I’m Fairly Agile; I Can Bend and Not Break. Or I Can Break and Take it With a Smile.

This is the second time I’ve used lyrics from Dashboard Confessional for a title of a blog. There’s just something about their words that always seem to speak to me, offering me something that I relate to. It’s always great when you find that connection in words, whether it’s lyrics, blogs, or other pieces of art, because it gives you something that helps you feel less alone on whatever journey that you are going through. One of the things that have inspired me to become a writer is the understanding and awe of just how powerful words can really be. At some point, your words will hit someone in just the right moment and you can have a small but profound impact on their day or even their life. You can help them through that difficult time as a parent or know that grief and loss is something you can relate to. You can help them know that while the rest of the world wants to hate you for just being you, there’s at least some person who’s there on your side. Words matter.

I pride myself in the art of stoicism. That is something that has helped me be the reliable person that I am. I can, probably as unhealthy as it is, compartmentalize practically anything. This helps to separate any emotion out of decisions that I need to make in order to make the rational choice. Because at the end of the day, I will always do the rational thing. The right thing. Will I like it? Not always. Will I perform my duties as expected of me? Always. Grin and bear it. I will do as the the title of the post suggests: “I will bend and not break. Or I can break and take it with a smile.” Is that the healthiest approach in life? Probably not. But, I never once lied to my readers to convince them that I am always in a great mental state. In fact, if anything I’ve been completely honest in the fact that most days I barely have it together. That’s the reality that most people live in though. Just getting by.

Life isn’t pretty. It’s challenging. You’re not going to like everyone that you meet. That’s okay. Not everyone is going to like you. Not everyone is going to think like you. Something that you see as perfectly reasonable or even something that you think is completely obvious, may not be so obvious to others. Everyone looks through life with a different lens. The problem is that you think you can just put on someone else’s lens and think you’re going to see things as clearly as they do. More often than not, you just get blurry vision and an awful headache for trying.

What’s the point of all of this? Maybe there isn’t one. Maybe I just wanted to let people know that it’s okay to break. Maybe I want people to know that it’s okay to bend. Some days you are going to have it and other days, you’re so far from having it that you’re locked in the bathroom eating Flamin’ Hot Doritos and rethinking your life choices. I just want you to know that it’s okay. Every day is a new day to try to pull your crap together and if you don’t, try again tomorrow. Even if you barely made it through the day, the good news is that you still made it. You survived whatever it was that tried to take you down. I think that’s the most important thing.

And He’s Now a Graduate

I think I was waiting for some emotional moment to happen when my oldest graduated. I expected to be overcome with sadness, but instead I was just immensely proud. I expected to mourn his milestone into adulthood, but instead I was really excited to see him transition to this next chapter of his life. I reminisced in my head about his kindergarten graduation. I bragged to anyone who would listen about him. (Sorry social media. But kinda not.) He’s now a graduate, moving onto this next adventure of his life: college, which is clear across the state from us.

It’s hard. It’s hard to put all of this to words. I spent the graduation not being able to hear anything and making jokes about how the mayor is only good at public appearances and giving speeches. I was just focused on getting him through the day, doing the walk he didn’t want to do. I told him, “I don’t care if you don’t do the walk. This isn’t for you. I care that your grandparents are going to be pissed at me for letting you not walk. I just don’t want to listen to it. So, suck it up buttercup, you’re doing it.” I explained for him that graduation is about the family being proud of their graduate. Hilariously, after all of that he keeps asking me for any pictures I had of the event. Not bad for someone who didn’t want to do the walk.

It’s easy to feel sad about this. You remember them as babies and somehow you blink and they are planning their college adventures. They are on a program for dormmates that’s essentially just Tinder, where you scroll through and select the people that you think you can spend the year not arguing with. You may even make a friend for the rest of your time at school. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m not letting myself focus on the sadness of my oldest leaving sooner than I’d like. I’m focusing on the other things. Like how great it’s going to be for him at his dream school. Like how I need a new couch and a fixed bathroom door before I can throw a party. Like how if I break down, I know everyone else will follow. But if I show strength, they will all know it’s okay. I know my role in the world, and that’s it.

My boy graduated within the top 70 of his class of 291 students and he graduated with a fancy Pro Merito recognition. He finished his grades with a 90 in AP English and had honors all 4 years of school. He had his choice of colleges and a future wide open to him. I’m so proud of his hard work and the man that he’s become. He’s caring, compassionate, and kind. He’s trying to figure out how he can use his future career to have a positive impact on the world. He wants to help people and wants to work in law enforcement, trying to do his part to make the system more honest. He has lofty ideals that I hope for his sake (and the world’s really) he can accomplish. I have faith that he’s going to do great things. I have faith that I did everything that I could to give him the foundation of intelligence, confidence, and compassion to achieve everything he wants to.

My boy is a graduate. The world is now his to do what he wants with. And I wish that I could say that I could not be any more proud of him than I am in this very moment. But I know that he’s going to keep making me even prouder when he goes out into this world. I just hope that he’s ready for the world.

Remember Those We Lost

Typically today would be a post where I would talk about something gaming related, generally Overwatch League related as the season is still going on. That has been switched to tomorrow, because it is Memorial Day. A day where we remember those people and their families who made the ultimate sacrifice. That’s important to remember. We wouldn’t have the freedoms that we have, like getting drunk at some BBQ or swimming around enjoying a day off if it weren’t for those people willing to risk everything for the love of their country.

