Friday, June 30, 2017

The Break-Up

Unfortunately, heartbreak is something that we all experience at some point in our lives. Whether it be major or mild, between lovers or friends, sometimes we are let down by the ones we love the most...and we are left to pick up the pieces of our shattered remains.

I've been through quite a few break ups. But of course, there's always that "one" that is the worst. I'm not going to go into that one. I'm actually going to talk about my first real break-up.

I was new at school. It was the end of the year, but for some ungodly reason, my dad enrolled us in the district with a week left before summer break. I met him on the bus. He approached me. We talked for the last few days, and then summer came and I spent it in Florida with my mother. I didn't really give him a second thought.

Then school started again. He would sit near me on the bus, poking fun and flirting. He was 3 years older than me...already in high school while I was only in 8th grade. But boy was he hot! And older?! I felt on top of the world. So after about a month or two of this flirting, we became "boyfriend and girlfriend".

I was infatuated with him. I felt like I had won a prize or some shit. It was stupid adolescent girl stuff, but it's stuff we all go through. 

So, since I wasn't allowed to "date", I would constantly tell my dad that I was going to a friends house and I would walk to his grandparents to spend time with him. I would sneak phone calls and AOL Instant Message him when I got my hour of internet a night ( shut up; I'm old! ) I would write him notes all the time and doodle bullshit "Mrs. ***" on my notebooks in class...the nines. 

Then...two months after dating, and right before Christmas, I got a phone call. His friend Danielle called me after school that day and told me that Dustin didn't want to be with me anymore. She told me that he didn't want to tell me and that he felt he was "corrupting" me because he was older. I was a mess. And even at 13, I picked my ass up and ran to his house, banging on his grandparent's door with tears flowing from my face. Danielle stood on the staircase with him behind her and he refused to even speak to me. I was devastated. 

After I knew that he was not going to talk to me, I bawled on the walk home and was a wreck for days. 

He was the first guy I really said "I love you" to.
He was someone who was actually nice to me and tried to get to know "the new girl".

I would write him 3-page letters telling him how much I missed him. Actually, I found an old diary about a year ago with obnoxious entries about how much I missed him and how I could never move on ( man, teenage me was fucking stupid ) I would message him online and email him, and eventually...we got back together. From that moment on, it was 5 years of on-and-off dramatic, cheating, lying, angry years...

But to the point:
Heartbreak is not a permanent feeling--it's a learning experience. 

In those 5.5 years I spent with him after that, I learned a lot. And although we didn't last forever, and for a long time I resented him, he was there for many things that could have otherwise broken me. 

He took my virginity, not in a car or at a party, but in a memorable way--and he was sweet about it. He taught me how to drive when my dad wasn't patient enough to do so. His family welcomed me with open arms, even when I didn't have a good sense of what "family" was. He came to meet my dad, even when I feared for my life after being caught red-handed lying. I pretty much GREW UP with him in my life. And sure, by the time we broke up, I was ready to go; I wasn't happy anymore. But it still hurt. He was someone who was a constant in my life for so long. After a while, it feels like that person is a part of you and you aren't quite sure how to survive without them. You become accustomed to whatever environment it is--be it volatile or passive or whathaveyou--and so, when that constant is no longer there, you feel lost.

But through all of it, you learn who you really are as a person.

In the moment, it's rough. And with each break-up, you always think it will be easier--but it never is. From my numerous failed relationships, I've learned a few things:

1. You need to be content with being alone.
2. You need to have a few TRUE friends that you can rely on.
3. You need to have a hobby.
4. You need to grieve appropriately.
5. You need to genuinely love yourself.

Although THIS relationship isn't the one that helped me learn these things, I did eventually learn them. You cannot fear being alone and you need to bask in the glory of enjoying your own company. If you can't learn to be alone, you can't be in a healthy relationship because you will become dependent upon that person. 

You need to have one or two people that will not judge you and will be there for when times get really tough. Even if it's just to bring you out of your funk, you need to know that there is someone. If you don't have many friends, go see a therapist. Just having someone to vent to helps a lot. 

