Tag Archives: year in review

Year in Review 

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Year in Review 

What a year, 2016. Where do I even begin?

It started off in Oakland, which is always great because I love spending time with my brother. I was channeling creative energy into helping him give his place a refresh. It turned out really nice- I love to decorate. 

I also started graduate school at SMU. I am shocked it’s been a year. Pursuing a career path that I know is ultimately going to be way bigger than me is daunting. I’m up for the challenge, but I have to mention that it has been a huge challenge. 

Personal growth has been a huge part of the last five and a half years of my life and counseling has only pushed me further in the direction of self knowledge and awareness. 

That kind of information, if I’m able to apply it to my life, is invaluable. It can also be painful though, if I’m being honest. I didn’t want to recognize that I was struggling for the first eight months of this year. Why would I? I literally have everything going for me this year that I didn’t have last year. I have my own place, I’m headed toward a fulfilling career and I finally feel like I’m moving forward.

If everything was on the up and up, then why didn’t I feel like getting out of bed? Having spent the most recent four months of this year reflecting on why I was feeling that way, I can definitively say that depression is a persistent, sneaky bastard.

It was scary. I thought all kinds of other things were wrong with me. I had no energy or motivation and I perceived almost everything as overwhelming and sometimes even impossible. I spent a lot of time sleeping or in the dark with my eyes closed. I made it to school and work, and that was about it. Eventually I knew it was time to go back to therapy.

Luckily, I found the best therapist I could imagine. She helped me learn to recognize the early signs of depression, develop internal coping skills for depressive thoughts, set realistic expectations for myself, develop more self compassion, pull away from situations that contribute to feelings of hopelessness, and look at the big picture when I need motivation.  I made a lot of changes. We wrapped up last week and I’m going into 2017 feeling much more prepared for life in general. 

my nickname is krabby, and it’s seemed especially fitting this year.

Ha, well, this is what happens when I don’t write. I sit down to write one thing and end up on a completely different tangent. However, it wouldn’t be authentic to write about the fun parts of this year without mentioning my depression because I was carrying it with me for well over half of it. 

That being said, I traveled quite a bit this year, gave my own apartment a refresh and even threw a Christmas party. So stay tuned for the rest of my year in review. Thanks for reading.. to be continued.. 

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Year in Review 2012 pt. 2

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Hello friends.  Hope you’re all caught up to what happened in the first three months of 2012 from part one of my year in review.  I’m going to jump right in to part two, which begins  in April.

I knew April wouldn’t be easy.  My mom’s birthday is April 15 and her not being here for it was strange.  I knew she wouldn’t want me to be sad, but it was impossible not to be.  I popped open a bottle of champagne that day, made a nice dinner, and toasted to her.

here’s to you, mom.

What really meant the world to me,  was seeing my mom’s friends gather to celebrate her birthday in Chicago.  Those are real friends, ones who will get together even after you’re gone to celebrate you.

true friends

Four days later was the first anniversary of her passing.   I remember going to dance that morning and wearing a white flower in my hair for her. Some of my new fitness friends learned what I was going through by reading my blog and were extremely sympathetic. They offered up hugs and words of encouragement and support, but also kept me company all morning at coffee and lunch.  I laughed a lot, and my spirits were way higher all around than I ever thought could be possible on such a sad day.

That day also brought my most viewed blog post of all time.  I wrote about my mom and what she meant to me, and how my life changed in the year  since losing her.

I miss her everyday

I miss her everyday

April wasn’t all sad though, my brother came to visit, my old friend Michelle, who I’ve known since middle school took me to a Mav”s game and I participated in my second flash mob.

May is generally my favorite month of the year.  April is over, the weather is AMAZING, and all the fun summer activities begin.  This May I went to Kentucky to watch my cousin graduate from Berea College.  It was pretty fun, I went with my dad and it’s always good to spend time with him.  I’m proud of my cousin, I remember helping her learn how to read one summer and here she is, graduating from college.  Crazy!

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pretty sky on the way to kentucky, who knows where i put the rest of the pics!

