Always Make Room For Dessert

I remember the day distinctly.

A woman looked at me and told me, “Those people… They’re not your family. Not really.”

SayWahhh

I was roughly 15, and in the prime of my back talking years (years, lots of years). If she hadn’t had been in her 60’s, I probably would have knocked her out of her chair. But I’m a lady and didn’t (physically) react.

However, ya’ll know me… I gave her a mouth full. Who the hell was she? She didn’t know what family meant, or who my family was. She had no clue.

I thought about this day a lot, today.

I can’t remember a single time I fought so hard for my family.

You see, my grandfather passed away yesterday. He had nine kids, none of which were my parents. Weird, huh? Technically, I share zero DNA with this side of the family. But who’s being technical?

What you need to know is that my mom was my grandpa’s daughter-in-law, and my dad was my grandpa’s son-in-law. And me and my sister, we were his grandkids. Just like all the other 16 hellians.

I don’t have a single memory that doesn’t include this side of the family. Not one.

And I’ve actually never really thought long and hard about how fortunate I am to have this third family. I hadn’t thought about it until I found out my grandfather passed. Unfortunately, grandma passed years ago at a time where I didn’t understand anything about death. So I was never able to fully comprehend the life the two of them made possible for me by welcoming me in as one of their own since the day I was born.

It’s one thing to be stuck with the family you have. I mean those people aren’t going anywhere (not pointing any fingers). It’s another thing to CHOOSE to include an entire other set of family members. And that’s what my grandma, grandpa, and the nearly 60 other family members did.

I have never once questioned if I was an equal part of this family. And I know I never will. And I can’t help but think that Grandpa Till, Grandma Till, and even Tom are looking down on me right now saying that I’ll always be a Till, with or without the DNA. Hell, the loud mouth and drinking ability is enough to include me as it is.

So here’s to my Grandpa, Sam Till Sr., a man who always told his granddaughters there was still time to become a nun (not quite sure if he was joking or serious); a guy who never let any of us go hungry, and if we were full, there was always room for dessert, ALWAYS; and a man that almost always had a beer in his hand, because life’s no good if you can’t enjoy it.

Thanks for choosing me to be your granddaughter. I am forever grateful.

 

Cheers,

Laine

 

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What Is Happiness?

My parents came to visit me recently for the first time since I moved to Bloomington. I was obviously super stoked to have visitors and show them around my new home.

It’s been a little difficult of a transition these last couple months, but life knocks you down sometimes and you gotta put your big girl pants on and deal with it. (Read these for more info: It Ain’t All Rainbows and Butterflies; I’m Left In Good Hands; A Happy Life is the Best Life; The Way It Is; The Good.)

Anyway, my mom and I were getting ready to go out for dinner, while Kris, my dad, and my nephew were in the living room (literally 10 steps away). She looked at me and whispered,

“Are you happy?”

I was a little thrown off by her question. I laughed actually. Of course I was. Right?

So I answered, “Yeah, I guess.”

She didn’t say much more. And I’m not sure why exactly she felt the need to ask. Maybe because she knew I’d been having a hard transition, or that I had a lot shit happen over the last eight months.

(For clarification, Kris and I are and have been wonderful. He’s been my rock, my voice of reason, my “get your ass off the couch and do something about it” support).

I thought about her question more, and a couple awkward seconds later I rebuttal-ed with:

“I’m not happy, but I’m not unhappy.”

Haha. That’s seriously what I said.

She didn’t really know how to respond. I tried explaining what I meant, but as most things go when I try explaining… It was a little unclear.

So I left it as is, and we went to dinner.

A week later, I attended my Yoga Nidra class at Vibe Yoga (you should go), and we were discussing how we felt after the session. I was up first.

For those that have experienced this before, you know it’s an extremely deep experience. For those who haven’t experienced this before, here’s how I explained my experience to my teacher and the class:

“It’s feeling every emotion all at once, while also not feeling them. You’re not happy, but you’re not sad. I can’t wrap my head around that completely. How’s that even possible? To not be either…”

What I was saying, didn’t really make sense (as you can tell), but it’s how I felt inside. And my teacher proceeded to explain that in life we persevere things to be either this or that, black or white. But with yoga, we can just BE. 

At that moment, I knew that’s what I meant when I told my mom I wasn’t happy, but I wasn’t unhappy either.

