive one. I could have called him. When he called I could have tried to share my life with him instead of trying to pass him off over to my siblings.

I guess what I'm saying is, don't let the journey pass you by. Sometimes it may be hard, but if you get through those hard times the finish line is so much better than if you drifted through the race. If you don't enjoy each moment you won't realize you've missed those good moments.

I just wish I cherished those moments with my Uncle. If I had, I wouldn't have viewed his life so negatively. Maybe things would have been better, and maybe I wouldn't have ended up holding a grudge towards my Uncle Tom.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Leaving On a Jet Plane

So just a little bit of news.
1. In my last post I said I deactivated my facebook account, but unfortunately facebook is like a drug...a very addictive drug and it was activated after about 4 days. What can I say? I like being kept up to date on who was doing what. Not to mention that I kept thinking about funny things to put as my status. It's weird how my life has come down to what I can put online since the creation of social networking.
2. The countdown for the day I leave for Europe is almost over! Just 2 more weeks and I'll be enjoying Europe by train, plane, hiking shoes, and with my best friend Jamila.

Which brings me to the reason of this post. With the idea of leaving for a month and a half in a foreign country with no real way to keep in touch with my family whenever I need to it got me thinking about all the fun times I've shared with them. Even the bad times, but I look back and it's what made our family so close. We moved almost ever three years, and always had each other to lean on when needed. So I've decided to list some of my favorite good and bad memories that I can now look back on and laugh at.

1. My favorite color was orange growing up until my sister Anji, who I looked up to so much, said that her favorite color was Midnight blue so I changed mine to hers.

2. Anji and my brother Brandon made up a game for my friend Rachel and I and we were running all over the house trying to find the "Golden Cross" to get back to our dimension and I cheated. That's right!! I cheated. I was a little rebel. In fact after I cheated I got caught and Rachel went home crying. Brandon and Anji didn't want to play with me anymore, but it was when I learned that cheating doesn't make you a winner. In the end, all you are is a sour loser.

3. We lived in tornado alley when I grew up in Texas, and we got tornado warnings a lot. Usually a little kid would be scared, but I loved it because I got to hide out in the cupboard under the stairs with my family and we'd pass the time with family time.

4. For my birthday one year, my whole family got into planning it and we ended up having this princess tea party. My mom made up a little skit that my sister and brother acted in. I don't remember much, but the fact that they were so willing to do it for me makes me smile.

5. One Sunday my parents and Brandon packed up MRE's and drove to a campground. We sat around eating the meals and looked at cute little bunnies that were in a pen. We just lied around and it was so much fun to take a break from our everyday lives and go on a picnic as a family.

6. For Anji's birthday this year I treated her to a photoshoot with a friend who belongs to a professional photography business. We got to find costumes together and woke up at 4 in the morning to go to the shoot. It was so fun to sit in a room and get our makeup and hair done before going out into the FREEZING cold and acting awesome!

7. Anji had a nightmare one day about zombies. That's really all you need to know. Okay, so zombie nightmares is a common occurrence and one time she screamed and she told Brandon and I about it.

8. Anji, Brandon, and I got in a fight about poptarts when we super little. They're convinced I was the one to eat the pop tart, but I refuse to admit it was me. After our house was banned from pop tarts and after we moved out I think all of us had a pop tart phase, and pretty much just ate them for every meal. I don't understand the appeal of them besides just enjoying the fact that we aren't banned from them anymore.

9. One sibling was banned from the internet, and the rest of us would always try and get the password from mom and dad for the banned child. We were so sneaky in our minds, but the parentals knew what we were doing.

10. I graduated from Snow college and my brother, and parents came to Ephraim....which is saying something considering my dad said he'd never return to turkey town when he dropped me off to start school there. I consider his attendance a big accomplishment.

11. For the past couple of years my grandparents have gotten my dad coal. Fake coal, real coal, a brick of coal. Don't ask me why considering he's usually a good boy, but since they've run out of coal ideas they've moved onto Chia pets. I can't decide which is worse. An Obama head sprouting green hair, or a source of energy. Hmmmm.

12. My siblings were convinced along with me that our house in Virginia was haunted. We named him Larry. He was stuck in our kitchen.

13. Good Samaritan skits are always fun, and boy did my family make the best one. Imagine my dad twirling around a fake money pouch. Oh and imagine a very young me trying to operate the camera during the bows. There's this awesome part where I say I accidentally stopped recording and then the video ends.

14. I got into a fight one year at girls camp with one of my fellow youth and my brother showed up for the young men's whatever camp, and gave me a hug. I think that was the first hug from him that I can remember besides from when I was a little kid and not annoying.

15. My family loved making videos of us putting on skits, and fairytales. Rumpelstiltskin, that one story about the rat in the house with the mill, and the cow pretty much no one will know what I'm talking about, but my mom loved to dress us up and make these movies. Brandon stomping with the camera shaking is probably the best moment of my life.

16. We used to thread together popcorn to put on our tree. Unfortunately we can't do it anymore because our cat would eat it. If you have a cat, don't feed it popcorn, it will become addicted. The sound of popping is just as exciting as the can opener to other cats.

17. My family owned a cat named Ginger. She lived to be 19 I think. One day we took her to the vet to be let down. She was in pain, and our family came together. It's amazing what effect a pet can have on someone. She was a part of our family and we cried together. We buried her in the backyard, and every time I look at where she was buried I remember all the amazing memories our family shared with her. I had known her my entire life and we have pictures of me as a baby reaching out to pet a cat turned away from me. She apparently would play hard to get.

18. Anji was married a couple years back and it was one of the most amazing days ever. To see two people with love enough to make the next commitment was wonderful to see. My brother in law Chris makes her so happy, and I love seeing my family happy beyond measure. It gives me hope along with my parents marriage that even though there is so much bad in the world and so much divorce that love does exist, and it's out there for everyone.

19. Anji used to always dress me up, do my make up and have photo shoots with me. I guess I was trained at an early age to love modeling. It's why I wanted to do the photoshoot with Anji on my birthday. It brought me back to the time when we hung out doing that.

20. Picture this. My sister teaching my brother and I to dance, My brother being sparatic, and me in a diaper with no shirt (Yes, I was a toddler. No, I do not wear diapers anymore.) We danced to "We Are the Champions" and Brandon was going all out while my sister choreographed and I was yelling at my mom to sit down. We were an odd little bunch of kids, but dang could we dance.

21. I used to work at a Subway knock off. My dad loves me, and sometimes I forgot that, but everyday he would come to my work and get a sandwich and bring along his coworkers. It was a daily reminder of how much my dad supports and loves me. When I have a hard time or I forget something at my job now, he is so willing to drop what he's doing and bring me what I need. I love you dad!

I don't just love my dad. I love my whole family. Each one is so amazing and I could think of hundreds more memories that I could share. The good and the bad brought all of us closer. I'm so happy that my life has brought me to this point. I may complain, and I may be pessimistic sometime, but the one thing that always remains constantly positive is my family. You are all my rock, and I don't know how I'll survive Europe with out you!

Okay, I know I'll survive because it's Europe! What am I thinking. Psh!

Just kidding.

I love you Mom, Dad, Anji, Brandon, and Chris.