Thursday, February 2, 2017

Totally and completely loved.


This blog post has been one I've been porcastinating and if you're wondering why, it's because my grandfather passed away exactly a month ago after battling cancer for 5 years. You're probably also wondering why am I being public with my grief (at least if you know me). To be honest, I don't know. I've always wanted this blog to help others and reflect on my life. Sometimes I go back and reread these old blog posts and I'm just surprised by how much I've grown and sometimes I can see where I need improvement.

How has grief impacted my life? Like I said it's made my grow, but also realize areas of improvement. It's hard to recount the events without honestly tearing up. I'll try and keep it as short for both you and I (or maybe not, be warned). Not just because it's hard to recount, but also because I'm sure it's a tough read. No one wants read about someone grieving. We all want rainbows and happy endings, believe me I do too. However, I acknowledge that Jesus didn't call me for rainbows and happy endings. That is far too comfortable. I'm not saying he called me to suffer, but he called me to experience the hurricane and the rainbow at the end in his presence.

December 19, 2016 my grandfather was emitted to the hospital into the ICU. This is pretty common for the past 5 years. He was a stage IV lung cancer patient. My grandfather would always end up in the hospital around winter. Something in my gut had told me however, this time was different. I felt it. I used to have a sense of optimism (or at least as much easiness as one could have when finding their loved one in the hospital). My grandfather was always strong. I would consider him a warrior. He had a strong will to live and he always wanted to combat his cancer. Which is something that at his age is rather hard. In the months prior he stopped taking his chemo pills. It had a negative side effect on his standard of living. My  grandfather wasn't doing too much to be honest. His farthest walk was from his bed to the couch and sometimes the bathroom. Which you're talking about a man who survived a heart attack and two days later began to work again. It was hard seeing him weak. It was hard seeing him struggling to breathe. It was all too hard. At this point on December 19 I knew logically I needed to let him go. At this point wanting him to continue to live was basically out of selfishness.

Anyways, on the 19th we sat around the emergency room and looked into his tired eyes. He hadn't gotten much sleep and he was no longer on his nasal breathing mask but much rather his full on breathing mask. As usual he lied to me and told me when he was doing OK. When in reality he was far worse. He had this tendency of masking his pain and at least trying to smile or crack a joke when I was around. He had a sense of humor at times, and at times he knew his time was coming. None of us wanted to hear him talking about it. He instructed the nurse to let him go if his heart should stop. As you can imagine my mother and I were bawling our eyes out at this point. My mother needed to step out of the room. It was perhaps one of the hardest days we've experienced.

On the 20th it was my mothers birthday. I wished her a happy birthday and off to the hospital we were. I was less than complacent of staying with my grandfather. I was fearful. I didn't want to be in the room with him. I couldn't bare seeing him as he was. I eventually agreed because I knew in my heart that I needed to be by his side. It's what Jesus would have done. Jesus didn't live his life in fear. I walked in that room to find my grandfather out of consciousness. He would wake up momentarily to snag all his cables off his body. His heart was working at 20% and his heart rate was way too high. Soon it got to the point the nurses crowded around the room and told us to say goodbye. It was me and my uncle and we began to say goodbye. We told him we loved him. We were trying to let him go. I snatched the rosary over my neck and held it to his arm. I called my mother and we argued out of panic. She soon arrived on time and we all bid our goodbye's. We had the priest and chaplin come in and that was it. He had a 5% chance of making it through the night. The one thing about my grandfather is he never fails to surprise us all. We stayed there all night and the next morning I found he was alive. He was still with us. He was stable. All he wanted was to go home.

I didn't want much to do with the world. I didn't want to talk to anyone. I didn't want to listen to music . I didn't want to go on social media. I didn't want to watch TV. I was at a complete stand still. I began grieving and he was still with us. I felt like I was screaming for help in an empty pit to find that my screams weren't heard. I felt trapped in sorrow. I couldn't pray. I couldn't open a bible. I felt a wave of anxiety overcoming me.

The overwhelming truth about cancer is, you know it's going to happen and if by it you think I'm referring to death. I absolutely am. Were those words hard to type? They were. I never thought 5 years ago I would be picking up the scrapbook frame of our family at my grandfathers house that I once made when I was 15. I would never have thought I would be given the watch he always used to wear on his wrist or his lucky 2 dollar bill much less his collection of prized polaroids. Never in a million years did I ever think I would never be able to hear his voice again.  I knew it was going to happen, but as all people on earth do; I took time for granted. I only called once every 2 weeks or sometimes once every month.

I lived my life consumed by other things to not focus on his next chemo treatment or how much longer a doctor said he had to live.. and I acknowledge that it was selfish yet it felt as if it was the only thing I could do.

He spent 4 days in the hospital. Every morning we would hear from a doctor. They recommended hospice care which is something they do for terminal patients who have less than 6 months. I held onto 6 months a little too much. I wanted 6 months. In those 6 months he would've seen my cousin turn 7 and my other cousin turn 6 and he would've celebrated his birthday. In those 6 months I could've had 6 months of phone calls, even if he could hardly breathe on the phone.

I spent those 4 days caring for him, feeding him, giving him water with a jelly like substance because he couldn't swallow, and we watched TV together. In those 4 days I spent more time with my family together than I had in months. Those 4 days became everything to me. We laughed together, cried together, spoke to one another, but most of all we were together. My grandpa looked tired and this time around it wasn't just from the cancer it was from living... We all knew it. We all denied it. He couldn't push on and even he knew it.

