What Happened to Me

I have not posted anything in a long time. I know this seems to be a recurring thing for me – I disappear, then reappear with explanations and apologies. I suppose this post is no exception to the pattern. I’m going to explain what happened to me.

When I started this blog, I was what I would call a wide eyed innocent. I had achieved my goal of moving to Wilmington, NC to start what I thought would become an extremely rewarding career with a man I had been dating for quite a few years. As I moved forward, things began to fall apart in my relationship. I was sad but I knew it was for the best and once again, moved forward. Moving forward is the only option, no matter what. I was still making a living, I had a roof over my head, I had an income. I could create a new life for myself.

Then, I lost my career after three years. The reason was unfair, but I could not fight it. So, I launched myself into finding work again, hoping and praying that I could continue living in Wilmington where I had carved a niche for myself. I was performing music at a bar every Thursday and loved the life I lived.

I did not find work. Not even something part time. I was forced to move back to Charlotte, a city I had no love for in the slightest. But I tried to make the best of it, I had a pretty good living situation and got a part time job at a little cafe while I looked for something more sustainable.

I met a man I fell fast and hard for. Our relationship started out wonderfully, we laughed constantly, went out and tried new things. It became apparent though, that he had an issue with anger and rage. I never thought it would escalate to anything physical. I loved him deeply so I stayed, despite the awful words and insults he would hurl at me during his episodes. I stayed because I thought he would work through it, until one night when it did become physical.

I became scared. We broke up but he remained in control of me.

My grandmother died on Thanksgiving of 2017. I drove with my dad up to Connecticut for the funeral. My sister and brother flew up from Tampa as well. It was a heartwarming funeral; I saw a lot of family members I hadn’t seen in over a decade. There was much love to be had, and I hadn’t even been to Connecticut since I was probably 12 (I’m 28 now, 29 this year in October).

On the drive back from Connecticut, the man who laid hands on me literally blew up my phone. He didn’t care that I was with my dad. He didn’t care I was involved in a fourteen hour drive. Text after text after phone call after phone call after insult after insult.

My dad reacted as a father would. He told me to find a new place to live, to protect myself. I wracked my brain. Who would let me in? I remembered, I had reached out to a friend from high school after the incident. He had told me that if I ever needed a safe place, to reach out to him.

That’s what I did.

The following Sunday, I pulled into his driveway. The house is small, brick, and on a half acre of land. He wasn’t home but told me to let myself in. I did.

It instantly felt like home. In fact, I almost immediately fell asleep on the blue couch. I didn’t wake until he came home and opened the door. I hadn’t seen him in about ten years. He said to me, “Welcome home,” and we hugged for a long, long time.

Slowly but surly we moved my things into the spare room. I had to sacrifice quite a bit, like the entire box of cross stitch supplies that flew off the back of his truck and exploded all over the highway. He gave me sanctuary, and I gave him a whole new outlook on cooking.

I developed feelings. So did he. But certain things kept us from being together, even though we share the same roof.

I found myself a part time waitress job down the road at a local Asian bistro. I made friends with everyone immediately. They are my second family, I can turn to them for anything. I’m not the best waitress in the world, but it’s something I had never done before and I find it fun, challenging, and definitely interesting. I threw myself into poetry, using words to work through my past, my present, and my future.

One day I logged into Facebook and saw a post about a dear, dear friend from Wilmington going missing. For six days I watched the progress for his search. I listened to his music and looked at his photos. On the sixth day, I was in my car in a parking lot drinking a coffee. I logged into Facebook to find that they had found him in the Cape Fear River.

Working through those emotions were difficult, but unfortunately not the first time I’ve had to grieve over a close friend. Everyone was there for me. My friend from high school, my work family, my family, even my poetry community on Instagram. I worked through everything, my grief, my pain, my everything.

Eventually I healed. Not completely, but enough to take a deep breath and step forward.

My friend from high school and I are together now, a strong team with bonds of steel. There is a small garden on the back porch. We’re fencing in the backyard, and have plans to build a chicken coop.

I’m sitting in a local cafe right now, with green tea and a beautiful armband he made for me (he’s a welder).

I survived. And you can too. When things get rough, even when it seems like you won’t make it through, that you won’t see tomorrow, you will. I promise you, whatever you’re going through, stay strong. You will make it.

I’m going to try and post more. We don’t have internet so it’s difficult, but I miss my little blog, and all of you. Stay well, focus on the good, and don’t lose your spirit.

Much, much love,

Stephanie

 

Advertisements

A Thousand Steps Back

Have you ever felt like you’ve gone so far, and then had to take thousands of steps backward?

It can be puzzling and sad at first. You dwell on it, wondering what you did/are doing wrong. You overthink and overanalyze everything that took you right up to this moment, wracking your brain to figure out why. Why did this have to happen?

Sometimes there is no clear answer. Sometimes you are simply forced to start over.

