BIG NEWS!

HI Guys!

So I was able to create my own website. I appreciate all your love and support on wordpress, but now I have my own domain name. If you would please subscribe to my webpage and keep in touch on there I would really appreciate it.

All the Best to you and yours,

Kalyssa

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Ohio State defeats Alabama!? The SEC is NOT in the National Championship game!? This is a joke, right!?

I just finished watching the Sugar Bowl of 2015 where #4 Ohio State (Big Ten) defeated #1 Alabama (SEC). I have no ties to either team. I am a Georgia student, therefore, I do not like Alabama. I am the sister of a Penn State athlete and Michigan student, therefore, I do not like Ohio State.

Now that I have my personal history out of the way I will let you know, I was rooting for Alabama to win. This is despite the heartache I still feel from the SEC Championship game where I was privledged enough to be second row at the enszone where Georgia lost to Alabama with seconds remaining in the game. A game where many wanted to say Coach Richt made the wrong call or Chris Conley should not have done what he did. Those statements I do not believe in. First, Richt’s plan was smart. It was ballsy and if it had worked, mind you it almost did, everyone would have praised him and called him a genius. Second, Chris Conley is a Wide Receiver. He has been trained since a young age to catch the ball. He did what he was trained to do. What his muscle memory knows to do. Therefore, it is silly to blame Conley for this game. It takes a team to win, not an individual.

I was rooting for Alabama tonight for three reasons. 1) I am a fan of the SEC 2) I think Oregon vs Alabama would have made one heck of a Championship game and 3) Uncle Kenny McNulty loves Bama.

Here are my thoughts post Game:

1) I cannot wait to watch Saban’s post game press conference.

2) I LOVE that this happened. I love it because this proves that there should be and needed to be a college football playoff system. The Number 4 team just defeated the number 1 team. How exciting! This is part of why sport is exciting! This should make every football fan happy, despite their team, because this has now made for a very interesting championship game.

3) I do not understand why Alabama slowed down their tempo. When they had the fast pace tempo going they were winning. When they switched, they started to fall behind which eventually lead to their defeat.

4) I do not understand the Alabama coaches, especially Nick Saban’s thoughts to change Alabama’s tempo midgame. A tempo they had been running all season. A tempo their team was accustom to. A tempo that their team felt comfortable with, won with, and had gotten this far into the season with. However, I do know enough about sport to know he and the other coaches have enough experience and football IQ to have decided this was best for their team. Whatever the reason(s) behind their decision to change their tempo, I am sure it seemed like the best situation for the team tonight. Sadly, it did not work in their favor. In my opinion of course.

5) As a Dallas Cowboys fan I love that Ohio State will be playing Oregon at AT&T Stadium for the National Championship. I have seen first hand how the OSU fans travel all over just to watch their team play. This will bring a lot of money to the Cowboy’s stadium and to Dallas, one place I spend a lot of time. For that, I think it will be good.

6) Oregon vs Alabama would have been a fantastic game! Both would have played a fast tempo game. Both are great teams. It was something I was looking forward to. Now, I know that will not be the case so I have to start thinking what it will be like for Oregon and Ohio State to play. At this point in time, meaning that I have not given it any thought, I do believe that Oregon will run all over Ohio State in two weeks at AT&T stadium. Then again this is a sport game. Anything can happen. Just like it did tonight. Just like upsets happen every weekend. I for one, cannot wait to see what the championship game will bring!

7) Shout out to my DAWGS for winning last night! ❤ #GoDawgs and Stanford. As well as, all the other teams who have played in Bowl Games. Every athlete works their tail-ends off. Not every athlete can be a winner in the eyes of the system. I pray each of them, in times of feeling frustrated and upset, can take a moment to sit back and remember why they started playing the game they play; why they love the game they play. In doing this I hope they find comfort.

I feel bad that everyone cannot win, since I know how hard athletes work. Unfortunately, that is the way the world is or in other words, “the way the cookie crumbles.” So to every athlete who is feeling defeated, I hope you to a moment to reflect and remember your love for the game. I hope you learn, remember, and remind yourself that winning is not everything (although it often feels like it is). I hope you learn, remember, and remind yourself and other athletes to enjoy these moments. Before you know it, you will not be able to play the game that has given you so much anymore. The ending time will come in a blink of an eye.