May also brought me a “graduation” of my own, from therapy.  I went for nine months to get help coping with my trauma and grief.  I wouldn’t have made nearly as much progress, nearly as quickly without my awesome therapist. Additionally, she challenged me to look inside myself, move forward and face my fears.  I continue to work on all of those things to this day.  It’s definitely been a journey, but an interesting one!  Graduating from therapy was one big milestone in my journey to self discovery this year, but it wasn’t the only one.  I’ll share the other with you a little later on.

holls and I at taste of addison in may

Another major highlight of May was getting to go see Drake!  I know a lot of people don’t openly admit to liking rap music, but I will! I like good beats and light subject matter.  I  love me some Drizzy so when he came through Dallas I had to go see him.  It was really fun.  I will share with you that never, have I ever, in all my years of going to shows and concerts, seen one man have such a dynamic effect on so many women.  Women, grown women were literally stripping, crying and acting a fool at the mere  sight of him.  Before he even started singing.   It was a little baffling, but even more entertaining and hilarious!

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YOLO

Well, almost halfway done with the year!  In the next post I’ll talk about throwing my first baby shower, my trip to California and more!  Til then!

Year in Review 2012 pt. 1

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Hello All! Hope all is well during this holiday season. I can’t believe it’s already Christmas, the years really fly by as I get older. That being said it’s time again for my year in review! I know Facebook does a cute little year in review but I think it’s more fun to write about it!  This year was not nearly as exiting as last year, but I’m very thankful for that.   I’ll try and keep it as interesting as possible though because I learned a lot and made some marked lifestyle changes and it all started last January.

I didn’t necessarily have a new year’s resolution to get more fit and active this year, but starting Danceaton kind of set off the whole thing! I actually started having a great time working out and, maybe more importantly, it gave me a reason to get up in the morning.  Dance was something I always looked forward to, even if there were only 12 hours between the class I just finished and the next one starting.

My confidence grew, and eventually I danced in the front of the class. It probably would’ve taken me a lot longer to do that had I not met my amazing friends in that class.  They were so encouraging and supportive and accepting, not only of me, but of each other!

brunch with the fun bunch!

before we danced on a morning show and became wildly famous…or was it infamous?

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after my first 5k the rave run!

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t-shirt cutting partaaay! it’s exactly what it sounds like.

They were the ones who encouraged me to get on the stage at dance, invited me to coffee after, shared their fitness goals with me and let me into their lives. Life has been a lot less lonely ever since! I can’t say for sure what my year would’ve been like without them but I know for certain it was better with my new friends in it!

Overall my lifestyle has gotten more active, healthier and I have actually grown to love a hard workout.  I never, ever thought I’d hear myself say that and  I don’t think I ever would have said that even a year ago.  I think I’m growing.

strong arms! and, is that a dog barking in the background?

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by the end of the year I took on boxing, of all things. and love it!

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ll recall that I made a decision at the beginning of this year to find a new job.  I decided that I wanted to nanny, because I really am happiest when I’m around kids.  By March, I was hired on at Mom’s Best Friend and I’ve been happily employed by them ever since. It accounts for half of my income, I choose my own jobs/hours for the most part, and I have had the fortune of being requested time and time again watching some great kids! I’m lucky because when I need extra money I can pick up extra jobs and when I need time off I can take it. What I really love about my job though, are, of course, the kids.

It’s so funny, the consistencies between children. I take jobs with toddlers, mostly. I feel like we understand each other. And even more so than I previously thought just because of what I’ve learned about myself this year. I’ve learned and accepted that I like to know what to expect and I need consistency in my schedule to stay sane and mentally prepared. I have a hard time with change and it takes me a while to adjust.

Now, I’ve pretty much just described every 2-4 year old I’ve ever met. Every time I go over to watch a kid that I’ve watched before, they want me to do EXACTLY the same thing with them as the first time I went over there. I find it hilarious. Every Monday at lunch, the three year old wants me to arrange his lunch in a smiley face.  He always reminds me.

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“Ms. Kasey, I want a smile with my lunch because I love smiles.”

