Monday, December 30, 2013

The Problem in Decisions

There is a startling revelation to be made when you realize simple decisions about your life can have devastating consequences to seemingly uninvolved individuals. I know it seems juvenile and childish, but I was recently reminded of one such circumstance.

For a while now, I have been jokingly considering certain actions I believed only affected myself and my husband only to be painfully reminded such actions have a traumatizing impact on another close relationship. Now I am faced with a decision to continue down my path or alter course to save another such misery.

And the worst of it is others cavalier attitude toward the entire situation. Anyway, today was an uncomfortable reminder of our responsibilities towards others.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Dear Reader

Dear Reader,

Whoever you are, I think you may be the only one that actually reads my blog.  I remember the first time I saw the +1 on one of my posts.  I looked at it rather confused for a long time before I realized what it was.  Admittedly, earlier this morning when I wrote my last post, I had forgotten about you.  I can't imagine what about my blog has peaked your interest, but I must say thank you for taking the time to read it.

I recently discovered Pentatoxic and was listening to their youtube channel.  They have a song they cover that I hadn't heard before.  It was called "Don't you worry child."  One of the lines is "Don't you worry child, heaven's got a plan for you."  I couldn't stop laughing and crying at the same time.  The day I write about giving up hope is the day I discover that song.

Thank you.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you for reading my blog.


For Want

I think it is pretty safe to say not very many, if any, read this blog.  I think the page views I have thus far are simply blog rating websites sending out the occasional feelers.  Not even my family reads this.  And today...I'm ok with that.

In January of this year when I was officially hired full time with my company and awarded the "less than amazing, but better than nothing" benefits package, I had an IUD removed while I was still covered by my previous insurance.  The reason I did this was I wanted to avoid having to find an OB-GYN so early on this new insurance plan.  I had the IUD removed on January 8th.  By March, I was pregnant and rather excited about it.  We hadn't planned on having a baby so quickly, but we were certainly not going to complain.  I was actually on an impromptu business trip when I got the confirmation and the first person I told was my project manager in Las Vegas.

Unfortunately, early in April, I started bleeding.  At first, it was just spotting, then it became a full on period.  I was worried and I found a OB-GYN that came highly recommended by many women I know.  By April 19th, we found out we lost the baby and I had to have a D & C to effectively clean everything out and start over.  Then we waited.  And waited.  Nothing happened; I was supposed to have a normal period again and I didn't.  We went back to the doctor and he gave me a shot to jump-start the process.  He said the body sometimes forgets what it is supposed to do.  From then on, everything worked out pretty well.  Things went back to normal and we decided to actively try again.

Well, its December now.  I am late and have been suffering a bit of a head-cold/allergies.  I went to the doctor yesterday and he had me tested.  Today, I got the results back.  Not pregnant.  And now...

It's funny.  I never post this kind of thing on Facebook because I figure no one really cares.  They "like" a post and occasionally leave a witty retort, but how many people actually care about the day to day.  I have never really felt like the world gave a damn so why waste their time?  But here, in my anonymous cocoon, I have a space on the internet no one bothers to look into and I can say whatever I want.  No one will read it, no one will "like" it or leave a Hallmark greeting card response.  Here I can spell out my thoughts and not disturb a soul.

My husband is a strange sort of man.  His emotions are kept close to the vest, even from me.  He was wounded...emotionally...and now, he doesn't let anyone see his true pain.  When we lost the baby, I was angry with him for that, angry he didn't share my pain.  But then after a few months, I saw just how much it was hurting him.  He let his walls crumble slightly, forgot to keep the veneer polished.  I saw him cry more often than he would care to admit.  He is 28 now, I am 25.  He wants to have a family, to have kids.  He wants to be the amazing dad he wished he grew up with.  And it just doesn't seem to be happening.

I know it isn't my fault, that I haven't done anything to cause this, but that doesn't change how it feels.  That doesn't change the sorrow catching the breath in my throat.  I want to be a mother.  I want to have my husband's children running around the house.  I want to watch them grow and raise them to be anything they want to be.  I want to be more than I am.