You have to keep yourself busy; volunteer, join a gym, learn to crochet, sometime. If you dwell, you're only going to make yourself miserable. BUT...you also need to take time to grieve the loss. 

Don't feel pressured to "feel better" after an allotted amount of time, like that's all you get. I once took almost a full 2 years to get passed a failed relationship. Sure, it probably wasn't too healthy but I learned a lot about myself and what I want in that time. 

And lastly, cut yourself some slack! Like I said, you have to learn to genuinely enjoy being by yourself--and with that, you learn self-love. It may not be perfect, but each step forward is progress.

I will sit here and tell you that it will get better with time...because it will. It may not be tomorrow or 15 weeks from now or even next year, but it will. We must all go through it--like a right of passage or some shit--but it's also a way to truly find out who YOU are as a person. 

Which leads me to one of my most favoritist quotes, which is what I will leave you with now:


💗

 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Handmaid's Tale ( so far )

I started watching the Hulu Original show The Handmaid's Tale and oh. my. fucking. God! 

...this is not at all what I was expecting it to be.

I'm about 3 episodes in at this point and it's crazy!

The series seems to be about the future and how female repression is back in full swing due to a major decline in reproduction. "Alfred" was kidnapped and her child was taken away after the government? ( still figuring this one out ) found out that she was able to have a child and it survive...apparently, in the future, the survival rate of children is very slim.

So they steal these women who are able to bear children and they become "handmaids" to these couples who cannot reproduce. And it's really fucked up.

Oh, and you're also imprisoned for being homosexual.

So far, they've shown:
-public hangings ( 3 men hung to death from a wall )
-imprisonment for being a lesbian
-the handmaids beating a man to death
-the downfall of women as a whole
-the unwilling sexual acts upon a handmaid, with the wife present
-taking of a newborn child directly after birth
-AND THEY JUST HUNG A WOMEN FOR BEING GAY

This series is raw and it's scary. As you watch, you think, "This couldn't really happen!"...but, in reality, it could. THAT is the most frightening part.

I'm not a full-blown feminist, but I believe in equal rights. And women stil do not have them. We've gained much in the last few decades, but the negative stigma of being a woman ( and being gay ) are still very much a reality in society. 

Even after only a few episodes, I strongly believe this is a series that everyone should watch. Not to frighten, but to educate. 

If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.

 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Rape Culture

Being a woman in today's world is FUCKING scary! Some people may say that we are far too sensitive and we simply overreact, but try being verbally assaulted on a regular basis. Dick pics, cat calls and eyes that critique you from head to toe--it's frightening to even go to the grocery store alone anymore...

...and this is something that happens daily to women all over the world.

Take a look at the infamous Brock Turner case. He got a measly 6-month sentence for RAPING a woman at a party behind a trash can. No repercussions; merely a slap on the wrist and a, "You don't do that!" is pretty much what he got. How is this okay?! 
 
Bill Cosby's case has been deemed a mistrial, even after 51+ allegations of sexual assault. Only one woman could stand trial against him for rape due to the statute of limitations. How is the statute even feasible in 2017?!

We still hear terms like, "She wore a short skirt so she was asking for it" or "She was nice to me and I could tell she was flirting". Being nice to someone does NOT mean you want to have sex with them. You know what means you want to have sex?--when you say, "I want to have sex with you".

Fuck politeness.
 
Per the RAINN website, someone is sexually assaulted EVERY. 98. SECONDS. Um, what?!?!?! 
And in that same paragraph, it states that "every 8 minutes, that victim is a child. 
 
Take a look at their web page. I've only briefly looked over it in the last few minutes and I already have a brick in my stomach. It's atrocious. How is this okay?
 
And let's talk about online dating. How dangerous is this, when you really think about it?! You have NO idea who you are really talking to on the other end of the line. On the World Wide Web, you can be whoever you want to be--even if that person is really a rapist underneath a businessman's guise. I met ONE guy on ONE dating site and thank the Lord almighty that he was not a serialkillermurdererrapist. But not everyone is so lucky. You ever hear of the Craiglist Killer? Yeah...shit like this REALLY happens! 
 
...yet, what repercussions are being inflicted?! 
...what kind of example is the justice system giving when they slap men like Cosby and Turner on the wrist for their crimes?
 
