2017 has been one hell of a year! I have learned more about myself than I have ever known and if this year has taught me anything, it’s that I am liking the woman I am growing up to be. Let’s take a look at my year long unfinished journey. Join me!
First things first:
At the top of 2017 I was able to close on my first home and the feeling I had while signing all those documents (and trust me there was a lot) was so surreal. I don’t remember it all. The part that stuck out the most was when my realtor handed me the keys. Everything was so perfect. I had signed my name over and over again to the point where I’m not even sure that was my name on the last 20 documents. When everything was all said and done and I signed my last document, I turned to my right and my realtor was standing next to me with the keys to my new home in her hand. Everyone had this big smile on their face (they were just happy I was finally done signing all those papers… at least that’s what I tell myself) and I grabbed the keys and almost started to cry. Trust me, I wanted to cry but the previous owners to the home broke down which key goes to which door. I had to pull myself together because this was important information. Now that I think about it, I would have eventually figured out which key goes to which door but I also don’t like to let strangers see me cry.
When you close on a house you have to cut a fat ass obese check. I’m not certain when this part came into play. It was probably the beginning of the closing process but I do remember this part hurt my feelings. My bank account took an ass whooping that day! To this day it still hasn’t forgiven me. Other than my account taking a gut punch to its insides, becoming a homeowner at the age of 26 has changed my life for the better.
I couldn’t stop there
After things were all signed and done I took a little time to thank my parents for finding my home in the first place. We had a very nice dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in town. Long story short, the home I fell in love with did not work out for me. Everything about the place was right up my alley. From the looks to the price the place was my unknown dream. The master bath had a garden tub and separate shower. I hate to say this now but I was sold from there. The home needed so much work. Major work. I let the garden tub win me over. The home needed new floors, the stairs were “illegal” (the home inspectors words, not mine), the kitchen floor was sunken in, the back porch was not safe and the home inspector did not even want to go out back because the naked eye could tell the porch was not safe. Also the carpet was a hot mess and the hardwood floors looked like it was done by an amateur. The home was occupied with a toddler and two working parents. There was a full Crayola mural about one foot from the floor. I tried to make excuses as to why I could handle the home. All these repairs would have killed my budget but I had a vision. The vision was me living in this home with a huge dining room table and all my friends are over for a nice dinner party. Now that I look back on things, I’m glad the home did not go through for me but it took a few months for me to emotionally get over losing this dream home I spent so many months visioning.
It took about a month for me to get my new home up to the standards I wanted before moving in. Deciding to do all the painting was the
cheap best decision. It taught me how to correctly paint a wall and which paint brushes are used for the different sections to a room. It made it that much more special. Of course since it wasn’t professionally done I had/have to go back and do some touch-ups. The first thing I turned on was the internet because I knew I would be in the home late at night painting. I needed the sounds of the many different podcast and radio shows I listen to entertain me. That was a big step for me. It was my first bill to my new home. Secondly, I turned on the security system. I remember these first two bills vividly because it was during the winter and the gas company could not get out to my house until the next week to turn the heat on. The internet guy and security guy both could not get over the fact that my home was cooler than it was outside. I spent an unknown amount (that was not included in the budget) on space heaters to keep me warm in each room. Both guys had to take breaks on setting the internet and alarm system up to step outside and warm up. I told them that I understood and we all had a good laugh.
By this time, majority of the painting was done. The first rooms I knocked out were the rooms where guest and I did the most traveling. First was the kitchen. Big thanks to my brother who was tall enough to reach above the cabinets to paint up there. Second was the dining room/living room and next I moved on to the upstairs hallway. The bedrooms were the easiest by far. It took one night to finish each room. It had gotten so late a few nights where I had to bring out my blow up mattress to lay my head. Driving under the condition of no sleep is a terrible idea considering how far away I moved from my parents. Those were the nights where I felt a true sense of accomplishment.
