Emptiness from an empty nest

See, I’m young now and so are my kids.  I know that it would be YEARS before I have to worry about the day I ship my last child off to college–especially since I haven’t even had my last child yet.  But I have always been that person who looks ahead in effort to stay prepared for whatever obstacles that may rear its head.

I know it’s early, but I can’t seem to figure how I would deal with an empty nest.  Will I rejoice and do back flips? Or will I sulk around the house and think about all of the times my kids gave me near heart attacks or the times they made me laugh until tears streamed down my eyes.

Will I be that clingy mother who calls their child every single day while they are away at college? Or will I be the type of mother who gives their child space? I know I am young but I can’t help but wonder about the day I ship my last child off to college and end up with an empty nest!

If you have experienced an empty nest, what are some of the ways you prepared for it? What are some of the ways you coped with it?

via Daily Prompt: Nest

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Have you ever had an idea smack you in the face?

And I’m like “well, voice, they teach the three R’s: Reading, (w)Riting and (a)Rithmatic so that kids would know how to read their pink slips when they get fired from their first job, spell their names and figure out if they should give a cashier 20 dollars of 20 cents to cover a 5 dollar purchase. And they also provide gym classes so that children can stay fit so that in the future they could run from their problems as fast as they can.”

Well have you? And they come out of nowhere, too! They jump out of the bushes and smack you right in the face, or they’ll fall from the sky and land on your head like this hot goop of bird poop and no matter how many times you wipe it away –because you know, some ideas are way too off the wall that you fear that if you tell a soul, people will petition to have you thrown in a psych ward–it just wouldn’t budge.

Well, yesterday when I was on my way to pick up my daughter from the bus stop I had this BRILLIANT idea! It’s totally unrelated to picking up a child from a bus stop so I have no idea where the thought came from.  In fact I was thinking about what I was going to make for Sunday dinner when this little voice in my head caught my attention.

Now, ya’ll have to promise me you wouldn’t sneak up on me in the streets and ask me to put on a strait jacket–because this idea is absolutely crazy.

You see, my cause has and always will be education.  I am all for everything that is education, I appreciate everything that education can provide for us, I love everything about the feeling of being educated.  I love that my five year-old takes her education seriously, I love that my one year-old loves learning new things.  I love that my husband joined me on the “Back to school” train and he’s going for his degree in film production while I am back in school going for my Bachelors degree in Marketing and Advertisement communication.  I absolutely appreciate those who don’t take their education seriously and are content with being stupid because they make me feel super smart!

So, boom.

There I was walking and thinking about dinner when that little voice in my mind took my focus off of Sunday dinner and said “Imagine if High School actually taught kids about life after High School; the real world?”

So I told the voice, “Then these new-aged teenagers wouldn’t be as…loopy as many of them are today…they’ll be more focused and mature and organized…the world would actually have a chance of seeing better days!”

So then the voice said, “what would you suggests schools do to help prepare students for the real world?”

And I’m like “well, voice, they teach the three R’s: Reading, (w)Riting and (a)Rithmatic so that kids would know how to read their pink slips when they get fired from their first job, spell their names and figure out if they should give a cashier 20 dollars of 20 cents to cover a 5 dollar purchase. And they also provide gym classes so that children can stay fit so that in the future they could run from their problems as fast as they can.”

The voice rolled her eyes at me and said “bitch, you ain’t funny, think.  What could be done to help the children of the future be the best humans they could be?”

Okay wait, let me break off real quick and let you know that, yes I do talk to myself sometimes but you promised you wouldn’t have me committed so… back on topic.

So I’m like “High School students should be given responsibilities.  Sure, they have homework and tests to study for but what if they had real-world-like responsibilities? Sure, some teenagers have little jobs but…it’s not good enough” And then the idea smacked me right in the face.

