Be the Change

I had a conversation with my fiancé, Dylan, the other day about my mom. She left a comment on one of my blog entries that really had me bothered. Dylan let me vent it out for a while and when I was done, he simply asked me, “Well what have youdone?” It was an innocent question, yet, at the time it angered me. I began to snap back all the ways my mom had done me wrong. He stopped me and said, “Well, you should look at it from her point of view.” I immediately got out my notebook and jotted down the notes of our conversation so that I could reflect on it later.

I have thought a lot about that conversation, and with all that self-reflection, I thought it would be a great time to talk about myflaws… The things that aren’t so great about me. I can talk until I’m blue in the face about all the things that my mom has done to me, but I’m positive there are things about me that aren’t exactly perfect either. I think it’s important that we set aside time in our lives to think about the person we wantto be, and the person that we are. More often than we’d probably like to admit, they are not the same thing.

The person I want to be is someone that is kind, reliable, and welcoming. I want to exude happiness and embody strength. I want to be honest and loving. These are the things that mean the most to me. Without much thought, I like to believe that I do, in fact, radiate all of these positive characteristics. But when I dig deeper into the depths of my own narcissism, I realize maybe I’m not the person that I want to be. 

Everyone likes to think that they are a “good” person. I encourage you to take off the blinders and try to see yourself through someone else’s eyes. Overall, I do believe that I am a “good” person. But there are things I could do better.

Appear More Welcoming & Exude Happiness. I have a VERY bad case of what people like to call the “resting bitch face.” I am aware that I may not appear to others as someone they’d want to approach or make conversation with. It’s not that I intend to come across that way, I just have a resting face that may not be welcoming; which is very unfortunate because I could talk to anyone at any time! I want to smile more and step out of my comfort zone to start conversation rather than waiting for someone else to engage with me.

Embody Strength. The first thing I’m told after I explain my story to someone is, “You’re so strong.” I think most people don’t feel as strong as others see them. That rings true to me. I am gentle, faint-hearted, and sensitive. I don’t feel strong. But I know I am. Everyone has strengths in certain situations. I want to think of myself as someone that is strong. I want my self-talk to have more recognition of the strength I possess. I have thicker skin than I like to believe, and it’s time I start acting like it.

Be Loving. I care a great deal about the people around me, but it’s always been hard for me to show it. I don’t enjoy hugging people most times, and there are a lot of people I feel strange saying “I love you” to. My sister and I always joke about how we feel uncomfortable saying “I love you.” I don’t know if it’s because of some deep fear due to trauma, or if other people feel that way too, but I want to do a better job expressing my love to my friends and family. Tomorrow isn’t promised. Imagine how much our conversations would change if we knew when the last one was going to be.

Be Reliable. I had my baby shower back in November and I invited close to twenty friends that I figured would show up or at least appreciate the invite. Three showed up, and only one out of the rest I invited even bothered to let me know that they couldn’t be there. I will never forget how miserable I felt, and even though I have moved on, I will most likely never forget the pain they caused me. I was relying on the friends I loved to come through for me, and it was very painful when they didn’t. I don’t want the people that rely on me to feel the way that I felt that day. I want to show up. I want to come through for those that expect it from me.

These are just some of the things I know that I can work on. I want to be better for those around me. Be the change you wish to see in the world!

What Addiction Means to Me

I know I have written a lot about how much my mother’s addiction has hurt me, but I haven’t written a lot about it as a societal issue. I can be pretty emotional about this because it weighs heavy on my heart; and even though I’m not one myself, I have a pretty good relationship with addiction.

When I think of the word addiction, first thing that comes to my mind is drugs. But there are so many other things that people are addicted to. Sex, food, motorcycles, porn, fitness, alcohol… The list could be anything. I think people see the word addiction and automatically think of it as something negative that other people have. Nobody wants to admit that they are the one with a problem. The truth is, I think everyone is slightly addicted to something. Everyone has their own substance or behavior that they rely on. We are a species that loves familiarity and being in a routine. We love knowing that if nothing is working out, there will always be something to fall back on.

And that’s why I don’t always turn my nose up at addiction.