Every time I watch the two year old little girl she wants me to find her hiding in the exact same spot she hid in all the previous times, over and over. Even a six year old wanted to play the exact same, weird, cat figurine game. I had no idea she had so much fun until her mom and dad told me that’s all she talked about for days. While I have to admit, sometimes I get bored with doing the same things over and over and over with these kids, I always do it because I can understand why they like it. That’s what they associate with Ms. Kasey. I like to make associations too, it makes the world much less scary when you have a reference point to base a new experience on.

It’s little realizations like those that make me feel just a little more connected to the kids I take care of.   I spent so much of this year getting to know myself, trying to find out who I really am and why I feel the way I feel and make the decisions that I do.  I can’t imagine putting together the unconscious  similarities between myself and the kids I watch if I didn’t know myself so well.  It’s been really eye-opening.  Moving forward has been a big theme of my year and will continue to be a big theme in my life.

In the next installment, I’ll write about my second quarter of 2012.  I’ll discuss how I dealt with the first anniversary of my mom’s death, celebrating her birthday for the first time without her, graduating from therapy, welcoming new life, and more!  Until then, Merry Christmas!

Year End Review 2011 Pt. 3

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Being in Baltimore was a breath of fresh air.  Almost everything I needed was within walking distance of my apartment and I consistently took advantage of that.  My favorite place to walk to was the library. It was in Canton Square and it was a small, musty little place but it was quiet and charming.  I also had a chance to visit the Baltimore Museum of Art, Little Italy, and even had a gym membership in the heart of Harbor East.

I met some really great people while I was there and I had so much fun.  October brought really beautiful fall weather.  I visited Dallas in October because it was time for my ten year high school reunion.  I had a great time and I got to see some old friends, some going back as far as second grade!  It was really one of the highlights of this year and I was so glad that I got to attend.

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Another highlight of October was Halloween weekend.  What a fiasco!  We celebrated Halloween on Saturday and, for some reason, mustaches on Sunday.  Anyway, I had my camera both days and took some of the funniest pictures I have ever seen.  Part of what made the weekend so fun was reviewing the pictures with half of the people in them present, and everyone laughing at each other and themselves.  I know that night stands out as the hardest I laughed all year.

November was pretty low-key, I went to the gym nearly everyday, cooked a lot, and hung out at home. Thanksgiving was really nice.  I’ve always spent Thanksgiving at my house but my eyes were opened this year to the exciting world of other people’s houses and families and I was very happy to be a part of their celebrations.  I also made my own little Thanksgiving dinner that turned out to be pretty delicious if I do say so myself.

In December it was time to start getting ready to leave Baltimore, but not without visiting New York City first!  One of my friend’s bands was recording their new album and rented an apartment in Brooklyn for a few weeks.  Having a free place to stay saved a lot of money and allowed me to stay way longer than anyone who doesn’t live in New York ever should (five days).   The highlights of the trip for me included food trucks, the Guggenheim Museum, FAO Schwartz, the store windows on 5th avenue, Rockefeller Center, and stand-up comedy.

There were only two days in between leaving New York and coming back to Dallas.  My last day in Baltimore was spent packing and enjoying one more visit to the Inner Harbor.

I definitely miss looking at the beautiful views.  My last night in Baltimore was spent at my home away from home, J.A. Murphy’s.  My coworkers were there to send me off, and they even surprised me with the most badass Natty Boh shirt I’ve ever seen.

I was sad to leave Baltimore.  Maybe someday I’ll be able to go back for more adventures.    My dad came up to Baltimore to help me with the long drive back to Dallas.  It was fun, I enjoyed getting to spend some time with him.  There was lots of time to ask questions about his childhood and learn a little more about my family history.

Christmas was enjoyable. I spent it with my brother and my dad here in Dallas.  We all contributed to this huge feast that included macaroni and cheese, jalapeno dressing, chicken and dumplings, and mashed potatoes.  My dad shared some of his cooking secrets and we really just enjoyed each other as a family.  Of course my mom was in all of our hearts throughout the holidays.

I suppose that pretty much wraps up 2011.  Of course I couldn’t find a place to mention everything, but I did experience what’s coming up in the video twice this year.  These concerts were so entertaining I had to share just a little bit with you because each time I attended I was cheered up exponentially by my favorite rapper.  I dare you to watch it at not smile (my favorite part comes about 2:15 in).

