My Awesomely Random Life (and Everything in Between)

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The thing about El Taco Veloz, one of the most kickass taco places in Denver and probably the world, is that though they have some of the most kickass tacos known to mankind, they also have a not so kickass restroom setup.

It’s not as bad as the one in my favorite Starbucks around the corner from my apartment. The one that has the automatic light that seems to always turn off right in the middle of doing your thing. Or automatic flusher that has a mind of its own. Or the automatic sink that makes you perform a song and dance number in order for it to work. (Note to all establishments: automatic is not always the best way. Just Saying.)

But, El Taco Veloz does only have one toilet for both men and women which is kind of a major drawback.

And apparently, a very unreliable lock.

Y’all, I had to go. I couldn’t wait. Two #2’s (pun intended) with extra hot sauce and it was time to make a very necessary trip.

Against probably my better judgement, I rushed into the shady bathroom. The first thing I noticed was that there weren’t any seat covers (gross-level 10) and decided that the countless wall sits during JV track practice had prepared me well for this very moment.

So I did what many women have done before me and many will continue to do long after I am gone…I squatted. That’s right.

And it was during that not-so-lady-like hover above the El Taco Veloz toilet that I heard a knock at the door.

Seeing that I was midstream and knowing full well that I did indeed twist the little button on the knob, I knew I didn’t really need to say anything because the door would not open for the person on the other end.

And of course, it was at that very moment, mid-hover, that the door flew open and a kind-looking, middle-aged gentleman, with wisdom and shock etched into his face, walked in.

“Whoops! So sorry!” were the exact words that came out of my mouth as I gave up my hover and planted my bare buns on the taco toilet seat in an effort to recover any amount of pride I had left.
Yes.
I had just apologized to the man that walked in on me mid-stream.

As I walked out of the restroom, once the dust had settled, and the man had repeatedly told me, “I didn’t see anything! I’m so sorry. I swear I didn’t see anything!” (which only reassured in my mind that he did, in fact, see something) I wondered why my initial reaction was to apologize.

And why my initial reaction in ANY situation, is ALWAYS to apologize.

In this instance, I suppose it was okay. I should’ve said something when he knocked. So I’ll let myself slide on this one.

But the other day, I apologized to my couch because I accidentally ran into it.

The thing is, I’m always saying sorry.

I’m the first to apologize in an argument even if I’m not the one at fault.

I’m always the first to concede…even to my own problems.

I could be crying from the worry and stress of a new job (and just the overwhelming weight of life sometimes) and then tell the person comforting me, usually my sister, or best friends, or mom, that I’m sorry that I’m sad.

And being the sage that they all are, they’ll tell me, “Don’t be sorry for how you feel.”

Because that’s exactly what I do. I feel sorry for feeling.
For being upset or hurt or worried or scared or even proud.
And that’s just ludicrous, I tell you! Ludicrous! (Not the rapper.)

So I’m done.

I’m done saying sorry for feeling the way I feel.

For conceding when and where I don’t have to.

There’s a reason I have those feelings and they shouldn’t just be “sorry’d” away.

Instead of being sorry, I’m going to start being sure.

Sure of my abilities. Sure of my gut instinct. Sure of my purpose.

Just sure of myself.

I’m going to stop sorrying away my problems, but instead face them.

Confront them.

DO something about them.

And maybe next time I’ll double-check the lock on the bathroom door.

29 in 29

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The questioning, the learning, the mistakes, the discovery and frustrations—It has been a wild ride so far, guys!

But many, many life lessons later, I can wholeheartedly say I have never felt more comfortable being who I am today.I wake up excited to get my breakfast on! Well, that, and to experience what each day has to offer: to continue to learn something new, to be inspired, and to experience the awe that this amazing life has to give.

Today, I turn the big 2-9. I’m still trying to wrap my brain around that one!

