Why I'm Thankful For My Mind This Year

Why I'm Thankful For My Mind This Year


Why I’m Thankful for my Mind This Year

Thanksgiving 2011:

The day I had been avoiding for as long as I could remember finally came. A day filled with family, laughter, football, alcohol, and most notably, food. Sounds fantastic, right? To most people, this holiday brings smiles, distant family, and memorable stories together. For me, it brought anxiety, a fake smile, and, common amongst everyone else, a hungry belly.

As soon as the day started I counted down the hours, actually the minutes, until it came to an end. Food consumed my mind. What to eat, what not eat, how much of what to eat, how I could avoid certain foods, and what foods were completely “off limits.” As family arrived my anxiety got worse and my heartbeat grew faster. I explained the shaking and coldness occurring throughout my entire body to others as “I’m just excited,” and “it’s unbearably cold outside.” Realistically, my body was in the process of shutting down to enter survival mode because I hadn’t eaten in about two days. Pictures were taken, hugs and kisses were exchanged, a toast was said, and food was served. My mind ran wild. Placing food like potatoes and stuffing on my plate made me nauseas. Everything going on surrounding me was blocked out and the only thing that mattered in my mind was how I was about to handle throwing away my food without anyone noticing. I had been doing this for a while, I had a method, but with so many people around it was a little harder to accomplish. Of course, not a single person had any idea that I was uncomfortable and nervous; I was beyond skilled at hiding my emotions. I ate small pieces of veggies here and there as I filtered in an out of conversations around the table, waiting for the perfect time to get up and dispose of my, basically full, plate of food.

As soon as I had the chance, I got up, threw my food away, and didn’t think about it again. Later in the evening we all discussed things we were thankful for in life. Instantly, I thought, “I’m thankful for being skinny.” Family left, leftovers were taken, and I went to bed, as always, with a growling stomach.

Thanksgiving 2015:

The day had finally arrived I had been waiting for all week, Thanksgiving! I woke up and went to my high school football game, where I was reunited with all my past friends, second families, and coaches. The weather was beautiful, absolutely gorgeous. The game came to an end and it was time to start helping mom prepare for dinner later in the evening. I came home to a kitchen that smelled like turkey and gravy heaven that was filled with family I hadn’t seen in months.
Seeing everyone, especially my grandparents, brought a true smile to my face, no more of that fake-smile nonsense. Once the food was done and ready to be eaten I flocked to grab my plate, filling it a mile high with mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and, of course, turkey. Each and every bite was delicious. We all laughed and told stories about childhood times, and made fun of each other for the things we did over the past year. It was then, in that moment, I realized what I was most thankful for this year. My mind. I was actually taking in and participating in what was going on around me at the dinner table…something I didn’t have the privilege of doing just three years prior. I was purely cheerful.

There is a mix of amazement and concern regarding the extent to how beyond powerful our minds can be. For Thanksgiving 2011, the only thing that made me happy was that I was thin. Looking back, not only does that disgust me, but also has me in complete and utter disbelief because of the mindset I have today, and how much more things in life, actually important things, mean to me. I am grateful for the sun rising and setting each morning. I am grateful for the friends and family I have that have done nothing but support me to get me to the point in life I am at today. I am grateful for my house, the food served to me, and the clothes I wear that help me survive each and every day. I am thankful for my health…. it isn’t something that everyone has, and I know that from just three years ago. Above all, I am thankful for my mind. For realizing there is far more to be thankful for in life then the size of my body. For allowing me to take in and appreciate all that is going on around me. To let me wake up each morning and think to myself how wonderful it is to be alive.

Cover Image Credit: http://signaturextra.com/balance-nutrition-best-of-the-best-brain-food-before-a-test

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A Letter To My Humans On Our Last Day Together

We never thought this day would come.

I didn't sleep much last night after I saw your tears. I would have gotten up to snuggle you, but I am just too weak. We both know my time with you is coming close to its end, and I just can't believe it how fast it has happened.

I remember the first time I saw you like it was yesterday.

You guys were squealing and jumping all around, because you were going home with a new dog. Dad, I can still feel your strong hands lifting me from the crate where the rest of my puppy brothers and sisters were snuggled around my warm, comforting puppy Momma. You held me up so that my chunky belly and floppy wrinkles squished my face together, and looked me right in the eyes, grinning, “She's the one."

I was so nervous on the way to my new home, I really didn't know what to expect.

But now, 12 years later as I sit in the sun on the front porch, trying to keep my wise, old eyes open, I am so grateful for you. We have been through it all together.

Twelve “First Days of School." Losing your first teeth. Watching Mom hang great tests on the refrigerator. Letting you guys use my fur as a tissue for your tears. Sneaking Halloween candy from your pillowcases.

Keeping quiet while Santa put your gifts under the tree each year. Never telling Mom and Dad when everyone started sneaking around. Being at the door to greet you no matter how long you were gone. Getting to be in senior pictures. Waking you up with big, sloppy kisses despite the sun not even being up.

Always going to the basement first, to make sure there wasn't anything scary. Catching your first fish. First dates. Every birthday. Prom pictures. Happily watching dad as he taught the boys how to throw every kind of ball. Chasing the sticks you threw, even though it got harder over the years.

