Calm Down

Does this phrase actually make anyone feel calmer?

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When it is said to me, it evokes the opposite response.

One day the washing machine at the house broke forcing me to go to the Laundromat. I like going to Spin Laundry Lounge because there are video games to play while you wait, their dryers are awesome, the prices are relatively reasonable and depending on which location you choose, there are snack options.

In addition to getting my laundry done, I was on a research mission for information about the Laundromat. My roommates have never been and they would also need to get their laundry done. I located two empty, smaller size washing machines next to each other and put my clothes in them. There is a spin dial to choose water temperature and desired cycle. I am guilty of not reading all the information before getting started with things. Today would be no different. I picked the cheapest cycle and swiped my credit card to pay. Then I realized there were more options. I wanted to wash them in cold water (which cost .25 cents extra). I guess it was too late. When both loads had finished, I took out the hang to dry items and loaded the rest in one big dryer. I went back to the washing machines to take photos to send to the roommates when I noticed there was a balance of .25 on the washing machine I had just used. I was confused by this therefore I located the only employee working to ask her what was going on. She followed me over, asked me a few questions and then said she didn’t know. She wasn’t even sure if they had gotten washed. Hhhhmmmmm that’s odd, they felt damp when I moved them to the dryer. She said it would have just done a prewash which would explain why they were damp. All I know is I needed my clothes to be clean.

It wasn’t worth taking chances so I went over to the dryer to pull that one load out to rewash. I expressed a bit of my frustration with this process and lack of knowledge when she suddenly says to me to ” I’m just trying to help you – calm down.”

The best part about this is: I wasn’t even that upset about it. I was just expressing my emotion. On a scale of 1 to 10, I was maybe a level 3.

I couldn’t believe she was saying this to me. I know myself. I know when I am being “extra” and when I am not. I know how people can react to me when I am acting “extra” and this situation wasn’t even close. Her words didn’t make me feel any calmer, like I said before it has the opposite effect on me. I immediately knew the conversation had taken a turn and we were in a different place now. A place I didn’t want to deal with. It can be a tremendous amount of work to get strangers to a place of real understanding of who you are and what you are communicating. It suddenly occured to me she was taking it personally. All she needed to do was give me the space to express my moment of frustration and we could all move on. So in that moment, the conversation was over for me. I told her, Thank you, I got it, and I didn’t need anything else. She walked away.

Over the years, I have come to realize when a misunderstanding is taking place. I would love it if everyone knew what everyone was saying all of the time. I also know that people are looking through their own lense at life. They can only meet you from where they are. Sometimes I take the time to correct the misunderstanding. Sometimes the moment is happening so quick and there is not time to do all that is necessary to get back on the same page. I made the assumption of how much work it was going to take based on her response of taking things personally and decided to just end the exchange. I wonder if this was the right thing to do.

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Another time I have been told to calm down, recently, was my first day in Spanish Conversation class. I enrolled in class through Portland Community College to solve a parking challenge at work and get more Spanish in my life. I work on the waterfront right in front of the Eastbank Esplanade in Portland Oregon. There isn’t any parking besides two private parking lots for business and one parking lot for a PCC campus. The class I signed up for is non credit evening class that takes me 30 minutes to drive to once a week however I love it.

The semester had been in progress for several weeks when I arrived for the first time. There was homework from the previous week that, understandably, I wasn’t aware of. I didn’t have the book nor did I plan on purchasing it. I was hoping for just conversation. It’s been years since I have taken a class and my Spanish skills were rusty. Midway through the class it was time for everyone to read their homework. Two jokes and a short story. There were only three other people besides myself and the professor. When it would have been my turn, I said with excitement, I don’t have any jokes because today is my first day. The teacher immediately told me to calm down, in a nice calm way a few times. I was immediately offended. Once again, expressing emotion was causing someone to tell me to tone it down. I wasn’t even upset until this phrase was said to me.

