Tag Archives: Friends

Getting To The Point….

Greetings one and all!

Firstly, I would like to openly state that I would love to blame my lack of absence on my university finals (which have passed and graded by now), my work schedule (which is only on weekend), and life in general. But, to be honest, it not for lack of time. Instead, I’d love to blame it on procrastination. Yes, the bunt of every daunting project. It is not that, either.

The reason I have not posted in so long is because, well…I wasn’t really sure what to write about. So, I’ve finally broken down and decided to PLUNGE back into my little “Sunny Place” because the time will never be “just right”, that inspiration I’m waiting for to hit may never come, and I’ve just plain missed writing here. My “Sunny Place” is a haven to me, where I can write how I honestly think and feel without worry of what my family and close friends might think, because (as far as I know) they just aren’t aware of my “Sunny Place” (no matter how many times I’ve told them to check it out). In that respect, I’m glad if they don’t look here, because I like to have this freedom of expression. I can just be me.

giphy

So, hello again to one and all. Please welcome me back to the blog-o-sphere and let us be good friends once again!

giphy-1

❤ Soleil

 

 

 

Advertisements

STUCK

Recently, I read a post by a fellow blogger and their words resonated within my very soul, to the very core of my being. With this post, with those words, I was able to relate and feel and conclude and finally realize that it was the same way I felt. She wrote exactly what I’ve been trying to say myself for months now. Her name is Lindsey but she’s better known on WordPress as MomentMuser and the post I’m talking about is “Becoming”.

I want to quote a bit of it, the pieces that held the truest to me:

“I had thought I’d be further along by now.”

This much is true. To be honest, when I was small, I pictured myself happily married and with children of my own by now, just like my mother (married at 22) and grandmother (married at 20) when they were my age. Yet here I am, 25 turning 26 in March and I’m still not married, nor do I have any children. In fact, I’ve never even had a relationship last pass six months! This realization often makes me ask questions of myself like, “What’s wrong with me?”, “Is there something wrong with me?, “Is there really someone out there for me?”, “Am I going to be alone my whole life?”

But I didn’t want to just be married with a family by now. I also wanted my career by this point, but instead I am still a university student. I wanted to be this great artist, Disney Animator, working on amazing movies and creating characters and stories to be loved by all! Instead, I’m an unmotivated, uninspired slacker.

And this point resonates to the next quote of Lindsey’s post:

“I am not entitled. Surely the world does not owe me the Life I dream of living. I doubt that the world really cares what I do. In its indifference I will slip away.

I am lazy, lazy, lazy.

Today my alarm sounded at 9, at 9:30, at 10. Dozens of 8-minute intervals later, I rose at noon.”

Seriously, this is my life every day. I am actually quite the shackled-companion of those “dozens of 8-minute interval” snoozes. Frighteningly so.

I have absolutely nothing to live for it seems, no real reason to get out of bed in the morning except that it’s past noon and beyond reasonable to be in bed any longer. What kind of life is this really? A poor excuse for one, that is obvious. And I obviously want more, so what do I do about it? To change it? To go on? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I don’t try to change. To try new things. To find something to do. I don’t need to. I know what I want to do but I don’t do it. When I try, I am unsatisfied with the results and give up.

To be honest, I feel so STUCK. I have for a while now and I don’t know what to do about it. I am an artist, an author, but I feel so uninspired that I cannot draw or write. When I try to draw it’s nothing how I imagine it. So I give up. When I try to write, it never sounds quite right. It doesn’t flow the way I want it to. The story isn’t going anywhere. So, I stop.

I feel as though I’ve stagnated. That I’ve come to a point in my existence where I feel like I am not moving forward. There is this great uncertainty. I don’t know what to expect, everything is so unfamiliar, so elusive that it is terrifying.

And even though I don’t know what to expect, I know what I want:

“I know what I want. I know it so much that it hurts. My chest feels heavy with it. My mind fears it.”

I want to be a success. Not in the sense that I want to be some famous, well-known person, but I simply want to be able to support myself. To be stable and live. To be inspired and find the thing that I love most in the world and just by doing it I am filled with such joy, such imagination again that I feel as if I will burst from creativity if I do not get it down with paper and ink. I want to express to the world through my art, through my words all that I have learned on the journey called Life. I want to share everything with everyone. I want to learn and keep learning and never stop!