So in celebration of this last year as I come close to bowing out of my 20’s, here are 29 Life Lessons that I’ve learned:

1. Learn to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. Risks are where magic sparks, y’all.

2. Laugh. Play. Be … Love, love, love!

3. Be patient with yourself. All the quirks, the uncertainties, the aspects that make you different; they’ll come together, support you, and may even become your biggest asset.

4. No matter how many times you may think it’s okay to eat ice cream for breakfast, it is. It always is.

5. Most things that seem impossible actually aren’t. If you’d asked me three years ago if I thought I would be living in one of the greatest cities, doing something I love, surrounded by the best group of friends a girl could ever ask for, I’d probably LOL in your face. Sometimes taking a chance, a giant leap of faith and just going for it, despite whatever fears or apprehension you may have is the best and only thing to do. Always keep going after your dreams and don’t limit yourself.

6. Confidence comes from within. This is a really tough concept to understand when you’re younger, since it always feels like we’re waiting on other people to continuously boost our confidence levels and tell us we’re on the right track. But the most confident people are confident not just because others believe in them, but because they believe in themselves.

7. If you don’t even try, you’ll never have a chance at succeeding. I used to be one of those people who didn’t want to try anything new because I was afraid I’d fail at it. This fear held me back for a long time in all areas of my life, including my career and my relationships. Luckily, after a lot of soul searching, I realized that this was no way to live. No way, no how sista! Yes, trying new things is scary as hell. And yes, you might actually fail at times. But you also might succeed, or at least learn something important along the way. The risk is worth it.

8. Experiences are way more important than stuff. I’ll be forever grateful to my parents who were always focused on giving me memories and experiences rather than just a bunch of crap I didn’t need.

9. Read everything you can get your hands on. Sci-Fi books. Fiction. Poetry and motivational books. There are SO many good books out there, and they will all change you if you let them.

10. Being “cool” sucks. You should never stop doing or liking something just because you think others will judge you and think it’s uncool. Set your own standard of cool!

11. Love is a battlefield. But one that is worth fighting for. Always.

12. Failure doesn’t mean the world is going to explode. Part of the reason I used to be so scared of trying new things is that I was so incredibly afraid of failure. I really thought if I didn’t succeed, the world would end. I now know that’s (obviously) not the case, but it doesn’t mean that failure doesn’t feel like all of the worst at times. But can you imagine a life with no failure?! How boring that would be?

13. You will never learn how to successfully fold a fitted sheet. It’s best to just accept defeat now.

14. Be silly. Be kind. Be unapologetically you.

15. You will struggle to define many things in your life, but in time you will realize that the real meaning of life is in the journey, not in the definitions or the explanations.

16. Dream big. Don’t let your own or others’ limitations hold you back from going after what you really want. Following your dreams is scary, but living a life full of regrets is even scarier. Dream big and hustle hard. There’s really no other way to live.

17. Invest in a few good friends, they will always be your backbone and the ones you go to through thick and thin, and who will make your every days just a little (or a lot) more bright. To all of my friends (you know who you are), a million times thank you!

18. At times you will wonder why bad things are happening to you, quit wondering and start enjoying the little things in life, when you get your answers, you will understand that these bad times were shaping you into the person you should be. You have to fight through some bad days to earn the best days of your life.

19. If nothing is going your way, put in some Hanson and rock out with your bad self.

20. You will struggle to let go of someone, but you will realize that holding on is worse. Either way you have to learn how to let go of things that are not meant for you.

21. Something will always scare you, even the things you wished for. Don’t let fear cripple you from living the life you wanted. Let fear walk with you until it finds its own way.

22. It’s okay to say no. Except when it’s the answer to the question, “Would you like dessert?”

23. It’s OK to be guarded, but don’t deny or run away from love just because you’ve been hurt in the past. We all have. And it is scary to put yourself out there after that happens. But I promise you: you will never regret taking a chance on love.

24. The Brewers will probably, most likely, definitely not be going to the World Series anytime soon, so sit back, relax, and enjoy being a part of something that’s bigger than you. Everyone goes through a growth spurt, even the major leaguers.