When you cannot compete in your game any longer, you will not miss the fact that you lost. You will miss the way the game, your teammates, coaches and fans made you feel. The confidence you felt when you accomplished a goal you set for yourself. You will recall the love you had for the sport, its spectates, your teammates, coaches, and oddly enough even your opponents for they made you a better athlete, which I believe makes one a better person.  I hope you recall the privilege you had of playing the game. These are the factors of the game that truly matter, not winning or losing.  Sure, the reality is there is an adrenaline from winning that is spectacular. A feeling that is so high you want to experience it over and over again. However, I hope you remember it is okay to not always win. You will be better for it. The adrenaline of winning fails to compare to the adrenaline and indescribable feeling that comes from playing the sport you love with the teammates and coaches that have become family.

It’s no secret I am an SEC fan. I believe the SEC is the best College Football Program out there. I am sad, as an SEC fan, that there will not be an SEC team in the Championship game. Except, I am also strangely excited about it and the possibilities the psychological affect that might take place for other conference players which might lead to a very interested Fall 2015 season! I cannot wait to see what happens on January 12th at AT&T Stadium. Go Oregon!

Who are you rooting for to win the National Championship game? Why are you rooting for them?  Who is your college football team? Why are they your team?

Here are my answers: I am rooting for Oregon. I do not like Ohio State for reasons mentioned above, although I do have some respect for them as my brother attended a Big Ten University. I think Oregon is a better team this year and deserves to win. Plus, it would be cool for their Heisman Trophy QB Marcus Mariota to win a National Championship. I can only imagine what winning a National Championship and entering into the Heisman fraternity in the same season must feel like! My college team is the Georgia Bulldogs and that is because I attend the University of Georgia.

Peace, Love, and Football,

Kalyssa

Does a New Year mean A New Me?

January 1st marks a new year. They say a new year means a clean slate. A clean slate means a new self. So in essence I suppose the New Year means a new me.

A New Year, A New Me!?!?

Who do I want the new me to be? What about the old me do I want to keep? New Year’s resolutions…well that is probably something I should have thought about before January 1st, but, like myself these past few years, I have left it for the last second. So, what should I pledge to change and pledge to keep?

What I Pledge to Keep in 2015:

1) Always Honest

2) Always Loyal

3) Family First (this includes my friends)

4) My Heart.  What I mean by that is I wish to keep my deep love for everything and everyone. Often times I am told “you care too much.” This is true, I do care too much. I often get hurt because I love so deeply, yet am not able to be fully vulnerable so it is complicated and hard and often leaves me hurt with friends and significant others. I do not care if I care too deeply for others and end up getting hurt. I would prefer to live another year where I love more than others, because I would rather say that I loved and was hurt than was not a lover. Kind of ironic since I am terrified of dating (hello vulnerability issues) but yet I care, and I care deeply. If you are my friend, you are my friend for life. It is the way I have always been, the way I will always be. Despite being told that if I cared less for others like most people do I wont be hurt as much. I do not care. For I would rather love with my whole heart than be less of a lover.

What I Pledge to Change in 2015:

1) Everything I do should be to benefit and enhance my health. Live life in the moment, meditate, eat healthy, live without  regret, understand what is in the past is in the past, the future is in the future so do not worry, and love and live in the moment for it is a gift and tomorrow is not promised. Love and be loved. Essentially, live like my cousin Brendan P. Tevlin would say, “Good Vibes and Easy Living.”

2) I will learn not leave everything for the last second  (like I have done with my New Year’s resolutions haha!)

3) Health first, School Second, then social life

4) I will blog at least 3 times a week

5) I will keep a personal journal which I write in everyday

  • Write something that I loved about my day and am thankful for (this is what I do each night as I pray to God, but I should write them in my journal. At the end of the year I can look back and reflect. See in writing how loved and privileged I am. This is will enhance myself because i will see it in writing and be reminded of things I might forget if I leave it to rely on my memory
  • Write my daily Highs and Lows
  • Daily Medical Log
  • Daily Food Log to track and see which foods enhance my health

6) I will work hard to allow myself to be vulnerable, honest, and open. I will try not to hold everything in and let it bottle up. This will be challenging as I have had 21 years of practice doing the exact opposite. My bottle is full, the cork is about to pop off. I need to allow my bottle time to breath and come out slowly, rather than pop and come out all at once.

