To The Parents That Always Let Me Follow My Dreams

To The Parents That Always Let Me Follow My Dreams

My parents would look at each other, smile, and help me plan out whatever ridiculous thing I was about to do. That made all the difference in the world - I grew up truly thinking I could do anything I dreamed of doing, and that with a little help from my much wiser parents, it was possible.
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When Hillary Clinton gave her concession speech, she said: "And to all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful, and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams." With all my other emotions following the election, this quote stuck with me. This is the childhood and adulthood I have been given by my parents: they have always allowed me to follow my dreams, regardless of how ridiculous and far-fetched they were.

When I was in elementary school, I decided I wanted to be a forensic anthropologist. I was an obnoxious and precocious kid, who thought I was special because I was in the fifth grade but reading at a high school level and did what I called "science stuff" with my dad (spoiler alert: I wasn't). I decided I wanted to be a forensic anthropologist because I had just started reading the book series by Kathy Reichs that the TV show Bones is based on. I remember sitting at the kitchen table at dinner, the book next to me in case the conversation became dry, and saying confidently, "I don't want to be a vet anymore. I'm going to be like Temperance Brennan."

My parents shared a look, and my mom smiled. "Okay honey, we'll support you no matter what you want to do." Another spoiler alert: I am in college now, but now to be a forensic anthropologist. I stuck with my original dream to be a veterinarian, though those dreams have evolved somewhat.

My parents always supported me in whatever ridiculous things I wanted to do - double major in biology and animal science with a minor in astrophysics (trust me - I know), run division 1 track with that double major and completely ridiculous minor, but most importantly, going 800 miles away from home for school when I had spent a maximum of a week away from my parents. My parents would just smile to each other, and figure out how we were going to make it happen.

I ended up at that school 800 miles from home; I didn't run division 1 track, and I didn't even double major. In the time from the beginning of my senior year until the end, a lot of things changed. The support from my parents never did though, and that was the only thing that mattered.

I never had a conversation with my parents where they tried to let me down gently, that whatever I was dreaming was improbable, impossible, and completely insane. My parents would look at each other, smile, and help me plan out whatever ridiculous thing I was about to do. That made all the difference in the world - I grew up truly thinking I could do anything I dreamed of doing, and that with a little help from my much wiser parents, it was possible.

I can't imagine my life without supportive parents, I would never have reached for the stars and pushed myself past the boundaries I had set for myself.

Cover Image Credit: Kate Marlette

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To The Dad Who Didn't Want Me, It's Mutual Now

Thank you for leaving me because I am happy.
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Thank you, for leaving me.

Thank you, for leaving me when I was little.

Thank you, for not putting me through the pain of watching you leave.

Thank you, for leaving me with the best mother a daughter could ask for.

I no longer resent you. I no longer feel anger towards you. I wondered for so long who I was. I thought that because I didn't know half of my blood that I was somehow missing something. I thought that who you were defined me. I was wrong. I am my own person. I am strong and capable and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

In my most vulnerable of times, I struggled with the fact that you didn't want me. You could have watched me grow into the person that I have become, but you didn't. You had a choice to be in my life. I thought that the fact that my own father didn't want me spoke to my own worth. I was wrong. I am so worthy. I am deserving, and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

You have missed so much. From my first dance to my first day of college, and you'll continue to miss everything. You won't see me graduate, you won't walk me down the aisle, and you won't get to see me follow my dreams. You'll never get that back, but I don't care anymore. What I have been through, and the struggles that I have faced have brought me to where I am today, and I can't complain. I go to a beautiful school, I have the best of friends, I have an amazing family, and that's all I really need.

Whoever you are, I hope you read this. I hope you understand that you have missed out on one of the best opportunities in your life. I could've been your daughter. I could have been your little girl. Now I am neither, nor will I ever be.

So thank you for leaving me because I am happy. I understand my self-worth, and I understand that you don't define me. You have made me stronger. You have helped make me who I am without even knowing it.

So, thank you for leaving me.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Just Know That Grief Comes In Waves

My mother's birthday was September 14th and this year it was the hardest year since her death.

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Grief on a loved one's birthday feels like a different kind of loss. Sure, you'll get the same feelings of loss and thoughts flooding your mind about all the things they've missed, but it feels different. I can't really put it into words all that well because I'm going through the same feelings right now as I write this on September 14th.

My mom passed away a week before Thanksgiving in 2015. She was pronounced brain dead two days earlier. It's still hard. The grief comes in waves, and I can be smiling and happy one moment and the next my anxiety gets a hold of me, and I'm sobbing. There were so many things I wish I could tell my mom or ask her. I can ask now, but I feel as if I'm speaking into oblivion. The hardest part about going through her birthday as if it's just another day is having all those thoughts I had running through my head the day she died, run through my head with perfect recall. I see everything all over again, and it hurts so bad.

At some point, the thoughts stop or slow down, but only for a moment. Everything I thought or felt during that week is brought up all over again in my head. Everything I did comes back with perfect recall. It's as if I'm watching a movie screen of my life through my eyes during only those moments. The day before she was pronounced brain dead, I visited her. She was talking to me, and we were watching a couple of movies (I didn't have a job at the time, and I wasn't in school, so I spent the day there with her). During the movie Brave (my mother loved children's films and sometimes preferred to watch those over other films), there's a part where Merida is worried she was too late to save her mom and that now she's stuck as a bear forever. I never cried during that movie, but during that part, I cried. I felt that I was losing my mom in the same way Merida thought she was losing her mom. After my mom died, I couldn't watch that movie for a good while, and there are still many movies that I can't watch without crying. That day I spent with my mom felt like I wasn't going to see her again. I picked my brothers up from school that day and considered going back to see my mom. I didn't. That's my biggest regret when it comes to my brothers and my mom. They hadn't seen her in a couple of weeks.

The grief comes in waves; it always will. Many people tell you it gets better, but it doesn't; you just have good days or awful ones (today is a particularly bad day for me because I can barely write this without having tears clouding my vision). The only thing I can think of to help ease the pain is to spend your time with family or people that will make you happy or smile. The death of loved ones is especially hard when you were very close to them.

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