Finally on the 24th he was released. We were relieved, but he was placed on hospice. We spent Christmas gathered around his bed and we shared a meal. He couldn't bare the thought of eating. He didn't want to eat, much less sleep. My grandfather was restless. I spent that night watching him sing tango. I spent that night cracking jokes with him. I absorbed every single moment. My uncle asked me to encourage him. My grandpa isn't the easiest person in the world to speak to. I tried to ask him to eat. I promised that even though I would be leaving the next day, I'd be his personal nurse. I'd check in and for the most part I did.

My mother and I had to go to Miami to visit some family. We went. We were physically there, but emotionally elsewhere. I had come down with a major cold from ICU. I was sick to the point of having chills and had to spend the day in bed. In those hours I pondered if I should call, if he would be breathless, and would he be even able to talk? Was he on morphine? Was in he in pain? I pondered so much. I needed my mom to call him.

The 27th was brutal. We finally got to speak to him and not his wife. He couldn't talk so she would tell us how he was doing. He spoke to me told me to enjoy my life. I spent a lot of those 5 years after his diagnosis wanting to know how I could honor him and his strength in my life. I had no idea it was that simple. He just wanted me to enjoy. He told me he loved me and that was it. I knew it. He didn't tell me to take care like he usually would (which was his own way of saying "I love you"). He said those words and that point I knew this was it. It was over. I was consumed in sadness having to cover it with a bright smile to make those around me feel comfortable. I was no longer myself.

We celebrated New Years and the next day we left Miami only to find my uncle call us and give us the bad news. He had passed away. He held his wife's hand and just like that, he let go. He spent the day prior opening his arms for his brother to take him into heaven.

I felt a sense of relief. No more chemo treatments. No more doctors appointments where they found other ways to make him live a life he didn't want to. No more oxygen tanks. No more gasping for air in the middle of the night, but most of all no more cancer.

The 12 hour car ride was beyond brutal. I cried at first, then relaxed, then I cried again. Wow. I didn't know who I was. I listened to music at a blasting volume and sought out a distraction from all the pain. Making it home was difficult. My grandmother was someone I needed to video chat with since she lives far away.

I soon chatted with her and one of the first things she said was, "He enjoyed his life." This baffled me. I was so lost. She had no idea what I spoke of with him on his final days.

You're probably wondering why this is called "Totally and completely loved," when all of this is about loss. It's because there's another part to this. I promise you. The story doesn't end here. If it did this would be an awfully sad blog.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Knock knock, who's there? YOUR FUTURE.

As a young woman who lost her lanyard for her room key, who has been forced to acknowledge the fact that if she doesn't purchase a new one she will indeed lose her room key. She stumbled into the school store, where there she not only found her lanyard but also a degree on a shiny frame. It stood there taunting her, filling her heart with insecurities and a sense of unsureness. A dream, which four years ago seemed so far away was knocking on her door.

It's going to creep on me sooner or later.

So you're probably wondering (or maybe not), what is this talented, honest, woman of the Lord doing with her life? (modesty, oops)

The truth is, I have no idea.

Here not only comes a degree knocking on my door but the unescapable book which commands my life so well, the Bible.

I rarely pray to the Lord about the future, my heart is on the future. Can we please just talk about how hard it is to survive the now? It always gets difficult for me to think too far ahead. Don't even ask me what I'm doing on Friday, I have no idea.

Point is, I am not the most qualified to talk about this. Perhaps, the reason I only pray about the now is because I have this deep trust in the Lord and his plan. Heck sometimes I even wonder what am I going to do? Am I going to work at a radio station? a non-profit? Am I going to sacrifice everything and live my life for the Lord?

My biggest insecurity is that my job will not glorify God. As much as I want to work in radio; I feel that I am promoting music that involves sex, lack of emotional chastity, and worst of all music I listen to but don't believe in. You could argue that I could work at a Christian station, but as awful as it sounds I am fascinated by the music industry.  I have listened to so much music growing up. I literally can't even begin to name all of the albums. My head was always in the CD section of Best Buy.

It's not to say that I dislike Christian music (because I do like it), it's just to say that I am fascinated by pop culture and its influence on our society as a whole. As I dive deeper in faith my fears and future are subject to a tremendous amount of change. I am ready to discover the true meaning of my life, but I am only doing this in handing it to the Lord.

Another fear of mine is not having time for the Lord. As of now, I have an awesome community in which I have spirit nights and I also have daily mass. I have friends centered on Christ. As college ends, that's going to change.

My point in saying all this is to let you know that I'm afraid. But of course, the Lord has a ton to say about this. I got you!

I just know, that regardless God is writing or has written my story. I know all my choices can lead me closer to his kingdom or farther away. When I make a decision, I am going to challenge myself to reflect how the Lord sees it in his eyes. I challenge you to do the same. I want you to trust God, as hard as it may sound at times. Trust in him and do not lean on your own understanding. YOU can do this! I believe in you and me! I believe in both of us! I just want you to remember as you make decisions just reflect on them and make the ones that will ultimately lead you into heaven. At the end of the day, isn't all of goals to get behind those pearly gates and meet our creator face to face?

I have attached some of my favorite Bible verses from websites. I did this on my last post and I hoped it has helped you. It sure has helped me dive deeper into the Bible. If you have anything you want to say  or prayer intentions or anything at all please comment below! I would love to hear from you.

Bible verses to renew an unsure heart....

  1. "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
  2. "Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you." Psalm 9:10
  3. "But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation." Psalm 13:5
  4. "Sovereign LORD, you are God! Your covenant is trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant. "2 Samuel 7:28
  5. "Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will call upon the name of the Lord, our God. "Psalm 20:7
  6. "And now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and formed thee, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed thee, and called thee by thy name: thou art mine." Isaiah 43:1
  7. "When I am afraid, I put my trust in you" Psalm 56:3
  8.  “Do not let your hearts be trouble believe in God; believe also in me. John 14:1
  9. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. "Proverbs 3:5-6
  10. "The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps." Proverbs 16:9


Monday, September 19, 2016

Where DO Broken Hearts go?