Moving in was the quickest most unorganized stressful mess I had went through (for 2017). Looking back on things, I made it stressful because I wanted things to be done in a certain way and it just wasn’t coming together. Example: I wanted to clean everything in my old room before moving out so that things would be clean entering the new house. This did not happen and yet the world did not burn to ashes (I’m a little dramatic). Another big thanks to my dad and brother for being able to help me with this process. Cleaning things before moving would have been a waste of time because most of my things would have to be transported on the back of my brother’s truck bed and my dad’s trailer. OUTSIDE. WITH THE DIRT. Good thing I was stopped before I got the cleaning rag out. The dirt really wasn’t as bad as my mind made it out to be. The only thing I lost through the move was my old desk my parents bought in my preteen years. It’s still standing but barely. Some screws fell off during transport. My plan was to convert the old desk into a vanity for my make up room but moving it from one wall to the next might be a bad idea. For now, it’s collecting dust.
The very first rooms I had to get in order were the kitchen, master bedroom and office. I figured I need to eat, sleep and write while I’m home so might as well start there. Before purchasing my home I had plans of moving to Vegas for work (also the reason I have a blow up mattress. My bed wouldn’t have made it that far). From there I started purchasing a ton of kitchen appliances. There were so many appliances and stupidly not counting the inventory I ended up with two mixers and two blenders. All these items were purchased over the course of four years (I say this to make myself feel better about having two of the same item). I started buying items the year I graduated college so by the time I was ready for the big move, I wouldn’t be moving into an empty house. Buying the blow up mattress seemed like a good idea because I had plans on living in a studio apartment far far away and I didn’t want to put the burden of moving my furniture on my parents and brother across the country. And plus the mattress was on sale for cyber Monday. Many of the items I bought were on a cyber Monday deal.
Next came the office. This was the easiest room to get together really. I found a cheap yet durable desk (cyber Monday deal), a sturdy office chair (something that big girls like me can sit in and not feel like I’m about to break a wheel. It’s happened before) and a plastic floor mat for the chair. And boom, the office was done. I spent most of the time in my office (like now while typing this) and it’s the most calm room in my house. I chose a purple-ish blue for the color of the walls because purple is my favorite color and I hear blue is an “all-about-my-business” type of color. *(As a small side note, the actual paint was a purple-ish blue but when it dried the color was just blue. I’m not mad at this transformation at all. It’s still a pretty color and I’m not changing it any time soon.) This room had to be top priority being that this is the room where bills get paid and where I do my writing.
After the office came the master bedroom. I’ll admit, my bedroom could use a little more attention. I mean that in terms of adding more furniture to match what I already have inside. This could be my anxiety taking over but I’m using this as an excuse as to why I haven’t put any pressure on myself to finish out my bedroom. My bed is made from a light brown wood. Of course I want my other furniture to match but I think it’ll be hard trying to match it (I honestly haven’t tried to look). Also, it’s the bed my parents bought for me at 17 and it’s time for an upgrade.
The make up room is by far the most forgotten desolate room in the whole house. There could be a ghost hanging out in there inviting all their ghost friends to talk about who’s next on the haunting list in my neighborhood and I wouldn’t have a clue… On second thought I’m much better off not knowing if that’s the case. That’s where my shoes packed and unpacked, purses/bags and all other miscellaneous unpacked boxes reside. All of my make up is unpacked (I think) and scattered out across the floor. Some items are in bags and other items are stacked on top of one another. The closet for this room is my utility closet. It’s where I keep the vacuums (having multiple vacuums is also being blamed on cyber Monday deals) and an old mirror the previous owners left. I want to donate it but I keep forgetting. This blog post is reminding me that I have an old mirror in there. My birthday and now Christmas presents are still in the gift bag in that room. If I got a gift card I’ve already used it but if it’s an actual thing, sorry! I’ll eventually get to it.