It took a few days of reflection and analyzation to figure out what exactly bothered me so much. I think that because she didn’t know me and her reaction to my expression was one of correction. She wanted me to be different. Therefore telling me to calm down felt like a rejection of my personality. When I feel rejected, I go into self preservation mode. I either let the full force of my personality out and I don’t care who likes it or I withdrawal completely. Either way, I am not trying to be likable. I don’t know why I respond this way but I do.

Thinking about that moment in class over and over again led me to this realization.

I am an emotional creature. A very emotional creature. Sometimes I show that emotion when expressing myself verbally.

Maybe the other person is uncomfortable with the level of emotion that I am expressing and saying calm down is their way of trying to control the situation to bring it to a level of comfort for them. (Emotional Contagion). I don’t need to take it personally! I can understand what is happening for the other person and adjust where I can.

I hope I am able to maintain this point of view so that the next time someone tells me to calm down, I won’t feel the need to be so reactive.

Tips for stress free selling on apps like OfferUp and Letgo.

I sell a lot of things on OfferUp, Letgo, and Craigslist.

If you have sold things on these platforms, you will know how flaky people can be.  It can be quite frustrating. I refuse to have strangers waste my time. I will not be held hostage waiting on anyone ever again.

Here are some tips & tricks I have found to be effective in order to feel less stressed.

Pricing: I like to price things to move. I list it for half of what I paid or I do some research to what others are selling it for and make it a few dollars less.  No matter what price you list your item for- expect people to ask to buy it for less.  It is okay to remain firm in your offer.  The right match will come around once you stand your ground.  Especially if it is a fair price.  If you are willing to accept their offer – go ahead 🙂

Communication: Don’t expect it to be great.  When people message me to ask if something is available- I answer yes and then delete their message.  When people message me to say they will get back to me- I delete the message. I assume that people are going to flake so I just delete all messages. I don’t chase and I don’t follow up after I have provided pertinent information. Just let it go and move on.  The serious ones will come back around. After some time, they become obvious.

**People who are good communicators will get back to you. They will answer your questions. They will set up a specific time to connect with you. They will be responsive and sometimes, just sometimes, even be the one to initiate the details. They will let you know when they are on their way (especially if you have requested they do so).  They show up. Be sure to give them positive feedback about the aspects of their behavior you appreciate ❤

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Location to meet: I like to find a business close to where I am located (this can serve as a reference point for them to map how far it will be from their location). I never give my physical address unless (it works best for my life) / I have gotten a good vibe, the communication has been good and they are ready to head my way.  If the communication hasn’t been great, I just give them a business nearby and ask them to let me know when they are there and then I will come over.  This will save your time.  This way you don’t have to wait at your house for anyone.  I understand that things come up which could change the time they are able to come.  If you just ask them to let you know when they are there then you don’t have to be held hostage.  Sometimes they don’t show up…. makes no difference to you since you aren’t waiting around on them and then a bunch of random strangers don’t have your home address.

I hope that you found these tips helpful.  I hope if you use them, that they work out for you. Feel free to share tips that you find useful!!!  I am always looking to improve…

Happy Selling out there!

 

 

I’m sorry, you must have me mistaken…

Growing up in Colorado Springs, there was competition between civilian and military men to date the local ladies. Many girls wanted to date the Air Forces boys and I was no different. There is something very attractive about the uniform.

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When I was 19 years old, I dated an Air Force Academy Cadet. He was my first boyfriend. He was good looking and so was his group of friends. He would turn 21 years old while we were dating. I was not going to let my catch of a boyfriend start to go out to the bars without me. I wanted to remain his girlfriend.

The night of his 21st birthday, his squadron took him out drinking. I knew where they were going and I talked my way in to give him a surprise. I went with a friend and sat at a table far enough away to see him and not have him see me. I waited for about 20 minutes before I found his waitress so I could send over a drink, along with my house key and a note that said – “Thought you were cute so I bought you a drink, would you like to come to my place after?”

It was great to watch his group of friends surveying the room to see who this girl could be. It didn’t take long for someone to spot me 🙂

His birthday night confirmed that I would need to find a way to be able join him in the future.

