It’s hard sometimes to sleep at night. Often times, I’m pretty anxious with everything going on right now. From work, to social life, to the world around us – families suffering, wars brewing.
While I could go on and on about all the negativity in the world right now, I figured I would show a little bit of thankfulness seeing that we are only a short period of time away from the holiday season – Thanksgiving is only nine days away.
This year has definitely had a lot of ups and downs. Part of me wishes I could turn back time and wipe the past year away as if it never happened. Everyone would go on with their lives, as if nothing bad had happened. The truth is, I realize that even Superman had a hard time changing time even at short time frames let alone entire years.
So, I’ll start at the beginning of the year. I’ll keep this as non-political as possible but that might not always be possible.
January and February – at the end of the previous year, I knew my health was pretty rocky. I didn’t quite know what to expect. I was facing a lot of obstacles and in some ways I am still facing some of them today.
I was one of the lucky ones. I had a great support system – from my parents, Marcia, Chuck and Kris. It’s hard to say where I would be without their support and random text messages making sure that I was ok. My mother went to many of my doctor’s appointments. Even at my age, I still know that the best support system to have is the family you keep. Chuck was there to help with mechanical issues, picking up prescriptions, teaching me new things at the restaurant. Kris, sent many text messages – telling me to keep on moving forward. Something, that I know is sometimes hard advice to give even for the strongest of people.
My siblings were no less supportive. Amber, Jeremy, Marc, Kenzie and Austin – Marc giving me exercise tips, Kenzie making Marc’s healthy vegan lunch and Marc would always share. Many of those dishes I really liked – I can’t always tell you what they were but they were good! The random text messages, checking on my well-being. Being able to have them around even when my energy levels were about as low as a newborn at times.
My nephews Reece, Bear, and Brycen. My nieces Ragen and Kendal. Those kids brightened some of my darkest days. Their energy, their smiles, their warm presence in the ugly world that we are living in – not a single day goes by where I don’t consider myself lucky for having them as a part of my life. The oldest of my little clan live only a few blocks away. I’ll get a text message or a phone call asking if they can come over and watch Netflix. Photo sessions with the kids when everyone isn’t drained are amazing. Pool time or hiking out on the farm. Playing outside with mom’s cats on her little cat farm. I think she’s close to having about 500 – maybe more if you ask Chuck.
The Restaurant. Man. Where do I even begin. Every job I have ever had I have found the best and most positive way to work with other people is to show some form of interest in your co-workers and or employees. It’s beneficial to all parties involved. It creates a safety net for everyone. It creates a bond, most often unwavering. Sometimes, it doesn’t work out that way. I realize that happens. Sometimes, people don’t always understand other people or their situations. But, in any case, I try to give a little understanding. It’s the strange thing about working in a place like Abe’s. When Marcia and Chuck first took over Abe’s it was all the kids that we all went to highschool with. Now, many of the kids are kids of those same people we went to school with.
Sometimes, there was an outsider of those groups. For example. Chaz. Chaz was only with us for a short period of time. But, I look back at all the times that he pulled me back off the cliff. He was kind of a big part of the diet I was on. Motivational texts daily at 4:00 a.m. – asking me why I wasn’t at the gym? His reminder, the last week he was with us, “If I have to be happy so do you” it still resonates inside of me. I promise, to never forget that message he gave to me even on my hardest, darkest day.
There are some days where it seems as if running away would be easier than trying to keep it all together. It was always what I thought to be a sound decision – also bordered a slight amount of psychosis of my own. If the Runaway Bride was turned into a story about a 30-something year old running away from basically any scenario – that movie would be about me. Hell, even as I clicked on the state maps labeling the states I have visited – I joked inside my own head if only I had a different color for the states that I have lived in.
I’ve been thankful for the opportunities that I have gained out of working with my parents and siblings. At different times, each of the siblings on my mother’s side have worked at Abe’s. I owe a lot of my knowledge of the business to Jeremy. He had started there well before any of us did.
I admit, sometimes I get old things confused with new ways that have changed since I worked there last. It had been nearly 2 years since I was working both Walmart and Abe’s at the time I started back at Abe’s primarily.