I was thinking it would be a fantastic idea if there was a class in school that gets High School students–preferably the Seniors–ready for the real world. I thought, what if in this class (it should probably be an added curriculum for an economics class, perhaps?) all of the students are given a “debit/credit card” (a fake one of course.  Or it doesn’t even have to be a card, it could be a spreadsheet or something where they can keep track of finances) and they all started off with “broke” with no money in their “account”  Each homework or classwork assignment–depending on their grade–would be “money” to add to their “account”.

So, let’s say a student gets a ‘B’ on a homework assignment and the number grade for a ‘B’ is an 80.  Boom, so now that student has 80 dollars in their “account”. This would teach students that in order to get what you want (money) you have to work for it (do your homework) in order to be rewarded.

What if in this class, students are also “paid” to show up to class on time?  Let’s say if you show up on time you get five dollars, but if you show up late you lose 5 dollars.  This would teach students to focus more on their time management skills.

You constantly show up on time for class, do your best on your classwork and homework get high grades and watch your “money” stack up. Then between the first and fifth day of the month “rent is due” which means you’ll have to “pay” your teacher a fixed amount every single month in order to “stay in the green” a.k.a. keep a good grade.  Let’s say “rent” is 200 dollars a month (don’t we wish) you would have to “pay” your teacher this amount every month and if your “payment” is late you’ll have to pay late fees–just like in the real world. This will teach students about the importance of money management as well as teach them how to pay bills and pay them on time.

You want to go the bathroom in the middle of class? That’ll cost you 10 dollars, can you afford to miss 10 minutes of today’s lesson to go to the bathroom? This will teach students to not only use the restrooms before class to ensure that they get all of the necessary information, but it will cut down on their habit of “going to the bathroom to go meet up with their friends just to roam the hallways freely simply because they want to have fun rather than take their education seriously.”  In the real world when we do whatever we want to do all of the time, it only hurts us in the long run, why not teach students this lesson before they go out into the real world and mess up?

You want to misbehave and act like you have no home training and you end up in detention? Well, that’ll cost you.  I’m thinking the “price to pay” for detention should be double the amount of “rent,” in this case that will be 400 dollars.

Are you in debt? You could do some extra credit work or “credit recovery” work, that will be any extra assignments, help the teacher out after school or if you really effed up, you could do community service and of course if you want to do community service you would have to provide some type of proof like a stamped time sheet. This “credit recovery” can also be utilized by the students who are in the green and they just want to “get extra money”

In the end, the ultimate reward would be to graduate High School with real world knowledge or maybe if the teacher/ class can raise enough money, they’ll be able to reward the students “in the green” with an agreed upon trip or treat of their choice.  However, for those who fall deeper in “debt” they would unfortunately fail the class and have to take it all over again which would mean…they wouldn’t be able to graduate. Just like in the real world when you fall deep in debt, you pretty much have to start all over again from the beginning and work your way up.

Of course this idea is still very new as I just thought of it yesterday and I am sure I will add to it later on, but what do you think about this added curriculum? I’m thinking it would be a good side-lesson for an economics class, what do you think?

 

 

Deafinitely seek help when needed

Yesterday evening I made a call to see about getting myself some mental health counseling.  For the past three years I have been experiencing episodes where I would become extremely stressed and anxious and end up uncontrollably shaking with a killer headache or where I feel like if I somehow die, everyone would be better off.

No, I don’t want to die because I want to see my kids grow up, and no I am not “strong” enough to hurt myself, but I have imagined freak accidents like passing away in my sleep due to eating some bad food for dinner or getting stung by some deadly unknown bug, or getting into a bizarre car accident or getting shot by some crazed racist (since I do live in the south where racism is very much alive.)

I have been battling with this on my own with the support of the many strong and fabulous women in my inner circle.  My mother, grandmother, sisters, cousins, mother-in-law, and friends.

I realized that I am always busy taking care of everyone else and I neglect taking care of myself.  In realizing this, I also realized that if I am not okay, I cannot do my best or be my best for my kids.  I used to believe that they needed to see their mother remain strong in tough situations so that one day when they get older they could follow suit, but I have since realized this was a fallacy.