7) I will stop hiding my health difficulties and instead fully embrace them. I will not put on a smiling face and pretend like I haven’t been going through hell for years. This only makes me keep it bottled up and now, I realize, it is worse to pretend like everything is perfect and you are not living a personal hell where your body attacks itself daily.

This does not mean I want to complain or have people feel pity for me (which is why I have kept it a secret for so many years) but I do realize it has hurt me to try and keep it a secret. It has hurt me because it has had me seem like I was disinterested in spending time with my friends, caring for them, or being “sketchy” and no longer hanging around.

I was the girl that was always caring, social, and ready to be there for people. I am still that person, but because I am sick it is harder to do all of those things. It is easier for me to stay away and not be in their lives anymore. Each day changes, minute to minute I feel different. One minute I am feeling energized and ready to go…the next I am too tired and do not have the energy to communicate because I do not have the energy to give them my all, so I thought it was better to stay away. This is false. People have taken this personally or thought I was “being sketchy” or “hiding.” These are false, but I understand why people think these.

Basically, in my attempt to not have others worry about me or pity me. I have had them feel these things for the wrong reasons, or worse, had them feel rejected and unloved by me. That is the one that hurts the most: people I care about thinking I am avoiding them, no longer care or love them, and/or think I am rejecting them. I think about my friends and family daily. It kills me not to have the energy to keep up with them or go out all the time.I hate (a word I do not like to use, but I absolutely mean this word in this instance) I hate that people feel hurt and as if I am avoiding them.

I kept quiet for selfish reasons. But also, to protect others and not have those who love me worry because the truth is I have been rather sick. Little did I know, it would hurt them by keeping my mouth shut. I feel badly about this.

I need to be open and allow myself to be vulnerable in many areas, especially in my best kept secret of living a life with an auto-immune disease. A life where I was undiagnosed for years. Tests, procedures, medications, surgeries, you name it- it was all a secret and happening, making my everyday life harder and harder as time went on. Thankfully I am now diagnosed and in a few months will hopefully be healthy enough to get back out there and be the person those who love me know me to be. I have so much I want to accomplish and do for the world, but in order to do so I must first be healthy and get my energy back.

So, there yall have it. Those are my New Year’s resolutions for 2015. All 7 are important to me. All 7 I need to work hard in order to ensure I accomplish them all. The last 6 are all actually smaller steps or resolutions to accomplish my 1st resolution. Without knowing it I just created the steps to accomplish my first resolution. The year 2015 will be about my health. I truly believe if I get my health under control everything else will fall into place.

A New Year, A New Me!! #Leehhhgoo

Here is to a wonderful 2015!

May your year be happy, healthy, and rich with love, laughter, family, and friends.

With Love, Hope, and Happiness,

Kalyssa

#GoodVibes #EasyLiving

“If you don’t believe, You don’t receive”: Not a Typical Wish List

Dearest Santa:

You have done so much for me. It is not fair for me to ask for more, except we both know I am going to. It is human nature to keep asking and taking. I thank you for all the wonderful past Christmases I have had! I am writing a note to you this year after many years of not writing a Christmas wishlist. Instead, the past few years, I thought about what I wanted but did not ask for them no matter if they were material or wishes of my heart. I just never wrote them down somehow expecting them to happen and appear despite my not asking. How wrong I was! I have now learned you must ask in order to receive. People cannot read your mind. Be vulnerable and ask.

When I was young I found magazines and circled just about everything in them because those are the things I wanted. I knew Christmas was more than receiving material gifts, but I still wished for material things. I suppose you could say I was a typical four year old.