But that’s hard when your own mother tells you that you dream too big. That you can’t accomplish the aspirations you have concocted through years of daydreams no matter how hard you try. To pick something easier, simpler, so that you can’t fall short in the end.

I’m not blaming her. I understand where she’s coming from. She doesn’t want me to fall, to fail, to hit rock bottom and have nothing left to fall back on. I understand the reason but I am stubborn. I ignore her words. I want to dream, but it’s come to the point where I feel like all I have left are my dreams. And that that is all they will ever be: dreams, illusions created by a girl with no drive to actually go anywhere or do anything towards those goals. The day she told me my dreams were too big, was the day I began to doubt myself.

Now, I sit here and I stare at myself in the mirror and I want to cry because all I see is a girl who got lost somewhere along Life’s path and can’t figure out how to find her way again. A girl who is stuck, stagnant in the same place she’s always been and probably always will be. A girl who dreamed for the world from her home in a small rural farm town and began to doubt herself so much that now she is trapped by the very fear and anxiety that she created for herself.

I am lost. I am stuck. I feel like I cannot escape. And I am afraid.

I am afraid that this is all my life is going to be because I’ve dug myself into a hole and built the walls so high I cannot climb back up to see the light of day beyond me. Nothing but darkness and fear and anxiety to keep me company for all my days to come.

And that is daunting. Terrifying. PARALYZING.

Help me, please, because I am stuck and I need to be found again.

-Soleil

What It Feels Like To Be Me

I have found the past two weeks of my life have been difficult. Why is that? I know why but I hate to admit the reason. Admitting it feels like I’m giving up, like I’m a failure, and that hurts.

When I was in sixth grade, my Memere was diagnosed with Colorectal Cancer. She underwent chemo-therapy and surgery to remove it and then she was fine. But it came back. By the time I was in high school, it had returned at least three times. The summer I finished my Junior year and was waiting to begin my Senior year in the fall, the cancer had been back and had spread to her brain. She had surgery again that August to take out what they could in her brain, but they couldn’t take it all. From that date on, I watched her deteriorate before my eyes.

My mother and I went to my Memere and Pepere’s house every day to help take care of her. These were my mother’s parents and my mom wanted to be there to help not only Memere, but to give Pepere time to himself, too. By the time I started school, she decided to stop with all of her chemo-therapy and radiation treatments. As I watched her get worse, I began to have panic attacks in school. Suddenly, while in classes, I would feel like I couldn’t breathe and I’d ask to go to the nurse’s office, and she would let me call my mom, begging her to come and get me so we couldn’t go and see Memere until she could talk to me enough to calm me down and finish out my school day. By Christmas she was in a wheelchair, weighed as much as I did at that time, and had trouble swallowing her medicine and food. One week later, she couldn’t even get out of bed, then she had trouble understanding, and by the second week of January, she was gone.

I remember so clearly, the Friday before she passed away. My high school was gearing up for our annual Relay for Life event and we had a meeting for the whole school in the auditorium. It was a sort of review meeting, to go over what we had done last year and to see videos, and to explain to the Freshmen and new students of that year what Relay for Life was and why we did it. I stood up when one of the teacher’s giving a speech asked who had family members and friends close to them with cancer and then sat back down and when that same teacher started to talk about her own experience, well, I just couldn’t do it anymore.

I was sitting in the very last row of the auditorium, in the very middle. With friends on either side, I suddenly felt so trapped. I knew I wasn’t going to make it if I tried to squeeze past all of them to get out to the aisle, so I got up on my seat and jumped over it to the floor behind me. I ran out the doors. In the foyer outside, one of the substitute teachers was waiting for the meeting to be over, I guess I must have looked terrible because she asked me what was wrong and the next thing I knew I was sobbing in her arms telling her all of the horrible things I’d been living through for six years and how it’d just gotten so much worse in the past six months and that I didn’t know what to do anymore. How I just wanted to go home and see my Memere. How she was dying and there was nothing I could do about it.

To be honest, I’m not sure where I would have run to if she hadn’t caught me and expressed her concern. I probably would have ended up crying alone in the bathroom, stuck in my own misery until someone found me.