I would much rather my kids see me getting help and helping myself; realizing I potentially have a problem and finding a way to “fix it” rather than see me in a light that portrays me as being perfect. I want them to know that I am not perfect.

Should either of my children grow up feeling even an ounce of what I’ve been feeling, I want them to feel courageous enough to admit to these feelings and therefore seek help, rather than deny them and let them fester.

The goal is to raise children who don’t need to recover from their childhood. The goal is to set an example for our children and be sure they are instilled with the proper tools that would enable them to live their best life.

I want my children to be confident and unafraid of asking for help.  So I needed to set that example.  I need to be confident and in being confident I needed to accept that it’s okay to ask for help–something I have never been good at.

So yesterday, I swallowed my “pride” and made that call.  The woman on the other end of the phone was clearly confused from the start of the conversation.  See, I use a sign language relay service called Sorenson to make all of my outgoing phone calls.  With this service I am able to make regular phone calls but the difference is I use sign language to communicate through an interpreter and the interpreter uses their voice on my behalf.  Confusing? Think of a conversation going on between an English-speaking person and a Spanish-speaking person with the help of an interpreter. Check this link for more information about Sorenson.

So anyway, I quickly realized this woman wasn’t sure what was going on despite the fact that my interpreter explained that the phone call was being made by a deaf person who uses sign language, so I re-explained that she was hearing someone else’s voice but that someone else was using my words. Things clicked for her momentarily.

She searched for mental health facilities that specifically catered to deaf people and her search only came up with one result.  I told her she didn’t have to look for a facility that specifically catered to deaf people, she could broaden her search to include “regular” facilities and I’ll just enlist a sign language interpreter from a sign language interpreting agency. This confused her. So I tried a different angle.

I said, “I can hear, I lost half of my hearing in both ears, and I can speak very clear, most people aren’t even aware that I am deaf until I tell them. I’ll mostly utilize an interpreter just to be sure I don’t miss any crucial information, but all in all my lip-reading skills are on point”

And boy, her light bulb went off! She said, “Oh! well, that makes a huge difference” I really didn’t see how but in the end she referred me to a different and better (per google reviews) mental health facility.  She offered to make an appointment for me to which I declined her offer, I wanted to do it myself. I needed to.

I only told this story to encourage all of you–disabled or not–to seek help whenever you feel like you need it.  Sweeping things under the rug can prove to be more damaging than helpful.  Wouldn’t you want to want to be able to say “I’m going to be okay, I will get through this”? Wouldn’t you want to feel better about yourself? Doesn’t the idea of waking up one day and actually looking forward to your day sound like a slice of heaven?

I bet it does.

In the meantime I do partake in some self-therapeutic methods because I am aware that it isn’t free to just knock on a psychologists/psychiatrist door and ask for help.  My advice is to find something you love doing and do it when you are feeling those feelings of anxiety or depression.  I know that it is sometimes hard to get up and go when you are feeling depressed, but try to think about a time you were doing something you loved and try to recapture that moment.

Below are some of the things I like doing:

  1. Writing short stories.  If I am feeling down, I found that It is easier for me to create characters who aren’t and this lifts my spirits; living in my happy characters’ world is like a little vacation from my reality.  On the other hand if someone in my life pisses me off, I can always write a story where they get hurt insert evil grin here.
  2. Listening to smooth Soul and R&B music.  I tend to listen to a lot of smooth R&B music, preferably songs sang by men.  I find their voices to be soothing especially Luther Vandross. His voice is literally like butter, it makes everything better.  But I also prefer male singers for another weird and unrelated reason as well. For some reason in society most men are conditioned not to show their feelings and to carry these tough personas so I find it refreshing when a man goes against the grain and openly expresses his feelings.
  3. Taking a hot bath with scented aroma therapy Epsom salt. I don’t know whether it’s the heat from the water that melts my anxiety and anger away, or if the aroma therapy thing is real (I’m still skeptical, don’t judge me), but I recently added this to my list of stress/anger relievers and it works wonders!
  4. Read a book. As I’ve mentioned earlier, walking in a characters shoes is an escape from my reality.  I like to read fiction books (my favorite author is Janet Evanovich) and as bad as it sounds, reading about someone else’s problems help me see that maybe my problems aren’t as “unsolvable” as I believe them to be.
  5. Talk to my loved ones.  Communication is definitely the key to everything. Anyone I’ve ever vented to would tell you when I am angry or frustrated I express my feelings in such a raw and otherwise “effed up” yet hilarious manner. And for that, I’ve come to appreciate my moments of frustration and anger because apparently that’s when my creativity shines through the most.