For years I have not wanted many material things, but still wanted some. This year I can say without a doubt there is not a single material gift I truly want. I know I can find some if I must but I do not want to. I do not want to receive anything that can be wrapped and opened. This year, I am asking for more than I ever have. This probably seems hard to imagine since I have asked for catalogs and catalogs of things, but trust me this is not an easy order for you or your elves to fill.

I can promise you, it will be well worth it if I am granted these 9 gifts.

This Christmas I want:

1) I would ask for world peace, but we both know that would be a waste of a wish. Instead, I ask that my family, The Condon Family, finds peace with our recent loss of our beloved Brendan. It has been an incredibly hard six months without him. The support shown by friends, family, and strangers have been amazing, but it doesn’t take away the excruciating pain. A boy, just turned 19, killed on his way home from a friend’s house. I could talk about Brendan forever but I wont. I will just ask that my family, especially his Grandparents, mother, father, sister and two brothers find some happiness and peace this Christmas. I selfishly hope I find some peace this Christmas as I am constantly thinking about Brendan and even more so my family members who are grieving his loss. I wish I could do something to take the pain away from the people I love, but I cannot. It kills me, it worries me throughout the days,  and it keeps me up at night. I know the pain I feel, I cannot imagine the pain others in my family are feeling. All I know is I want to take their pain away, and it hurts that I cannot. The pain is real because the love is real. May Brendan and all our other loved ones we have lost have one heck of a Christmas in Heaven!! Filled with Irish dancing, playing the bagpipes, drinking some Irish beer, and listening to country music.

2) May all those suffering (the sick, the grieving, etc) find some peace, even if it is just for a minute, this holiday season. Specifically the Musgrove family who lost both of their parents at the end of October, the Hogan family who just lost their father and husband, My family who lost our Brendan, my brother, Conor, who is going through something health wise but we are not sure what it is yet, my grandmother and her siblings who are too stubborn to go to doctors and get help.

3) May I get over this virus and be able to revive my energy so I can do well in school this coming semester to one day get a high paying job. I want this job to ensure I always have money take care of my single mother who has given up literally everything for my siblings and I. As well as being able to ensure my siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles are always taken care of financially if they need it.

4) May my Grandmother, Great Aunts and Great Uncles get over being stubborn, go to doctors and get healthy so they may live for many more years. I selfishly cannot lose another person whom I love with my whole heart. Not now. Not soon. I want them around for many many more years. I do not think I can survive another loss anytime soon. The past few years have been full of loss and grief for me. So selfishly, for myself and my other family members, I hope the Great Aunts and Uncles are around for many, many more years.

5) May you convince anyone who wants to buy me something to instead donate to a cause I am a believer of. (Wounded Warrior, St. Jude, Brendan’s fund, THON, anything helping kids and adults with auto-immune diseases, single parents, etc)

6) May my family and I decide instead of spending Christmas at my grandmother’s together we instead take a few hours and serve food to the homeless. I know that it is not a good idea for me to go out and expose myself to germs given everything that is happening, but I do not care. These people deserve some warmth, food, and love during the holidays and if I can help, I want to. Even if that means risking my own recovery.

7) May my Conor be diagnosed soon so he can get on the road to recover. I am fearful that he will go through years of pain and illness without a diagnosis like I did. I do not believe he has the same thing that I do. I pray he doesnt. I pray he gets on the road to recovery very quickly.

8) Please please please bless every soldier (past and present) this holiday season. Not just them, but their families as well as they too serve to keep us all safe. There are not enough things for me to do to thank these brave men, women, and their families for all they have done for me.

I know I am asking for a lot. This is probably the list that is asking the most from you. If you can please try I would really appreciate it. If these 8 things are not possible, that is okay because I know you have already granted me my 9th and final wish this Christmas: Spending time with my family.

A few weeks ago, when I started this blog, I started following another blogger. The first post I read of Caroline’s was about her daughter, Madison, speaking about you, Santa. I commented on her post where I told her “(P.S. My mama still says “if you don’t believe, you don’t receive” so I still in a way believe in Santa- I just now know Santa is something bigger than the man with a big round belly, elves, and presents)”

Santa: I just wanted to let you know, I still believe in you. I know they say you are not a man with a big round belly, living in the north pole with elves and reindeer but I do know and believe you exist. I just now know you are bigger than a man with a big belly. That is why I know I can ask for these things. I know I need to trust in your timing, but I just had to let you know what I want most this year. I’m writing them because I feel if I write them out that it might increase the chances of my heart’s wishes being granted.