We live in a music scene obsessed with the thought and feelings that go into heartbreak. If you tell me you don't listen to at least one song about a love that didn't quite work out, I wouldn't believe you.

Has my heart ever been broken? Yes, but not in the sense you would think.

I am of the one percent who can honestly say they haven't had a romantic relationship. At 20 years old, I am yet to experience the fullness of break-up texts, binge eating ice cream, and having friends convince me that he wasn't good enough ( a little less on the last point). Heartbreak isn't just romantic, it's in all relationships.

When you stop being friends with someone, you feel it. It cracks you apart and you feel down. If you're like me, I am one to put self blame.

At some point, I wonder where DO broken hearts go? No, not the One Direction song. I prayed and prayed to understand my own heart and wonder what happens when it is broken. Usually, I have a small reminder that it isn't the end of the world. I'll be okay.

The truth is, imagine this, your heart is a piece of fabric.

Let's say someone breaks your heart. It can be a relationship of 6 months or your friend said they're mad at you. This person broke your heart. So this is what happens to your little red fabric heart.

It's been cut. Your heart was cut and the person holding the scissors is the one who hurt you or perhaps yourself. This all has a point, I promise. So with all this chaos and your heart feeling empty and torn. You take all this to prayer. Prayer is that one time you can lay down all these emotions in front of God or Jesus and release your inner insecurities. You become a stronger person through prayer. Slowly everyday you begin to feel better, maybe not completely , but just good enough. You feel it. He's here holding your hand through this and this is what happens to your heart.

God is stitching it back up, he knows you have the capability to love endlessly and he never wants to take that away from you. Maybe like this illustration the yellow thread makes an impact on your heart. Which means you'll never forget the person and what happened but it means you fully forgave them. We have this amazing thing God has given us. We have a power to forgive and a love that we can provide that is so endless, it's terrifyingly beautiful.

So next time you have a heartbreak, it can be between friends, families, or your boyfriend and girlfriend think about the red heart. Heal yourself through prayer and things that make you happy. I think it's amazing to be able to compare the power of prayer to something real. Wow!

Bible verses that can help your heart stitch back up... 
I chose some of my favorites. 

  1. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit (Psalms 34:18)
  2. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalms 73:26) 
  3. fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
  4.  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.(Corinthians 12:9)
  5.  Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved (Psalms 55:22)
  6.  Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. (Mark 11:23 )
  7. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (Corinthians 13:7 )
  8.  Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. (Peter 4:19)
  9. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
  10.  Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. (Isaiah: 43:18)
  11. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you: and through rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fires you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you (Isaiah 43:1)

Monday, April 11, 2016


If you tell me about a certain time you've walked into a room of strangers and didn't quite feel as if you were in the right place because everyone had a connection except you; I can right off the bat tell you that's my life. My life for the most part has been a sequence of awkward, good, and bad moments.

It all started in what one of my friends considers the armpit of America, New Jersey. I was placed in a ESL class (standard procedure). I believe this one girl was a bully and just about picked on everyone. It was at the point where she pinched me and of course I pinched back. The teacher sided with me entirely on the fact that I was a brand new student and well the girl didn't have a good track record. However, that was enough to mark me off to the rest of the class.

By the time second grade came along, my mother decided to place me in private school (no, it had nothing to do with the pinching incident). The public school system in the north isn't the best. So imagine this, walking into a classroom full of students who had not only known each other but were wearing uniforms. Then me of course wearing not a uniform. As I walked in the teacher obligated everyone to introduce themselves. So as I introduced myself, I curtsied. I repeat, I curtsied. I still cringe about this. Of course there was a cute boy in my class.

Only in second grade did we have a Valentine's day dance, where of course my mother picked an outfit that day I dreaded and the boy who I thought was cute was a short distance from me. When I ask my mother what I did in that situation, her answer wasn't a shock. I ran in circles around the dance floor.

Anyways needless to say I didn't fit in with the popular bunch in my small and quaint classroom. I was different. I wore Mickey Mouse pins on my private school ties in fourth grade AND although I did cheerleading I would skip because the HIGH SCHOOL coaches made me feel as if I did nothing right. However, this didn't mean I didn't want to fit in. I longed to belong to the trio of girls who sat at the end of our classroom lunch table. I tried. I tried so hard to the point where I was bullied. I was a sensitive child as most only children are. The turning point was when I was told what days I could sit in with this trio of cool girls. It wasn't up until Melissa stood up for me. I sat with other girls who were different. There was one girl who was more alienated than I was and she even sat with us. Harmony and having more than one friend in my class seemed like a literal blessing.

But before I got too comfortable....

My mom decided to move us all to Georgia. Yes, New Jersey to Georgia. It's just as easy for me to tell you I cried the whole way. It felt as if I cried the whole 15 hours. Sure the vacations to Georgia weren't too bad but MOVING. At the time it felt as if it was the end of my world (I was only 10).

Unfortunately for me the public school system here was actually better than New Jersey so I attended public school. Unfortunately for me I didn't have the best wardrobe. I mean I wore a uniform 5 days a week; What can you expect? So there I was huge sweatshirts and sweatpants every single day (Snow in Jersey, not a joke) and coming into a classroom who AGAIN everyone knew each other, the status quo was established and I didn't belong to any of them(At least this time they weren't all in uniform right?) . I slowly got acquainted with everyone and made some friends. I still wanted to be "in". It all seems stupid, you know? Anyways everyone was wearing Justice and of course I had to have Justice and I did. I still didn't fit in. None of this bothered me as much because I had one friend named Amber who became my best friend and I wasn't the only addition to the class.. Also it's worth mentioning the girl who lived next to me, never liked me either although I never exchanged but 2 words with her.