I worked with a girl named Carrie McClary. Carrie was cool and understood my dilemma. She offered to let me use her birth certificate and social security card to get a fake ID. I planned to get one in a different state since states don’t share databases. I had plans to join my boyfriend for one of his trips back home. He came to the AF Academy from West Dundee, Illinois. West Dundee is a suburb of Chicago.

He made frequent trips home to visit his family. Once things got serious between us, I started to travel with him. I love Chicago. I have super fond memories of going to Arlington Race Horse Track, Medieval times , shopping in Schaumberg, gambling on the Riverboats in Elgin, and spending New Year’s Eve downtown Chi-town. I figured getting an ID would be easier than getting a drivers license. In Illinois you need 3 things to get an ID. A birth certificate, social security card and proof of address. How was I going to prove residency in a state I didn’t live in with a name that wasn’t really mine?

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I was shocked when my boyfriend ‘s conservative, religious parents agreed to help. They let me use their home address. They owned a manufacturing company so they wrote me a letter to my fake name, welcoming me to my new position with their company. Genius!

Let get fake ID adventure begin. We started out at the DMV in Elgin. I can’t remember why they turned me down but they did so we ended up going to the DMV in Woodstock. It worked. I got my fake ID in Woodstock, Illinois.

At the time I was working for General Meters Corp. General Meters Corporation is a developer and provider of one-card systems for college and university campuses. All I had to do was walk downstairs and scan the universities they had contracts with, find one from Chicago, and convince my buddy that worked in that department to help me create a student ID with my fake name. This would prove to save my ass a few months later.

Having a fake ID meant freedom. The most important freedom for me at the time was the ability to keep up with my boyfriend and his friends.

Frequently our group would go play Blackjack in Cripple Creek, Colorado. One time when we were there, I was sitting at a table playing blackjack when an undercover policeman came over to question me. He wanted to see some ID. I gave him the fake one. He asked me why I didn’t have my drivers license. I am a terrible liar and the only thing I could think of to say was that I had gotten into some trouble drinking and driving therefore I was unable to have a license. I also had a backup college ID to show him. He was satisfied and left me to gamble.

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Once I came really close to having my fake ID taken from me. One weekend night we went to Crocodile Rocks. Crocodile Rocks was a night club in the corner of a strip mall that was “the place to go” for dancing and such. No sooner had I entered the establishment and was making my way across the dance floor towards the bar when I was tapped on the shoulder by a bouncer asking for my ID. I pulled it out and gave it to him. He said ” Looks good to me” but my supervisor wants to see it. He started to make his way to the front of the club so I followed right behind him. Thank goodness my boyfriend noticed and started to follow us too. As soon as we met up with the supervisor I knew I was in trouble. We knew each other from high school.

He looked me straight in the eye and said, ” I know you, your name is Julie ****** and you are too young to be here”. I felt panicky on the inside and was scrambling for a way to not get caught. I looked him straight in the eye back and said, “I’m sorry , you must have me mistaken for someone else”. My boyfriend also started to explain that I was his girlfriend from back home who was in town for a visit. He pulled out his wallet to show his Illinois drivers license along with his military ID. I pitched such a fit, demanding my ID back and the cover charge we paid since we were leaving. It worked. Got my ID and the cover and we were off to another bar. We vowed never to return there until I was really 21 years old, which would just be another year. Plenty of other places to go.

I can’t believe how close I came to getting caught but never did. I’m not a big drinker, never have been. Even with a fake ID I wasn’t. Now that I am old enough to drink and gamble, I look back at that time in my life with amazement. Amazement and Gratitude.

Last year was the first year I stopped getting carded when going to bars. Time flies when you’re having fun! And now that I’m in my forties I guess it’s come full circle. It feels better to live life without having to lie about your age. I haven’t had to for decades now ❤

Covert Operation = Get Nieces back

3 thousand dollars & Karma allowed for the covert operation.