"If you have enough money, you can get away with sex crimes of any type."
"If you're a bright, wealthy, young white man with potential, say you're sorry and we will forgive you."
 
NO!!!! No-no-no-no-NO!!!
 
A friend of mine is currently going through a rough time. His eldest daughter was raped by her stepfather...and he got her pregnant. Apparently she is taking it better than anyone had anticipated, and she chose to carry the child to term and then to give it up for adoption ( which, kudos to her for being such a strong, young woman ) But, is he in jail?! Nope. That poor, innocent young girl--who was a virgin before this all happened--was molested and raped by someone who was supposed to be like a father to her--and you know what he claims?!...that she seduced him. 
 
Victim blaming. 
Seduction and using sexuality as an excuse for lack of self-control.
 
Rape and molestation can be about the sex...but mostly, it's about power. They discuss this in The Gift of Fear ( see my previous blog ) and actually go over the signs and intuitions of a sexual predator. Most likely, the signs are there...you just have to be aware of them. You have to listen, observe and not make excuses.
 
...and if you see the tell-tale signs, you need to ( again! ) FUCK POLITENESS and GTFO!
 
Rape culture is real and, sure, we can all think, "It won't happen to me"...but it can. It happens to our friends, our family, the girl next door or the woman who works at the grocery store. It happens in marriages, between strangers and between family members. 
 
The best way of prevention is education and following your instincts.
 
But something needs to change. This is an issue that needs to be fixed. 

Women should not have to fear going for a jog by themselves.

Children should not have to fear that Uncle Ted is going to come into their room at night and touch them.

This isn't ok.
It is not acceptable.

We need change.
 
 
 
 


Friday, June 16, 2017

Birchbox for June!

SCORE! 

This month, Birchbox accidentally sent me my box TWICE. Sure, it was the same exact products but, luckily, I liked most of them. How awesome of a mistake is that?!


I just received the box(es) a few days ago, but I've already pretty much tried all of the products by now. I was too excited. So here are my reviews:

Smashbox Cosmetics Photo Finish Foundation Primer
I've used this product before when I got a Smashbox giftset for my birthday one year. I'm not a huge fan of this primer simply because I feel you must use a lot of product to get it to spread evening over your face. I got a really good primer in an Ipsy bag one month and I prefer that.

Marcelle Hydra-C 24H Energizing Hydrating Gel
I used this gel yesterday morning and I liked it. I used it like a moisturizer and then put the Smashbox Primer on before I used my BareMinerals powder. It's light, it smells good and it dries quickly.

Cartier Goutte de Rose Eau de Toilette
This smells SO good, OMG! I love it! And I'm pretty sure Cartier is a high-end brand ( but I'm not good with that stuff ) And since I got 2 boxes, I can now keep one at home AND in my purse. It's light, floral and I really like the scent a lot.

Davroe Ends Repair
I've used this the last few nights after my shower as a moisturizer and a detangler. I really like it and it works well. It also smells amazing. I used about a bean-sized a mount and it's definitely enough, and it doesn't leave a sticky or greasy residue on your hands afterwards. 

The Beauty Crop Blush Duo
I am not a fan of cream blushes, but I like the color of the powder half of this duo. It's a little on the peachy side but if I use it sparingly, it's a nice hue. 

I didn't peak at my box prior to it shipping so all the products were a surprise to me this month. I also didn't opt to "choose one" prior to shipment ( mostly because I didn't really like any of the choices ) 

I definitely am liking Birchbox more than I did Ipsy. I can save the boxes if I want to send goodies to friends in the mail, I don't have 12 make up bags that I have no use for, and so far--the products are fairly on-point. I'm really starting to love hair and face products; two things I really could live without. 

Now I'm excited to see what's in store for my July Birchbox!


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Social Media Put-Down

I'm inquisitive by nature; 1. because I'm a girl and 2. because I over-analyze everything! I've always been too smart for my age ( intelligence, yes...I never said I wasn't dense ) and it hasn't always been to my advantage. It drives me crazy at times, and it also prevents me sometimes from leaving well-enough alone...