I thought things were looking up for me in middle school but of course, I was wrong. 6th grade I made one of my best friends and we were super close simply because we both had a mutual dislike of the girl in my neighborhood who didn't like me for any reason. Things were looking up for me and my like of Hannah Montana seemed to be a good but rather bad conversation starter. I was known as the girl obsessed with Hannah Montana. My best friend and I shared a similar goal of attempting to fit in but finding ourselves to be unsuccessful. The public school system was not in my favor the status quo established in elementary school carried on into middle school and of course the glorious 4 years of high school. I did the talent show in 6th grade and take a wild guess at what I sang... Hannah Montana (shocker).

7th grade I was still super attached to my best friend and we thought we could conquer the world since we had the same class. The universe however had other plans in store for us both. I was placed in the homeroom with the meanest girl possible and she hated me (again I do not know why).  She gave me a blank piece of paper and called it an invite to her party. She accused both my best friend and I of being lesbians. Of course my mother handled this. I was shy to the point where I didn't stand up for myself and maybe if I did it wouldn't have gotten so bad.

8th grade I embraced the fact I wasn't part of the established food chain. If the food chain in middle school existed I was simply nonexistent. I began to feel misunderstood for some reason or another prompting black eyeliner and Paramore. I was as edgy as it got. I began an ongoing experimentation with makeup, short hair and a straightener. Needless to say it was rather distrastorus. I had friends who were in-between as I was. I began having friends who perhaps were edgier and did things I didn't do but respected that I didn't do those things.

I think throughout my social experimentation I have gathered to never judge anyone. It's okay to be different.
High school to me felt like a turning point, because at the time I still didn't believe elementary and middle school food chains applied to the best four years of your life. I socialized with the less cooler people. If social climbing was a thing, in high school I was still bottom of the ladder. It wasn't until Junior year I found my niche. In 9th grade I befriended a girl named Geo, who after gym disappeared in my life. 11th grade brought us back together through a mutual friend and through Geo I met my group. We all had strict parents, a love for One Direction, and we all were in a way just normal. We weren't totally alienated and we didn't totally fit in. Our group was diverse and filled with laughter.

For once I actually liked being different. 

Senior year was uneventful and it was then that I became okay with who I was. I made friends with a Danish foreign exchange student and I made another close friend that I slowly began to trust more than anyone. I didn't really let popularity get to me. I didn't need a ladder to climb and I didn't need a food chain to be a part of. I was okay with being me. My friends from junior year carried onto senior year and the longest journey seemed to be over. 

College was the literal turning point for me in so many ways.

I walked into a college with amazing friends back home and as a commuter I saw no point in befriending anyone. You're probably wondering how is that a turning point? Well I didn't try to make friends, it just happened. One day I was somewhat early to class and sat in between Kim and Maria. I began to become fully happy with who I was and this has led me into the most amazing and transforming phase in my life. I love who I'm becoming. I love the people I surround myself with and the constant laughter provided through much needed times. College is the point in life where you learn to embrace your differences and find people who are just as different and if not even more different than you are. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Meeting Charlie Puth

So for those of you who are like me and don't know a whole lot about Charlie Puth, that's okay I didn't either. He's a three time Grammy nominated artist for his song "See You Again" which was in remembrance of Paul Walker and not only is it a beautiful song, it was written by Charlie himself. He is a super talented musician. He had a full ride from Berklee, and he's also from New Jersey (like myself... kind of). Anyways, so Jingle Ball in Atlanta had come around and my friend and I were excited for artists such as Shawn Mendes, Nick Jonas, DNCE, or Justin Bieber. Never did we think we would ACTUALLY meet Charlie Puth. We did look at his Instagram a couple weeks before the concert and he did spark some curiosity in us but just like most of you, we only really knew one or two songs.

Luckily for us, we had fifth row seats. As we walk in we can't help but marvel at our closeness to the stage (which consisted of taking super embarrassing selfies). Anyways, so Charlie was the opening act before everyone else. Our row happened to empty and these girls encouraged us to move down to be closer to the center since we were at the side. So we did this, only to find a spotlight right in our face. Charlie was literally singing to us. I couldn't even handle the situation. I was in awe of how attractive he was in person and how super talented he was. I have to be honest and say he has an amazing voice and he is worth seeing live if you're into pop music. I'll recommend some songs later.

As he went off stage, we saw other acts like Shawn Mendes. I know this blog is about Charlie and I promise THIS totally correlates. When I saw Shawn, I went insane. I have honestly been a fan since his days in MAGCON and when he didn't have a record deal. ALL of my energy was spent on Shawn. I don't still understand how I had a voice after that performance. He also did a duet with Camila from Fifth Harmony. So after Shawn gets off stage, everyone literally is staring at our side of the stage. We didn't know why, that wasn't until we saw the top of his head and everyone pointing and the nice girl next to us told us it was him. One problem and only one was present and that was: security. The security lady in front of row told us we couldn't pass. We were totally and beyond frustrated that we couldn't surpass security when literally a Grammy nominated artist was there right in front of us and the fact the girl behind us managed to take a photo.  My friend Kim who kept urging me to go when the security lady was preoccupied also shared my distress at the situation. All we had to do was surpass this lady and go through. As she became preoccupied again, my friend Kim pushed me past her and basically yelled "GO". This was all in the break between Nick Jonas and next up was no other than Justin Bieber. The adrenaline in my body kicked in and I still don't know how I weaved through the crowd barefoot due to the uncomfortable boots I was wearing.

