Dear Roxy,

For those of you who have not lost a pet, it’s harder than you can imagine. I didn’t think it would hurt as much as it does. In the couple of days since, I’ve been mostly okay and then I’ll suddenly think about her and start crying. It really is like losing a member of your family because she was family. She was always there. And now, she’s not.

I wish I had more time to say goodbye. From the time I found out to the time when she put down was only an hour. Afterwards, I asked Roland, my brother, if she had been medicated when I got there. He said no, she was just that sick. Becasue of that, I’m glad she can rest in peace now, but it still aches.

If I could talk to her just one more time…

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Dear Roxy,

If there’s one positive thing that comes from this whole experience, I hope you are finally feeling better and free of pain. We knew you were sick, but we thought you were finally going to be getting better. You leaving was so sudden, we were all blind-sided. That’s what hurt the most, we were given hope and the next day you were gone.

Sitting in that room, while you took your last breath, was awful. I’m very grateful that you were surrounded by all of us, but that was one of the hardest, most emotional things I’ve ever had to endure. If I’m being completely honest, watching you go was a little traumatizing. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do that again.

I will never have another dog quite like you. You were definitely the dog version of myself. We both liked naps more than could be normal. And we both liked to snack more than we should. Maybe we were too alike and that’s why you never felt inclined to listen to me when I told you to do sit or lay down. We’re both too sassy for our own good. You were definitely more human than dog sometimes.

Many days filled with tears are ahead for all of us. It’s hard to even think about you not being at the house when I bring Stella over. I didn’t want to tell mom, but she definitely looked for you when we visited yesterday. She walked around the kitchen and living room and sniffed your bed. She’ll definitely miss you, not sure you would return the sentiment.

May you spend the rest of eternity sitting on a recliner with an abundance of snacks being fed to you at your beck and call. Take a nap for me. I’ll be seeing you again.

I love you,

Marissa

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Women Are More Than Fodder for Locker Room Talk

 

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Credit: Ezra Jeffrey, https://unsplash.com/photos/PoUyJRDqkU0

DONALD TRUMP’S DEMEANING VIEWS OF WOMEN

Everyone who has a social media account has seen Donald Trump’s leaked footage of him talking about women in a vulgar, demeaning, and derogatory manner. He defended his words by noting that it was “locker room talk”, that the leaked audio is from over 10 years ago, and by deflecting the situation back to Bill Clinton’s alleged misdeeds. Let’s address these issues one by one.

LOCKER ROOM TALK
All people need to be treated with respect: women and men, gay or straight, young or old. The defense “locker room talk” should not be a defense. If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, it should not be said in the confines of a male locker room. Ten times out of ten, a man wouldn’t have the audacity to say this in front of their mothers, daughters, or sisters.

TIME
Time can actually be a valid defense. This defense can be used if a change for the better has been seen in the individual after the initial incident. The case for Trump is bleak. He has treated women much the same since this audio was filmed. He has not redeemed himself through his actions since his 2005 conversation.

DEFLECTION
Actions of others have absolutely no bearing on what you, as an individual, do or say. Humans are autonomous. Bill Clinton’s previous actions do not have anything to do with what Donald Trump said ten years ago. Bill Clinton’s previous actions do not give Trump permission to say what he did. (I am not defending Clinton.) If Trump were genuinely apologetic, he would focus entirely on his actions and sincerely ask for forgiveness.

RESPECT: THE IMPORTANCE OF TREATING WOMEN LIKE HUMANS

I don’t want to talk about the politics of this situation. I want to talk about the character, or lack thereof, with the situation. If you haven’t yet heard Trump’s conversation with Billy Bush, to sum it up, he acts as if women are objects at his disposal and speaks about them as sexual beings only.

Respect has been lost for women for a very long time. In popular media and Hollywood, women are often depicted as less than men if given any attention at all. We are more than sexual beings. We are intelligent, thoughtful, important, and a necessary part of society. We are not property. We are not objects.

Men: learn to respect women for what they bring, and what they are capable of bringing, to the table. Women: learn to respect yourself for who you are, and find a man (or woman) who makes you feel respected. Should you choose to have children, instill in them a core respect for others. Do not be a Trump. Do not continue to act as if words do not carry weight in our society. Do not perpetuate the idea that women are disposable to men. It can only serve to separate rather then unite us together.

Why Laughter is the Best Medicine For Relationships

Laughter requires the movement of muscles, meaning your heart rate increases, and more oxygen enters our tissues. Laugh more, and you can exercise less because laughter burns calories.1 The release of endorphins that is caused by increased blood flow lowers stress levels. 2

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Avery is probably one of the funniest people I have ever met. I tell him multiple times a day that he’s not. Gotta keep his ego in check, ya know? He likes to make up his own lyrics to songs that are absolutely ridiculous. And he’s not afraid to be undeniably weird in front of me. I love that he’s able to be so comfortable with me. I think it definitely took some time for us to be completely relaxed in front of one another. It was nothing like “we were completely comfortable with each other right away” crap you hear all the time. While that may be the case for some couples, I would say a majority of us have some reservations when getting to know someone new.

LAUGHTER MAKES IT EASIER TO TALK TO ONE ANOTHER
Communication is so much easier when it’s not serious all the time with every single conversation. That’s not to say there isn’t a time and place to be completely serious, but most of the time, it’s way easier to talk to someone when you know you can be playful, yourself, and laugh at one another. Communicating your feelings with someone who has the power to hurt you emotionally is daunting. But knowing you can laugh and connect with them makes it easier when you have something serious to relay to them.