Telling someone I wasn’t necessarily happy, but also not unhappy at the same time was weird. But that’s what it was.

I think, as my yoga teacher said, in society we think we must be this or that. Happy or unhappy. But can’t I be somewhere in the middle? Can’t I just BE?

It’s not a negative thing to just BE.

And that’s what I want to share.

I just am. I’m living. I’m enjoying some days. I’m bored others. I get the chance to live a life others don’t. I miss my friends. I’m thankful. I’m tired. I’m madly in love. All of it, at once.

Some days, all of that is closer to being unhappy. Other days, it’s closer to being happy.

What does happiness mean to you?

Mom, thanks for asking me if I was happy, because I had never really thought about what happiness meant to me until now.

Happiness means something different to me every day, but at it’s core it means being with Kris and being a part of something bigger than myself. At the end of the day, that’s all I want and need in this world.

So what is happiness?

You decide.

 

Cheers,

Laine

The Good

I’ve been struggling a lot with seeing the good in my life. Normally, I’m the one telling someone else to “put your big girl pants on and deal with it.” And I really haven’t been able to do that until now.

A year ago I had surgery to remove cancerous cells from my cervix. I only told my immediate family and closest friends. I didn’t want a pity party from people, and I didn’t want to make it seem like I was looking for attention. I finally made mention of it recently and for the first time publicly in my post, The Way It Is.

For the entire year of 2015 I was in and out of the doctor’s office more than 10 times. At first they couldn’t find what was wrong. It was this terrible waiting game. Half way through the year it got better. Then it got worse. You know, the whole vicious cycle. Finally, the decision was to go in and remove the cancerous cells. Low and behold, while they were in there, they found more. Fingers crossed they got it all.

Anyway, what’s my point? Why the hell am I telling a story about something that happened a year ago, and something I didn’t even necessarily want people to know?

Like I said, I’ve been struggling with seeing the positive things in my life. Some days are better than others. But today… Today I fully and wholeheartedly see and feel the good things in my life.

Today, I sit here thankful that those doctors were able to remove the cancer from my cervix. Today, I’m thankful for my life. So many other’s lives are taken too soon. And it’d be selfish of me to think that I wasn’t lucky. I should be thankful for this extra time I’ve been given. And I am.

If there’s anything in this life worth being thankful for, it’s the ability to live my life. With all the negative things happening around us, with all the negative thoughts and feelings we have every day, we still get to wake up. We still get to experience life and what it has to offer.

So today, I see the good in simply being alive.

 

Cheers,

Laine

The Way It Is

My 27th birthday has come and gone. To be honest, it wasn’t much. I received all this love and attention from friends, family, and my boyfriend, and yet I still wasn’t feeling up for a celebration.

I know how terrible that all sounds — this whole “poor me” bullshit. And I know how extremely lucky and blessed I am to have this life. So it’s pretty selfish of me to be acting like this, but I just can’t seem to shake it.

My 26th year of life had an overarching theme to it – things I cannot control.

Cancerous cells were found on my cervix.

I was basically let go from my job.

I had to put Lucy down.

A former player died in a car accident.

An old friend died from cancer.

Pretty shitty year if you ask me. Hence my “poor me” attitude.

On Christmas when I was spending my time with all our family, I was more reserved, quieter. I wasn’t in the holiday spirit. On my birthday, I felt nothing. No excitement or anything, and that is not like me.

I am full of life. I am full of spirit. I am full of spunk. I am full of smiles. I am full of positivity.

That is who I am. But, that is not who I am acting like.

So, I’m [trying] my own saying out and “putting my big girl pants on.” I’m trying to work out again in the hopes that it will make me feel better. I’m trying to meditate again so I can more easily accept the things I cannot control. I’m trying to do more things that make me happy. I’m trying to focus on the things I’m thankful for – the 27 experiences that have been a positive part of my life this past year.