And then, my worst fear came true. I told my substitute teacher on Friday that my Memere was dying and that Sunday she passed away. That was probably the worst day of my life so far. I cried so much. I still do. It’s hard, losing someone you love. I’m not sure that you ever really do get over it. You keep loving them even though their gone, and that is okay. But I felt so lost after that. I became so tired of forcing myself to smile and pretending to be alright. When we went on our Senior Trip to Walt Disney World in Florida five months later, that was the first time I actually smiled and laughed and it wasn’t forced. I meant it.

And life seemed to get better after that. I graduated and was sad about it, but it was okay. I started college and for my second semester I went to work at Walt Disney World in Florida as a part of their Disney College Program. I made a new friend and he became my best friend. But when I came home, I don’t know why, but my panic attacks came back. Slowly at first, so I just thought that the OCD habits I was picking up were normal. But when I went back to do a second DCP the following year and the habits became excessive and the panic attacks became so frequent that I was calling my mother and crying to her every day, begging her to come home even though I had a month of my program left to complete, I knew something was wrong.

But I finished my program and my dad and younger brother picked me up and brought me back home. And I was okay again. The panic attacks subsided and the OCD dwindled to being barely noticeable. And then it was back again, so much worse than before. This time the OCD controlled me. I couldn’t do anything without doing it as a habit of so many counted steps, so many taps of my fingers, so many buttoning of the same button, or zippering of the same zipper, over and over and over again until I felt as though I was insane. And I often did question my sanity during this time. I swore I was going mental, that I’d have to be handled with extreme medical treatment. I was terrified!

And the panic attacks became paralyzing. I couldn’t speak or move or even think when I had one. Just the same flash of fear that I was going to die consumed me until suddenly my mother or brother came to my rescue, pulling me out of my stuck state, forcing me to interact with them, to talk to them, to explain what was wrong and what I was feeling.

By Christmas, after roughly eight months of going through this uncontrollable torture, of jeopardizing my job and school attendance because I couldn’t get out of the house in time because I was doing habits, of not going at all because I was having a breakdown, I told my parents I wanted to see a doctor. I ended up with a psychologist. He met me every week and spoke with me, gave me things to do to try and control my anxiety and OCD. And he recommended medication. But I’m stubborn. Medication was my largest concern of the whole thing. It was my worst nightmare coming true. I needed medical help and that was the last thing I wanted. Because, accepting medication as the answer meant that I wasn’t normal. That I couldn’t cope like every other normal human being could. That I was different and was going to be different for a very long time. In my eyes, it meant defeat, that I had let these anxieties and OCD habits take over my life, and I had lost.

It took a year for my psychologist and parents to convince me to even try taking medication. I was prescribed an SSRI (or a Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor), which helps to regulate the serotonin levels in your brain. And when I did, I felt sick for weeks. I didn’t go to school and I failed all of my classes from lack of attendance alone. I literally spent days dragging myself out of bed only to curl up in a ball on the couch and watch things to keep me happy and not focused on myself. Mostly, it was the Disney Channel.

And then, suddenly, I began to feel “normal” again. After taking the medicine for an entire year, I actually felt like my old, “normal” self again. Two years after taking it and I felt completely alright and expressed to my doctor that I wanted to ween off of the medication to see how I did without it now that I felt cured. They agreed and the process began. Originally up to 20mg of the SSRI, I dropped to a 10mg for 30 days and then 5mg for the following 30 days.

And now we’re back at present time. Precisely two weeks ago, I stopped taking my SSRI. Since then I have had two panic attacks. Both have been cope-able. The first was more tolerable than the one I had today. And it was today I realized that without the medication, they’re just going to get worse again. I can’t be a normal person without the medication. I can’t feel like a normal person taking the medication.

I feel so defeated.

I see my counselor about all of this tomorrow. I will start taking my SSRI medication again so that I can be myself, but what frustrates me the most is that I wasn’t like this when I was younger. My panic attacks didn’t begin until my Senior year of high school. My OCD didn’t start showing up with the panic attacks until two years after that. So why can’t I just be normal like when I was younger? The answer: I can’t. I will most likely be on this medication for the rest of my life and that’s disappointing. But if that means I can feel like my old self again with the help of the medication, then I have to learn to live with it.

That’s my update. Sorry it’s so long and deep and boring.

Look for my words again soon!