Many of my friends have been quite helpful as well. Even if they don’t realize who they all are. Vanessa, Jenny, Twin, Sandy S., Kayla S., Nancy C., Kendra. Newer friends like Nina. Friends that I have regained contact with like Ryan, Travis, Jennifer R., and Deb P.
Not to mention the amazing staff at Doctor Randall’s (Dermatologist in Lafayette – Highly recommended) office who had the unfortunate experience to have to explain to me that my liver was crapping out. Special thanks to Kathy (RN) and Holly H. (Nurse Practitioner) who had the bad luck in getting me as one of their “special needs” patients. Haha.
The rest of the year I spent most of which trying to lose weight. At the height of that loss, I had lost 87 pounds. I realize the last month I put on about 15 pounds. After this weekend I lost 10. Today, I probably put back on 5. LOL. Hopefully, I’ll get my act together and carry on with my mission to maintain a healthy weight level. I’m sure that part of my problem is that I slipped off the diet. Probably a little harder than my body thought necessary. The concentration of my pain has been centered in my stomach to lower abdomen.
It’s been a little scary. Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect. After seeing so many of my friends from school suffer from Cancer I wasn’t too sure I could rule that possibility out. The test, which was made possible because of my insurance and my strong relationship with my doctors, and the pure will to live persevered which allowed the test to be given.
I’ve had a few other problems with my stomach but nobody wants to read those as I politely reminded no one wanted to see photos from my test today. I don’t have many lines that I haven’t crossed but thankfully to anyone reading this, that is one I didn’t feel the need to “overshare”.
I would like to thank the men and women who serve this country. From the military, to our police officers protecting our streets throughout the country, to the nurses, EMT’s and firefighters who go out to serve the people of our communities. The Emergency room staff, those that I have personally been witness to and those who are serving others throughout the country. Without people like you, without having the safety and protection from your services and duties our country would have flat lined a long time ago.
Monticello and I will always have a bittersweet taste in my mouth. It’s the community in which I have loved ever since I learned about love outside of the context of family. Monticello is where I found my first heartache. Monticello is where I had my first real job (Outside of Reynolds, but close enough). Monticello was where I went to school and graduated. I still drive through Monticello and remember the places in which I spent most of my childhood. I remember the stories of my grandparents (those with us and no longer with us) who either were raised in Monticello or migrated to the area from around the state. Some of that family as close as Rensselaer others as far southeast as Union City. Nevertheless, those stories are a reminder to me of where I come from. How Monticello became my home. Monticello is a place where people respond to your name and can almost tell you as many stories about your family as you can yourself. Monticello is a place where the summers are hot and the winters are cold and blistering. Monticello is a place where nearly everything closes at 9 p.m. whether we like it or not. Monticello is a place where there is definitely more than corn in Indiana but not really that much more.
I have had the pleasure of not only calling Monticello my home but I have had the pleasure of serving the community and those around. While our worldly views may differ my heart and my eyes have always been open to those who are receptive to my compassion and those who show me compassion as well.
While I struggle with my health at times, I am reminded every day that I am still building a new life, a new home, building relationships with the community and mending old friendships in the process.
I realize that there are also those things that can never be mended for one reason or another. There’s no blame. Just a difference between time and age – it has given me a new perspective. And, even as negative as that sounds, I am thankful that I was able to grow up and see that even in darkness I was able to find peace and light.
Most importantly, I am also thankful to you. Whoever you are. Whether you are reading this. Whether you randomly acknowledge me on the street or stop in for a hot bowl of soup or a slice of pizza. I am thankful that you have chosen to patronize my parent’s restaurant. Without your love and support of the restaurant we would not be where we are today. Everyday, you allow us to grow in ways we never thought possible before.
And, while it seems that my photography has been put on hold – every day I am learning new ways to use some of my skills at the restaurant. I studied journalism, which under the muse of our amazing Dean of the School of Journalism at IUPUI (Dean Jim Brown) I was able to gain lots of experience with several subject matters. It does seem that I have spent most of my year back at Abe’s working on Abe’s projects, marketing strategies, and pulling teeth at times – haha – I promise once we get through 2017 I’ll get back to working on more photos.
But, until then. Remember. Be kind to one another.