What are some ways you relieve stress or lift your spirits/ mood?

 

It wasn’t me!

There is nothing worse than being forced by your best friend to go to the gym with her when you already had your mind set on pigging out on a pint of Ben and Jerry’s cinnabon ice cream while sobbing over the latest episode of This Is Us.  There is absolutely nothing worse than being in the middle of a very compromising yoga position and having this propeller-sounding gust of air blow through the silent room.

All eyes on me.

So, what’s a girl to do?

Right, deny, deny,deny and deny some more.

It wasn’t me! It was probably the Air conditioner that was grinding overhead; perhaps something got stuck, or maybe it was a shootout happening outside, or maybe it was the seventy-year-old woman next to me–which would probably explain the smell, right? P-U, lady.

“You should probably take a laxative when you get home to clean yourself out, dear, and forget drinking soda and all of that sugary stuff you kids eat and drink these days, drink water and only water, because gee, kid, even I don’t smell that bad, and I’m older than God”, the old lady said.

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t her. But it still wasn’t me!

 

via Daily Prompt: Deny

DEAFinitely Deaf Facts (okay, only some) 

Dear People,

​Okay, listen y’all– and I’ll try my best to be as clear as possible– but I have to get something off my chest. (Sorry it’s kinda longish)
You will not and I emphasize will NOT go to hell for making “deaf jokes.” (There’s no special section down there for those who made deaf jokes. Trust me. I checked) If made tastefully they can actually be quite hilarious. Sure, it seems insensitive to make jokes about something someone cannot change but y’all out here making racial jokes daily and aside from Rachel DoWhatever, one cannot simply change their race. Now can they?
If you meet a deaf person like me who has completely come to terms with their deafness they might tell you that they actually enjoy a good deaf joke every now and then. Why? Because for a culture that is seemingly ignored it makes me feel like we’re being noticed and not only that but I like seeing and understanding different people’s perspectives on deaf people and deaf culture because if something is misunderstood it gives me a chance to slide up in there and teach and enlighten! And something most deaf folks can agree on is: we really wish hearing folks would start using all of their brains as much as they use their ears (see? I made a bad hearing joke, and nobody is crying, right?) 

Okay great, moving on.
No, not all deaf people are dumb just like not all hearing people are smart! Just like not all black folks are hoodrats, just like not all white folks are rich! Just like not all Asians are smart, just like not all Americans are dumb (dumb enough to vote for whats his name — but in our defense the majority of us actually didn’t vote for him, those higher up folks did)
No, me and the next deaf person cannot hear the same things. Some deaf folks can hear more than others. Some can speak on the regular phone, some can’t or prefer to instead use a Videophone (Google will tell you all about those. Just type in “Sorenson Video Phones”… There’s a rival company called Purple Communications but I’m #TeamSorenson!) 

Pop quiz! Let’s see if you can guess my phone preference! When hearing people say for me to call them or they’ll call me I’ll either say “okay, but don’t expect me to respond beyond ‘hello'” or I’ll just give them a blank stare then smile politely and say “I’ll text ya!” Or “if you call I won’t answer, I’m just letting you know now so you won’t be offended later” if you guessed, that I prefer not to use a regular phone, you are cor-rect!