In my case, I fortunately was able to figure out what brought me a thousand steps back. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you probably know I started it when I moved to Wilmington, NC. You’ll know that I went through some difficult situations. I had a breakup after a long term relationship, started over all by myself, and then experienced being fired from a long term career. All of this led me back to Charlotte, NC, a city I swore I would never set foot back into. Now I find myself working as a part time barista, renting a room in my best friends house.

Now, I know, none of this sounds terrible. And it’s not. I am extremely lucky to have the support system I have. But for someone like me, an independent lone wolf type, it’s easy to focus on the negative and ignore the positive. Yes, I lost everything I worked for. Yes, I had to leave the city I felt I belonged in. Yes, I had to put my whole life in reverse and start over.

But let’s focus on that: Starting over. What I failed to realize was that I wasn’t truly happy. I wasn’t passionate about my career or my degree. I have the chance now to actually, truly start over. Ignoring everything else, I can make that career change that I wanted to make.

My point is, even when things look like they’re falling apart beyond repair, keep going. Keep moving forward, because the changes you need to make to be happy are yet to come.

I’m Going Through Changes Now

Hello everyone!

Well, as the title and video would suggest, I am still going through a series of changes. First, obviously, I finally changed the blog header!

I’m about to leave Wilmington. My best friend and I discussed it a while ago, and I decided the best thing for me is to move back to Charlotte. She is literally saving my life by letting me rent a room in her beautiful house for next to nothing, in a city where I can grow professionally and personally.

I’m scared, but excited, and also sad. It’s been kind of a crazy ride these past few years…a lot has happened. Most of it is recorded here on this blog, so thank you for sticking with me! I may go dormant for a bit but I’ll try to update as much as possible, and once I get to Charlotte, I have so many plans and I’ll actually have the ability and means to carry them out, so stay tuned my friends!

xoxo,

Stephanie

Rolling in the Hurricane

Tropical storm Hermine blew through my port city with a vengeance, but in it’s wake left us with two full days of absolutely gorgeous weather. The last two mornings have been in the mid sixties with zero humidity and I hope things continue this way, because I’m sick of summer and Autumn is my favorite season.

So on my ever-changing journey of diet tweaking, I’ve been learning more and more about my body and “experimenting”, if you will, with different foods, variations of different foods, to see what I can truly ingest and how it makes me feel. Here is what I’ve learned so far:

Veganism is awesome, but it’s not 100% for me. Currently my diet is extremely plant heavy, but I’ve reintroduced fish. My body loves fish.

In moderation, I can have bread as long as it is whole wheat, or rye, or anything but processed white bread. I believe my sensitivity is more so on the bleached flour than gluten itself.

At some point, I am going to reintroduce chicken into my diet. Reasons for this are slightly personal, which sounds weird, but also I do not want to go through a fall/winter season without my amazing chicken soup. Of course I will only purchase organic, free range, grass fed hipster chicken to avoid unnecessary additives and pesticides.

Dairy…where oh where do I stand with dairy? Last week I had a rough day and, in my turmoil, said screw it and bought myself a wedge of fancy Brie cheese. I did not get sick. So, I’m going to keep dairy in small moderation. Cheese was really the only dairy product that I ever ingested anyway, because I think milk is disgusting and sour cream, yogurt, ice cream, and basically every other dairy product has made me sick.

So! All that being said, thank goodness I began eating fish again, because last week I discovered a brand new skill: I am really, really good at making sushi.

Honestly, I do not have that many skills. I’m not saying that to get pity or anything. It’s simply true: most things I do, I am wildly mediocre at.

One of my coworkers on my design team had the awesome idea to have a team sushi making lunch, and I immediately jumped on board because I would eat sushi every single day if I could (and now, I might). We all brought in ingredients and set up in the break room.

0102

We had sticky rice, cucumbers, carrots, avocados, sashimi grade tuna, smoked salmon, cream cheese, crab, and a ton of different sauces. My coworker gave a tutorial on how to use the bamboo mats and we went to town!

0304

This was my first roll. Look how freaking beautiful that thing is. I still need to master the ends of the roll but I’m not super worried about that.

0506

My second one was a little more intense because I totally got the hang of it immediately. I shoved everything I could into that thing, except carrots. I’m not a big fan of carrots in my sushi. I ate the entire thing and was sleepy and sluggish the rest of the day but I did not care. It was amazing.

So once I master the sticky rice recipe, I plan on making a lot of sushi here at home and experimenting with different fillings. Learning you have a skill is so eye opening and exciting, I cannot wait to hone in on it!

I hope everyone’s Labor Day weekend was wonderful! And remember, wear whatever color you want after Labor Day, because you are in control of your own life and can do whatever you damn well please 🙂

I need to put something in my stomach other than coffee. Until next time!

-Stephanie

Changes

 

So it’s August now, but I hope everyone had a GREAT Fourth of July holiday last month! I know I did. I went home to my parents’ house, and had two straight days of amazing food, drink, gun and bow shooting, swimming, and overall relaxing. I love going home, and now that I live further away it makes it all the more special. I cannot stress how important family is to me; they come first and foremost, and the love in my true home is unsurpassable.