Maybe you have read the other blogs about my journey, maybe you have not. This story picks up at the end of the blog that is linked above.

For those that have not, let me give you the readers digest version: I don’t have a good relationship with my biological mother. My younger sister passed away in 2003 which prompted me to connect with the abusive dysfunctional people from my past in order to attend her funeral and to meet my little nieces, whom were 3 years old and 18 months old at the time. I wanted to help raise my nieces so they moved to Austin TX where I was living in 2004. It didn’t go well and my biological mother lied and said she was going on vacation when she was secretly moving to Oregon about 1.5 years later. She then proceeded to cut me out of my nieces lives. She changed the phone number leaving me no way to contact the little girls that had become such a big part of my heart <3.

When I found out they moved, I made plans to visit. Those plans were met with resistance. I was told I had to do certain things, I wasn’t willing to do. My biological mother doesn’t get to treat me however she wants and then dictate my response to it. This is when she told me not to come. Shortly after that she changed the phone number.

I realized that if I was ever going to see them again, I would need my visit to be a surprise. I didn’t take the trip I originally planned since she had all the details and could have easily left town. This would result in me wasting $3,000.00

Covert Operation = get nieces back began to form. I bribed my boyfriend at the time to come with me with some fun plans in Portland before traveling to Salem to sit in front of their house. I decided going around Christmas time would increase the chances of me being able to find them at home.

In 2006, I got plane tickets for Portland, a rental car to drive to Salem, hotel rooms and massage appointments. I went to the local toy store and purchased Christmas presents for the girls. We stayed two days in Portland before headed off for the drama.

Portland was awesome! The size of the city reminded me of the Austin Texas I moved to the summer of 1996. Eeny, meeny, miny, moe- off to Austin TX I go. The nature scene reminded me of growing up in Colorado Springs. Portland has delicious food, cool bridges and nice people. It was becoming clear that I liked it so much that I wanted to live there. I never thought I would see the day I wanted to move from Austin because I loved living there. It’s the place I have lived the longest yet (15 years) Portland was pretty awesome though and I seriously started to think about moving. I would need to finish college first.

After two days in Portland, we drove to Salem, checked into the hotel and went to sit in front of my nieces house. It was completely nerve wracking. The anxiety built with every passing moment. At some point my boyfriend mentioned he was hungry. I didn’t want to leave because Murphy’s Law says the moment I leave is the moment they come home and I didn’t want to miss them. He ended up convincing me to get some fast food for him. We weren’t gone long. When we returned, the lights in the house were on. I knew it! I missed my moment! I was pissed at my BF and pissed at myself for agreeing to leave. Now we have to go to the door. This gives my biological mother more of an advantage.

We crept up to the door and couldn’t really see through the oval circle made of frosted glass that was in the middle of the wood door. I could hear them though. I tried to wait until I heard the girls voices closer towards the front of the house however it was proving impossible. I knocked on the door and she told the girls to go to their rooms because she thought I was going to be someone else that was showing up with something for the girls for Christmas. When she answered the door, it took her a minute to register what was happening. I saw her face change when it clicked. I shoved my foot in the door so she couldn’t close it on me and I started yelling my nieces names. I didn’t overcome the year of sadness and come all this way not to be successful. She let me in…

At first it was very awkward. It took an hour or so for the girls to remember who I was. There weren’t any pictures of me around. I’m 100% sure she didn’t talk about me or say nice things about me or remind them of the good times we had and how much I loved them. She asked if I was there to take them away? My answer was – I’m not you.

I had a hotel down the street and I wanted the girls to come and stay with me. I’m surprised she agreed. I got to spend all the days I was there with them. We went out to eat and had a couple sleepover nights. I couldn’t have been more happy. I got them back!!!!!