  1. The surgery to remove the cancerous cells from my cervix was a success. Cancer free.
  2. I went on an amazing vacation with Kris. We didn’t kill each other in the car.
  3. Kris moved back to Indiana to be closer to me.
  4. I’m applying for my Master’s degree, which is something I would have never done if it wasn’t for my current employer.
  5. My baby sister got married and I gained a new brother-in-law. Now, for babies!
  6. I spent a lot of my summer weekends at the lake. It’s good for the soul.
  7. Lucy, Kris, and I took up the hobby of hiking. Mainly because it was the easiest way for us to enjoy exercising.
  8. I made the plunge to leave Fort Wayne and move in with Kris. We’re both still alive, aren’t we? (Read Bring It On Bloomington, Indiana and It Ain’t All Rainbows and Butterflies)
  9. My old employer gave me glowing recommendations and their blessing to find a new job. (Read Take Back Control)
  10. I was appointed to a new board of a directors to a group of people who didn’t even know me.
  11. I was voted VP of my alma mater’s alumni association board. Nobody else wanted it.
  12. I helped bring three great nights of free concerts to downtown Fort Wayne.
  13. Kris tells me he loves me every single day. He also laughs at me. (Read I Can Live Without You)
  14. I paid off $5,000 in debt on my credit card. (Read The Debt Ball and Chain)
  15. My parents have been very supportive with paying for my new tires, helping me out when I didn’t think I could pay a bill, you name it, they did it.
  16. I got a new job with a lot more money.
  17. I received a prestigious award as one of the top Millennials in Fort Wayne making a difference.
  18. I hiked 2,000ft up (it was terrible) to the most beautiful view I’ve ever laid my eyes on.
  19. I swam in the Smoky Mountains. But not the deep end, because I couldn’t see the bottom.
  20. I got to see all of my friends from college and put on my old jersey to attempt to run up and down the court.
  21. As soon as I’d park my car in front of Fortezza, the barista would start making my coffee before I even ordered. I miss that.
  22. Lucy made me happier than I could have ever imagined. (Read I’m Left In Good Hands)
  23. I accepted that I was a “thick girl” and finally bought clothes that actually fit my big hips. So much more confidence after that. (Read Mrs. She’s Too Big, Now She’s Too Thin)
  24. I stopped partying so much. Weird, I know. (Read Growing Old Not Up)
  25. I babysat my nephews for the very first time. All three of them, at once. I’ve never done it since.
  26. I began meditating daily.
  27. I realized how effing lucky I am to have this life, good and bad. (Read A Happy Life Is The Best Life)

As much as I bitched at the beginning of this post, I do know how lucky I am. Sometimes, we just need a little reminder. In my case, I needed a swift kick in the ass.

But in all seriousness, life is never as bad as we think it is. If we just simply TRUST in the Universe then we will be able to more easily accept life the way it is.

And usually, “the way it is” has more good than bad.

 

Cheers,

Laine

A Happy Life Is The Best Life

Over the last four weeks I’ve dealt with more death in such a short amount of time than I ever thought possible.

I had to put my baby girl, Lucy, down which was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. She was my saving grace. (Read: I’m Left In Good Hands).

Four days later, a former player of mine died in a car accident. She was 17 and the starting PG for one of the best basketball teams in the state of Indiana.

Eleven days after her death, one of my oldest friends lost his two year battle to Leukemia. He and I had more history than anyone could ever understand. He would have been 27 on Christmas.

Life’s short, apparently. And we never actually realize it until shit like this happens. We say it all the time, but none of us can really grasp the concept of how short it really is.

So I have to pose the question… Are we truly living to our utmost fullest? If you were told how and when you were going to die, would you live differently?

I can tell you right now, I am not living my life to its utmost fullest. And yes, if I were told how and when, I think I would live differently. But sometimes that’s just not how life goes.

My former player didn’t know she was going to die that day on her way to school. And even though my friend had Leukemia, I’m sure he didn’t know the exact day he would leave this world.

It’s unfortunate we have to experience death in some fashion to try and understand the meaning of life. And even then life goes on and we forget. Until the next death.

But how selfish is that?! Someone has to die or become sick in order for your life to be put in perspective. I bet you, the father of my former player would rather have his daughter back than for us to have a different outlook on life.

Now, I’m not saying I have the answers nor that I even understand the questions I’m asking. But at what point do people stop dying around us? People who have barely lived. How are we supposed to understand that? Or are we?

I talk this big talk about:

What’s meant to be will be.

But let’s be real. When it comes to death, that mantra goes out the window. How is it that a 26 year old newlywed finds out he has Leukemia weeks after his wedding then dies two years later? That’s NOT meant to be.