Cuddling every time any of you weren't feeling well. Running in the sprinkler all summer long. Claiming the title “Shotgun Rider" when you guys finally learned how to drive. Watching you cry in mom and dads arms before your graduation. Feeling lost every time you went on vacation without me.

Witnessing the awkward years that you magically all overcame. Hearing my siblings learn to read. Comforting you when you lost grandma and grandpa. Listening to your phone conversations. Celebrating new jobs. Licking your scraped knees when you would fall.

Hearing your shower singing. Sidewalk chalk and bubbles in the sun. New pets. Family reunions. Sleepovers. Watching you wave goodbye to me as the jam-packed car sped up the driveway to drop you off at college. So many memories in what feels like so little time.

When the time comes today, we will all be crying. We won't want to say goodbye. My eyes might look glossy, but just know that I feel your love and I see you hugging each other. I love that, I love when we are all together.

I want you to remember the times we shared, every milestone that I got to be a part of.

I won't be waiting for you at the door anymore and my fur will slowly stop covering your clothes. It will be different, and the house will feel empty. But I will be there in spirit.

No matter how bad of a game you played, how terrible your work day was, how ugly your outfit is, how bad you smell, how much money you have, I could go on; I will always love you just the way you are. You cared for me and I cared for you. We are companions, partners in crime.

To you, I was simply a part of your life, but to me, you were my entire life.

Thank you for letting me grow up with you.

Love always,

Your family dog

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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15 Steamy Summer Date Ideas That Won't Burn Through Your Bank

Don't let date night get repetitive this summer...


With a new season, comes new opportunities for super fun date ideas to keep your love life fresh and fun. I'm sure your favorite brunch place is great, but why not take advantage of the beautiful weather and try out some new things with your significant other this summer?

1. Go to the farmers market.

There is something so refreshing about walking through a farmers market. How could you not be happy when surrounded by fresh fruit, coffee stands, and live music? This is such an easy way to get some sunshine and grab some AMAZING food. My farmers market used to have everything from freshly pressed lemonade to waffle sandwiches. If you want to take the date a step further, find a recipe before you go, and buy fresh ingredients to cook a yummy dinner together later that night.

2. Tie-dye matching T-shirts.

Tie-dye is messy, so take advantage of the beautiful weather and head outside where things can get as messy as you want! What a cute little date souvenir too!

3. Late night ice cream run.

Ice cream is cool and everything, but something about ice cream in the middle of the night seems way more adventurous than a mid-day scoop. And the only time of the year that its going to be warm enough out to get ice cream late at night is, of course, summer!

4. Draw with chalk.

Honestly, your possibilities with this are pretty endless. Drawing contests, hop-scotch, make a masterpiece together, whatever your heart desires. Bring a speaker and maybe some bubbles too while you're at it, sometimes embracing our inner child is a necessary, grounding experience.

5. Throw a barbecue.

Who says spending time together is limited to only the two of you? Cooking together for your friends can be great bonding time too. Invite the crew and spend the afternoon outside at a park or in a backyard. Bring some music and maybe some activities like frisbee or kickball and enjoy some beautiful social time.

6. Take partner dance lessons.

Salsa, tango, swing, rumba, foxtrot, your opportunities are endless. Nobody is saying you have to be good, but how fun will it be to have some new moves to show off next time you and your friends go out dancing or to a concert?

7. Float down a river.

Go with just the two of you or bring some friends, either way, this is a perfect way to spend a few hours out in the sun while staying cool in the water!

8. Take your dogs to the dog park.

Parks are already fun, but when they're full of dogs they're about a million times better! Also, who doesn't love watching their significant other play with puppies?!? It doesn't get cuter than that.

9. Go cliff jumping.

In a safe spot, of course! You know what they say, you should do something that scares you every day...

10. Go on a road trip

A road trip is perfect because it's not as huge of a commitment as going on a real vacation together, but it's still a good little getaway where you are sure to bond a ton. You will have the whole car ride to talk and jam out to each other's favorite songs, how could that not be a grand time?

11. Get artsy and do a photoshoot.

Even if you're not a photographer, its kind of fun to get creative with a camera! Pick a spot somewhere nearby with cool scenery (try golden hour for extra gorgeous photos) and be each other's models. It will be a nice simple date, plus you will get some good Insta content!

12. Go to a sports game.

Plan ahead and get some tickets to go see a sports game in your town or one nearby! Sports games have such a fun upbeat atmosphere, plus fun food, and they're a good excuse to get decked out in fun fan gear!

13. Go mini golfing.

SUCH a cute and fun date idea. Mini-golfing dates never fail to bring out peoples silly sides. Why not make it a competition? Loser buys ice cream for the two of you when you're finished.

14. Go rollerblading.

OK, this one scares me personally, but for anyone with the athletic ability to attempt this, I fully encourage (and envy) you! What cuter sight to see than the two of you holding hands gliding down the city walk together? Just please wear your pads!

15. Have a car wash.

I don't mean go to the car wash together! I mean break out the speaker, the buckets, the sponges, the hose, and get soapy and silly together in the sun. Who knew cleaning could be so much fun?!

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