After a week, it was time to return home to Austin. I invited each of my nieces to come for 1 week during the summer. The littlest one was too scared to fly so the older one asked if she could have her sister’s week and come for 2 weeks. OF COURSE. It almost didn’t happen because she was very scared to get on the plane. Thankfully a nice couple saw this little girl crying and offered to accompany her during the flight. Words could not express the disappointment I felt at the thought of her not being able to board the plane. I am so proud of her for conquering her fear and making it all the way to Texas. We had a blast. Lots of swimming. Reuniting with old friends. She lost a tooth. She celebrated her 8th birthday while there- We went at Schlitterbahn with friends. Our relationship was back on track. I love her more than I love anyone in the world.

I spent the next 2 years flying to Portland for visits. As my nieces got older, I knew that they needed me to be closer. I wanted to be a bigger part in their lives. I was putting myself through college part-time which would take 10 years to complete. I graduated the summer of 2010 and by the end of December, I moved to Dallas OR, where they lived.

3 thousand dollars & Karma

I can’t remember the name of the dating app or site I was on when I made a connection with a gentlemen.

20190727_115935.jpgWe decided to met at bar called Casino El Camino for drinks and food. This bar is located on the east end of the infamous 6th street in Austin TX. We got cocktails and ordered food while sitting on the back patio. I remember that neither of us wanted to smoke many cigarettes in front of the other person because we were trying to impress each other (smoking is unattractive). Eventually we just had to be ourselves.

I liked him right away. I just wasn’t interested in dating him. I don’t meet many people I want to date so the chances were slim from the beginning anyway.  I will still make effort to engage with the opposite sex since it feels like a numbers game. Eventually I will meet someone to share my life with.

For as long as I can remember, I have been struggling to earn enough money to get ahead of my poor economic situation. Dare I dream to be able to put money into savings.  I always manage to earn enough to survive! I have been working since I was 14 years old- 114 jobs and counting.

The stress of my economic situation revels itself when major changes happen in my life and I’m not able to take care of them how I like.

In 2005, my biological mother took my nieces, secretly moved to another state, changed their phone number and removed me from their lives. I was heartbroken. I cried every day for about a year. I got my first tattoo on the day that marked 1 year since I had seen their faces. Grand stand ideas started to ruminate in my mind as to how to get those little girls back into my life . If only there was a way to do it without having to deal with my biological mother.  The girls were 5 and 3 years old at the time.

I thought of showing up at their house to surprise them. I have their home address.. This surprise plan would require plane tickets, renting a car, gas money, a place to stay, bribing my boyfriend to support me in this drama, and feeding ourselves along the way. I did some preliminary research on how much it would cost to take the time away from work, pay for all those required things as well as doing something fun since I was going to a new city.  It was looking like it was going to cost around $3,000. Shit. How was I going to do that? I only made enough money to cover monthly expenses working  while putting myself through college.

My new friend is a really good poker player.  Plays online all the time. He had a day job working ( I don’t remember where). He had been there for awhile and wasn’t happy anymore.  He liked it the first few years, felt appreciated, received work bonuses but those days seemed to be long gone.

One day when I was at work, we were talking on the phone and I was telling him my grand plan.  I blurted out that I needed $3,000 to accomplish it and I had no idea how to do it.  My heart hurt so intensely it was clouding other aspects of my life.

He mentioned he was playing in an online poker tournament that night and 1st prize was $3,000 and if he won, he would give it to me. Now I know what you are thinking. I know what I was thinking. He can’t be serious. I mean this is too generous of a gift. What would prompt him to do such a thing?  I knew he had feelings for me, (little ones anyways) because we hadn’t known each other that long.  I didn’t want to say no.

After work, I went home to do homework, study and make dinner. He kept calling me to give me a play by play. It was more than I could keep up with.  I told him good luck, I couldn’t talk on the phone all night because of homework and we would see what happened in the morning…

I woke up to a text message with an attached screenshot of the computer screen. HE WON!!!!!

This just became real. We needed to have a serious talk about it.  There would be no way I could accept this gift if he was going to hold it over my head. I couldn’t accept the extremely generous gift if it would come with invisible strings. Our friendship would not survive it. I know plenty of people who use their money for power, control, and to manipulate others. I know myself

He said he wouldn’t and I desperately wanted to believe him. It would take some time for him to get his payout.