25. No matter how much progress you make, there will always be someone who thinks you are not good enough. Live to prove things to yourself, not others.

26. Forgiving someone is not weakness; holding onto hate is.

27. You may not always get what you want in life, but sometimes this could be a blessing and a sign to steer yourself in another direction better than the one you were on.

28. Yoga pants aren’t just a fashion trend, they’re a way of life.

29. And last but certainly not least, don’t give up. Ever. Someone once said it’s always the last key on the key ring that opens the door. It may take a few tries (or more than a few), but you’ll get there. I pinky-swear.

 

 

Adulting 101

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Y’all, I am about to turn the big 2-9 which means I have been “adulting” for a good 10ish+ years or so. I say “adulting” because I would, for the most part consider myself an adequate at best adulting adult. I pay my own bills, live on my own, know how to change the oil in my car, and know how to make a mean lasagna. Impressive, I know.

Through every stage of life, right up until these formidable adulting years, we dream of becoming an adult.

We can’t wait until we can slam back Lemon Drop shots on our 21st, until we can eat ice cream for dinner (or breakfast, no judging), until we can live on our own, until we can get married and have kids. We can’t wait until we have say over our lives.

We wait, wait, wait for that moment. And then wait some more.

But then one day, we wake up on a random Tuesday morning and holy hell, we’re there.

Adulthood.

After all of those years of waiting and hoping and dreaming, we finally made it, guys!

But what no one ever tells you growing up is that once you’re there, a full-fledged adult, you are instantly thrust into a world that is unfamiliar, complicated and so damn confusing. Sure, you can have as many of those Lemon Drop shots, shots, shots as you or your liver see fit, you can stay up to all hours of the night binge watching House of Cards, you can have ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and walk around your OWN apartment in your underwear in you want.

But you also have to actually start doing adulty things, things that you never really had to worry about before. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t spend a good majority of my early 20’s wondering what a 401K was, avoiding doing my laundry like it was the plague and considering a bowl (or three) of Frosted Flakes as a 5-star gourmet meal.  But with age, comes wisdom (and better hair choices), and I can confidently say that I’ve become a better adulting adult.

Here are just a few ways that you can tell that you’re doing this adulting thing pretty alright:

1. You’re Excited To Go Home…To Do Nothing

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of barhopping with my girls, but most days, all that’s keeping me going is the thought of going home, curling up in bed and re-binging Parks and Recreation on Netflix all by myself, and I’m perfectly content with that.

2. You’re Becoming More Responsible With Your Money

When I got my tax refund, the first thing I did was pay off some of my student loans, deposit money into my savings account, and pay off my credit card bill (damn you, Christmas 2015). I couldn’t believe it. The worst part was that it actually made me happy. Who knew being responsible could bring so much joy. I also found out about Credit Card Insider recently, which is a really helpful resource for understanding how credit cards and credit scores work.

3. Dating Is No Longer A Pastime

I can’t numerate the amount of times I’ve watched movies where an older female character complains about how she “hates dating” and couldn’t bother with “starting over with someone new” and just wanted to “skip to being an actual relationship”. Whenever I heard this, I would hardcore roll my eyes and call them liars because dating is way too much fun! You meet so many new and different people and get to have loads of exciting fun with all of them and usually end up eating just all of the delicious food. But the older I’m getting, the less I’m looking for someone new to add to my rotation and the more I’m realizing that time spent working toward something of actual substance may be a better idea.

4. You’re Selective With Your Choosing Of Friends

Who you’re dating is important, but the people you’re friends with is just as important, maybe even more so. They say it’s hard to make friends in your adult years and I think that’s because the older you are the easier it is to detect “frenemies”, or people who aren’t genuine about their hopes that you’re happy and progress in life. Ain’t nobody got time for that! #byeFelicia

5. You Can’t Stand Younger People

Thoughts such as “Was I THAT obnoxious?” and “Where are these children’s parents?” cross my mind quite frequently when in the presence of teenagers. But seriously, kids nowadays are the absolute worst – who raised them?!