Everyone has something they are going through, and everyone relies on something or someone to help them mask the pain. Who are we to judge the sins of someone else? Life is hard! All anyone wants is to escape a world of pain.

What gets me, though, is when someone allows their addiction to become priority over things like children, family, health, etc. I know that drugs are hard to escape. They are literally chemically compounded to keep you hooked. But there is help out there for anyone that wants to change. 

I don’t see addiction as an ugly word. 

Broken families. 


Estranged parents. 






That is what comes from addiction. Those are the ugly words.


Her Guardian: Chapter One

I closed the cabinet drawer, tucked the Cheez-Its under my shirt, and tip-toed out of the kitchen towards my room. I always get such a rush when I’m sneaking through the house, even though I could just go ask Mom for a snack. There’s something about being in hiding that has always made my blood flow.

“Here,” I said as I tossed the box at Gabby, hitting her in the shoulder.

“Ouch,” she mumbled, picking the box up off the ground. I swear that girl couldn’t catch a football with glue on her hands. I sat down on the bottom bunk beside her.

“So did you decide who your hero is yet?” I asked her. She stopped chewing and looked at me, raising an eyebrow.

“I thought you didn’t care about my schoolwork,” she slowly snaps. I could tell she was trying to keep an edge out of her tone.

I’m not always a great sister. That sounds bad to admit. But I’ve been by Gabby’s side my entire life, and I don’t ever see that changing. I love her, but I don’t always tell her- It’s one of those kinds of relationships.

Gabby has long, straight brown hair and dark brown eyes to match. She has long legs- much longer than mine. Sometimes I think her legs couldn’t possibly grow anymore, but that wouldn’t make sense because she’s only eight years old. She is small, but has a huge heart. Whenever I’m mean to her, I always think about how much she loves everything about me. If I tie my shirt up with a hair tie, she’ll be doing the same thing within a matter of minutes, whether it’s ridiculously hideous or not.

“I don’t,” I lied. 

Of course I care about her schoolwork. I pretty much raise the girl. I walk her to and from school every morning, and make sure she has her homework done before dinner every night. Going to school is our only escape from this hell we are forced to live in.

A loud crash interrupted us before Gabby could call my bluff.

I turned to Gabby and grabbed her by the shoulders. “Stay right where you are and don’t move.”

I walked to the doorway and peered around the corner into the living room. My mom and her boyfriend, Squint, were facing one another. My mom bent down to pick up what looked to be parts of a broken lamp. “That shit wasn’t necessary!” she screamed. “That was my grandmother’s lamp!” I could hear the break in her voice as she said it.

“I don’t give a fuck whose lamp it is, I want this shit OUT of my apartment!” Squint stammered back.

Before I knew it, I was helping her pick up the pieces. “It’s okay, Ma,” I told her, looking at her face. She was crying.

I didn’t have the chance to process the fact that my mom was crying before Squint grabbed her up off the ground by her arm. She swung her arm in a circle to escape his grip, but he squeezed harder. I felt my face go warm with anxiety. Squint grabbed my mother by the cheeks and leaned in close to her face. I could see her eyes frantically searching his face. Squint lowered his voice to barely a whisper.

“Get all of this shit and those fucking kids out of my house now,” he murmured. He pushed my mom’s face away from his, causing her to stumble onto the ground. I was frozen, so I couldn’t even reach to help her up. She picked herself up off the floor and walked to the bathroom without saying a word.

I turned towards Squint and looked up at him. He had his fingers on his temples, but I could still see the wrinkles and crow’s feet that covered his face. He looked tired. If he wasn’t such a bully, I may have even felt sorry for him.

I snapped back to reality and started to turn towards the bedroom, but Gabby was already standing beside me. I pushed her towards the bedroom. “You shouldn’t be in here,” I whispered.

Squint stopped us before we could make it to the bedroom. “Girls,” he grinned slyly. I hated that sarcastic, evil grin. “Tell your mom to get her shit out of my house before I kill every single one of you.”

Relapse: An Example of How Your Choices Affect Others

Verb /rəˈlaps/

1. (of someone suffering from a disease) suffer deterioration after a period of improvement

My mom and I on Thanksgiving a few years ago

Relapse. The dirty word. I have to admit, I don’t have much personal experience on this because I’ve never been addicted to anything, but I did want to give my two cents on it since it is something that I have had to feel the consequences of.