This was the first time in a long time where I was on my own outside of my parents house. I’m counting that dreadful time my freshman year of college where I traveled four hours south of home to “be on my own” in a dorm. I’m calling it dreadful because I was 18 and thought I was grown yet I was still going through teenage problems. To be fair on my conscience I have to keep reminding myself I was still a teen. I was in a dorm paid for by my parents and a scholarship yet I allowed any and everything to distract me from my studies. TV, teenage drama, Facebook, YouTube etc. You name it. If it involved me not studying or not doing homework, I was focused on that particular distraction. I made a promise at age 19 that if I ever got the chance to be on my own again I would devote all free time to progressing myself. Doing what it was I love to do. Being in an empty house gave me this opportunity to uphold this promise. Without all the distraction of cable TV, I was able to gather my thoughts and write. I can admit that I could’ve blogged a little more in 2017 but to make myself feel better I put all my writing into a personal journal and many short stories.
Back in April, my best friend gave me a gift card to Home Goods for my birthday. I had never been to one of these stores but judging my the name I could tell it was one of those stores that is a housewife’s dreamland. I’m no housewife but it quickly became my dreamland as well. I found something in there that would change my life for the better. Something I didn’t know I needed. A vision board! This board was tucked over by the giant mirrors and inspirational wall art quotes that are about 3′ X 4′ tall. Walking into the store was an overwhelmingly happy mess that my mother (she’s the housewife) and I loved. After the first couple of minutes of joyful heavy breathing, the giant wall mirrors called my name. I need something on my living room walls and the mirrors knew it. After searching for what seemed like forever through the mirrors, I came across this (what I thought at the time) tiny bed frame. It was cute and grey which is exactly what I want for my new bed. The sign on it said “ideas” with many different pictures on it; something like a collage. I held it in my hand for about fifteen minutes debating on the mirror or vision board. I thought the board would be a good idea for my office and I had already dedicated living on my own the time for growth and progress. What better way to show how far I’ve come and how far I’m going then with a vision board? From that day on my vision board has seen a ton of growth and I’m the one who needs to catch up and live up to the board’s expectation.
New addition to the family
Before you start to assume and/or judge, no. I did not have a baby. I still have a lot of growing up to do before I take on another human life. I decided to get (at the time) a two month old puppy! Caring for him was a learning experience for both me and Reno. When I adopted my pit bull puppy, I didn’t think it would be a big deal. Not realizing the other puppies I had were essentially raised by my mother taking the load off my brother and I. My mom did all the work when it came to feeding, shots and bath times. They were outside dogs and didn’t need too many baths and we played with our dogs when we could. My mom is the animal lover and my dad is the animal tolerate-er. We had to make some compromises. We could have a pet as long as it stayed outside. Far away from the house. Being that I’m on my own, it’s best if I get a pet to protect and warn me of any dangers that might be near. I decided on a puppy on the idea that an old dog would take time getting use to me and it’s new environment. I never tested this idea. I just assumed this is what would happen.
WHAT PEOPLE TOLD ME: A puppy is just like a baby. They need around the clock care.
WHAT I DIDN’T BELIEVE: A puppy is just like a baby. They need around the clock care.
How naive of me. The whole time I’m under the impression that puppies are far more advanced than babies. They can walk, communicate and have a better sense of smell. What I didn’t know was that even though they can walk I would have to stop him from getting into harms way. What I didn’t know was that even though they can communicate I would have to understand what the different tones of his bark meant and his different pitches of crying. What I didn’t know was that even though he had a better sense of smell, he still could not sniff out where to pee and poop. Not at first. On his very first day in my home he had a massive diarrhea attack right on my dinning room floor. I laid out puppy pads for his accidents yet he refused to use them in the beginning. I got him use to it by having him sit and stay on the pads for a while until he knew what they were for. I remember the day he used the puppy pad for it’s intended use (and I say intended because he would play with them). I was cleaning up the kitchen and saw him peeing right beside the training pad. I got mad and told him “NO! BAD DOG!” and right before I could finish, he walked right on it and finished peeing. It was the cutest thing ever! I was so proud of him. This let me know that he knew what the pads were for, he was just trying to see how far he could get with me. It wasn’t until I raised my voice when he finally got the message to pee where his is supposed to. He’s a pit and they are a very stubborn breed. I won’t even go into detail on the many times he’s tried to claim dominance over me. As if I weren’t the adult!