So now this is where it happens.
I tap him on his shoulder, he was wearing a gray shirt. He turns around and I ask "Can I have a picture?". We take 2 photos and the lighting from the stage made the photos look very weird. As I turn around I see my friend Kim, who also snuck past the security woman. She looks at me stunned that she made it with this glimmer of excitement in her eyes. This was indeed her second concert and at her second concert she managed to meet a person who has not only 1 hit song on the radio but 2 hit songs. She froze up in excitement and I asked Charlie once, "Can she have a picture with you?". I had a slight moment of freaking out and I couldn't even maneuver her iPhone camera (I have had an iPhone for over 3 years). I managed to take the photo and I was unhappy with the photo I had taken previously. I ask Charlie " I'm sorry, but can I just have one more photo". He says "I don't mean to sound rude or anything but-" and he cuts himself off and takes a photo with me. The lighting was more favorable and it looked like a much better photo than before. I had 2 selfies with him and a photo taken by my friend and in all honesty I could not have been more thrilled. As far as his response went, I understood completely. A lot of fans had previously asked for photos before us and he was just trying to enjoy the show. I felt as if I was interuppting his experience.

Reader I am lucky and blessed to say that it wasn't my last encounter with Charlie Puth. A week ago, my friend Kimberly who loves The Bert Show informed that Charlie Puth was doing a promotion for the radio station where we would get free lunch and a performance with him. I was thrilled. Not only had I met him previously but he was going to be performing for us again. It would be insane to see him again. Unlike last time, I did proper research on Charlie. I had found out he had a full ride to Berklee but also that he had an accident with a dog when he was 2 ;causing the scar on his eyebrow. He had basically loved music from a young age. I couldn't help but stumble into his EP and listen to several songs only to find myself even more excited that the next day I would actually get to see him again. I couldn't help but become an actual fan. Charlie is the next best thing. I managed to listen to "We Don't Talk Anymore" because it was leaked.

So literally my friend drove 1 hour to pick me up and another hour to get us both to the event. We were listening to his songs and commenting on them to see how we felt. His album doesn't come out for another 4 days. We had very limited songs to listen to. As we were getting there I mentioned how Charlie's autograph is worth a lot of money (later he comments about how paparazzi ask him for his autograph to sell it and how it bothers him which was funny because I literally was looking up how much it went for). My friend thought it would be brilliant if we went to the UPS store and printed our photos. We first went to the event to see less than 100 people there (that was the cut off). Then later we printed the photos, bought metallic markers and waited outside at 10 am when the event started at 11:30 am. We sat outside our anxiety levels to a high as we were scared he would recall the unfortunate and fortunate encounter the previous month at Jingle Ball. We honestly knew his reaction could go either way. I waited in the patio of the event and sure enough I was first to get in line and actually reserve a table very close to the keyboard (Charlie was literally singing to me). We all got food first which was me getting 2 chicken fingers and rice and racing over to get the perfect seats.

Charlie Puth was literally 5 feet away from me, he walked in a little late. Bert informed us we could ask anything except about Meghan. I said "Wow" only to be called out by Bert and he said "We know where your mind is"(very funny).  We all couldn't help but stare. He is literally gorgeous in person. At first Bert made some comments with Charlie and sure enough he had to do a song. "Uhh I don't know what song to play for you guys". My friend Kim chimed in and said "One Call Away" and he pointed at her and smiled saying "Alright One Call Away". His live performances are actually 10 times better than the stuff you hear on the radio. He did a small Q&A where fans asked questions (Favorite gummy beat flavor? he likes sour patch kids btw, or favorite song to sing live? See you again which he partially wrote for his own friend). He soon sang WDTA and it's his actual first time singing the song and he glanced at me because I was ahead of the game. He discussed how he began working with Selena, he approached her with an idea about a song at an after party and he wrote it and soon enough hit her up about doing the duet. Soon enough he sang Marvin Gaye and he looked at me as he sang "I'd love to be in trouble with you" and my heart couldn't handle it. He spoke about how he wanted to learn the guitar like his friend Shawn Mendes (;. I was thrilled. He did some  of Hello by Adele, Love Yourself by Justin (in which he looked at me for the words as he forgot them) and a small snippet of a John Meyer song in which he mentioned if he could work with composers dead or alive it would be Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Bruno Mars and of course John Meyer and a small Q&A. I asked him a question how his experience at Berklee and of course I mentioned New Jersey. He answered my question very thoroughly so I felt that perhaps he had forgotten our past encounter. He also seemed happy that as a fan I took an interest in his career. (one fan actually came all the way from South Carolina and saw him in Dallas and Atlanta). Soon enough the small concert was over, because he had more promotional work to do. I soon got out of my seat because we really needed those photos signed.

Charlie saw a lot of girls coming towards him and he put up his index finger to indicate he would be back but soon enough he went to the back. I clutched the photo and pen in my hand leaving my purse behind (just like Jingle Ball). We approached him in the back where he took some quick photos with fans but not very many since Q100 security and I believe one of the person on his camp indicated this wasn't a meet and greet. They were very upset by the influx of fans going towards the restroom in the back. The man would simply not let me through, Kim went in through the side and I handed her the photos. Soon she asked Charlie if he could sign our photos for us and he said "Sure, If you have a marker", Kim swiftly turned around and looked at me as I handed her the silver marker. The encounter seemed to be going well until Kim said "Jackie, I told you" she said "I told you he was rude". I was in total shock, I saw his smile as she came up to him and I figured it went well.

Kim said to him "We met you at Jingle Ball" and he said "You (did/didn't, she's not actually sure which one he said) meet me. It was during the Bieber thing". At first I was in absolute shock and joy that he remembered our faces and he knew where we had met us, however the realization that he wasn't excited to see us after everything we had been through that morning shocked me. I never expected him to say those words. Kim described his demeanor as "fake" stating that he was forced to. However weighing it both ways, we did have to surpass security twice to meet him and both times our encounters with Charlie weren't under the right circumstances. I do however, wish that Charlie did acknowledge our efforts to reconnect with him. I do wish him the best in his career as a singer and I am absolutely thankful to have seen him and been able to ask him a question once more. As far his upcoming tour and album goes. I am currently on the fence about wanting to meet him again. In a way he made us both feel embarrassed of how we met him.