I want to start off saying that I do believe that addiction is a disease. I think in many cases, the only way to get over addiction is through counseling, medication, rehabilitation, and/or intervention. Most disputes against addiction being a disease is the argument that addictschoose to start using drugs. That may be true in some circumstances, but it does not mean that it is true in all. Some drug users start before they are even old enough to understand what they are doing. Some are raised in households where drug use is normal and not expressed as a negative thing, let alone something that can be addictive and dangerous. I think this is how my mother started her relationship with drugs. As much as I am hurt by her drug use and the consequences of it, I don’t believe she started using with the intention of always using. If your mom told you something was okay, wouldn’t you believe her? There are too many details on this that I’d rather not share, and the purpose of this blog isn’t about how drug use starts, but how the cycle doesn’t end.

I can remember the day we were taken from our mom by DCFS, and I can remember a few short visits with my mom throughout my childhood, but for the most part, she was absent. Most times I wouldn’t know where she was, and a lot of the time the only reason I knew she was locked up was because of the internet. You can search anything and everything online, and most of the time I found out way more than I ever wanted to. I would break my own heart over and over scrolling through old newspaper articles, public records, and mug shots. I pretty much just always assumed my mom was in the pen because I didn’t know what to anticipate about the relationship between drugs and their user. I still don’t know many facts about methamphetamine and how affects the mind, but I do know that I was absolutely terrified of it and hated it for consuming my mom.

I would find out my mom was out of prison mainly by my family members telling me stories about running into her at Walmart and things like that. I remember one time my own sister said she ran into her, said hi, but she was so out of it that she didn’t even recognize her own daughter.

Those are some of the consequences of relapse.

She goes to prison and gets away from the drugs, but then gets out and has access to everything that got her into trouble in the first place.

I’m not saying I don’t understand- I honestly, truly do. I understand how someone can lean on substance to escape from reality. I understand how life seems impossible to carry on sometimes, and the only way to feel okay is to get high. I understand how someone could fall back into that trap again, especially if they don’t have the help to overcome it.

But my issue is when it gets pinned on me.

My mom has said time and time again that she always turns back to drugs because she doesn’t have a relationship with her girls. She is still very angry and hurt that we were taken from her. That is understandable, no doubt. I can’t imagine having my daughter stripped away from me. That is a hole way bigger than I could ever possibly understand. But I think she needs help understanding that all of this happened because of her addiction and refusal to take responsibility of it. I’m sure that if she ever reads this, she will have something to say about that, but everyone has a right to their own opinion. The way I see it, if she wanted a relationship with her girls, she should be more motivated to getting help and staying sober rather than staying complacent and relapsing.

Her latest comment on one of my blogs said, “Your blame and rejection is debilitating to me and ends in me relapsing.” I can’t explain to you how incredibly furious that makes me. Imagine sitting backseat during a car crash and being blamed for the car when it gets totaled. Our relationship is, and always has been, at the mercy of her choices. And to be frank, most times she chooses wrong.

It seems as though it will be a never-ending cycle of relapse. And all I can do is shake my head in disappointment and hope that maybe one day it will change. After all, I will support my mom (and anyone else, for that matter) in her journey towards recovery, should she ever choose that path.

If you are scared of relapsing, visit for tips, resources, and an online community.

A Mother’s Love


I’ve written a lot on this blog about my mother and her struggles with drug addiction. When I started this page, I decided that would be the platform I talked a lot about, yet a lot of the time I feel like a broken record. There are only so many times you can tell your thoughts, feelings, and experiences before people think, ‘Yeah, we’ve heard this before…’

But now I have a different view of motherhood now that I’m becoming a mother myself.

Throughout my entire pregnancy, even until the day I had her, I was so skeptical on my ability to love my child. I think every new mom worries about what kind of mom they will be and if they will love their baby enough. I honestly felt disconnected to the child that I was carrying.

And that scared me.