You’re supposed to be a kid, make stupid decisions, learn from them, grow up a little, make some more stupid decisions, have fun somewhere in there, and continue to grow old. Then it’s your time to go.

But these three weren’t given that chance. Their lives were taken sooner than any of us could have even fathomed. And now we get to sit here and live with it. Live with the reality that a father lost his daughter, a wife lost her husband, and I lost my best friend.

Like I said, I don’t understand it. I don’t think anyone does. But the least we can do is to not forget how this makes us feel, and remember that life is short. Not just today or next week, but truly remember and make choices every day that make us happy. Because in the end, happiness is all we want. Whether we go now or 50 years from now, a happy life, short or long, is the best life lived. And I want to make sure I have that life because I know for certain these three did.

Tell someone you love them today. Hug them. And thank them for how happy they make you.

Life is short, but we can make it a short happy life.

Thinking of you always Lucy, Peytin, and Chris. And I’ll see you shortly.

 

Cheers,

Laine

 

I’m Left In Good Hands

For a week I went to work, came home, and got in bed — for five days straight. Now, I lay in bed all weekend, with no shower, and sleeping for hours on hours.

I think that’s what they call sadness. Depression. Emptiness.

That’s how I feel.

All of those things wrapped in to one, and then some.

Kris and I came home for the first time after having to put Lucy down, and I broke. I dropped all my things in the hallway and lost my sense of balance. My sense of purpose. And hysterically cried. Over and over again. It was  like a bad dream.

I had never known loss like this before. My person was gone. The one that brought me out of complete darkness and into utter joy. She saved me. Literally. Read the post: The Pitbull That Saved My Life.

It seems dramatic, I know, but never in my life have I cared more about another living thing than I did Lucy.  She taught me how to love unconditionally. She showed me that it was okay to open up and to put my faith in to the universe — that everything would work out the way it was supposed to.

Which turns out to be quite a funny story…

Here’s a quick timeline:

Mid October 2013 Kris and I began dating (round one).

End of December 2013 Kris and I ended our relationship.

Mid December 2014 I adopted Lucy.

End of December 2014 Kris and I rekindled an old flame. (More like I got my shit together.)

Mid February 2015 Kris and I were officially a couple.

As you know, I’m sure, Kris and I started our relationship with a 6hr drive between us. And continued that relationship with that drive for over a year.

The funny part about all of this is that, until now, until sitting here and reflecting on Lucy’s life and our time together, I always associated her with bringing me out of that darkness, which is true. But, she also brought me much more.

You see, if I didn’t have Lucy in my life while Kris and I began dating again, I don’t think he and I would have stayed together. (Another me problem.) Imagine, my crazy ass dating a guy 6hrs away with no sense of responsibility… Right?!? I’m laughing too.

I mean in all seriousness, that’s what happened in round one. I was this crazy, let’s go out and party, unhappy girl in round one.

The difference this time was that I had Lucy. I had something to teach me unconditional love. I had something to ease me in to the feeling of being in love with another, and letting myself be loved.

We don’t ever realize it until they’re gone, but animals can have an amazing impact on us. And to be honest, I never in my wildest dreams knew this would be this hard or that she would be this impactful on my life.

I know time heals and eventually I’ll be able to focus solely on the good and not the sadness of her being gone. But I do take comfort in knowing that she has left me in good hands. She showed Kris the same unconditional love and he will forever love me the way she did.

For that, I will never forget her and there will always be a place in my heart for my girl.

lucy

If you are thinking about adopting an animal please consider these places for your adoption. I promise you, these animals will bring you more than you could have ever hoped for. And if there are other reputable animal rescues you know of please share them in the comments below.

Allen County SPCA

Fort Wayne Pit Bull Coalition

Tribe Dog Training and Rescue

 

Cheers,

Laine & Lucy

LucyatAllenCountySPCA

It Ain’t All Rainbows and Butterflies

The move happened. I left the hometown and set off for an adventure to try out this life with the man of my dreams.

In my last post, Bring It On Bloomington, Indiana, I wrote how I’m following my heart. And how I’m processing this extreme happiness and sadness all at the same time.

Which is weird and hard as hell.

Everyone is saying how much fun we’re going to have and how this city is amazing, which is all very true. I don’t doubt any of that one bit.