Now he’s eight months old and I’m figuring him out more and more each day. We’ve had our ups and downs but I will not quit on my little:
Rien-Rien, Reeny-weeny, Baby Boy, Baby Bear, Honey, Boo-Boo, Boo Bear, Cutie Pie, Re-Re, Pooh Bear, Bear, Baby Face, Precious, Baby Pie…the list goes on for what I call my Reno.
Getting to know me
You never truly know who you are until you’ve spent time with yourself. I’m not talking what ever time you spend with yourself in the bathroom. I’m talking all day over the weekends and all night. I’m usually the one among my group of friends who keeps to them self. I do this to observe. Do you ever just sit back and observe the way people talk, what they say and how they move? Not in a creepy way but in a way where you’re trying to study this person. Figure out how they tick. Most people I wouldn’t dare study because it’s not worth my time. Allow me to clear this up right now. I started doing this within myself. I know it sounds weird but I sat back and watched the things I did, the things I said and how I moved. I really paid attention to the little details for the first time in my life. Explaining exactly what I mean may be the hardest part of this post.
Most times after work I would go to the gym and work the the physical and take my mind off the mental. In my opinion, this improved both my physical and mental. I found a love/hate relationship with running (but if I’m really being honest I jog. My knees can’t handle running). Running was a new distraction for me. It allowed me to clear my head and not focus on the stress of work and life. On the treadmill it was just me and my music. I was so deep into distracting myself (this is what I’ll call running) that other members in the gym realized this and saw that I was “gone” or “lost” so much so that I didn’t even notice half of them wave to me. A lot of times they would catch me off to the side as I was walking to the scale or to the locker room to tell me how they admire my focus. I would tell them thank you and smile but at the same time I couldn’t help but think “how long were they watching me?” I had to take a step back and see how others perceive me. Not that this matters when everything is all said and done but it’s interesting to see how others see you. When I’m on the treadmill, it’s me and most times Beyoncé singing a duet. I’m killing it and Beyoncé pauses so that I can finish the high notes and close the song out (let me live). To others, I’m staring at the TV and running for minutes on end. I’m not looking left, I’m not looking right. Just starring blankly at the TV with my headphones plugged into my phone. I’ve done better by noticing people wave to me. Now I see that they have to walk up closer in my line of sight and throw their hand up so that I can see them. We smile and I keep running and they go on about their day. Something that took me by surprise was when one woman said that she had been watching me for a whole year and she likes the transformation. I honestly had never seen this woman a day in my life yet she said she’s been watching me for the past year! I have to do better. Now I’ve started watching out for this woman when she comes in so that I can wave to her and acknowledge her presence. It was nice of her to pull me to the side and tell me how proud she is to see the changes in me.
Before 2017, I would put most of my free time in dating and finding a boyfriend. I’m in my 20’s and society tends to look down on people in their 20’s (especially women) who are single and/or not dating so I put pressure on myself to please this part of society. Looking back on the previous years I’ve noticed how most of that dating was a waste of time. Not a total waste I should say. I did come out on the other end with more knowledge of myself and how I deal with relationships. I wasn’t looking to date to get married. I’m not even sure if that’s what I want now. During my student years (after freshman year), it was all about my work load and interacting with classmates. That was my excuse back then as to why I didn’t date. Since I’ve graduated, what’s my excuse now? I’m not 100% sure I want to be married so why should I put my 100% into dating? Where would that lead us? It’s literally asking that we come to a dead end right from the start. Could I be in a relationship I know would end because I’m not looking for life long commitment? This is just me bouncing off ideas between what goes through my head everyday and this blog post. These are questions I ask myself most nights. I took all of 2017 just to spend time with me. Beforehand I would date guys I met online and saw that it was the same old pattern over and over again. I was tired of it. I can’t even come up with the excuse that all those guys were the same. When we parted ways, we left for different reasons. I didn’t ever see a happily ever after with them but I also didn’t see it ending for us so soon. This surely took a toll on my emotions. I’m enjoying this time to myself too much to get involved with relationships like that again. And besides, now I have too much to loose.