6. You Take Care Of Your Body

Whether that means cutting back on your fast food intake, actually making it to the gym more than once a year in January, or even not getting black-out drunk three times a week and giving your poor liver a rest, you’re realizing that starting to take care of your body is probably a good investment.

7. You Have Actual Plans For Your Future

I was all over the place trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life during high school, college, and even a year “in the real world”. But now, I not only have a clear-cut idea as to how I envision my life, but more importantly, I’m taking practical steps in making these dreams my reality. Adulting is all about realizing how important this really is.

The truth is, we’re all just figuring this thing out as we go along. You can read as many “How-To” books and talk to as many people as you’d like, but the best advice I could ever give you is to try, to fail, and fail hard. But learn from your mistakes, dust yourself off, and get back in the game.

And if all else fails, remember that ice cream for breakfast is never a bad decision.

 

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My name’s Wendi, and I am a strong, independent and intelligent 28 (almost 29) year-old woman. I know how to change my own oil, can bake the shiznit out of some chocolate-chip cookies and even have my own 401K.

Impressive, I know.

I’d like to think that I’m somewhat of a fully-functioning adult, most of the time, however there’s one thing that I still find myself doing pretty much on the regular, one thing that I probably will never stop doing no matter how old I get, or how much fully-functioning adult experience I put behind me…

…and that’s going to the moms for advice.

I’m extremely lucky in that my mom and I have always had the strongest of relationships (think Thor-level strength here). She has always been my rock, my inspiration, the person I would go to first whenever I had a problem or a big decision to make. From first day of school outfits and how major hair transformations (THANK YOU FOR TALKING ME OFF THAT PERM LEDGE!!) to college choices and major job opportunities, my mom has been there with me through it all. She has been the voice of reason, of wisdom when I needed it the most.

It wasn’t until recently that I realized how much I still rely on me madre for things.

The past week alone I’ve called/texted her in a sweaty panic, asking her what she thinks I should do about:

Brewtus–the best VW Bug a girl could ever ask for–who’s sadly on it’s last legs. Should I try and sell her? Trade her in? And what kind of car should I look at getting? How much should I look at spending? Can I take out a loan? I hear you, but I am NOT getting a Subaru. 

My living situation: Should I move at the end of my lease? Into another apartment? And where? Or should I just bite the bullet and start looking to finance my first house?

That sore throat/cough/swollen ankle/weird rash on my neck: Is it contagious? Do you think I should go into the walk-in? AM I DYING??!! So what you’re saying is I shouldn’t WebMD it?

Boys: First date, what should I wear??!! Should I text him that I had a good time afterwards? Or should I just wait for him to text me? Well, things were going great! But then he just stopped texting me. I’m being ghosted aren’t I? What’s ghosting? I’lll explain it later. He ate his pizza with a fork anyway. Yes, thank you! He was a giant boob!

General adulting: Yogurt that’s 3 days past its expiration is still safe to eat, right? Huh, coconut oil works on that? So about that fitted sheet sitch…

I may be a 28 (soon to be 29) year-old strong, independent and intelligent woman, but I still very much appreciate advice from the moms. And I don’t think I will ever stop appreciating it.

Mom, if you’re reading this, thank you! A million times thank you!

*And I will call you later. My stomach is seriously turning cartwheels and I think it may have been because of that yogurt.

 

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Boy has the concept of dating changed, my friends. Back in the middle school days of crimped hair and stirrup leggings,  “dating” involved sitting next to your crush at lunch, having your parents drive you to the movies, and sneaking late-night conversations on your family’s cordless phone in your closet. Even at that ripe young age, I was skeptical of two people coming to an agreement and declaring themselves ‘boyfriend and girlfriend’. Of course the legitimacy of a seventh grader’s love life is typically not serious. I mean, aside from Cory and Topanga, I don’t know of one middle school couple that endured the winds of change, and came out of high school or college together. I’m sure they exist, but they’re rarer than the Troll dolls I collected back in the day.