I love you. I thank you. I am looking forward to your day!

Merry Christmas, Santa!

With Love,

Kalyssa

Has it Become Socially Unacceptable to Show Compassion and Kindness? Part 1: Can you still help in their time of need?

As evident by my initiation post: My Truth of Vulnerability and The Beginning of my Blogging Journey, I struggle with vulnerability. I love and respect when others show vulnerability, but I myself somehow feel it will bring shame or show weakness if I show vulnerability.

With Christmas five days away all I can think about is family and the friends that are family to me. The time in which I have last seen or heard from them is irrelevant. They are the ones who are on my mind. I miss them. I love them.

I think I struggle most between vulnerability and acceptability. Not acceptability in the form that others are accepting of me (although as quick as I dismiss that I realize they are in fact linked). But rather in an attempt not to be diplomatic what I am meaning by acceptability in this context is what the world “allows” or “thinks” is socially acceptable.

For instance, I felt horrible for Aaron Murray (previous Georgia QB and now Kansas City Chief player) and his family when he suffered a torn ACL. I had his number. We were not friends. We were acquaintances at best. I wanted to text him my warm wishes, as well as text his sweet sister Stephanie who is a fellow Georgia student with whom I shared some fun times freshman year. (Two years earlier mind you) I could have also texted their brother, Josh (from the Bachelorette) who I also knew and had his number. Despite my sorrow for their family, texting any of them, just did not seem right. Instead I prayed for them. Stayed silent in my feelings and care for them.

I come from an athletic family, I know all too well the fear when your loved one goes down on the field. I wanted to offer support to the Murray family. For me, if you are my friend, acquaintance or a stranger, if you need me, or not, I want to help. If I have shared time with you, I truly want nothing but the best for you. I had to remind myself that texting them was not socially acceptable.  Instead, it was socially acceptable to stay silent rather than share with them my feelings and warm wishes for Aaron and the entire family.

A text may seem small and simple, but it is powerful. It can heal and it can damage.

I did not want to risk the shame that could come because the world would consider it weird that I cared for the Murray’s despite our brief encounters. I felt in my gut it was wrong to text them. I somehow made myself believe texting kind words would make me selfish rather than helpful. So I refrained from doing so.

Which is similar to a recent experience I have gone through. This situation happened with someone I feel I was closer with, an actual friend rather than acquaintance, and someone I care for still. Yet, it still did not seem acceptable to let them know I was thinking about them.

Why is it that we can care for people one day and a year later not feel we can reach out to them in a time of need? Why did it become socially unacceptable to show compassion and kindness?

The situation to which I am referring occurred with someone I once, not too long ago, consider a close friend. His name, Todd Gurley. I fondly recall spending time with him. During his time of need I quickly recalled the night that started our friendship. It was a rather laid back night for the town of Athens, Georgia. The thing is, his remarks as a freshman in college about the Heisman Trophy changed everything. This was a cold December, 2012 night. Johnny Manziel had just become the first freshman to take home the Heisman trophy and was now forever a member of the special college football fraternity.  Todd, Molly and I drove through the streets of downtown Athens. The Heisman had been briefly brought up. Everyone of course wondering what Todd had to say, for this was a kid that was a monster on the football field, even as a true freshman. His brief statement I recall made me think, “This guy is a class act. He is himself. I could actually be friends with him.” I also fondly recall the few times we skyped while I was taking a semester off, how he talked to my nephew Aidan while we were in Michigan for my brother’s game against Michigan, and our texts about Baltimore, Baltimore sport teams, and the upcoming Super Bowl.

I never told Todd how much it meant to me that he talked to me despite my not being in Athens. He continued to befriend me despite the fact we had  met right before my first Spring semester away from Athens and he was “The Man” on campus and around the country. He did not need to spend his time talking to me, befriending me, especially when it would be months before we could hang out in person. Yet, he did. He was not aware of what I was going through, but I am forever going to be thankful for the laughs during a difficult and life changing time.