I had a lot of anxiety about becoming a mother because I had never been showed what a mother’s true love and presence felt like. My expectations of motherhood were so high because I wanted to be everything that my mom wasn’t. Sometimes I still feel unsure, guilty, and wonder if what I’m doing is what the “good” moms out there do.

It’s hard becoming something when you’ve only witnessed a negative viewpoint of what you are going to become yourself.

The moment I saw Della for the first time, I KNEW I was going to be okay. It all finally made sense. I think it’s hard for a first-time mom to truly understand the life that she made and is carrying. I didn’t truly understand the magnitude of pregnancy because I had never created life, grew it inside of me, and got to see the end result: a baby. But once I got to meet her and see that she was a tiny human that grew inside of me, it all changed. Of course I loved her as she grew inside of me, but all worries of if I could love her enough vanished once I could really see what I had made.

It is, and always will be, the most beautiful thing I have ever witnessed.

A mother’s love is like no other. After all, your baby is the only living thing on this earth that has heard your heartbeat from inside your body.


Drug Courts & A Failed F*cking System

I wrote a few weeks back that my mom was getting out of jail and going to rehab. I was excited, but I tried hiding it. Part of me knew something was going to fall out. The thing about hope is that even though you can prepare yourself to be let down, you can’t prepare yourself enough to not feel the hurt of failed expectations.

She went to rehab for five days.

Five days.



I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t heartbroken, but how I feel is much more than just a heartbreak.

I am furious.


I am furious at the system. I am furious at our courts. I am furious at the people that turn a blind eye when they know that someone needs their help.

SHE COULD BE A MOTHER. She could have been our mother for YEARS now if someone would have taken even a SECOND to pay attention to what the hell was going on in our situation.

It all started in the early 2000’s. The first time she was arrested for possession and fighting. I would have been around five years old. So you arrest a young mother for fighting on the streets while high on who-knows-what, and you’re not going to do anything to make sure it doesn’t happen again? What about the second time? Third time? Fourth time?

Oh, right. THAT’S when we finally take the kids.

But she should have been provided the rehabilitation and help she so desperately needed WAAAAYYYY before it ever got that bad. It has been eighteen years since this all started and nothing has been done to help her. I am furious because in this country drug addicts can relapse and relapse and relapse and get locked up several times without getting any help! By now, we should all be aware that it is cheaper to rehabilitate addicts so they don’t relapse than it is to lock them up over and over and over again…

When did we stop caring about people? Or rather, why don’t we care more about people? It is unfortunate that many addicts’ stories are just like my mother’s. An endless cycle of drug addiction, arrest, lengthy prison sentence, release, and then it starts all over again. And again. And again.

I lost my mother because our court system is designed to allow addicts to fail. 

She was arrested this last time for possession of meth. She was sent to a rehabilitation facility for FIVE DAYS after a twenty year-long span of drug addiction. Do you want to know why? Because they release those that aren’t seen as a risk of relapsing. 


She has been an addict for twenty f*cking years and you’re gonna tell me that after FIVE DAYS in your facility, you think she isn’t going to go right back to the drugs?! WHAT. A. JOKE.

This is what I mean when I say that the system is designed to let people like her fail.

I am heartbroken. Outraged. Furious. Disgusted. Appalled.

If she would have gotten help the first time she was seen as having a problem, I could have a mom in my life right now. But instead I’m sitting here pissed off, writing a blog about how the government helped in making my life a living hell.

An Open Letter to the Grandparents of My First Baby

To the grandparents of my first baby:

When I first found out I was pregnant, I was terrified. Terrified of the unknown. Terrified of how you’d react. Terrified of how I would be as a new mom. I can say with certainty now, parenthood is something you just don’t understand until you are one yourself. There is no glimpse into the future. There is no certainty of anything when it comes to having a child.

I remember trying to muster up the courage to tell you that your baby was having a baby of her own. Becoming a parent was something I still hadn’t fully came to terms with myself… and yet I had to tell you that you were going to be a grandparent and hope you would be supportive of this new journey I was starting.

You were everything I had always imagined and more.

I remember the shrill sound of your voice, all joy and excitement pouring from your heart. I remember feeling you cry as you hugged me, telling me how proud you were and how much you loved me. I remember feeling the nervousness and worry liberate itself from me. 

