Replace Your Sorry with Thanks

“I’m sorry”

Those have so frequently become the first words out of my mouth.

Someone else bumps into me? I’m sorry.

A migraine presents itself and I cancel plans? I’m sorry.

I make a mistake at work and someone brings it up? I’m sorry.

These two little words have been making me feel small my whole life. They put me into a tiny little package where I could feel safe and I stayed there. Sorry for my existence and my presence. Those words along with my illnesses have had a huge effect on my mental health over the years.

About a year ago I started replacing every possible “I’m sorry” with “Thank You” and I found that it not only improved my attitude in conversations but the other person’s as well.

They have been less defensive and much more willing to work with me when things get dicey. I deal with property managers for a living and this little trick makes my life so much easier. When a cleaner or painter makes a mistake, “thank you for your communication, it really makes a difference”. Their whole body changes and they instantly know their importance again.

When I need to cancel plans because I’m in pain I say, “Thank you for your understanding.” Pain still drives people away faster than making mistakes. And there will always be people who think you should apologize.

But my pain will never go away. My journey to finding answers to lessen my pain will never go away, and I will always have side effects.

It’s OK that they left

I’m afraid people will leave.

Because people have left.

My aunt literally didn’t talk to me for A YEAR because she was under the impression that I lied to her. Which I hadn’t.

My best friend in college stopped talking to me because there was a mix up in plans while going to a concert on campus so we didn’t get to walk to the on-campus event together, and I had the AUDACITY to still enjoy myself with my other friend there. I’m OK that she left.

My immediate family has a habit of just being silent while angry. This is not an effective way of “not being angry” which is what everyone thinks they are doing. They give looks and turn their backs which has instilled a large amount of anxiety in me and has taken HOURS of therapy to figure out why.

Currently, I am not being talked to by my dad’s entire side of the family for a reason still unknown to me. My mother is also mad at me because I am putting more time into my boyfriend, whom I live with, than I was before.

I’m 23. I have a full-time job, and I haven’t lived with her since I was 17 when I figured out the abusive tendencies that she was exhibiting.

Another best friend for EIGHT YEARS walked away from me because in her words she was too anxious to make conversation with my boyfriend. Meanwhile, I had been putting up with her drug addict of a boyfriend for nearly all eight years we had known each other. Now, I believe in anxiety and all other mental health issues, but if you can sit in someone’s house and speak only to the person who doesn’t even live there the whole time. That’s more than anxiety, I don’t even know what to call it. We stopped speaking almost six months ago and I haven’t missed her even once, which speaks to my own mental health issues. But I’m ok that she left.

Because of examples like these, I tend not to get too attached to people. I just left a job that I had been at for a year and a half, and I literally miss like three people. It was a coaching job where I worked with the same group of kids for nine weeks at a time and I literally miss the kids.

I’ve learned that the important people, the people that I actually want in my life, will not leave for trivial things.

It’s OK, and probably for the better, that those people left. I’m with people who care about me and I literally have people who I have known for six months just giving me randoms presents because they love me, while my own family is ignoring me because…?

I Ghosted My Best Friend

Disclaimer: all names have been changed for the persons privacy.

I Ghosted My Best Friend

I’m not proud of it and none of this is meant to be an excuse, just a story hoping that if someone else is in a similar situation it can help them make decisions before it gets too late.

We met in high school. She was older than me and I thought she was the cool kid. And she was. She always had money, her parents didn’t care where she was, and her cell phone had unlimited data (a rarity in 2011).

We were in marching band together, and the first time I really knew that we were friends was on our way home from our trip to Washington D.C. We were on the same bus but she was a few rows back from me. When we were about 5 hours from home, she came up and sat on the floor next to me and we talked and played games until we pulled into the high school.

She would pick me up and we would go driving. We had more than one near death experience and ate A LOT of Cherry Berry. When she was a senior she told me that she FINALLY hooked up with the guy she had a crush on forever.

After she graduated, I visited her dorm room and finally knew where I wanted to go to school. She was still hooking up with that guy, it took a while for them to be “official”.

My parents got divorced that year, and because of the traumatizing circumstances, it really brought me and “Ashley” closer. Her sophomore year of college she lived in an apartment with a girl she hated, and I was a freshman living in a dorm with a girl I hated. She got along with my new friends too but it was kind of hard because she was living off campus and working.

The next year I moved in to the apartment with her and we spent our nights watching Harry Potter and doing homework at the kitchen table. Sometimes we were really productive and sometimes we weren’t. But we passed, we used my fake ID to drink wine and Nick (the boy from before) would come visit every once in a while.

There’s something I should tell you about Nick. He did (and definitely still does) heroine. I was never ok with this, but I never really had any reasons to not like him other than that. He said he wasn’t an addict and it wasn’t affecting his life.

Lies.

I knew it, but I loved her. She was my best friend.

He stood her up.

Changed their plans at the last second.

Made her cry and took her anxiety to the next level.

Was too high to drive down for New Years so she had to go up there.