In conclusion, I encourage you to listen to his music. He certainly has a passion for it and his album was written and produced by himself. I encourage you to see him live if you feel called to, and as far my support goes he certainly did bring my friend and I closer with our concert experience, but I am reluctant to purchase an album or concert ticket as well as meet and greet due to the story I have just shared.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Why I hate emotions...

I always do a post on the week of finals, it's become tradition. Probably because I can reflect on my semester.. I think there's a beauty in it all. I don't know. I think it's the ability to look back and maybe learn something about yourself you didn't know 5 months ago. It's the beauty of being able to look into your friends eyes and be like "You've been there with me through these insane 5 months" the thing is, this blog is about goodbyes, emotions, and maybe what I learned. It'll come in parts so please excuse the change of topics.

I am excited for next semester and I learned that my emotions overpower me. They control me, they sometimes hurt me, they basically don't allow me to think things logically. I have the worst temper and it's such a weakness. God's grace is going to shape me into who I want to be. My emotions seem to control my mood and I wish I could be happy all the time. I wish I could put an ocean between myself and my emotions.

Anyways I can't stress the power of the Lord enough, it's so powerful. I've been spending my last three days as a recluse (okay maybe not that extreme) but I've been in books and stuDYING. As I study, I listen to break up songs and they all have the same connotation "I'm not thinking about this person, because they did {insert wrongful doing here}. Yeah, BUT if you weren't really thinking about them then what is the song even about? Clearly when you sang it or wrote it you reflected on your past. That's besides the point. I'm not really sure at the moment how I feel about absolutely anything. In my heart I want closure from my emotions but at the same time I'll miss them... a lot. I'll miss it so much I won't know. I know in my heart that God is all I need. He is. When I call him, he's here. He's with me right now. He knows what I want to tell you, or how I want to guide you.

My point is that on this very Sunday, I was presented with a problem. My study buddy was having boy problems and it seemed like I had an honest input. She liked a boy, who just got out of a relationship a week ago. He was basically into her but at the same time still hurt. I mean they dated 2-3 years, how does one get over that? I offered her my input. I told her she was worth someone who would wait instead of using her as an emotional crutch. She expressed her fears, that she felt unworthy and that what if that's all there really was left for her. That caused me to reflect on my own life. Here I was telling her to let him go because she was worthy of so much more. BUT was I thinking the same about myself? Am I worth more than what I'm getting?

The answer to my own question is yes. I am currently striving to be the virtuous woman. I am striving for success, not with a man but with God. Yes, right now at this very moment it's hard for me to say those words to myself because my heart is entangled in the wrong things but keyword: striving. I am striving. I am learning to love myself for who I am and with that comes with knowing your own worth. You are worthy of a text back,  you are worthy of a "goodnight" of a "good morning". You are worthy of someone who will absolutely make your world spin and make things easier. You, my reader are worthy of someone who will make your problems theirs. You are worthy of the most extreme dedicated form of love there is. God made us all with this potential. Never think less of yourself. God knows your purpose, he knows you, he loves you beyond the way you love yourself. You could fall 50 times and God will help you get up 1,000 times more.

Ladies, I don't care who he is or what he does but if you're settling I want you to ask yourself, IS this what I am worthy of? Is this the person God wants me to be with? I want you, I dare you to rethink your life and get out of those temporary relationships that leave you wanting a emotional crutch. I know I have a lot to learn and I am so far from this but typing these words on this screen could help me execute them. I am done with settling. I am done with losing but I am also done with not putting God first in all my relationships. Trust in his will. Look at male companions as friends and allow the Lord to do his will.

Don't hate your emotions even though I did when I wrote this, love them because they mean you're alive. We have this ability to feel, to love deeply, to laugh whole heartedly and as much as the wrong guy  can invoke hatred for your emotions. Use them and offer your emotions to God, allow him to give you joy with what he has given you and remember your prince might fall 50 times on his way but through God he will get up 1,000,000 times more for you and come after you. Through God all things are possible.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Things that are hard to talk about ....

Hello everyone,

I have previously, written about never judging a book by it's cover. Well, here I am ready to open many of the pages in my book that are behind my cover. If you saw me first glance, I would look like an average teenager with average problems, which is true. Just like you, I have struggles. Some that I don't really like to talk about. However, when I started this blog I wanted to have an honest open book sort of mindset with you all. That means I should open some of me, so that maybe you can relate and feel less alone because at one point no matter what we all feel alone. So let's not beat around the bush anymore.

When I was in my sophomore year of high school, my grandfather had been going to the hospital more than often. They kept looking at the scans of his lungs and diagnosing him with pneumonia. We didn't see it was a deeper problem because in both trips to the ER, they kept saying he had pneumonia. Things got worse and in that summer, my family decided it was best that we consult a lung specialist. I was there on that trip, and as instructed, I waited in the waiting room. I didn't think it was anything serious, I mean it couldn't be. However as my family walked out of the waiting room that day they had glum expressions on their faces. I wasn't told anything, we came in the same car and it was only silence on the way back. Of all the things in the world, it could've been the last thing in this world I thought it was actually was his diagnosis.

Before we go there, I would like to take it back to 2 years before this. Yes, it's a rather important piece of the story. My grandfather suffered a heart attack, my aunt called my mother and the next thing I knew I grabbed a book and ran out the door. I sat in a chair attempting to read but all I felt was this nervousness. My mother was in the room that had just a curtain as my grandfather was wheeled in. I didn't know that behind that curtain my grandfather was having a heart attack. The doctor acted quickly and gave him a shot that allowed his blood to flow through the clots ( excuse me for not having the proper terminology, I am not an expert in this). My grandfather committed to quit smoking, which was amazing for all of us.