My point is that I realized at a young age that dating was something I didn’t trust or fully comprehend. Don’t get me wrong, that first kiss in the movie theater was magical–sloppy and wet and gross, but magical, the school dances and shared milkshakes and pre-teen angsty butterflies were amazing. But there was something about the idea of dating (or “going out”, “talking”) that seemed somewhat fleeting to me. I dated here and there, but it wasn’t until high school and even college that I’d get off of the bench and exclaim, “Put me in coach, I’m ready to play!” What I embarked on was a full-fledged rollercoaster, a ride that I am still very much on.

As we get older, the seriousness of relationships matures with us – hopefully. I have quite a few friends who met their “one” in high school and/or college and lasted the test of time, getting married, having kiddos of their own. There are also those who are still dating — testing the waters and keeping their options open. The problem is that these waters are full of vicious piranhas, boring starfish, crabby crabs and beached whales (interpret that however you want). Dating nowadays is somewhat peculiar; the game has changed, the rules are drastically different and there are a lot more players (hello the Tinders of the Universe).

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The modern-day situation that’s trending is something I like to call ‘intermediate dating’. It’s that thing where you’re not sure if you’re best friends, drink-buddies, boyfriend/girlfriend, FWB,  or just two people who really, REALLY like each other but both are too stupid or scared to admit it to the other person. Y’all, how can we genuinely not be able to identify what we are with someone else? If you spend significant amounts of time together, and your time apart is full of interaction via texts and heart-faced emojis – isn’t it safe to say that you’re with each other? Or does it not count because it was never officially discussed? Yeah, it probably doesn’t count. I mean, if you don’t even have an anniversary date, how can it be a legitimate relationship? I don’t know, and in all likelihood, the parties involved don’t have a clue either. Sadly, this is a stressful scenario that many are tangled up in today.

Myself included.

Romantic associations being indistinguishable are becoming a social norm, but there’s certainly a purpose for this. As embarrassing and preposterous as this is, people consider Facebook’s ‘In a relationship’ label or an Instagrammed photo of them together to be the equivalent of an online wedding band. Gossipers think so-and-so is single if his/her relationship status doesn’t say otherwise. Aside from Facebook, it’s got a lot to do with the brand of people currently being created. Yes, many things that used to be considered taboo, or serious matters are taken lightly in our culture now. Take cheating, for example. People nonchalantly cheat on their significant other, as if it isn’t a terrible thing to do. Then we have divorce rates which are ridiculously high. We constantly see failed marriages and people giving up on each other left and right. This has an effect on many – some of whom become a product of their environment.

There’s a rise in the fear of commitment, leading to a lack of labeling. It’s simpler for some to see movies, eat dinner and talk to a person whenever there’s time, than to define themselves and have a relationship classification to live up to. So while certain people want to half-date, there are a number of people who want the whole cheesy and delicious enchilada – which is a disastrous combination. It’s hard to be relaxed about trusting someone you care about when they can be involved with anyone else, and attempt to justify it on the technicality that you’re not ‘official’. Then there’s the fact that even if you claim not to care, and have a friends-with-benefits type of connection, you’re probably destined to fail. Eventually someone will develop stronger feelings, and if they’re not reciprocated, it’s catastrophic. Most physical based relationships, with no committed agreements come with an early expiration date.

Guards are up. People in general seem to be especially concerned for their emotional well being going into new connections. It’s like when you see people running away from something, so without knowing what they’re evading – you run too. We’re guided naturally by instincts to protect ourselves, even if we’re just mimicking preventative measures that we see others taking. The fear of commitment and highly protected hearts are evident in multiple ways. There’s no scale to measure it, but I assure you that we’re a part of the most sarcastic, cynical generations ever. We make jokes and excessively attempt wittiness to stave off compliments, affection or the professing of feelings. Each humorous comment serves as a bouncer, rejecting people at the door of your heart. It’s not that we can’t be serious, it’s that many just don’t want to. Serious is scary.