Witnessing something beautiful
2017 was the year I witnessed my best friend become engaged and married. Her wedding is the only wedding I have gone to in my 20’s and it was one of the most beautiful events I’ve witnessed. The night of my 25th birthday after we left from seeing Dave Chappelle in Atlanta, she mentioned to me and another friend of mine that her and her boyfriend (at the time) were talking about marriage. I believed her when she said it and I knew I was showing up to her wedding sometime in the future. Trust me when I say I’m no fortune teller but I could see this day happening just as clear as a sunny day. A few months after she told us this I ended up at the bar of my other friend’s apartment in his kitchen drunk crying over how I couldn’t wait to attend their wedding and be there for them as they start their family. I had never drunk cried before that night and I haven’t drunk cried after (not yet) so you know I was serious about this.
Everything was perfect. From the dress to the location even down to all family and friends in attendance. Everyone looked good and there was a glow not only to the faces of all guest but to the room as well. I couldn’t believe how magical the entire wedding was. And I use the word magical in a sense that if I were to animate this particular day and this particular location, I wouldn’t change a thing. It would be so perfect that the entire wedding would be ready to be featured in an animated Disney production (I’m not even being dramatic this time).
With my friend getting married and all, the questions I had expected from my family arose. “When are you getting a boyfriend?” “When are you getting married?” “What will your wedding look like?” I don’t have an answer for either question. Even if I did, would the response be justifiable with my parents? It’s starting to feel like they tune me out if they don’t hear, “soon” “soon” and “a fairy-tale princess themed dream come true”. At this point I don’t even explain myself anymore. I just laugh and say, “you really think my life is heading in the marriage direction?” Knowing it is a huge possibility my parents will never see me walk down the aisle, I told my parents step by step what all was going on with my friend and her wedding so that they could feel like they were included but from far away. I tried my hardest to use her wedding as a surrogate for my never happening wedding. I don’t know if this was a good idea. They’ll occasionally bring up “my wedding date” at the most inopportune times. Every time we talk about “the big day” my parents start to realize that they may never see that day. Not everyone gets married. I don’t know why or how they felt like I should be the one. I feel somewhat bad about this. Only because from the time my parents knew a baby girl was on the way my dad probably started to picture himself walking me down the aisle. If he did have this vision he must feel like I’m snatching this away from him. We’ve never had conversations like this anyway. I’m just speculating this part. Since I’m only speculating I’m only feeling partially bad about this.
Deceived by my own family
So earlier in this post I wrote about how I was able to close on my first home by the age of 26. Not that I’m looking for any applause or anything but I damn sure didn’t expect some of my family members to hate that I did that. This was a sneaky type of hate. A hate I didn’t see coming because when things were going in their favor (me loosing the house I thought I wanted in the first place) it was all smiles. This will be a short part of the post because I don’t want to put all of my family business out on this world wide web. When I closed on my new home, I invited them out to see it and every turn of the corner they had something negative to say. I must say this was very naive of me to not see this coming. They really crept up behind and threw me for a loop. I first picked up on this in the beginning of the year but it was laid out on full display come Thanksgiving. They let their true colors shine over turkey and dressing.
In the end
2017 was the year of growing and understanding myself. I was naive to think that others older than me or even my age had already had this time for themselves. Everyone’s lessons are different. I can only hope that 2018 is my year of continued growth and new beginnings. I’m for damn sure going to try my hardest to make it so.