Needless to say, he meant something to me. He means something to me. He was my friend. I am forever going to be loyal to him which is why it was so hard when I knew he was struggling this past Fall. We have not spoken in a year. I still have his number. I wanted to offer my love and support while he was being investigated by the NCAA and then again when he went down on the field his first game back after his suspension. Later, we learned he suffered a torn ACL. Despite the closeness we once felt and the easy access I had to contacting him I felt as though it was not acceptable to send him a text and certainly not give him a phone call. Instead,I did what I often do. I do not reach out. I think about them. I pray for them. I hope and pray that I am doing the right thing by not contacting them. Then I think: Why is it that kindness is not acceptable. All while understanding reasons why it might not be. Oh, how very complicated!

Here is my current example of my fight between allowing vulnerability and showing compassion; all while trying to be socially acceptable. I am thinking of someone who I am almost certain from my fear of vulnerability I broke his heart.

I think about this person quite often. I know now that I am back in the Washington DC area for maybe the 12th day this year, memories of our past will most likely flood my mind. The DC area is where our story took place. As I drive past the country club where we would park our car, sit, and talk for hours. Just the two of us. Without a sole knowing besides the two of us. I think about him comparing my hand size to his. His planning our future lives as husband and wife. His teasing me about my eye color. Him teaching me about quarterback numbers. I think about him as I drive past the school where we met by his determination. (I still smile thinking of how he made meeting me a reality)I am flushed with fond memories.

I am a sensitive sole, so I fondly recall memories of the past. Think of the people I shared those fond memories with and pray they are doing well. Sometimes, often times, I am hurt that we might no longer be in the place we once were. There are also times when I thank God I am no longer an active player in their life nor them in mine, but I do remember to be thankful for what I have learned from our friendship. This is a practice I try to always remember: Thank God for what he has given you, recognize and learn the good that has come from it, and trust in his timing. (Note: WAY easier said than done! But well worth it!) I know I am getting side tracked as I am trying to give some history of myself to make this all make more sense. Which of course is probably doing the opposite. I apologize.

Anyway, back to the person who has inspired this post. A boy, no better yet, a man, I believe I left broken. While I often recall this man. Today there is a clear reason why I am thinking of him. He and his family are going through a particularly hard time. This hard time is due to the recent death of their father and husband. His father fought a strong and brave fight. Many might say he unfortunately lost the battle, but I prefer to look at it as he won the key to the gate of Heaven. (But lets be honest to those who’s lives he touched, those who are in the dark spot that is grief would probably want to punch me for saying that or hug me. This would probably change minute to minute as they go through the toughness that is grief). His father fought an evil battle that so many unfortunately have to fight. A battle the world is all too familiar with. Cancer. A friend of the devil and an enemy of the world.

So today, this man is on my mind because I wish there were something I could do to take his pain away. I know there is nothing one can possibly say or do to take a pain like this away. They can try. They should try. It will fail to fill the hole in your heart and the pain of your grief but it certainly is a comfy cozy security blanket and a helpful start to your new reality of life.

Unfortunately, I am no stranger to grief. I am saddened that I know all too well the feeling he and his family must be going through, yet, selfishly thankful that I do not know the exact feeling as I have not lost a parent to cancer. I am also thankful that I have gone through the grief I have, not because it was ever the reality I wanted to live, but rather because it now gives me a special power. That special power is that I have been through grief so now I can hopefully successfully offer others my support through their time of grief.

It was rare that others truly knew what I was going through, but the rare glimpses of those who did brought more comfort to me than imaginable. That is what I hope to be able to offer to even just one other person in this world.

I sit here on my couch with my mother to my left working on this Saturday evening (life of a single mother of 4, am I right!?). My sister in Dallas hopefully studying for an upcoming real estate test she has, my eldest brother to my right playing FIFA 2015 on my other brother’s new PlayStation. While that brother, Conor, is up in his room probably watching something on HBO Go getting ready to fall asleep as it is almost 11:30pm. I sit here surrounded by people I love hoping that the man I think I broke and I know is left broken by his recent loss is also blessed enough to be with the one’s he loves, either friends or family.