Realistically there are plenty of other specific reasons why dating has seemingly grown more difficult, something my girl Liz and I have had many digital glasses of wine discussing. Despite there being billions of people in this world, it’s hard finding people who you can open up to, and completely trust with your heart. Ultimately we can only do our best to give others the benefit of the doubt, and treat each other as individuals. We can’t categorize a bunch, because of the behaviors of one or two not-so-great people. Yes, we see more cheating and separation than ever – but we can’t allow ourselves to date in fear of it. All a dater can hope for is that their heartbreaks and rejections weren’t for nothing. That eventually the road leads to meeting someone special. Someone who makes you feel as if you don’t need to deflect, and equally important – doesn’t deflect you.

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Well hey guys! And a very happy #InternationalDayofHappiness to you! It seems that everyday there is something new and tbh, somewhat random thing to celebrate (can I get a what-what for National Peanut Butter Day or the ever awesome National Wear Mismatched Socks Day–I’d like to think “they”, whoever they are, came up with that day just to benefit my laziness, and to them, I tip my hat and say a giant THANK YOU). Most of these so-called holidays are up there on the silly scale for sure, leading some to ask why there’s a need to dedicate a day out of the year to honor something as seemingly insignificant as peanut butter or socks.

Which btw, is silly in and of itself because PB is the glue the holds my life together. Basically. And don’t even get me started with cute socks, mismatched or not. The obsession is very real, y’all.

I totally understand where these naysayers are coming from. I do. But to me, if one of these rando celebrations allows someone to feel good, to give them something to look forward to, to put a smile on their face and a pep in their step, then bring on the party! Especially if there will be cookies involved. Any reason to let your fabulous and zany flag fly is reason enough for me.

International Day of Happiness is high on the list of my favorite of these “holidays” because of what it stands for, of what it represents. Plus, the whole day is based around the idea of celebrating and sharing what makes you happy, which as you know, is kind of my jam. In 2012, the UN created International Day of Happiness to not only help bring people from all over the world together, educating and bringing awareness to different cultures and traditions, but to also highlight what it is that makes us truly happy.

The truth is, happiness is a very fluid construct and emotion. It can mean many things to many people, take on varying forms and be expressed in a multitude of ways. One person’s happiness may not be the same as someone else’s. The one thing that is universal across the board however, is that happiness is something that everyone, no matter background, age, color,  gender, race, status or baseball team affiliation (except St. Louis Cardinals fans. KIDDING! But not really) should have, should be free to express. As the UN states and tries to perpetuate through their nonprofit organization Illien, “Happiness is a fundamental human right and goal, and every person on this planet should experience it not only on this special day, but throughout year.”

Agreed, Illien. So hardcore agreed.

There is nothing more in the whole entire planet universe that makes me happier, gives me more joy–with the exception of freshly baked cookies and puppy kisses–than making others feel good, in spreading that happiness and paying it forward. I’ve been told that I can be annoyingly happy at times, and I definitely could see how and why my friends and family think that. I’m a milkshake is half-full kind of gal, I prefer to see the positive in every situation, to see the good in people. This isn’t to say I’m not realistic, or naive, or a pushover (okay, I sometimes can be), but I’ve learned in my almost 29 years that a) life is way too short to harbor and focus on the negative, to be a Debbie Downer all of the time and not give situations or people the benefit of the doubt and b) happiness is very contagious my friends. It’s hard not to feel good when you surround yourself with people who exude this kick-ass light about them.

Ya dig?

I hope that whatever you are doing today, tomorrow, next month or five years from now, that you are continually finding ways to up your happiness game and, that you are sharing that happiness with others.