Then he OD’d.

He spent a ridiculously short amount of time in rehab. She said she wouldn’t take him back until he was sober.

She did.

Now she was in Law School.

And he got arrested. Now he went to rehab and stayed there.

It had been almost eight years of me avoiding her boyfriend. And telling her my true opinions. So I gave her an ultimatum.

Him or me.

She chose me.

A few weeks into rehab, she went to visit.

And then she was visiting every time she could.

Then she came to meet my new boyfriend. My first boyfriend ever. And couldn’t be bothered to talk to him. She spent the first hour on her phone, and the next ordering pizza that ended up never coming. BF went to bed and she ended up leaving to go get her pizza.

That was the last time I ever saw her. We have only talked once since, when I tried to see what she thought of BF and why she had acted like that. She spent and hour blaming me for her behaviour.

This doesn’t recount the times where my family told me they didn’t want me around her, the holidays she ruined, or the many times I worried and honestly still do, that Nick was dead with a needle in his arm and had dragged her down with him.

Why I don’t want kids…

I can just feel the emails filled with sympathy and kind but persuasive words already.

Some of them won’t be so kind.

“How does your husband feel about that?”

“You’re going to miss out on all the fun!”

“You’ll change your mind, just give it time”

“You’ll get bored”

Well, first of all, I do NOT need a husband to make this choice. I don’t have a husband (and GASP, my boyfriend and I might not get married. But that’s is a post for another time) but even if I did, I, as a tax paying woman with her own rights, have the right to make the independent decision to have children or not. If the man I ended up with decided he wanted children, and it’s an absolute dealbreaker, he can leave.

Now that I have that out of the way there are a few actual reasons that I don’t want to have kids.

I’ve watched people parent. I mean, I literally grew up watching people parent. I don’t like it. I don’t like, in this day and age that there is an expectation of perfection of every aspect of your life EVEN BETWEEN PARENTS WHO KNOW IT ISN’T POSSIBLE OR HEALTHY.

I coached preschool gymnastics for a little over a year, and I witnessed so many different styles of parenting. As the first child in a family got younger, the parents were more and more focused on their Instagram image and how much time they can spend with their friends while their child sits on a tablet watching shows.

I’ve been sold the idea, literally since I can remember that I will be a great mother. I spent countless play hours holding my countless baby dolls, giving them names and watching them grow up to be doctors and teachers and astronauts. I gave myself fake baby bellies and went through fake labor more times than I can count.

When I was 9 I got a job as a mother’s helper. That’s when you’re not even old enough to be at home by yourself, so you play with the younger kids while the parents are at home to let them do other things.

When I was 11 I took the YMCA’s Safe Sitter course. I already knew how to change diapers, and call 911 so the class was a breeze. I don’t even remember my first babysitting job, but I started taking care of other people’s’ kids as soon as they would let me.

At 16 I took my lifeguarding certification to add another layer of care to myself. At this point I knew my life’s purpose was to help people.

After some major life changes, I finally ended up combining my love of gymnastics and kids at the age of 22. Within a year I was the Assistant Director of the preschool program, and within 5 months of holding that position I was burnt out.

Don’t get me wrong I still love kids. I smile and wave at the babies at the grocery stores, and am hoping to coach again some day on a minor scale. But I can’t have kids.

It’s easier to tell people that I have polycystic ovarian syndrome and literally can’t have kids. It is definitely possible that I could have kids, but most people don’t know that and even without explaining why I DON’T want them, I still get bombarded with “you can adopt” “what about foster care”?

Long story short, I’m 23 years old and completely burnt out on taking care of other people. I’m going to take care of myself and my relationship and live the life I have neglected. Maybe someday I will change my mind, but if I do it will be on my own terms and not because some entitled mom with a baby on her hip told me for the one thousandth time that it’s a woman’s duty to continue on her husbands genetics.

Military Readiness Workout

Hello Friends!

Thank you for checking out my military readiness workout. Whether you came here from my blog post about my journey to joining the Navy or found this through a search engine this is sure to be a great way to get fit!

Disclaimer: I am not a professional nor have I attended schooling to do any sort of physical fitness consulting. This is purely from my own experience and it should be known that each individual has there own limits and abilities. This workout should be done at the readers’ discretion. 

Running and situps at home were just not enough to lose the weight I needed to. I needed to drop weight around my waist, and I had never had that as a goal before. I had no idea where to even start! The first thing my recruiter told me was that running wasn’t going to help me right now.

???

So we got off the track and headed to the weight room. We used three pieces of equipment: the elliptical, the stair stepper, and the treadmill. Now, don’t stop reading because of the equipment. I hated all of those things before I knew what I know now!

Attire: Petty Officer C. recommended that I wear sweatpants and a long sleeve shirt or sweatshirt. I don’t know about anyone else but my goal for workout attire had always been cool clothes so I don’t overheat. I will also be the first to admit that this made me think about how I had tried my best in the past to work out but not sweat. 