So back to where we were, the last thing in the world I ever thought it could be was cancer. Truth was it was cancer. It was so bad they needed him In surgery quickly. So how did I find out? Well I'm getting teary eyed as I type this. I went in the car one day and there was a folder for cancer treatment. My mom at first tried to cover it up but finally she told me and I began to cry into a pillow. Truth is, things haven't been easy with my grandpa. My family isn't conventional, we never were and we never can be and as much as some of you have conventional families with your grandparents still married and your parents still together. Some of us don't have that. My grandparents divorced 25 years ago. So for the first 10 years of my life I have no recollection of my grandfather, partly because I lived far away in New Jersey. So then we moved but that proved to be complicated, I didn't see my grandpa very often.

After the heart attack everyone seemed to become closer, and visits were every week. We all learned in our own way to value my grandfather. People changed, and my grandfather did.  I can't complain about him as a grandfather. He is an amazing person with a rough upbringing and he had learned the value of hard work and labor at a young age. He is strong and through his strength he has taught me to be strong.

After the surgery, we were all hopeful. The cancer was gone, we could go back to not living in a hospital or in doctors waitings room fearing the worst but hoping for the best. We can finally breathe as a family. After several months, we found out the cancer came back. So here's what happens next, he was in no health to undergo another surgery so of course chemo was his next option. Chemo is literally the worst thing, and despite being just his granddaughter I had to was involved in the process because I was mature enough to. My heart would literally break each time I saw a nurse injecting him with chemo..Those chemicals had awful side effects on him, it's like literally injecting poison into your body. His hair was going away, he looked weak.

I didn't turn to friends, it was so much easier to say that on Friday i wasn't at chemo with my grandpa but rather just doing something else. As humans I don't think we were truly programmed or even taught how to handle when your friend tells you that a family member is battling cancer or anything for that matter. I mean people just can't empathize if they haven't experienced it. It's like at times we have this " better her/him than me" mentality and we undermine peoples problems what people don't understand is that that's what leaves us lonely, that's what makes us all truly feel as if we have absolutely no one. Because even as a family member of my grandfather I can't sit here and tell you those chemicals were in my body because they weren't. My little cousin was just born, my grandfather was probably thinking of how he wouldn't be a part of her life or what was he going to leave behind. He wasn't just okay with it. The funny thing about cancer is you can have it and not feel any different at all but it's the mental games that it plays on you.

Perhaps I have surrounded myself with the wrong friends, or maybe it's myself. At times I would pretend as if it wasn't there but if anything it was always there. It was always in his body, cancer would sometimes rob or give us all more time. The best comparison to having a family member with cancer that I can think of is a racquetball court, the court is the persons body, the cancer is the ball and the people fighting it alongside that person are the family and friends. We constantly hit the cancer with our rackets against the wall and it comes back and each time it does we hope we can hit it back before it hits the other side of the wall. The players just hope they can combat the ball and keep it away. No matter how many times you hit the ball constantly at some point it hits the other side, this discouragement sweeps through you and you don't know what to do. No matter the words you say to that person you love, who's a piece of your family nothing fixes it. It's not like you have a magical remote that allows you to transport yourself back in time and tell your loved ones to not smoke.

This past winter break the worst happened. My mother was experiencing fatigue and they found her to be anemic in a check up. She was in the hospital the week before winter break. Knowing it was my finals week, she assured me she was fine. She just needed testing.  I just got home from winter break when her boyfriend urged her to tell me. I thought when I broke down for my grandpa that was the worst but your own mother having to tell you she has cancer. I paced back and forth, I offered to shave my head with her, to drop out of college to stay with her, to care for her, just as she had done for me. She looked at me and said "No, the one thing I want you to do is study. I want you to keep studying. I worked hard so you could study. What am I going to do with you bald sitting here waiting on me?" We both cried but laughed at the same time. It was one of the hardest days in my life. She raised me on her own and to be honest with you I can't imagine my life without her. I love her more than anyone in this world and she had finally found happiness it just wasn't fair. Around the same time a doctor told my grandfather he had two months to live. This was hard, because two people I love, cherish and adore were facing this disease. I isolated myself. I didn't want to go out rather less be with any of my friends. All I wanted to do was watch TV, and sulk and I would begin to cry at random times because it was too painful not to think about. My grandfather was placed on a experimental drug with a new doctor around that time and the side effects weren't as bad and he seemed to be doing better. My mother refused to tell him that it was cancer. He was fighting his own battle and the last thing my mother wanted to do was make him weak to what she was going through.

I wasn't supposed to go to my mothers appointments, I didn't really get to go. The only solution was surgery. It was going to remove a huge part of her colon and honestly speaking I couldn't imagine what was next. God is so good, on the days I felt most alone, I know He was there. I know he was with me. We all attended my mothers iron transfusions and we all stood by, they lasted hours but she just needed it. It was either my blood or iron transfusions and I offered several times, however my mom didn't want that.