I am also selfishly wishing we were still in contact. This is so I could be there for him. I know that is incredibly selfish. I hurt him once and I should not try and help him now. I should leave him be. But then again, what if he needs me? What if I am suppose to enter back into his life now that I have grown and realized what I did wrong. All while knowing I am just in the beginning of my journey of realizing my fear of vulnerability and the traumas that have taken place in my life. I know I am not ready to be the person I want to be for him. The person he deserves for me to be for him. For the person I knew him to be four years ago. The person he was willing to be for me if only I would have let him. And remarkably the person he was able to be, for me, despite my forever pushing him away-which I now know was a fear of…you guessed it, vulnerability.

Here is my current struggle of vulnerability and knowing if I reach out to someone I more than likely caused pain. Last night, as I was driving from Athens, Georgia to the DC Area. I thought of him, his family, and the pain they must be feeling. Having someone you love pass is hard. The first holidays without them are just awful. It is an indescribable excruciating pain that hopefully you can find some good in by recalling happy memories of the ones you have lost. This family lost their father and husband days before Christmas. They are a fellow Irish Catholic family so I know family and spending time together during the holidays is important to them.

I did not try too hard to think what I would be feeling if I were them because that would be a waste of time. That would be speculation. I have the best mother in the world, but I do not have a loving father. I have not grown up with a father. I cannot, at this point in my life, possibly, truly know what it is like to loose my father; my hero, to cancer.

So instead, I thought about my experiences with loss. At first, I thought “Is this selfish and bringing it back to myself? Thinking about my losses rather than theirs? That is NOT right. I should be thinking about them. Damn it, now I am thinking about myself, my loved ones, and the other people that loved the one’s I have lost. How terrible am I? Clearly, I am selfish!” but then right as that thought entered my mind it was silenced with a whisper from God saying “You, my dear, are not selfish. You must recognize that in order for you to truly empathize with the ***** family, you must take from your own experiences in life.”

….or maybe that is a crock of bologna and just something I was telling myself that God was telling me so I wasn’t worried that I was a selfish human. Who knows! I can worry about that later. For now, I need to worry about this family and their difficult time.I thought about my experiences so I could pick the pieces that made the pain and suffering feel less lonely. The times and things that others did that helped. I called on all of my losses, but especially the one that is most fresh. The day my cousin, Brendan, entered the gate of Heaven. The reason I called on this loss the most is not only because it is my most recent loss, but also because the family to whom I have been referring, much like mine, is a strong Irish Catholic family. I thought- I know. I want to be there for him, for them. I know I have already sent him a message on Facebook without expectation of a response. The problem with that is not that he has not answered, but rather that I want to do something for the entire family rather than just him.

This is not a delusional try to enter back into his life, but rather because I know all too well the feeling of grief and loss. If there is even a chance I can take their pain away for a millisecond, or put a smile on their faces, I want to try. Stranger or not. I want to help. That is who I am. I may be afraid of being vulnerable but I am a lover. I am a very emotional, deep, and loving human being.

Still driving. I am trying to decide if this would even be a good idea given our history. Given the time that has past since we have spoken. Let alone seen each other in person or have spoken on the phone, facetimed, videochatted, etcetera etcetera.  He probably does not want a thing to do with me. I sent him a message on Facebook. I should respect that he did not respond. This is the tricky part: Is this another vulnerability scared wall tactic thing or is it the fear that its socially unacceptable and “weird.” But wait, aren’t these in a way the same thing, or at least, in the same family? I will have to do research and call upon psychologist who specialize in vulnerability to get an accurate read of this. But again, that is not the point. Despite what might seem weird. I should stop living in fear that it will allow people to perceive me as weird or whatever they are going to perceive me as. Here is the truth: doing what you want or not, people are going to perceive what you do they way they want to perceive it. If you are lucky, they will see it the way you meant it. But remember, reality shows the way in which you meant it will not be the way they perceive it. So do what you want. Do what fuels your heart and soul.