Now, I’ve literally only been here one night. So yes, this could be a little premature. But I did not truly understand how homesick I would be until last night.

I couldn’t fall asleep (naturally), so of course, you know, I have to keep Kris up with me. Because if I can’t sleep, he can’t sleep. Sucker.

My stomach was just aching and aching. Originally, I thought it was just acid reflex, because I’m getting old. So I’m thinking I’m going to get sick. Nope. I lay there wondering why the hell do I feel sick, I mean I had a damn salad for dinner. Which would be my luck, being sick after eating a salad. People wonder why I stick to ice cream.

giphy-1

And of course, by this time Kris is just snoring louder than you can imagine. Poor guy.

So I head to the bathroom. Maybe if I make myself get sick, I’ll feel better. Because that’s how it works when I’m hungover, so why not?

All of a sudden I think about calling my mom and instantly start balling. I mean I sat on the floor in the bathroom for nearly 15 minutes crying before I woke the snoring monster. God love him.

giphy-2

Because he’s the most awesome human ever, he comes in, sits on the floor with me and just holds me.

This was weird. (Not the him being awesome part).

I knew I was homesick, but it’s still weird that I’m crying like this, yet I’m so excited to be here with him. The emotions!!!!

Then I remembered a conversation I’d been having with my good friend Emmy, who too, moved away (like across the world) to be with her man. She’s the only one who told me how this was really going to be; how sad I was going to be.

It’s weird, because no one tells you the reality of how things are or might be. I think in some ways they try, but no one tells you you’re going to be sitting on the floor in the middle of the night crying because you’re 26 years old and miss your mommy.

Maybe it’s because we don’t really know how it’s going to go. It could all be rainbows and butterflies, but nine times out of 10, it’s not.

Life is never what we expect. It never happens the way we think it will. And it definitely will never all be rainbows and butterflies.

But, as my peeps at Shine Text reminded me yesterday:

Life is beautifully uncertain.

For every 15 minute ugly face cry sesh, there will be 100 more amazing moments.

It ain’t all rainbows and butterflies, but there will sure as hell be a pot of gold at the end.

 

Cheers,

Laine

Bring It On Bloomington, Indiana

bloomington_in_kirkwood

I’ve literally sat here and attempted to write this blog post for over 1 hour. I’m not kidding. My stomach aches trying to do it. I type a couple sentences, then backspace. I type a line or two, then backspace. There’s no great way to get this all out, to put it in to words.

So bear with me.

More than once here on Cheers, Laine, I have told everyone how I believe in fate, and I believe in following your heart. It sounds all fine and dandy until you actually do it.

I have been in a long distance relationship for nearly two years. He’s the best. You first met him (Kris) in my post, Momma Knows Best, But You Don’t Have To Listen to Her. Then you read my sappy post, I Can Live Without You, where I basically tell him I can, but don’t want to.

And during this whole time, we’ve loved from a distance, knowing well that one of us would eventually make the move.

And that day has come.

I know what you’re thinking, miss “Go Fort Wayne,” “I’m never leaving,” is a hypocrite. How can she promote a city and be as involved as she is, then just up and leave?

I thought that too, at first. How can I leave a place where I’ve put my heart and soul in to it? How can I leave this place where all my family and friends are? How can I leave this place that made me who I am? Believe me, all the doubt and questions and thinking has gone through my head over and over and over again.

Then I remember I love him more than all of that.

I believe in following your heart. I believe in giving it a shot because it may change your life. And shit, if it doesn’t work out it doesn’t work out (mom, save me a spot on the couch). But at least I’m trying. At least I’m saying I gave it a go, and really put myself out there.

Now, do I think I owe anyone any type of explanation? No. Maybe I’m writing this to make myself feel better. I don’t know. I just know that leaving my hometown, leaving this place I’ve worked so hard to make a name for myself in, is what I want to do.

I chatted with a friend today about moving, telling her I’m leaving everything I know and everything I’ve worked for behind. And you know what she told me?

“But you are going to a new awesome place with an awesome person and you definitely worked for those things too.”

She is so right. (Thanks, Lauren).

As sad as I am to leave my home, I am so excited. I keep telling people it’s this extreme sadness and extreme happiness all at once. Those are not easy emotions to process at the same time.