-Soleil

Updatey Update! =D

Hey!

I don’t know why, but for the past two weeks, my little bell notification at the upper righthand screen wasn’t working! I would click on the bell when it had an orange dot and it would just take forever to load and never show me anything. So, if any of you liked one of my posts, or commented, or started to follow me in this time frame, I had no idea and I am sorry! I never want you guys to feel like I’m ignoring you. I love you guys! You’re the bestest of the best! So, I just wanted to give you all a friendly heads up.

giphy

In other news, school is going fantastically! Well…not really. I’ve had to drop to courses already due to some personal stuff that’s been going on and that leaves me with two left: Public Speaking and Astronomy. With the school semester almost half over (about 7 more weeks to go, everyone!) I’m really hoping I can at least keep these two. I really, really, want to graduate and get school done and over with!

Did I ever mention that I’m 25 and STILL in school? Ugh, I hate it. It’s such a bummer. I’m tired of being in school (but don’t get me wrong, I LOVE school and learning!), it’s just that I’m so tired of being the last of my friends to still have to be in school. Paying out of pocket so as to procure less university debt in the long wrong is such a pain when you’re the oldest person in almost all of your classes. Plus, being in school hinders me in a work sense, too, because I have to co-ordinate my work schedule around my school classes. That in itself is a pain, too.

Anyway, speaking of work, I’m about to start now, so I should get going. Let’s chat later!

Look for my words again soon!

giphy-1

-Soleil

The History of Downtown Charleston, SC!

I’ve made a liar of myself. I never did make that 9/12 post I promised. For that, I apologize. In case it might happen again:

anigif_enhanced-22511-1413482831-7

So, I wanted to finish up my South Carolina trip recap in this post. Let the fun begin!

IMG_2351

This was my dinner at Jestine’s Kitchen in Downtown Charleseton. It includes some awesome Soul Food: Brown Sugar Glazed Ham, Mac & Cheese, Collard Greens, and cornbread with some real Southern sweet tea.
Trying to get to Jestine’s it started to downpour! Since Ant and I didn’t have an umbrella, we got soaked, of course. It was a cold rain, too.

 

 

 

 

IMG_4711

To the left we have me, soaked, and to the right we have me with my hair dried off and with an awesome flip to it now! Yay!  IMG_7881

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also took a really cool historical tour through a portion of Downtown Charleston in an open-carriage pulled by two mules.

St. Philip's Episcopal Church

St. Philip’s Episcopal Church

It leans slightly to the left because of the earthquake that happened in the 1800s. Also, John C. Calhoun is buried here. In case you’re wondering, he’s the man who created the “Don’t Tread On Me” flag. Also, Edward Rutledge is buried here, too. He was the youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence and eventually became the 39th Governor of South Carolina.

Powder Magazine

Powder Magazine

The Powder Magazine sat on the edge of the original Charleston city border, which was surrounded by a 17-ft. wall made of mud and palmetto logs. They built a wall around their city because 13 prior attempts to colonize the South (one of which was Roanoke) had failed. The Powder Magazine dates back to 1713 and has walls that are 2-3 feet thick, made of brick, and the roof was stored with sandbags in the case that if there was an explosion, the sound and impact would hopefully be muted. This same wall was very successful during the Revolutionary War. Charleston was able to hold out against the British for four years (compared to Boston and Philadelphia, which fell in under a year), because the wall was built from palmetto logs, which are very absorbent of water and so are very spongey. This sponge-iness allowed for difficulty to surmount and destory and/or invade the city. Since the British couldn’t break the fort walls, they retreated back North. This victory for the city of Charleston is why South Carolina features the Palemetto as its State Tree and on its State Flag.

Charleston had five major fires in its history, and the fire of 1861 wiped out a good portion of the city.

I also learned that in 1704, the Spanish sent several hundred men from St. Augustine, FL to Charleston o wipe out the southermost English colony, which at time was Charleston, SC. The Spanairds attempt failed but the English sent back a retaliation force and burnt St. Augustine to the ground. This allowed English domination in the South.

Then there is King’s Street. It’s the main shopping street of Downtown Charleston. Our tour guide informed us that King’s Street is the highest point in Charleston, at 11-ft. above sea level. Also, it’s named King’s Street because it was owned by the King of England. In fact, it is still owned by Queen Elizabeth II today, so if you live on or do business on King’s Street, you have to pay taxes to the Crown.