LEARN TO LAUGH AT YOURSELF
For the longest time, I was so uncomfortable laughing at myself. I have this self-conscious need to be flawless, or to appear so to others. I don’t like to fail, so it was hard to laugh at myself and my mistakes. With Avery, I wasn’t afraid to show him that I wasn’t perfect all the time. And he taught me that it was okay to laugh at myself every once in a while. And when you’re able to laugh at yourself, it doesn’t matter what others say about you. This is one of the best things that has come out of my relationship with Avery, and I thank God every day that he was able to show me how amazing it is that I’m not perfect.

CONNECTS US
What’s so funny about Avery and I is that we are very much the “opposites attract” couple. He is very outwardly personable, while I am an introvert through and through. He makes friends easily and I much happier not being put in situations of meeting new people. He likes to have a plan and stick with it. To me, having a plan is nice but things don’t always happen the way we want them to, and I am perfectly fine with that.
The one thing that brings us together as a couple is laughter. Anyone who doesn’t like to joke around with his or her significant other needs to find a new partner. Laughing is universal, and it allows us to connect with each other.

So laugh a little more, stress a little less, and know everything will be okay.

  1. http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/give-your-body-boost-with-laughter
  2. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-relief/art-20044456

Social Anxiety: Number One Reason Why My Dog Is My Best Friend

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I am shy. And I have social anxiety in certain situations. Even writing this post, knowing that others are going to read my words, makes me anxious. But it’s precisely why I’m doing it. I’ve always been more soft-spoken and for a long time, I thought I would always be that way. Of course just because I’m naturally more introverted and soft-spoken, doesn’t mean I’m destined to stay like this forever. And staying shy will not do anything for the anxiety I feel.

My anxiety stems from the fact that I feel every interaction I have with most people is that they are judging me. So I figure the less social interaction I have with people, the less they can judge me. That’s my logic. The problem with this is that I will always be saddled with anxiety because I cannot escape social interactions if I want to be a normal, functioning human in our society.

I also want to say that my social anxiety isn’t all consuming or off-the-charts bad. And I don’t feel it in all social situations. Talking to strangers is when it’s at its worst. Even group settings, in which I don’t know a lot of people, can set it off. It’s simply something I would like to grow out of. My social anxiety manifests by verbal withdrawal and loss of thought process. I also sometimes feel my heart rate increase, which of course only makes me feel only more anxious.

I’m writing this post because it’s something I want to move beyond. I don’t want to feel anxiety because I think people are judging me. One, I should not care if strangers are judging me. Two, I’ve had people tell me that they thought I was conceited or uptight because of my silence and shyness. So people are making judgments regardless of the fact that I don’t talk so obviously my tactic isn’t working so well. Three, I hate the feeling of anxiety. And finally, I just want to be able to make friends as easily as other people seem to. This is my first step towards living with my social anxiety in a healthier way. Wish me luck.

Sometimes You Just Have To Say “I’m Sorry”

IMG_0980I have never been good at saying sorry. Not because I don’t think I’m ever wrong. Often times I will know I’m wrong. But saying “I’m sorry” out loud is acknowledging to OTHERS that I’m wrong. That is difficult and embarrassing and hard. Despite that, people who want healthy relationships need to learn how to say sorry.

I like to hold grudges. Or I used to. I held onto my anger and let it control my actions. This is just not a healthy way of dealing with problems especially in a romantic relationship because relationships require communication. My punishment of choice is the opposite of communication: the silent treatment. And I never liked to admit when I was wrong.

Saying sorry in a relationship is important, though. It allows for healthy dialogue to take place. I am very proud of the way that I have learned that saying sorry isn’t showing weakness rather it shows strength and a willingness to work through problems rather than casting them aside and hoping they get better by ignoring them (this NEVER works, by the way). It’s a sign of maturity.

We need to make a conscious decision to say sorry more often. Mistakes need to be tolerated because no one is perfect. All relationships, in fact, are imperfect. And this is why “I’m sorry” is so vital. It may take a while before you are able to recognize that you aren’t being tolerant enough of your partner and their faults. But it should always be a goal to talk things out, let it go, and say I’m sorry.

I’m learning, and I still have a long way to go. Avery, stick with me. And I promise to do the same with you.

Social Media Life vs Real Life

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In light of the events of the Taylor Swift/Calvin Harris split drama, I wanted to give my two cents on the whole ordeal. The life social media portrays vs actual real life for most people are two completely different things. We control what we post on our Facebooks, Instagrams, Twitters. Sometimes we get confused about knowing people based solely off the content they post online. When in reality we know only a very small slice of who they really are as a person and what they are going through.  Most of us don’t post the bad, everyday relatable life things we go through.

This is especially true for celebrities. We didn’t see anything wrong with Taylor and Calvin until they split. Even then, they put up a front saying the breakup was amicable leading us to believe they just weren’t right together. And believe we did until news about Talyor co-writing This Is What You Came For came out. There was a whole bunch of drama about who did what. They unfollowed one another; they deleted posts about each other as if their relationship never existed. The point is, if everything blew up in their faces despite their best efforts to lead everyone to believe they were okay with each other.

And we all have those friends who only post selfies with their significant others. *I am not bad mouthing these people or putting them down. They have created so many memories and are capturing them for safekeeping.* What I’m saying is these are the same people who don’t ever post about the bad stuff their relationship goes through. Because no relationship is perfect and there is always bad stuff. Fights, arguments, family problems. I’m guilty of this.

I’m not saying we should air our dirty laundry. All I want everyone to know is that we are all going through things. And we shouldn’t idolize anyone based on their social media life. We should take social media posts at face value and not make assumptions about their life beyond Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.