We Are Family

We Are Family

Don't miss out on family you may not have had before.
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I am a very lucky daughter, I have two incredible parents. My mother is my hero and my father shows me strength. My father will be my topic choice today because I keep getting reminded how arrogant some people really are. My father is a bald, thick man, with many tattoos, facial hair, and rides a Harley. When that picture creates itself in your head you are more than likely thinking, “Damn, he sounds scary.”

That’s what I see in the eyes of most people when they first meet him, fear.

He spent most of his life coaching mine and my brothers’ sports teams and volunteered at our schools on many occasions. I had and still do have my dad wrapped around my little finger. He sounds so scary, right? Being the daughter of a biker is one thing I will NEVER regret or be ashamed of.

I was about eleven when I had become introduced to basically a new culture. Shortly after I was introduced to the motorcycle family. My dad started bringing his biker friends around me and introducing me. I won’t lie, at first I was a little frightened in the back of my mind, but I never see fit to judge anybody until after I give them a chance. I have been with my dad when he has been asked if he was illiterate or asked if he is unable to calculate numbers.

Rage rushes through my body at this point. My dad is one of the smartest people I know, while you are standing there calculating a list of numbers on your phone he already has the solution figured out in his head. The friends that we have both met fitting the same description of my dad have quickly turned into family. I can honestly say that the guys or women covered in tattoos and riding motorcycles have treated me better overall than the typical people you see walking down the street. I know that if I am ever in trouble I will have a variety of people to help me and I feel without the motorcycle family that void would not be filled.

The fabulous part is I could have met part of the family five minutes ago, and they would fulfill anything I need without question. My dad and other fellow bikers face much discrimination on their own when they are the ones doing charity rides, donating money, and just helping in any way that is possible. Stop watching shows about the hard ass motorcycle gangs and connecting it to every biker you see.

I can tell you from a personal standpoint that I personally met Banditos and Hells Angels and I would trust them with my life. Be careful what you assume, you may never know what family you will miss out on.

Cover Image Credit: Karen Leiby

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I Went To "The Bachelor" Auditions

And here's why you won’t be seeing me on TV.
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It’s finally time to admit my guilty pleasure: I have always been a huge fan of The Bachelor.

I can readily admit that I’ve been a part of Bachelor fantasy leagues, watch parties, solo watching — you name it, I’ve gone the whole nine yards. While I will admit that the show can be incredibly trashy at times, something about it makes me want to watch it that much more. So when I found out that The Bachelor was holding auditions in Houston, I had to investigate.

While I never had the intention of actually auditioning, there was no way I would miss an opportunity to spend some time people watching and check out the filming location of one of my favorite TV shows.

The casting location of The Bachelor, The Downtown Aquarium in Houston, was less than two blocks away from my office. I assumed that I would easily be able to spot the audition line, secretly hoping that the endless line of people would beg the question: what fish could draw THAT big of a crowd?

As I trekked around the tanks full of aquatic creatures in my bright pink dress and heels (feeling somewhat silly for being in such nice clothes in an aquarium and being really proud of myself for somewhat looking the part), I realized that these auditions would be a lot harder to find than I thought.

Finally, I followed the scent of hairspray leading me up the elevator to the third floor of the aquarium.

The doors slid open. I found myself at the end of a large line of 20-something-year-old men and women and I could feel all eyes on me, their next competitor. I watched as one woman pulled out her travel sized hair curler, someone practiced answering interview questions with a companion, and a man (who was definitely a little too old to be the next bachelor) trying out his own pick-up lines on some of the women standing next to him.

I walked to the end of the line (trying to maintain my nonchalant attitude — I don’t want to find love on a TV show). As I looked around, I realized that one woman had not taken her eyes off of me. She batted her fake eyelashes and looked at her friend, mumbling something about the *grumble mumble* “girl in the pink dress.”

I felt a wave of insecurity as I looked down at my body, immediately beginning to recognize the minor flaws in my appearance.

The string hanging off my dress, the bruise on my ankle, the smudge of mascara I was sure I had on the left corner of my eye. I could feel myself begin to sweat. These women were all so gorgeous. Everyone’s hair was perfectly in place, their eyeliner was done flawlessly, and most of them looked like they had just walked off the runway. Obviously, I stuck out like a sore thumb.

I walked over to the couches and sat down. For someone who for the most part spent most of the two hours each Monday night mocking the cast, I was shocked by how much pressure and tension I felt in the room.

A cop, stationed outside the audition room, looked over at me. After a brief explanation that I was just there to watch, he smiled and offered me a tour around the audition space. I watched the lines of beautiful people walk in and out of the space, realizing that each and every one of these contestants to-be was fixated on their own flaws rather than actually worrying about “love.”

Being with all these people, I can see why it’s so easy to get sucked into the fantasy. Reality TV sells because it’s different than real life. And really, what girl wouldn’t like a rose?

Why was I so intimidated by these people? Reality TV is actually the biggest oxymoron. In real life, one person doesn’t get to call all the shots. Every night isn’t going to be in a helicopter looking over the south of France. A real relationship depends on more than the first impression.

The best part of being in a relationship is the reality. The best part about yourself isn’t your high heels. It’s not the perfect dress or the great pick-up lines. It’s being with the person that you can be real with. While I will always be a fan of The Bachelor franchise, this was a nice dose of reality. I think I’ll stick to my cheap sushi dates and getting caught in the rain.

But for anyone who wants to be on The Bachelor, let me just tell you: Your mom was right. There really are a lot of fish in the sea. Or at least at the aquarium.

Cover Image Credit: The Cut

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7 Signs You've Found An Authentic Friend

Never take true friendships for granted.

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In a generation like ours, sometimes it's hard to distinguish a lifelong friend from a temporary one. There are friends for every part of your life: your childhood friends, college friends, work friends, and even friends that you play poker with at your retirement home. But one thing holds true during your life journey, hold on to your authentic friends. Here's how to distinguish one from an ordinary friend.

1. They remember specific details you've told them in the past.

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How did they remember that your dog was turning 12 on June 6th? It's because they genuinely take the time to listen to you. This shows how much they care and want to know about your life.

2. They care about your well-being.

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If you've heard your friend say things like "drive safe" or "text me when your flight lands", this shows how much they care about your safety. Authentic friends will make sure you are protected and feeling happy.

3. They always want the best for you.

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We all know there is a big difference between a jealous friend and a supportive friend. Surrounding yourself with friends that want the best for you is important. More positivity will be brought in your life if you are aware of maintaining an encouraging environment for yourself.

4. They will be extremely honest with you.

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True friends say it like it is. They won't lie and tell you your skirt matches your shoes if it doesn't. Honesty is the best policy when it comes to distinguishing a genuine friend.

5. They keep your secrets safe.

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You can trust them and tell them anything. Authentic friends won't repeat secrets you've told them to anyone else, and this is such a refreshing feeling! These are reliable and trustworthy people.

6. They will go out of their way to help you.

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This relates to caring about your well-being because they will do anything for you. Your true friends will go the extra mile without hesitation. They will be there for you wherever you need them and won't expect a favor in return.

7. They embrace your goofy side.

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Everybody's got one! If you are able to be your true goofy self around your people then you, my friend, have found a true one! Enjoy being weirdos together.

If any of your friends meet these criteria, then you are blessed! Never take your true friendships for granted.

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