On average, my blogs usually get about 15 views per post; that isn't a lot. But I hope that the people who do read this will participate at the end of this blog.

I've been thinking for a week now about how some people seem to have it all figured out. So-and-so just bought a new house, such-and-such just installed a pool, what's-his-name just got a new pickup truck, that-girl-over-there got a boob job. People who I thought weren't doing so hot are able to purchase new furniture sets and washer/dryer combos, while me--who thinks I make fairly good money--still sometimes only has so much until next payday. So what's really going on? 


Is everyone just taking out loans and getting themselves into debt?
Are they just really good with their money?
Do their jobs pay better than I'd thought?
What's going on?

I love what I do and I think I make good money for what I do. When I talk to other dental assistants, it's proven. Also along with my pay, I get my benefits paid 100% and I'm matched up to 3% on my 401K. We also get profit sharing quarterly. But then why does it seem like while I still struggle sometimes, others who don't seem to make as much...also seem not to be struggling? 

I briefly discussed this with someone ( I honestly forget who ) a while back and they said that it's all about show, and that people will get loans for tens-of-thousands of dollars just to "keep up with the Jones's". But I don't think that's the only way. Plus, when you don't have money, banks don't want to give money...so how does that even work?

It's one thing to buy an expensive bag every other year, or to save up and splurge on a vacation...but how are some of these people I see going balls to the wall and living "the life" working at Berks & Beyond or some shit...?!

I know it may seem resentful or jealous--and, in a way, I kinda am. Am I doing something wrong? My debt is pretty low. I'm pretty smart with my money. I put into savings every pay. But it's not like my one friend who puts about $2k away every month...that's not feasible for me. 

Social media and society as a whole make us feel some sort of way about how much we make, the luxuries we can afford, our prior educational background and our lifestyle choices. And it fucking sucks. Because the grass IS always greener on social media--always! 

I dated a guy for about a year who was an engineer. He had a college education and a good, well-paying job. I wanted to try the serious thing but he didn't seem like he was into it. So we kept it casual and when I decided to move on, I cut ties. But then I looked back at the behaviors--he never introduced me to any of his friends or family, he was blase about some predicaments like they were "expected of me", and just some of the things he would say. Fast forward a few months later: he has a girlfriend who's met his BFF and his parents. She had a college education. She has an "important" job. Had it not been for the signs, I would've never thought that he wasn't interested simply because I didn't go to a university. But apparently, that's still important to some people's images.


And I can understand how some people want an "equal partner"--someone they don't have to take care of because that person can take care of themselves. But there are others that you see that are doctors or lawyers and they are married to the most expectant people ever. 

Just because someone doesn't have a college education does not mean they don't work hard, spend wisely and take pride in the job that they do.

But does that decision end up screwing us over for the rest of our lives? 


We all want to live comfortably and not have to want for anything...some more so than others. But some people can, and others can't. What dictates that, though? Opportunities? Willpower? Work ethics?

And when we live in a world of Snapchat and Instagram: who boast things like "Rich Kids of Instagram", where teenagers born of wealthy parents brag of their "stack of hundies" and take Boomerangs of their Rolex watches. It makes some of us think, "Why is this not me?"

So it got me wondering...what do the people in my life do for a living? And what kind of living do they really have? Do you have the same problems that I do? Do you still feel that even though things seem okay, they may not be? Do you also compare yourselves to others and their lifestyles? And I decided to make an anonymous survey.

The survey asks 10 questions pertaining to your livelihood. I will not know who you are, just your answers. You don't need to be specific, but I'm curious. Is it easy for you? Do I make a decent salary compared to my peers? Are my spending habits outrageous compared to others? Am I not saving as much? 

I will post a blog about the results at a later date...as a follow-up to this post. 

FOLLOW THIS LINK TO BE DIRECTED TO THE ANONYMOUS SURVEY!

As always, thank you SO much for reading a little bit about my life, opinions, trials and accomplishments and for being a part of Bitchfest. Please tell your friends about the blog, comment topics you may be interested in, let me know if you've tried anything after my recommendations or reviews, or just say *hi*! 😎








"Take each day as a new opportunity to be a better version of yourself."