Okay, back on topic!
No, not all deaf people know sign language. I, myself learned sign language in 6th grade which is considered late in the Deaf World and yes, I’ve gotten that “what the f***” look from other deaf people when once upon a time I had to tell them I didn’t know sign language. I also get the same “what the f***” look from hearing folks who communicated with me strictly verbally for months with no problem and suddenly saw me use sign language one day or saw my hearing aids and  that conversation usually starts like “wait…. You’re deaf?” To which I’ll say “yes” and then they’ll say something like “… but you speak so well…” which leads me to my next point and it’s a big one so get ready….Oh! But before we move on–no, I don’t hide my deafness, but if conversation flows without a problem, I won’t interrupt you and tell you I’m deaf. If you happen to cover your mouth or turn around while you’re speaking,THAT’S when I’ll tell you–if you didn’t already notice how my eyes zero in on your lips– because I rely on reading lips. So yeah, my next point….dun dun dunnnnn…
YES, some deaf people can speak just like you! (If you are a hearing person.) Remember what I said about me enjoying seeing and understanding other people’s perspectives on deaf folks? Yeah, THIS tells me that hearing folks expect us to all sound distorted (or I’ve heard some people liken it to sounding like a Whale or seal) so I’m able to tell you that that misconception is exactly that, a misconception. Oh the joy! 

How well you speak all depends on when you lost your hearing and/or how much you can hear. (You can pick up the book  “I can hear you whisper” by Lydia Denworth for a more in-depth explanation of how the ears and speech work. I, however, am typing this from my phone and my thumb burns so….) 
With all of that having been said, I hope you have at least a little more of a better understanding about us Beautiful Deaf People. I will detail more things once I get on a computer but for now I think this is good enough! 
So, come on,  talk to me! I want to hear  (read) some of y’alls best or wackest deaf jokes, come on peeps! Or if you have any questions, I’ll be more than happy to answer them! 

Love,

DEAFinitely Tay. 

Yet so far away…

They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder but sometimes that isn’t always the case.  Sometimes absence can drive a bigger wedge between two people especially if the reason behind said absence is in bad taste.

Both people are left with that distant feeling where suddenly all of their good memories are ancient history and all of their bad memories seem like the only memories worth remembering.

How do you get back what you once had? Is there even a way to get it back? Or should both parties just accept the fact that it’s over?

via Daily Prompt: Distant

Happy and you know it? Clap your hands

I am always interested to learn what makes people happy.  I feel like in order to enjoy life people should do what makes them happy, would you disagree?

So tell me, what makes you happy? How do you know you are happy? How would you define happiness?

For me, writing makes me happy.  I find writing to be extremely therapeutic when I am going through something tough.  I like to write my feelings and thoughts down because I believe that once you put your feelings down on paper (whether it’s in the form of a diary entry, poem, or song) you would not only have a better concept of how to deal with them but you’ll be able to get them off your mind.  I’m sorry was that confusing? Whoops.  Okay, let me try again, you go through a rough patch and you don’t write it down to get it out of your system, it builds and you’ll most likely implode whereas if you jot everything down, it doesn’t need to stay on your mind anymore.

I know I’m happy when I feel like I’ve grown in any area of my life.  Whether It’s making an improvement in my writing, turning a new page with my kids, learning how to better communicate with my husband, or making a new friend, the feeling of growth is how I would best describe my happiness.  As long as I am growing and gaining new experiences, I know that I am happy.

As long as what you do doesn’t feel like a burden or a job that you don’t want, I think it means you’re happy, right? If you could wake up every morning and look forward to doing what you do everyday it would be safe to believe that you are happy, correct?

Now, with that said, if you aren’t happy, what are some of the ways you can become happy? What advice would you give someone who is stuck on their road towards the pursuit of happiness?

I would love to hear your thoughts! I might be able to make use of any advice anyone may have.