As the months went on and my belly began to grow, you were by my side with new baby clothes in one hand and some shoes to match in the other. You were there at ultrasounds, baby showers, crying fits, and doctor’s appointments. You offered all the advice you could and encouraged me to have confidence in myself.

There was not a single moment since I found out about my pregnancy where I felt like I had let you down. You never made me feel like this was an unwanted circumstance. You never made me question whether I was doing the right thing.

I want to thank you for all you have done for me in my journey to motherhood. You understood the love that children bring, and you helped me understand that one day I, too, would feel the overwhelming love and vulnerability of having a child of my own. You understood what it was like to see the entire contents of your heart walking around on this earth… And now I do too.

I want to thank you for being amazing grandparents. We grow up knowing our parents as the people that shape us into who we become, but that relationship is so much more beautiful when you get to see your parents handling the child that you made. Life is one big circle, and watching the people that you have known the longest care for a life you made is nothing short of spectacular.

As grandparents, you have made me a better daughter, a better sister, and a better friend. But most importantly, you have made me into a better mom – a mom that has no doubt that she is doing a damn good job. Thank you for being supportive parents to me, and THANK YOU for being the BEST grandparents to my beautiful baby.


Your Baby Girl


Mental Health Awareness Month

I’ve never talked about mental health on my blog before, but I figured it’s a great topic to talk about, and since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, there’s no better time than now!

When I think about words that describe myself, I first think about words like happy, energetic, motivated, determined, etc. But the truth is, there are more times than I’d like to admit where I feel the exact opposite of those. There are days I want to pull the blankets over my head and sleep the day away. There are days where I feel sad, have no energy, no motivation, and no patience.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. (46.6 million people) experience mental illness in a given year. Also, mood disorders, (including major depression, dysthymic disorder and bipolar disorder) are the third most common cause of hospitalization in the U.S. for both youth and adults 18–44 years old.

So if so many people are affected by a mental illness, why do I feel so alone when we realize that I may be suffering, too?

When I look back on my life, my darkest time was definitely throughout my junior high school years. I remember talking to the school counselor a lot during my 6th, 7th, and 8th grade years. It was the time in my life where I most struggled with the absence of my mom. I think it was when I first started to fully understand what had happened to me and began to realize that my life was much different that those of my classmates. I was angry a lot of the time. I grew up in a family of six siblings, and at this time I remember I would get in trouble a lot for hitting on them. I don’t consider myself a hostile person, but at that time I was looking for an outlet of my emotions that didn’t involve talking about or dealing with the severity of them. I resented my mom and the fact that she chose drugs over my sister and I, but my sister was years younger than I was and couldn’t fully understand what had happened. She was only 3 when DCFS took us from our mom. So I was dealing with all of those demons completely alone- even the person that I went through this with couldn’t help me.

It was my eighth grade year when I hit rock bottom. I had a bedroom in our basement, and my bed was one of those bunk beds that had a desk under it instead of a second mattress. I was sitting at that desk listening to some of Eminem’s darkest songs and thinking about how much I hated what I was going through. I got up and searches the medicine cabinet for any and all pills I could find.

I went back to my desk, laid the pills out, and started writing goodbye letters to my loved ones. Before I got through the last letter, I was bawling and starting to realize that this wasn’t something I could go through with. I imagined what my family would be like as they read these letters, and I realized I loved them WAY too much to put them through something like that.

I went to school the next day. During PE hour, I gave my best friend the letter I had wrote her the night before and explained to her what I was feeling. We cried together in the locker room and she took me to go get help from a teacher.

I’ll never forget that moment.

We grew apart in the following years, but I have treasured that moment of love and understanding for all of these years. She was the one that picked me up without judgement and led me to the help I needed. I love her for that to this very day.

Many years ago!!

There is no shame in getting the help you need. I recently read a post on Facebook that said something along the lines of hoping that one day getting help for mental health would be as normal as going to the doctor for an injury, and that getting released from school for mental health would be as normal as leaving for a tummy ache. What a world that would be. Let’s end the stigma against mental illness and help those suffering get the help they need.