20190727_115923_HDR.jpgWe dressed up and went to a Halloween party that year.  Halloween is my favorite holiday. We were sitting around the fire and at some point in the night, he made a hurtful/ manipulative/ power comment about giving me the money. It was the moment I was afraid of. I immediately knew I could not accept his generous gift. I told him so and he instantly felt bad and realized his error. He promised he wouldn’t do that and here he was making a comment before I even took the money.

How was I going to deal with this epic disappointment?! I was super depressed. I was discouraged. I was disheartened by the predictability of people and money. I was sad that I wasn’t going to be able to fly up to Oregon and try to get my nieces back. It took several weeks, several apologies and a couple conversations about his recommitment to being comment free before I would accept his gift.

Eventually I agreed and when he received the money, we made plans to meet.  He would be at La Zona Rosa with a date when I would roll by in my car.  He handed me a small package filled with my dreams. To this day he has never made another comment about it. Thank you with ALL of my being for this mister.

Covert Operation = get nieces back ” was ready to be put in place.

I couldn’t be more grateful. I am truly inspired by his generosity. I’m not sure I could have done the same.  I mean, I am a generous person. I’m always giving things away or feeding people.  I would take the time to help others when and where I can.  Three thousand dollars is a lot of money though.

20181116_233618.jpgThey say you get what you give. This couldn’t be more true in this story.

A few weeks after he gave me all that money, his boss called him into his office to let him know that a couple customers had called in raving about him.  He had received a few positive reviews.  He was a loyal, hard working, nice employee.

He got a bonus that year.

Guess how much…..

You know it.

$3,000.00

 

 

Love you friend. You deserve all good things! Happy we still talk and that I got to see you last year after not seeing you for eight years ❤

 

 

 

 

I ❤ you Herinal

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Did you know they make a urinal for women?!

I didn’t until I went to Oregon Country Fair.

Chances are there won’t be a line to use it.

Chances are most people don’t know it is there or how to use it.

It’s Easy!!!!!!!

Step 1: Find the sign

I haven’t had to wait in line yet to go to the bathroom at an event that has 25,000 + attendees…..

Normally there are 4 to 6 troffs. You can face either way, although most people squat facing the drain. There is plenty of toilet paper and even a place to put the TP.

It doesn’t smell any worse than a port-a-potty / Maybe even slightly better since no one is pooping there.

I have only seen it at OCF and I wish there were more of them around.

Don’t be scared. Don’t be nervous. Don’t be shy. Give the lady urinal a try.

Your bladder will thank you ❤💚💜💙💛.

The pain in my heart was > the pain any tattoo gun could be. #first tattoo

Growing up I thought about getting a tattoo all the time however I don’t have a high tolerance for pain so I never did it . Then one day I found myself with a pain so deep in my heart that the pain of the tattoo needle wouldn’t come close to matching it. Suddenly I was ready to sit in the chair.

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In May of 2006, I would sit for 3.5 hours straight to get my first tattoo. The artist was heavy handed and I cried for several hours while getting it. Not a heavy ugly cry. The kind of cry where the tears well up in your eyes and roll down your face. Technically he wasn’t the artist I originally wanted/talked to. He was just another artist, in the same shop, that was available on the day I desired. There wasn’t enough time to correct the communication mistake with my top choice artist. The day was super important to me because it marked one year since I had seen/spoken to my nieces. I was heartbroken.

The names of my nieces, along with specific symbols, make up the design of the tattoo. The colors and style were inspired by Henna. Henna has been around for centuries and comes with a positive connotation. One of the reasons I like it is because it doesn’t contain any black. That seems to be rare for a tattoo.

It all started when I got the news my younger sister was going to die. I put school & two jobs on pause and got on a plane to face my dysfunctional past. I had not seen or spoken to my biological mother for close to six years. It was a family friend that called me on that random Tuesday morning at 7:30 a.m. to inform me about my sister. My sister was only 21 years old. She would be leaving behind two little girls, ages 3 and 18 months, whom I hadn’t met yet.