This year has presented itself with a lot of changes so far. From becoming single to moving to a new apartment, it feels like every day has been a new adventure. About a month ago, I was enjoying a glass of wine on my porch one balmy Friday night and I was thinking about the past 26 years of my life.

I am generally a very happy, optimistic person. I was not always this way: toward the end of high school and the first two years of college, there was definitely a series of unfortunate events that kept me in a dark place for a very long time. There were a couple things that kept me going, but the one that stood out to me the other night was this: I was vegan.

It was an ethical choice, and I got lucky to have a very supportive family who helped me out. I kept learning all about food and new vegetables and how to cook them, and I have to say my cooking skills definitely improved. Once I was out on my own, I made the choice to eat eggs, dairy and meat again because it was easier on my minimum wage wallet. Recently, especially after having moved into my own place, I realized that I’ve been basically eating vegan this whole time. Then I made a new friend at open mic night, and he is vegan, which I took as a sign. I stopped flirting with it. I am now officially vegan.

I’m not going to preach my opinions or throw slaughterhouse videos in your face. I’m just giving y’all a heads up that my recipes are about to change! I’m pretty excited about going back, it was something that helped me when I was in the dark place, something dear to my heart, and something that makes me feel mentally and physically well.

Have a great weekend!

 

‘Tis in Season Challenge

To help me aid in my weight loss, I downloaded an app called Lose It!. It’s your usual food and exercise log and also taps into the “Health” app included on iOS where it records your daily steps. This app also features Challenges.

Today I joined a challenge called “‘Tis in Season”. The person who logs the most vegetables before the end of June wins. Yes, I did join late, but I feel like that will only help me get further ahead!

Because of this, I went to the store today and bought tons of veggies. I’m so excited to snack on carrots and peppers and celery and much more. I’ve already taken simple carbohydrates out of my diet and have eliminated most “unnatural” ingredients. Whatever I put in my body, 95% of the time I know exactly what is in it.

So for dinner tonight, I made salmon and mashed cauliflower. Unfortunately, I devoured it before I took a photo. Still, I’d love to share the recipe!

For the salmon, I keep it pretty simple:

Preheat ove to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

Season salmon with Himalayan pink salt, cayenne pepper, dill, and lemon. I use lemon slices but lemon juice will work too.

Bake salmon for 20-25 minutes.

Mashed Cauliflower:

Cut 1 head of cauliflower into small florets. Chop as much garlic as you want, I love garlic so I used 4-5 cloves.

Boil water or stock and add florets, garlic, and rosemary. Boil until florets are fork tender.

Drain the cauliflower, return to the pan or place in a blender. Add your choice of cheese and about a tablespoon of butter. Blend, or use a hand mixer. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Such a super simple, delicious, and healthy dinner! I highly recommend you try it out. I hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Love and peace,

Stephanie

Well This is Different

I didn’t post for a while because I made a pretty quick, life changing decision.

I moved into my own place!

I’m unsure of what caused it…I just woke up one day two weeks ago and I needed a fresh start, a clean slate. Within two days, I had found a new place and orchestrated a move with the help of my super cool boss and a couple guys and a lady from work. My new place is…pretty great. It’s hidden away, surrounded by trees, and most importantly, it’s my own. I have been feeling happier than I have in a long time, and I know I made the best decision for me.

Not only did I want to tell y’all the reason why I went quiet for a moment, but I wanted to touch of something I’ve had trouble with in the past and have been focusing on lately.

Winston Churchill once said, “Fear is a reaction. Courage is a decision.” This is something I’ve come to realize is very, very true. I’ve lived most of my life in a bubble of fear, never taking chances and staying in my safe space. In the past couple of months I’ve been taking small steps out of the bubble, and the rewards have been, in a word, exquisite.

Take this move for example. It was terrifying. I’m in quite a bit of debt again. But I’m happy. I feel free, like I could sprout wings and fly. It was scary and asking for help was even scarier. But I did it because it was best for me, and that’s why it was so terrifying.

Last Wednesday I went out on my friend’s boat again. I’m terrified of deep water and drowning. But do you know what I did? I let him take me out to the open ocean. We went past the safe water buoy. It was dusk. And as we floated there, I realized that yes, there are scary things in the ocean, but boats are built to keep you afloat. Under the darkening sky I looked at the smooth, glassy water and the lights reflecting off of Wrightsville beach and never in my life have I ever been so happy to face my fears.

Sometimes, the decision to have courage is the hardest decision to make, but it’s also the most important. You may just find yourself blossoming in a way you never expected.

Now, I’m still getting set up but, but here are a few photos of my new place!

IMG_0707Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 9.13.15 AMScreen Shot 2016-06-12 at 9.13.24 AMScreen Shot 2016-06-12 at 9.13.36 AM

I’ll have more soon, of course.

And what is a blog post from me without photos from the ocean?

IMG_0729IMG_0734

Gosh…I love Masonboro Island.

Well, I have my work cut out for me today. I need to actually work, because I’m a bit behind on my current deadline, and I have some more organizing to do and some prep for the week. Until next time!

Love and Peace,

Stephanie