Monday, June 12, 2017

Time Flies By

On Saturday, we celebrated my youngest sister's graduation. She officially graduated on Thursday, but the party for her was on Saturday. Born in 1999, she's 12.5 years younger than me ( she's my half-sister: same dad, different mom ) I remember when she was born, changing her diaper, hearing her talk about how boys were gross...all that stuff. And now look at her!
 
My littlest sis and dad
 
The party was held at her mother and step-dad's house in Maryland, and Carol's family and I spent the day there to show support and love to this well-rounded recent grad.

She's decided to go to the local community college to get her degree in nursing. She's been taking college courses since her Junior year of high school, so she already has a leg up. Also, she has a great head on her shoulders which I could not be prouder of, so I know she will succeed in anything that she does. 

The weather was beautiful for the event, although a little hot. They had the volleyball net up and the Endless pool open for the kids. Burgers on the grill and ( my favorite! )--baked mac and cheese was on the menu for the day. I had a couple of beers and watched everyone play volleyball, while sitting in the shade.
 
Abbey with Kurt and her nephew, playing some volleyball

The 3 Dunn sisters

The little one and I
 
And ironically, it wasn't really awkward at all.

The baby got a nap. We met some of Abbey's friends. Talked with Pam a little. Played with some puppers. It was a good Saturday.

Now, Abbey is currently at Senior Week...but I have no worries--she's a smart girl. She doesn't give into peer pressure and she tells people when she's uncomfortable. I don't think she'll do anything stupid. But if she does, she's a kid--you live, you learn. 

I'm so very proud of the person she is becoming, and I only hope that she continues the path. There's so much ahead of her and she's gonna be AWESOME!
 
 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

This American Life #589

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Paulus Farm Market

This passed weekend, we went to the cutest little place called Paulus Farm Market. I'd never heard of it, but my sister looked it up for Madilyn's birthday party and it's where she's having it this year. We decided to go on Sunday and I fell in LOVE!

So, it's a cute little country store that sells deli meats, cheeses, canned goods, fresh produce, natural honey, you-name-it. But also, for a $2 entry fee, you can see their actual farm animals! I know, I know..."you can see cows and sheep everywhere in PA!"...but you can feed these ones and pet them, so it was game over from there.

They had pygmy goats with kids ( one I wanted to sneak home with me under my dress ), a sheep and her lamb, a few cows, peacocks, bunnies, turkeys, chickens...normal farm animals. But the goatsssss...oh my Lord, the goatssss! *swoon* 



The male peacock was showing for the female when we first got there, so he had all of his feathers out and you could literally hear the "hiss" of him trying to get her attention. He was very beautiful.


And, of course, Miss Madilyn enjoyed herself. There was a point where the sheep was bahhing so loud that Maddy just started laughing from the gut! It was adorable. 



I love my animals and I love my niece, so all-in-all it was a great day! 💓

Monday, June 5, 2017

My Therapist Doesn't Like You

I try to make light of mental illness. I suffer from it, yes, but I think I somewhat-cope by searching funny quotes and memes that put a twist to the normally debilitating truth of depression. It makes you feel less alone, with having to take medication and go to talk therapy and all. I am not ashamed of either of those things and I'm a huge advocate when it comes to mental health awareness. I feel the lack of education and resources leads to our crippling homeless epidemic, drug addictions and suicides...

And today, I Google searched "my therapist doesn't like you"...

I see this sentence as funny and true. You talk about a lot of things in therapy; your past, your present, your future, who has hurt you, who you've hurt. You open yourself up ( at least I hope ) in a way you may never have before. And therapists see all sorts of people. At my last session, we discussed how I was recently described as toxic by a late friend. We talked a bit about it and then she said, "Jenn, as your therapist, I can tell you that you are not toxic. I see toxic people everyday, and you're not one of them." Therapists are non-biased and they don't tell you things they think you want to hear: they tell you the things you need to. 