Women lose their husbands. Husbands lose their wives. Parents lose their children and children lose a parent. A person made the selfless decision to enlist because they want to make the world a safer place. Because they want to make their country a safer place. In what seems like forever, a person gets the notification that they knew was possible and dreaded but hoped they would never get. They have to tell their children. They have to figure out what happens next. They need to figure out how to be okay with the new normal.

For those families, there is a void that can never be replaced as there is with any other death in the family. Memorials can be placed in their honor, but that doesn’t take away the ache of missing their loved one. There may be guilt that you let them join. There may be pride that they fought valiantly. There may be anger, because there was no reason to be in the war to begin with in your mind. There are so many different emotions that it may take years, even decades, to sort through everything.

Today as you enjoy your party, remember that someone died for that. Remember the sacrifice people made and are willing to make for you, even if they never met you. Remember that there are troops currently all over the world who are in danger, but go on anyways because they feel that it is their duty. Remember that there is a family who hasn’t heard anything from their loved ones in a while and are terrified that the notification is coming. Today isn’t about you; it is about those our country lost trying to protect us. It is about their families who are mourning not just this day, but every day. Remember that today is about remembering those brave souls we lost.

To Make a Change, You Need to Be the Change

A long while back I posted about how you need to be the change you want to make in the world. If nothing else, I’ve always stood by that statement. It wasn’t long after that where I started to worry about maybe it was too late for me to make a change in the world. What could I offer but words that I’m not even sure anyone reads or cares that I said them. What difference in the world could I possibly make? I think I’m nearing an early midlife crisis, or maybe it’s me nearing the end of my 20’s where I’m becoming increasingly aware and nostalgic all at once.

Maybe I’m right and it is too late for me to make a difference in this world. Maybe my generation and the ones before me are too far gone to change their stubborn ways. But I wonder how true that is. Gandhi was in his 70’s and he still fought for what he believed in to make his world a better place. Then again, he was assassinated so maybe that’s a warning to any of us who gets a silly idea like making a difference in the world. He had a cause he was willing to die for. Maybe my problem is that I don’t have any causes that make me say “yeah, I would take a bullet for that one”. Though get me on a good night, and I’d be willing to take a bullet for tacos or bacon. But I think eating either is enough of a hazard that I shouldn’t wish getting shot for it. Sometimes watching the news or hearing people talk make me also wish for a bullet, but I’m not sure if it’s for me or them. (It’s a joke, I don’t need the police on my doorstep. I’m a democrat, I don’t own a gun nor would I know what to do with one.)

If it is too late for me, it isn’t too late for my children. If nothing else, I can encourage this lesson for them. I always tell my oldest son never to settle for the lowest in life, that he should excel and do his best and aim for the sky. I want him to have a better life than me, and I’ve done everything in my life to encourage that. I went to school, I followed a dream. I didn’t settle for the life people expect of a teen mother: living in the slums while waiting at the welfare office for my money. I want my children to be successful meaningful people who change the world. I choose to lead them by example and show them that they are little specks in the grand scheme of the world, but even the smallest rock can make a ripple in the water. My oldest son is this shining example of this: he donated his time last year to several community service projects as part of his school’s student council. He walked proudly with his over-sized sandwich board advertising his school’s booth at the local Cancer Walk to raise money for the American Cancer Society. I walked proudly behind him, because I am proud. I take everything back, maybe this is the change I’m supposed to make.

First!

Another new blogger joining this overabundance of blogging sites, but what makes me different from the rest? Well, I suppose nothing really. Most are aspiring writers hoping to get out there and make a name, while others have a purpose or goal of informing the masses of readers on a specific topic. While I admit I have no specific aim of topics or goals, I will say that I will probably talk about whatever I feel like at the moment.

So with that, I suppose I should introduce myself. I’m Brianne, an aspiring writer. I graduated college, with a B.A. in English, formerly a double major of English and Education. Long story short, I realized that being morally opposed to many things in the public schooling made it difficult to actually want to teach. Originally, I had intended becoming a teacher because they are some of the most influential people in a child or teen’s life. The thought of helping students the way I  as once was became an idea that made me smile. In the end I realized inspiring someone, anyone, was more important than how I did it.

Now, married and still a little idealistic, I was able to do something I loved: writing. My husband, the amazing person he is, made this possible for me. His sometimes grating goal of making me happy has really inspired to finally take this plunge into a world where everyone can see what I write, although any person who does art can tell you how terrifying it is. The idea that you can write something, then be mocked by every reader is like that dream we all had of public speaking with our teeth missing, or standing in front of your audience stark naked.

At least something I’ve always believed sticks here: you never know until you try. You can get scared, or even say “why bother” and not even try; but you’ll never know what you could’ve accomplished without at least taking the first dive into the water. If nothing else, you’ll have the attempt and the experience behind you. Besides, without trying something you’re terrified to do, how can you expect your children to try something new?

Most blogs have a goal, a promise to their readers of a specific topic they can count on. However, much like how I live my life, sticking to the same thing every day just doesn’t appeal to me at all. I like variety, that’s how I like my life. I love options so I can read a fantasy book one day or a classic the next. And honestly, I love my whims. I will promise an honest outlook on how I see things, which will probably be the basis of what you’ll read.

So this leads me here with my first post.