Did you smile?  I did.  Holly and I decided to bid 2011 adieu in a spectacle of balloons and confetti at the Polyphonic Spree show.  It was mesmerizing and joyful and I think that, for us, it was the best way to ring in 2012.


2011 was an extraordinarily difficult year for me but I survived it.  There were times that I was ready to throw in the towel, but somehow managed to find something to keep me going.  For that, I am grateful to my friends that reached out to me and provided laughs, words of encouragement, hands to hold, and  shoulders to cry on along the way.  Here’s to new beginnings, lots of laughter,  and even more love.  Here’s to 2012!

Year End Review 2011 Pt. 1

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Well, it’s time for a new year and I can’t say that I’m sad to put 2011 behind me.   This is the year that my biggest fears manifested in front of my eyes like some sort of sick nightmare that lasted for 7 months.  This is also a year that brought me new friends, adventure, and a fresh perspective on life.

My year started off alone behind a beer tub at a job I hated, crying.  Those would the first of many tears shed this year.  My mom always told me that the way you start your year sets the tone for the rest of the year.  Even as I was standing there cheers-ing to no one, I was thinking, I hope this isn’t the worst year of my life….because this is the worst New Year’s Eve that I have ever had. Ever!

The first two and a half months of the year were relatively mild in comparison to the next three.  I totaled my car in February, luckily my best friend and I walked away injury-free.  I remember going out with some friends in March, the weekend right before St. Patrick’s day and having the BEST time the entire weekend.

I also traveled to Austin the next weekend for SXSW.  Holly and I drove down on Friday and went out Friday night.  I can recall calling my mom really late that night and my aunt answering the phone and telling me that she was asleep.  I thought it was weird, but I figured I would try my mom the next day.  Saturday afternoon around 2 I picked up my phone to call her and found three or four missed calls and some messages.  In my heart, I knew they were about my mom.  After finding out she was in the hospital, I made a few more calls and arranged a flight to Chicago that night at 7.  I drove like a bat out of hell from Austin to Dallas, packed for 10 minutes and high-tailed it to the airport.

Seeing my mom in a coma is an image that will be forever burned into my memory.  The rest of March was spent at her bedside.  I didn’t want her to ever be alone and I rarely left her side. She did get well enough at the beginning of April to talk and her prognosis was good.  After being in Chicago for 3 weeks I came home to take a break.  Sadly, she took a turn for the worse while I was gone and I had to rush back to Chicago five days later.  Three days after that, I watched her take her last breath.

I love my mom so much, it’s indescribable.  Saying goodbye to her was the hardest thing I have ever had to do.

At the very end of April I returned to Dallas for about a week before I was to leave for California for a long stay with my brother.  The night before I left, my brother called me and told me he was in the hospital.  I flew out the next day and remained at his side for a little over a week until the doctor finally had a diagnosis.

As it so happened, I was struggling to find sleep one night in California and my phone rang.  I ignored it, initially, until it rang again and again.  I called back and found out my best friend had been in a horrific car accident.  I consider my best friend, Holly, my sister.  So I have two siblings in two hospitals in two states.  I am overwhelmed at this point so I call my dad, and I know he considers Holly a daughter, so he went to visit her while I stayed with my brother.

The next day my brother was finally given the diagnosis of Aplastic Anemia.  I can’t even describe how scared we were.  We knew nothing about this disease, why would we?  The good news was that once he was on a regimen of regular transfusions, he could leave the hospital.  After he got released, we both came back to Dallas.

As my brother explored his treatment options, I spent a lot of my time at the hospital with Holly during those three weeks in May until she got released as well.  The good news is, even though I was sick of hospitals at this point, Holly is still my best friend and we were still able to have a couple laughs here and there.  I also  got a few free calf massages out of the deal.

My brother ultimately decided that John’s Hopkins was the best treatment course for him.  Once he was accepted, we both moved to Baltimore as patient and caregiver.  Having never even been to Maryland before, I had no idea what to expect.  Luckily, once I got there, I was pleasantly surprised.

More to come about the second half of the year tomorrow, in part 2 of my year end review 2011.  Stay tuned…