So I searched this sentence. And although I didn't find any funny memes, what I did find were a few interesting charts/worksheets that I wanted to share. 

http://avpdcommunity.tumblr.com/post/141768494544/when-walking-the-middle-path-or-finding-the
This chart shows the different types of negative thinking styles. I know that I am apt to fall under a few of these, and I know numerous people who do, also ( although not all will admit it ) Read the chart--see if you recognize any of these thought patterns in your own behavior. And then I challenge you to do a little research on it. You always have the ability to change your attitude, but only if you want to.
https://www.quora.com/How-does-it-feel-to-have-people-step-on-you-all-the-time-and-find-yourself-angry-only-to-make-a-bigger-fool-of-yourself

The Personal Bill of Rights chart is one I found very interesting. As humans, we all have the right to certain things and that includes thinking for ourselves. I feel society makes us believe we are only likable if we say "yes" all the time, no matter how much it kills us inside...and that "freedom of speech" is only allowed to those who are outspoken. That is not the case. We all have the right to say no, change our minds and make our own decisions.

https://www.pinterest.com/explore/codependency-recovery/

Lastly, the chart on boundaries. Now this chart is mostly for co-dependency, but I also feel a lot of the points are valid in other situations. I am one who is still working on setting healthy boundaries with people, and it takes time. A lot of the things listed in the upper box are attributes I've had at one point in my life. But as you grow, you mature ( hopefully ) and aim to be more like the bottom box. I take it day by day, and with the help of my therapist and educating myself, I hope to approach situations far better than I once did. 

Life is all about changes. Some are welcomed and some are not. It's hard sometimes, but it's hard for everyone at at least one point. Each new day is an opportunity to be better than you were yesterday, and you can either choose to use it to grow...or you don't. Depression and anxiety are no excuse to be a shitty person--we are warriors and we can't let our chemical imbalances take hold and turn us into something we never wanted to be. Rise above, work hard and try to be a little better each day. 

Fake it 'til you make it, right?!



Thursday, June 1, 2017

Trail-Blazing

One of my favorite activities for the Spring-Fall is hiking! I usually aim to do it at least half a dozen times a year. Whether I go with friends or just Lola, it's a nice way to decompress, take in nature and rid yourself of daily stresses.

I've done a couple different trails in SoCen PA, and today I'm going to tell you a little bit about my favorite spots.

Tumbling Run

Located in Gardners, PA, Tumbling Run is a pretty steep hike. I remember the first time I did this it was shortly after I broke my foot. A friend Jason had taken me up and it was gorgeous--I couldn't believe that I'd never been before! Some people choose to walk IN the falls, along the rocks...while others hike the gravel alongside. I did the latter. Once you get to the top of the falls, there is a rock formation to look out from. I, of course, did not...as I'm deathly afraid of heights! LOL! But it was a nice walk and I think it was the equivalent of between 3-4 miles.

Pine Grove Furnace State Park

View from atop Pole Steeple

Also located in Gardners, PA, Pine Grove is a favorite among locals not only for hiking but also swimming. The state park contains two man-made lakes ( Fuller and Laurel ) that are hot spots for swimming, tanning, hiking, and cook outs. I remember as a kid having my sister's birthday parties there...and going with friends to get some sun during the summertime. Behind Laurel Lake there is also a nice hiking trail called Pole Steeple which many people frequent. I'm unsure of the mileage of this trail, but they have the ability to choose a less-steep or a more-steep option. The top of the mountain has a nice rock look-out, and it's large enough that I can look at the view without feeling like I'm going to fall.

Colonel Denning State Park

My Favorite Murder podcast always tells the ladies to "STAY OUT OF THE WOODS!" but I did not follow that advice--this is where Nathan and I's first date took place. Located in the mountains of Newville, PA, it's a nice little park with many trails. There is room for camping, cookouts and swimming, also, but the lake seems to contain lots of water snakes anytime I've been there. I've heard that it also has Flat Rock but I've never been.

Gifford Pinchot State Park

This park is right around the corner from where I live now, but I haven't explored it yet. Located in Lewisberry, PA it's quite a large state park with lots to do. They have boat, kayak and canoe rentals and a playground in one of the parts. There's also local eateries like Forry's Ice Cream where you can grab a drink and a snack after hiking all day. 

Hiking is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and...it's free! So put on some sneakers, grab a friend or your four-legged friend and explore

Do you have any favorite spots you like to hike?