I am about to leave a city I love for a man I love more. And that is how I want to live my life, by choosing love.

There will always be another Fort Wayne out there for me to jump in and make an impact. But I won’t always have this opportunity to go and follow my heart.

So, what the hell?!? Kris and I have never lived in the same city before while dating. Why not live in the same city, live in the same apartment, and while we’re at it, let’s work together.

Bring it on Bloomington, Indiana.

Bring it on Cook Pharmica.

Laine is headed your way! (Kris, brace yourself).

But Fort Wayne, never forget… You will always have my heart.

 

Cheers,

Laine

Take Back Control

Over the past eight months I’ve struggled with this whole idea of not having control over my own life: people making choices for me. But I also preach this mantra:

What’s meant to be will be.

I honestly do believe that. I even have it tattooed on my foot (in Portuguese) and touched on it in one of my posts over a year ago: 3 Ideas That Will Change The Way You View Life.

But am I being hypocritical by saying “what’s meant to be will be” and also being a little pissed because I feel like I have no control over my life?

A friend of mine and I were chatting about this idea of me not having control over my life. He disagreed and said I do have control. I disagreed with him and said I don’t. (I swear we actually had a productive conversation).

His logic was once something happens to me, I have a choice on how I react to it. No one is making me do anything or choosing something for me.

Shit happens to each of us every single day. How we react to it is our choice.

So no, I’m not exactly being hypocritical.

But let’s look back at those two sentences.

Shit happens to each of us every single day. How we react to it is our choice.

The first sentence: shit happens to each of us every single day, refers to this whole mantra of “what’s meant to be will be.” We can’t control certain things. People die. People lose their jobs. Etc. Those things are out of our control and they are what they are.

The second sentence: how we react to it is our choice, refers to us having control of what we do afterwards. When someone dies, how do we honor them and move on? When you lose your job, how do you handle yourself afterwards? Etc.

Once we accept the things we cannot change (what’s meant to be) and use them to our benefit, we take back that control we so desire. Basically, it’s all in our head– or, it’s all in my head. It’s both. It’s both acceptance and control.

I’ve had control since the get-go, but got lost in the first part– the mantra I’ve held on to for over four years. I forgot that in the end everything happens for a reason. No, we don’t understand it at first; we may never understand it. And it could take quite awhile to actually accept it. But accepting it will change your life. Accepting what we can’t control, then taking back control in our reaction is how we gain true power.

It’s definitely not easy. I’m still working on accepting multiple things in my life. But I have faith that they’ll all work themselves out in the end.

Besides, we’re much happier people when we look at the bright side than when we play the victim. Which one will you choose?

 

Cheers,

Laine

 

There Is Nothing Wrong With Seeing A Counselor

Lately, I’ve had a lot on my plate. A lot of changes in my life and a lot of different emotions. It’s been a lot to process.

So I decided to try something.

I went and saw a counselor (or therapist).

In my family, you put on your big girl pants and deal with it. Not this time. This time I needed to talk to a professional. I needed to talk to a person who truly had my best interests in mind.

It went okay, not bad, not great. But what really got me was when I told a family member that I was going, that person rolled their eyes at me.

Can you believe that?!?! No support, no words really. It was like they thought I was being over dramatic about it.

I was bothered for a little bit, but then realized it didn’t matter what that person thought. I was going FOR ME and no one else.

That got me thinking… We all deal with things differently. Some pray, some meditate, some talk to someone, some drink, etc. Whatever your processing outlet is (hopefully it’s a positive one), the point is that you are processing. You are dealing with it. You are acknowledging it and you are working on it.

Going to talk to counselor is something some people don’t talk about. But why? Why are people so ashamed or embarrassed about themselves or others dealing with life? At least I’m being honest with myself.

Now, if you see a counselor or therapist and are not comfortable sharing that with people, that is your right! But know, you shouldn’t be ashamed. Be proud! Be proud that you have the balls to admit you might need help.

It’s unfortunate that some people are afraid of what others might think of them, but it’s even more unfortunate that other people judge us for it.

For any of you out there who are thinking about seeing a counselor or are seeing a counselor, know you’re not alone. There are hundreds of us who see a professional, some of us more open about it than others. There is nothing wrong with you.

You are exactly where you should be.

Cheers,

Laine