Other Fun Facts: Charleston is known as the Holy City because it has so many different churches and was one of the most religously diverse cities of its time in history (in the American Colonies, anyway). In fact, the oldest Synagogue in the country is here and was established back in 1750.

St. John's Lutheran Church

St. John’s Lutheran Church

St. John’s Lutheran Church was established in 1734 and is well-known for it’s great iron-work gates with date back to 1822. They are so signifigant because these gates are one of the few original iron-works in all of Charleston. That’s because during the Civil War, a lot of iron was taken from around the city to melt down into weapons for the war.

The Unitarian Church in Charleston.

The Unitarian Church in Charleston.

The Unitarian Church was made in 1722. (For the record, I took this photo off of Google because my photo wasn’t nearly as good as this). I’ve never heard of Unitarians before this carriage tour. Unitarians believe that everyone goes to Heaven and that there is no Hell. Thomas Jefferson didn’t share their beliefs, so during the Revolutionary War, the Unitarian Church was used as a stable for the soldiers horses.

IMG_2360

These brick homes were built by the US Navy during WWII for soldier housing barracks. After the war, the Navy donated the buildings to the city to be used for whatever they wanted. The city ended up making them public housing.

Extra Fun Fact: All of the bricks used to make these homes, plus all of the old historic buildings in Downtown Charleston were handmade by the slaves on Boone Hall Plantation, which I featured in a previous post.

Old Marine Hospital

Old Marine Hospital

The Old Marine Hospital was designed by Robert Mills. After WWII it became the Jenkins Orphanage. One of the orphans who ended up living here created a dance that caught on and became well-known, even to today. It’s known as the Charleston, and was named after the city it came from.

The Old City Jail

The Old City Jail

Front of the Old City Jail

Front of the Old City Jail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The city of Charleston chose the location of Potter’s Field for the Old City Jail because for the first 150 years of Charleston’s existence, it was the farthest end of the city’s limits. Potter’s Field was settled between Franklin and Archduke Streets and was where the poor and the people of no faith were buried.

Fun Fact: The College of Charleston tried to build a new library not too long ago, about a block away from the prison, and they dug up over 500 bodies. So, the area known as Potter’s Field still had bodies below the homes and streets and old city prison built on top of it.

This being said, I’ve definitely decided that if I EVER moved to Charleston, I would NEVER EVER live in the area known as Potter’s Field.

 

Moving on….

The Memminger Auditorium was once the Charleston high school, but before that it was a middle school. While it was a middle school, cannonballs were dug up on the school grounds, during a renovation project, that dated back to the Civial War! When the cannonballs were found, the bomb squad was called in because during the Civil War, some cannonballs were explosive rounds and they were worried they might still be live.

IMG_6747

The Daughters of Confederacy

The Daughters of Confederacy building hosts many Cival War artifacts, including some of Robert E. Lee’s hair.

Philadelphia Alley

Philadelphia Alley

This is Philadelphia Alley and it is where all of the Gentleman’s Duels took place. John Luke Wilson, a laywer of Charleston, wrote a book of 28 rules for the duels.

Fun Fact: The most common profession for a majority of the duelists were newspaper editors.

Extra Fun Fact: Charleston was once held captive by Blackbeard in the 1800s. His demands were that the townspeople of Charleston give him a chest of medicine in return for him to leave town. They complied. Our tour guide joked that their city is the only one in America who can lay claim to Blackbeard holding their city hostage for healthcare, haha!

Wrapping up, this trip was lots of fun packed into a quick 3-day weekend. If you’re ever heading to Charleston, South Carolina, I highly recommend doing any of the Historic Tours or exhibits. Have fun and look for my words again soon!

Cheers!

-Soleil

Insecurity: A Daunting Companion

I am secretly insecure. About a lot of things. Sure, I’m the chipper, go-to gal amongst all of my friends and family, too. I’m always ready to lend a helping hand, whether it be running your errands for you, to babysitting your kid, to helping out with homework or housework or yardwork. Optimism is my middle name, mostly. I always have a ready smile and I always have something to laugh about.