 My friends birthday was around the same time as my mom's diagnosis. I didn't want to go, she told me she understood if I didn't want to show up. She is one of my best friends in the world. Her name is Samantha. She didn't know what was going on because A) I didn't want to talk about it. B) Saying it, makes it real and I was not just easily accepting it. C) I didn't want my friends to feel any different around me. The thing was my mother urged me to go. Despite everything, she still hated seeing me sulking in the couch watching episodes of The Office. I went, and this is the crazy thing that happened. I got late to the party because I was helping my mothers boyfriend buy a gift for my own mothers birthday. It was honestly sad that her diagnosis came around the same time as her birthday. I walked in, late as usual. As soon as I get to my best friends living room everyone was sitting down but some of my good friends literally got up and ran to hug me. They didn't know, I didn't tell anyone. I knew for a fact this was a sign from God, it was his way of giving me a hug through them. It was his way of saying: You're not alone, I'm holding your hand and your mothers hand through this. It was one day, when I woke up early in the morning I heard my mother talking to one of her friends and she said to him: I have to stay strong for my daughter, and my father. After I hung up I told her, she had already been strong enough for me, that right now it was her turn to take both my grandfathers strength and my strength and be strong for the both of us. We both cried. We both cried a lot.

I prayed a lot and I did finally gather the courage to tell some of my most closest friends. They were as supportive as they could be. My mothers birthday did come around and it was one of the best ones yet. We had her friend over and my little cousins as well as my uncle and aunt and her boyfriend. We all just for a moment, forgot about it. It was like any family gathering. We took photos, cut a cake and my mom had gotten gifts from everyone. I actually painted her a canvas. Here's the one thing my mother wanted the most: To travel for Christmas. So we did, we all packed our bags and left. We headed to Tennessee. We went to Graceland and Beale Street. We had ribs, laughter and an outstanding time under Christmas lights. In those moments it was easy to forget, because regardless of everything my mother treated me no differently than usual. My mother did her best to forget about it, so we could all enjoy ourselves. That's her, this is a scenario to describe her. She is selfless. I aspire to be just as selfless as she is. Soon we migrated to Louisiana. Bourbon street is amazing. I highly recommend that anyone goes. Our hotel overlooked the city and it was so beautiful. Everything was so beautiful. My mom and I explored together, alongside her partner and it was the best feeling ever. We all just stayed so strong. One day my mother suggested we go to church and of course I wanted to go too. It was a beautiful Cathedral called St. Louis Cathedral. As I knelt down, I had this conversation with God and it drove me to tears and it was simply asking him for strength to help her. I was overwhelmed by his presence. It was like he was listening, we had this strong connection. I can't describe the feeling but he was assuring me again that I wasn't alone. I just laid it all in front of him. I shared with him my fears, I shared with him everything I was feeling. I knelt down before Him and I knew he would answer me. I didn't have any doubt.

My mom got an ear infection. It postponed the surgery a week back.  Which made me feel scared,What if the tumor grew? What if the infection grows and she can't get surgery? What if the doctor has to push it back again?. I knew I would be missing the first week of school. I honestly had no interest in anything school related. My mother was sick, I needed to be there for her. The day before her surgery I blasted music in my ears and talked to God. The music eased my nerves. I only slept 2 hours that night, if even. I woke up with my mom's voice telling me it was time. The surgery was at 6 am. At the hospital I was greeted by my uncle. They put my mom in her hospital gear and we had the opportunity to talk to her before she underwent the surgery.

Another hard moment for me.

I had to find the words to say. I needed to assure her everything was going to be okay. I needed to actually be strong for her. I needed God, more than ever. I walked in passing all the curtains who probably held someone else's mother, father, daughter, son, uncle etc... Then I reached her curtain and there she was in her blue hospital gown. For the first time in my life, I saw my mother scared. It was always the other way around when I look back at it. I was always scared, she was always there. Now the roles reversed and I needed to be there. She held my hand as tight as she could. I told her I loved her and that everything would be okay, because I felt it. I felt that God through my sleepless night was telling me it would be okay. A tear rolled down her cheek and I soon had to leave because my uncle needed to talk to her next. I stayed in the waiting room with my pillow. We waited and to distract me Omar, my moms boyfriend encouraged me to order books, then my uncle took me to the cafeteria and we talked. Everyone was just counting down the minutes. Soon the surgeon assured us she would be okay. The surgery was successful.

Another moment in my life where I could finally breathe.

 I soon fell asleep, out of all the nerves I finally could relax. The first day out of surgery, literally that night my mother was already walking. The nurse encouraged her to continue and everyday she grew stronger. I slept by her for a night. My uncle brought back homemade soup and we all shared a family dinner in the hospital. The thing I admire most about my family, is despite all the bad we have this ability to laugh. My mom was even laughing. It was a hard time, but yet we were all still so joyful that we got through it. Rather than dwelling, we were just glad.

So if you read all this, here's how it impacted my life. I grew to be more thankful. I am not perfect by any means and sometimes my mom and I have our tiny arguments. I thank God for them, as funny as it may sound. I thank Jesus, God,  and the Holy Spirit. I thank them, because that means she is well. It means that she will always be my mom. I am so lucky. I am thankful for my grandpa. I am thankful for our visits, our laughter, and his stories about his friends and his stories about my uncle and mom. I enjoy when he talks about my little cousins and how his face lights up each time he sees them. I enjoy being able to tell them I love them both at the end of every conversation. I am beyond blessed, in prayer I pray for those who have to go through what my grandfather and mother went through. I pray for the young children battling this disease. I pray for the families. It drives me to tears, because just knowing a fraction of it , was difficult. My grandfather continues to battle and I will always continue to support and love him in his battle, because through Gods grace I will always be his biggest ally and not just for him but for cancer patients in general. I am growing my hair to create a wig for children in need. On October 16th, I will be going "bald" ( wearing a bald cap because I am growing out my hair) for children at BASE camp. If you would like to sponsor me, please check out this link below. I can do all things through Christ and I feel that I was called to use my experience to continue to raise funds and impact the lives of those who fight cancer.  I have volunteered in Relay for Life and I will always look for the opportunity to be an advocate for all those who face cancer, for those who battled and for those who continue to fight it today.

Psalms 183:3 On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased

Thank you all so much for reading!