What were you thinking Jade?

Sweat is how our body knows to grab those extra energy stores (ie carbs, fat, and sugars) and burn them. Which, in the end, is the goal.

Wearing warm clothes will make you sweat, which also means you NEED TO HYDRATE! Bring water with you, a bottle, don’t rely on the fountains. Drink water BEFORE your workout, and I would always end with finishing whatever was left and drinking a pint of chocolate milk (this has fats and proteins to help replenish your energy and build muscle).

Finally what you came here for: The Plan!

Total Time: 30 minutes

Warm Up: 10 minutes

We always started with the elliptical. It’ slow impact, but with different resistance and grade settings can be adjusted to each individual and each workout. We would always aim to go a little further than the day before, this helped it not become something to slack off on or feel like a waste.

Main Event: 20 minutes

The stair stepper. Before this, I had, admittedly, been TERRIFIED of a stair stepper. I wasn’t partial to treadmills either, because I had seen a friend (yes, she was being stupid) break her wrist by getting it sucked under and into the mechanism. Well, if you’re an adult who knows how to properly use these machines that operate in a circular motion, that won’t happen.

Play around with the speed of the steps, sometimes slow can be harder than fast and vice versa. We set a goal for the number of steps to complete within the 20 minutes and gradually increased it to reach an end goal for the two weeks. By the end of the two weeks, I had surpassed our original goal and was ready to run a mile and a half without even stepping foot on the track or even running on the treadmill.

Warm Down: 10 minutes

I don’t like to call this step “cool down” because, again, it can lead to laziness or having it feel like a waste. You should still be warm when you leave the gym, but you shouldn’t be completely out of breath or unable to walk. We would spend 10 minutes gradually slowing down the treadmill speed to get the lactic acid moving through our muscles and to stop it from staying put. We would also talk, this was important because we could judge how efficiently we were recovering from our workout and if we needed to slow down or speed up based on how our breath was.

Because I was trying to lose weight quickly and I had the time, I was doing this same thing twice a day. After my evening circuit, I would spend some time stretching and making sure my muscles were staying happy with me.

 

I follow a similar pattern day to day still, but I only go once a day (if that, let’s be honest) and I add in weight lifting. It is important for me and my goals to have strong muscles and keep healthy knees so I have some very specific and some prescribed activities.

 

Xoxo, Jade

 

Why He Waited

He propped his foot up on his knee.

He checked that his bag was still between his feet. He only had a small backpack anyway.

His eyes were heavy, and he nodded off to sleep every few minutes before his head bounced back to attention. These airport chairs are nowhere to sleep.

He put his backpack on his shoulders and started to pace up and down the windows.

He had walked in with a few others, but they didn’t seem to know each other.

He took off the University of Minnesota sweatshirt to reveal a t-shirt reading “America’s Navy, Honor, Courage, Commitment”.

After an hour he sat back down, in a different chair this time, and took out a folder.

There was a ship on the front, and he was muttering quietly to himself.

 

He sat down in the window seat.

He didn’t seem to have a cell phone, odd for a teenager in 2018.

The trip from Minneapolis to Chicago, but he went straight to the food court.

The employee he asked gave very vague directions to the USO, but the boy found it regardless.

 

The last words I heard before I kept on my way were, “They’ll be here in 45 minutes, get ready for the yelling Future Sailor”.

 

Image from yelp.com provided by Sarah N.

Path to Great Lakes Pt. 1, Meeting My Recruiter

Meeting the Recruiter

I was so excited and nervous to meet a Navy recruiter that I started Googling “what to wear to meet your recruiter”, well let me tell you that search criteria matters! I got myself all worked up because Google kept telling me I needed to wear a suit and show up with my cover letter, resume, and references…

WHAT!?

After I let my dad calm me down I realized that there are also BUSINESS recruiters and that I should just wear jeans and a shirt.

I showed up 30 minutes before our appointment; Petty Officer C. was ready for me and impressed with my ability to be early. My dad came with to help me soak up as much information as possible, which I HIGHLY recommend. Keep in mind with this though, (unless you are under 18) you are a grown adult who is making a VERY adult decision and bringing someone with you should not interfere with your meeting and you should answer all of the questions for yourself.

I took the practice ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) a fancy term for an all-inclusive test to make sure you know how to read and do basic math. To do really well, having some mechanical, electrical and computer knowledge will help. After I took that test, achieving a 45 out of 99 we talked about what I wanted my rate to be. Rate is what the Navy calls their jobs, other branches call this an MOS. I was very interested in being an LS or Logistics Specialist so we discussed my options with that and the scores I would need on the ASVAB.

My head swirling with new information and the thought that I needed to make a hard decision, I left the office and drove back to my college town which was about three hours away. I talked it over with my roommate and called my mom. It only took me a couple of days to know what I had to do, so I called Petty Officer C. and made another appointment to start the paperwork.

I was excited to start my journey and ready for the hard work ahead.

Part 2 will be available March 1, 2019