But deep down, WAY deep down the darkness known as fear weaves me in a tighter web. I think this is the source my anxiety feeds on. This internal fear that I hide away so well from so many people that they don’t even know I have this problem until someone I’m close to (like my mother, for instance) tells them.

What am I insecure about? Many things. I’ve touched on them briefly in previous posts. Like how I’m 25, have only ever had one “serious” relationship (which only lasted 6 months), fear that I’ll never find “the one”, and I’ll die old and alone. That I’m still a student at university and already owe up to 16,000$+ in student loan debt and I still have, at least, 3 more semesters to study through in order to get my degree. How I currently have no “actual” job, but rather a variety of odd-end side jobs that don’t offer 401K’s, or retirement plans, or insurance and health plans. I’m not on a payroll!

I am a 25 year old university student working odd jobs that don’t offer steady payroll or benefits, making at least $1.50 more than New Jersey’s current minimum wage per hour, have 6 student loans, 2 credit card bills, and 1 car payment (plus $300 for insurance every 2.5 months), a cell phone bill, and only $40 in my savings account.

I’m afraid I’ll never be financially secure and that I’ll have to live with my parents for the rest of my life. It’s such a frightening idea, not because I don’t like them (because I do) but because I know they can’t afford to support me now, let alone for the rest of their lives! Besides, guys tend to shy away when I say I still live with my parents due to my financial situation.

frustrated-gif1_zps34a4937e

I’m afraid I won’t find a good job after college. (I mean, who wants to hire an art major nowadays? I think I picked a crappy major). I’m afraid that I’ll only find mediocre jobs that don’t pay well and don’t offer the benefits necessary to live in today’s world. I’m afraid that I’ll never make enough money to pay off my debts. I’m afraid that I’ll never make enough to get a house, to get married, to start a family. I can’t even try to travel because that’s too expensive!!!

Every day I hear on the news about America’s economy and how people are struggling. How the middle class is shrinking and the lower class is growing in size. How it costs a middle-class family over $105,000 to support a family of 4 per year! How one 19 year old student in North Jersey already owes $60,000+ in student debt and still has 2 more years of college to go. That’s ridiculous!

I know my situation could be worse so for the fact that it is not so horrible is a blessing and a slight relief, but that fear still grips me. It’s always there, a dim, nibbling presence in my mind and it’s scary!

h4dYXas

So now you know a bit more about me. And what I’m afraid of. I feel like we’ve bonded. Thanks for listening….

Look for my words again soon.

-Soleil

A Night In The City!

Whelp, I’m an idiot and almost got ran over my a cab. No worries! I’m fine. But seriously, I crossed one street and for some reason thought it was okay to cross the next, except it wasn’t. So, I saw the cab coming at me, not even trying to slow down, and managed to leap back onto the curb. Whew!

tumblr_inline_n78qvyTecl1rwkq48

Of course I did joke to Kels afterwards (she went to Philly with me tonight) that if I was going to be hit by a car, that was the intersection to do it at because that was the intersection where the Jefferson Hospital was. At least I’d be admitted somewhat quickly. XD

Uh…anyway, I went to Philadelphia tonight with Kels to go to my favorite ramen shop: Hiro Ramen. It’s delicious as ever! Then, we walked around for awhile trying to find someplace to buy a sweet treat as a desert but everything was closed!

tumblr_inline_nplfamK4hJ1r7s6v3_500

Even the Starbucks was closed at 9PM on a Friday night! I know for a fact that the Starbucks by where I live is open until 11PM on Friday nights, so why was the one in the city closed so early??? …I have no idea, but it was disappointing.

So, Kels and I ended up wandering around the Arts District until we found: Capogiro!

IMG_2281

This place, by the way, is a Gelato Artisan and is rated #1 in the World by National Geographic! Needless to say, the gelato here is outstanding! I ordered a chocolate caramel medio gelato. Yum! Here’s a pic (-wink wink-):

IMG_2280

Ah…it was so good. I want another. -sigh-

Well, needless to say I’ll probably plan another trip back. I do want to get to the Philadelphia Art Museum before the Impressionists exhibit closes in September. It features work by Monet, Degas, Renoir, Manet, and Pissarro. Those are all some of my very favorite artists! -swoons-
861a2f8fc6e6fccafb947259eefed94a

Look for my words again soon!

-Soleil