Two nights ago, I had a dream and when I woke up, I had this overwhelming feeling that I was pregnant, that I wouldn't start this month.  I was excited even though I was only a few days late.  I should have known better.  Ever since I was a child, I have known disappointment.  I have learned not to get excited about things, to just let things happen as they come without expectation.  Every time I make plans and get excited for something, it never works out and I become angry and irrational.  That's why I refused to be excited about my wedding, I refused to get my hopes up or set my sights on "the perfect day."  I knew if I did, then every little thing that went wrong would by a huge disappointment and my wedding would be ruined.  Instead, I had no expectations.  I walked down the aisle with a happy-go-lucky attitude and laughed when my shoe fell off as I marched down the stairs.  I threw foam balls around, blew bubbles, and chased kids around the park at my reception.  I enjoyed the day, with all of its problems, and had a truly remarkable wedding.

I keep telling myself to do the same thing in this case, to not get my hopes up, not set any expectations.  I even tried to convince myself I couldn't be pregnant until I was rushed to the delivery room.  But how do you do that with something like a baby?  How do you refuse to be excited, to have hope, to look forward to, to plan for a baby?  How do you shield your heart against heartbreak every time you shop near the baby aisle?  And more importantly, how do you smile in your husband's face and hide away your tears of frustration, of disappointment, of loss, and of sorrow?  How do you pretend nothing is wrong when every fiber of your being is screaming for want of a baby?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Illiterate Writer

As the cost of higher education continues to increase, a growing number of Americans are finding it unaffordable to obtain a college education to say nothing of the paying off the outlandish and mismanaged federal student loans. To demonstrate this concept, I would like to tell you my story.

I am a 25-year-old, female civil engineer. When I was 2, my parents divorced and my father practically disappeared. By the time I was 6, I was diagnosed ADHD, suspected of dyslexia, and molested by a family friend. My mom worked her way up a local government job against several obstacles into management, placing her in the lower middle class, yet we only ever survived.

When I was 10 years old, shingles, ringworm, and strep throat placed me in quarantine for 21 consecutive days, during which time my mother discovered I was illiterate. Somehow, she scrapped together the money to enroll me in Sylvan Learning Center. In 6 months, my reading comprehension and writing skills increased from a 2nd grade reading level to a 12+ level. I also patched up some holes in my math skills and corrected a speech impediment. My mom told me there was nothing I could not achieve if I set my mind to it.

I never really thought about being disabled or illiterate because when I graduated high school in the top ten, I felt comfortable academically. I applied for dozens of scholarships fitting in as many essays amidst my Advanced Placement and Honors course work.  Unfortunately, given my demographic and mother's annual income, I was overlooked by numerous scholarships entering college with the Cal Grant, the 3rd place local Elk’s Lodge "Student of the Year" scholarship for $500, and the ever delightful federal subsidized and unsubsidized student loans.

From 2006-2008, I struggled like many underclassmen to register for classes in an overly impacted university when the California budget forced Cal Poly Pomona to cut nearly all of the lower division math classes.  Nevertheless, after 5 years, I graduated Magna Cum Laude with honors in 2011 with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering. Despite numerous extracurricular activities including Chi Epsilon Job Fair Chair and Community Service Coordinator, I was unable to find gainful employment for 6 months and began volunteering with the City of Riverside Water Resources Department in November 2011. Unfortunately, my $25,000 student loans entered deferment until a water engineering consulting company mercifully hired me in July 2012.

Around February 2013, I decided to hone my literary skills; I wrote a short story, which very quickly became a full-length novel at 143,000 words. Now, looking back I realize the feat I accomplished. I overcame several learning and developmental disabilities to graduate top of my class in a mathematical field only to write the first book in a series in my spare time.

Despite all of my accomplishments, I received minimal scholarships. I am just a single student in the desperate middle class struggling to secure a future.  Hundreds of scholarships exist for the impoverished, but few exist for the surviving.  I am not a politician; I do not pretend to understand the intricacies of the Washington agenda, but what I do know is more of the middle class are working dead-end jobs hoping for a lucky break to continue their education.  I am now seeking publication of my novel in the hopes of starting a scholarship foundation to fill in the gap.  I will do my part to ensure all Americans can attend college.  What will you do?

Alexis Rhodes

P.S. If you would like to fact check my story, email requesting my real name and supporting documents.