So, then I figured I needed to listen to myself. I needed to do what I wanted to do. I needed to do what would fuel me to be a better person. What would fuel my heart and soul. I considered what others were probably doing for them. They are probably getting food sent and made for them. Their friends with whom they are still in contact with are probably spending time with them and trying to distract them. These are typical things to do for a grieving family. Very helpful and I encourage you to continue to do these if they are something you do.

I then thought: “I know! I will write a card with an Irish Blessing. Send a few short words on behalf of myself and my family. Ending with the classic Irish Blessing ‘May the road rise to meet you, May the wind be always at your back, May the sun shine warm upon your face, The rain fall soft upon your fields and, until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.'” This card would be signed by myself, my mother, two brothers, and one of us will have to sign for my sister as she is in Dallas until the 23rd. Then I would go to a local liquor store, buy a pack or two of Guinness or Smithwick (anything that is Irish. Perhaps I should pick up some Jameson for something stronger), attach the card and drop it at their home.

I can think of a million reason why this is a bad idea. Kind thoughts for others are often the thoughts and desires I have. However, I will convince myself not to follow through with them. That it is a bad idea. I will use any and every excuse. I will use the excuses as a way to hide from what I now know is vulnerability. After the time passes, I will recall my kind thoughts and feel badly that I did not act on them. I will try, and most of the time succeed, in letting it go, but I have never, until now, been able to realize all of my failures to do what I have wanted to do such as deliver a note and gift in hopes it can bring cheer and joy to another, was my fear of vulnerability.

This has been a complete disgrace to myself for I have hidden and not let my real, true, loving heart live the life it was meant to live.

So, yes, this family and their friends may think this is incredibly weird. This man could think I am stalking him. He could think I am using his pain as a manipulative measure to get back in his life. His family, especially his mom, could be angered in protection of her son. I could look like a fool spending my money and driving to their house, and so on and so forth. All of those thoughts do not matter. They are all ridiculous!

I need to be done hiding who I truly am. Be who you truly are in your heart and in your soul and you will live a fulfilled life. One in which you are proud.

Therefore, I need to risk the possible shame this intention of kindness could bring and instead ignore those vulnerability gremlins. I am going to be me and in order to be me I need to recognize being me is trying to think of a way to hopefully bring even a millisecond of happiness to a struggling soul. I do not want it to be generic and unoriginal. That is still kind but for it to be me, I want to give it a personal touch and my love. In regards to this family I believe it would entail making the traditional “I’m sorry for your loss” unique and personal by making it Irish.

(Side note: I do indeed recognize that it is probably unwise, psychologically that is, to offer and encourage alcohol to someone who is grieving but forget that A) we are Irish B) alcohol during a time of grief does not mean I am going to create a family of alcoholics and C) GO AWAY VULNERABILITY GREMLINS!)

What are your thoughts? Should I finally follow through with one of my thoughts to hopefully help ease another’s pain? What are your thoughts on vulnerability and social acceptability? Have you been through a time of grief, what helped you?

May you and your family have a very Merry Christmas. If you are struggling through grief, please reach out to me. You are NOT in this horrible pain alone. I have been there, I am there, and I want to be here with you. Sincerely.     May God Bless you and your family through this difficult time. May God Bless the family I have been referring to in this post. May God Bless my family as we go through our first Christmas without our Brendan, May God Bless the family I just heard about on the news whose 15 year old son was struck by a vehicle (hit and run) yesterday morning, May God Bless the two NYC Cops who were executed in their vehicle while on duty and their families (Kristen L. Rouse’s beautiful post in honor of these men and NYC), and may God Bless all of the families who will experience a great and deep loss this Holiday season.

You are not alone. It is okay to be mad. It is okay to ask “why?” It is also okay to be vulnerable. It is okay to ask for help. If you, too, struggle with vulnerability you can try it by reaching out to me. We can try going through it together 🙂 ❤

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays my friends!

Sweet Dreams,

Kalyssa

My Truth of Vulnerability and The Beginning of my Blogging Journey!

The power of letting go, embracing others, loving with your whole heart, and experiencing life in the moment. In a word, living a life of Vulnerability and of course a bit of sass. Continue reading