Sunday, December 4, 2011

Joy: My Life

This joy post is going to be a little different. I want to share a little piece of my past with you guys, my story if you will. I think about this often and this is what led me to be where I am today. Here's a little writing from the heart:

Soo I haven't shared a joy post in a while! I think in the spirit of the holidays (thanksgiving & christmas), I've been feeling particularly grateful! It didn't really effect me on Thanksgiving, although I think I was too busy enjoying my family and seeing old friends to really give it much thought. But a couple days ago, it hit me. I just looked around and thought, "Wow". I love my life. And you will never here me say anything different. I don't regret, because everything happens for a reason and every one of those things has helped me get to where I am today. Yeah, I could have done some things differently, I've made a lot of mistakes and my life isn't really ideal but I love it regardless.

I don't think I've ever shared the story of how Eliza came to be but it was kind of a pivotal time in my life and an important part of me, so here we go, story time! Brandon and I started dating my Junior year in high school. We became inseparable and spent practically every day together. Then senior year rolled around and it was time to start applying to colleges. I didn't really know what I wanted to be or do. I was thinking of going into fashion but was a little apprehensive because of my perception of the "fashion" world. All that high class, designer, mumbo jumbo just doesn't really appeal to me but I did like clothes and making things so that's all I really had going for me. I tried not to think about what would happen at the end of the year when Brandon and I would go off to college. But ultimately, I was going to end our relationship because we would definitely be going in different directions and although I loved him, I thought it would be healthier to just say our goodbyes. So the application process started and the days went by. 

About November, I started to notice some funny changes in my body. I was on birth control but was really bad at remembering to take it everyday and kind of had an irregular period. I ignored it. My boobs all the sudden got really big and I noticed I started feeling funnier than normal. I still kind of ignored it but in the back of my mind was coming to the realization of what might be happening. Then one night, I looked up symptoms of pregnancy and just knew. I avoided Brandon the next day but he came over to my house and cornered me, he knew something was really wrong. I broke down and told him, I was for sure. I remember we cried together for a really long time. We were really young and really scared, this would change everything. When the initial shock was over, we talked about it. We had this idea that we would both get jobs and get our own apartment. College wasn't really part of the plan. 

We managed to keep it a secret for a month and then Brandon spilled the beans to his mother. And then she made us tell my mom who in turn told my dad. They all went through the shock phase but then were all really supportive and ready to step in and be grandparents! Then we told the rest of our immediate family and decided to just keep it quiet until... it was obvious because hello! We didn't need the added drama that goes on in high school. However, the secret eventually got out and all of our friends started finding out. By the time someone actually approached me about it, everyone knew. We were kind of upset at first because of all the gossip going on but we had a really great group of friends. We were involved in theatre and our friends were just all so supportive and loving. I can't even express how grateful I am that even though I had to deal with being pregnant in high school, we had some great people to surround ourselves with and back us up. 

We finished off with a really great, and pretty successful year! Brandon was president of the drama club, I won an award for costuming and even directed a full play-of course, Brandon was the lead ;)! Eliza was due in July so Brandon and I were able to graduate and kind of get everything settled before she came. I was living with my mom then and once school ended, Brandon moved in with me. We had our ups and downs and it might have taken a little longer for Brandon but we were ready to take our place as parents and our relationship was really strong. And then, July 24th 2009 Eliza came! I remember feeling so peaceful, just completely relaxed and content. Parenting came so naturally and everything just seemed to fall into place. 

We lived at my mom's for about a month (so she could help me out adjusting to motherhood) and then eventually moved to my dad's. He lived an hour away in a 4 bedroom house all by himself so it was perfect. He even knocked out a wall in my room to make an add-on for Eliza's own room! He's such a great pappa! I started community college in the fall, directly after she was born (only online though) and brandon started the next semester. Brandon got a job and we were both going to school, on the right track! 

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to stay at home with Eliza, it was wonderful. I started getting bored though and needed a hobby which is when I found Etsy. I made a few clothing items and listed them but not much luck. I tried a few other random things before I found vintage clothing and just really hit if off with that. It was still kind of slow and I was getting restless with being in the house all the time so I got a job! I worked at a local restaurant and absolutely hated it. By boss was awful and the pay was totally not worth all the effort I put into it. I learned a lot from that experience though but since I had no time for Etsy anymore, I decided to quit to focus full time on my store. I worked and worked and worked at it, improving myself every chance I could. And then I found blogging! This was my outlet to connect with people I had things in common with and just inspired to me to really reach for my goals and work hard to accomplish all the things I want! And I guess the rest is history! We lived at my dad's for about a year and a half before Brandon and I decided we needed our own place. We moved into our own apartment March 2011 and have been living here ever since! I made a studio out of the room that we had lived in at my dad's (thanks dad!). That way, we still see my dad all the time and on his days off, he can watch Eliza when he works! I love having our own apartment, we are just a little happy family (: 

I've always believed that things happen for a reason and I am so grateful to be where I am today. I have an amazing fiance, an amazing, beautiful, intelligent daughter, a roof over my head and a job that I LOVE. What more could I ask for? I know it's not ideal to have a child as a teenager but in a way I feel like it was meant to happen. I truly believe this is where I'm supposed to be and having Eliza at 18 was the best thing that ever happened to me. Before I graduated I had no idea what I wanted to do and was just kind of lost. Then I had Eliza and being a mother just came so naturally. And then I found a passion in something that I love and something I can do for the rest of my life. Of course, it's never been easy. I'm sure you know that from me ranting about being stressed all the time but whatever! Life isn't easy, right? Plus I think you need to struggle a little to learn the valuable things in life and to grow and be successful. The most important thing is to be happy. The last couple of days I've been filled with some much appreciation for myself, my life, and the awesome people around me. I'm working on loving myself more and not being too hard on myself for not being super woman. Also, being more appreciative to Brandon! I'm so glad he's still a part of my life and (hopefully) will be forever. Can you image what it'd be like if we just went off to different colleges?! I'm thankful that he gets up in the middle of the night to go to work and pays our bills. And all the other amazing things he does for us. I'm just really grateful. I love my life and wouldn't have it any other way. 

If you read this far, than thanks! I know it's a lot but I wanted to share. I'm also grateful for you guys and all the wonderful bloggers out there! I've gained so much from this little community and am so glad I found it. I can't wait to see what life has in store for me. Until then, I'm going to be grateful!

Signature copy