I almost met the eldest one (once) when my sister took a road trip with her boyfriend at the time from Las Vegas to come and see me in Austin TX. They would get two speeding tickets along the way. This would cause them to turn around and head back, not ever making it to Texas.

Attending the funeral would force me to see people that were abusive to me in the past. The “past” being the most important word here. I worked hard to rise above where I came from. When contemplating how I was going to get through these challenging times, I realized that I was an adult. I realized that I hadn’t seen or spoken to any of them in years. I was busy putting myself through college, working, and all around taking care of myself. There wasn’t anything they could do to me now. Their opinions certainly didn’t matter to me. These facts gave me the courage to go. I went to Las Vegas because I wanted to meet my nieces and say goodbye to my sister. I knew I would regret it if I didn’t.

There would be a few things I would need in order to go. I got back in touch with my therapist – she agreed to be on speed dial for me. I am eternally grateful to her for this. I also needed a back-up plan on a place to stay. The first roommate I ever had in life married her Air Force boyfriend and was currently stationed in Las Vegas. She graciously agreed to be my backup plan if things took a downturn while I was there. I am eternally grateful to her for this.

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My sister died within 24 hours of my being there. I was the only one in the family that stepped up to say I wanted to help raise the girls. I wasn’t going to move to Las Vegas to do it though. I had been living in Austin for about 7 years , I was years deep into college and working hard to do it. I didn’t want to live in a state where prostitution was legal. Sin City is fun to visit but not to live.

I could help if they moved to Austin. At the time, my close friend was the manager of the apartment complex I was living at. She would make sure that they would have a place to stay. They moved a few months later.

It didn’t take long for the estranged relationship with my biological mother to turn tense. I even tried family therapy however she was unwilling to talk about the past. She has never offered an apology and my therapist didn’t think she ever would. Without one , there can be no forward progress for me. Correction – I can move on without her. It’s better this way.

They managed to live in Austin for about a little over a year before she would lie to me and tell me they were going on vacation when secretly she was planning to move to Oregon. She didn’t give many details and I didn’t ask for them since I didn’t want to engage with her.

Time passed and it was getting to be towards the end of the week of their vacation. I hadn’t heard from her and she didn’t return my phone call. I started to wonder about the details of their return. Did they need a ride from the airport? Were they getting in late? When would I be able to spend time with my nieces next?

I was having dinner with my boyfriend at a restaurant close to their apartment, so we decided to drive by their place after dinner. To my shock, horror and dismay, after peeking through the blinds, I found an empty apartment. I immediately cried in an inconsolable way and threw up my dinner.

I called her one more time to inform her that if I didn’t hear from her by the end of the next day that I would go to the police department and file missing persons reports on all 3 of them. As far as I was concerned, my family went on vacation and I haven’t heard from anybody since. I was getting very worried. She returned my phone call only to confirm what I already knew. They were gone………

Having children taking from your life is one of the most painful things a heart can handle. I fell in love with those girls from the moment I met them. They taught me the meaning of unconditional love. I helped pick out daycare, attended school plays, went to teacher conferences. I gave up every weekend I could just so I could spend time with them. To have them come over for sleepovers, to play with them, to read to them, to cook for them, to love them. To teach them how to navigate life. To expose them to culture events that extended beyond our own so they may be respectful to all. My heart goes out to anyone who knows this pain ❤

Eventually she changed the phone number, leaving me no way to get in touch with them.

Only through the generous gesture of a new friend would I be able to make plans to travel to Oregon to get them back into my life (for a few years anyways).

Covert operation = get nieces back !!

Until then, I will carry them with me – in my heart and on my right arm. I’m over the fear of the needle now. I have gotten many tattoos since. I like the idea of two 3/4 sleeves. One can’t really predict these things- Just like how heavy handed an artist will be.

Love you mis sobrinas bonitas.