I don’t know about you, but this girl has A LOT to be happy about: my amazing family, Oreos, my incredibly incredible friends, Oreos, the fact that Brewers baseball season starts in less than 15 days, Oreos, and SO. MUCH. MORE.

Geto Boys may have let us all know that “Damn, it feels good to be a gangsta,” but I’m here to tell you that DAMN! It feels good to be happy!

But I’m a Fixer

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Every since I was a young girl, I’ve loved figuring out the answers to problems. Jigsaw and crossword puzzles were my jam, and don’t even get me started on my slight obsession with McGyver. To this day you cannot convince me that a toothpick, some gum, and a bottle of DW-40 won’t solve any crisis.

As a librarian, as a writer, as a forever learner, doer and out-of-the-box thinker, I’ve gotten really good at looking at an issue, at an obstacle or problem in many different angles, analyzing and coming up with a plan of execution. Or multiple plans. Brainstorming, researching and putting an action into place is kind of my MO.

If my best friend is having relationship issues, I will sit with him/her and figure out a way to get them past this, no matter how many bottles of PBR/wine we have to sacrifice along the way. If a coworker is struggling to find their footing at work, I will help them come up with a plan to tackle their responsibilities like the boss I know they are. If my mom is still texting in hieroglyphics, I will…..yeah, sorry mom. I think that one’s a lost cause.

I like having answers, I like knowing that anything can be solved.

I’m a fixer, that’s kinda what I do.

But sometimes life throws you a curve ball of a problem, one that you don’t have the answer for.

Someone really close to me, someone who I love with all of my everything, my inspiration, the person I look up to, my baby sister is going through something right now that is incredibly hard. She’s been fighting Endometriosis, a condition that affects more than 6.3 million women in the US alone, yet it is still one of the most misunderstood and complicated diseases to diagnose, treat and cure. While she has always handled this like the champ she is despite the challenges, she recently hit a bit of a rough patch.  If you know my sister, you already know that she is one of the strongest and most resilient people I have ever met, someone who exudes bravery and determination through every pore. For all of these reasons and more, I am certain, without a doubt, 110% positive that she will kick Endo’s ass.

In an conversation I had with her earlier today, I asked if there was anything I could do to help? Her heartbreaking reply: “There isn’t. There isn’t anything anyone can do. I don’t what’s going on, and Wendi, I’m scared.”

As a problem solver, as a fixer, and most importantly as her big sister, sitting on the sidelines and not having an answer or a plan to give? A way to make her feel better? A part of me, a very big part, thinks that I’m letting her down in some way. For all of our lives, I’ve been the one protecting her, showing her the ropes, of what to do and not to do. I so badly want to help her, to tell her everything is going to be okay, to take all of this pain and confusion and stress away from her.

I’m a fixer, but this, unlike that jigsaw or crossword puzzle sitting on my coffee table, I can’t fix. I don’t know the solution, the answer, a way to make it all go away.

And that absolutely kills me.

But if I have learned anything in my almost 29 years–besides finally, FINALLY figuring out how to fold a fitted sheet–it’s that being there for someone, just being there, can make all the difference in the world. I’ve been through some trying times myself, I think we all have at one point or another, and the one thing that helped get me through, the one thing that kept my hope motor running, my fire to fight ignited, it was the endless support and encouragement from those who I loved and cared about most. A shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, an endless supply of bear hugs and a partner to share that pizza and bottles of PBR/wine with.

These are the things, the little blessings that make you stronger, give you a reason to keep fighting and the reassurance that things are going to be okay.

Sometimes you won’t have all of the answers, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be a part of the solution.

Reaching out, being there for someone who needs you the most, that in and of itself is the greatest gift you could ever give.

Something even some toothpicks, gum and a bottle of DW-40 couldn’t replicate.

To my kickass, amazing and beautiful baby sis, you are a fighter. You are strong. You can and you will get through this.

You have so many people who love you, who are there for you, who believe in you.

We will get through this.

Together.

 

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