Laugh Always Spotlight Edition: Dealing With Death

The Laugh Always Spotlight Edition features guest posts from members of the Laugh Always Ambassador Community. Laugh Always has been created to highlight those difficult journeys and to celebrate the badass people that live to share their journey. I welcome you to the second edition of the Laugh Always Spotlight!

I want to introduce you to Ariel.  She is sharing a story about how the loss of a loved one has changed her view on life and what she has learned.

When I was younger, I never truly understood people dying. I always just thought that meant they left forever and I would never see them again. I did not have many family members pass away when I was younger. When my grandpa died in November of 2010 that is when I began to truly understand what death really meant. Before I tell you about what death means, let me back up and tell you about the events leading to his death. 

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Laugh Always Spotlight Edition: My Journey Through Celiac Disease and Ulcerative Colitis

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The Laugh Always Spotlight Edition features guest posts from members of the Laugh Always Ambassador Community. Laugh Always has been created to highlight those difficult journeys and to celebrate the badass people that live to share their journey. This is the first edition of the Laugh Always Spotlight!

I want to introduce you to Melissa. Melissa has become one of our first ambassadors and we have been getting to know each other ever since! Little did we know, we are pretty close in distance and in age to one another. It has been great connecting with her so far and I only want to continue to get to know her and learn more about the battle she is facing.

She is VERY creative and her art work is on point. Only by scrolling through her Instagram will you quickly decide this also for yourself. She creates bullet journals and they are amazing!

Melissa has been battling Ulcerative Colitis and Celiac Disease. I personally know a few people in my life who have had a battle with this, and while I don’t know a lot about the disease, I do know it is a difficult journey; especially on the bad days. Please read on for Melissa’s story!

Lord knows I have seen some bad days but thankfully the good days are starting to outweigh the bad!  When Lo asked me to guest post on her blog as a part of my ambassador role, I was excited!  It has been awesome being a Laugh Always Ambassador as I get to share positivity with others as we travel through our different journeys.
Let me tell you all a little bit about myself.  My name is Melissa and I’m 29 years old (the big 30 is only six months away! Lol).  I recently got married in May to the love of my life and my biggest support.  If it wasn’t for my husband, I don’t know how I would’ve survived my biggest flare up this past year.  Also, I’m a Midwest girl.  I was born and raised in Chicago then moved to Indiana after college.  For my “real life” job, I am a social worker and I enjoy bullet journaling and being creative when it comes to my self care.

My journey with chronic illness started around four years ago when I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis and Celiacs disease.  At the time, I was having some symptoms but nothing that couldn’t be patched up with some medication and a change to my diet.  However, that all changed two years ago when my symptoms reared back their ugly head and showed their true selves.  For anyone who doesn’t know what Ulcerative Colitis is, it is when the colon becomes inflamed and the body cannot absorb appropriate nutrients.  Not only do people affected by Ulcerative Colitis experience malnutrition during a flare, but they also experience multiple trips to the bathroom, the inability to hold their bowels, joint pain, abdominal pain, and the list of physical symptoms go on and on.  Emotionally, people affected with UC experience depression, isolation, and anxiety.  Today, my colon is back on track of being healthier and happier thanks to oral and IV medications.  I still have some bad days but thankfully the good days are starting to outweigh the bad.

One of the best things about my journey is that I recognize how strong I have become over the past year.  If it wasn’t for the bad times, I wouldn’t have grown as I have.  Not to mention I wouldn’t be as positive as I am today due to what I have experienced.  I’ve learned to enjoy the good days more throughout my journey.

It was great having this opportunity and I certainly hope to get to know you all better! Please feel free to reach out to me on Instagram or my blog if you have any questions or just want to connect!  Thanks for reading 😊

To connect with Melissa and to find out more about her, you can find her on Instagram @these.thoughts.are.mine and her blog is thesethoughtsareminesite.wordpress.com
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Thank you for coming to Laugh Always and reading about Melissa’s journey.  If you have a journey you would like to share in an upcoming Spotlight Edition, please feel free to contact me through the site here.  You can also connect on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter with Laugh Always.  We would love to add you to our Ambassador group!

Thanks!

Lo

 

“Whatever. I’ll do what I want.”

-Cartman, South Park

Early adulthood has probably got to be the most awkward phase in life. I would even bet it’s even more awkward than our teenage years. Sure, I went through a phase with blue eye shadow, sparkly belts, attempting to curl my tiny bangs and use make up and hair products that I had no business using. The difference is that EVERYONE was doing that. Everyone from age 11 until 18 went through the infamous awkward teenage years. We all went through it TOGETHER. That is the difference between those years and these young adult years. We aren’t in school anymore, nor are we given the same opportunities. We don’t have the same friends, and we are just out in life trying to live as best we can with no direction from our parents or teachers. After high school is done, everyone goes their separate ways and onto separate paths.

My parents got married at 26 and 22, had their first baby (ME) at 29 and 25 and done having kids at 33 and 29. My parents are probably a lot like most parents. My parents met at 16 and 20, stayed together for a long time and got married. Both sets of grandparents were also the same, got married young and had kids and stayed together for a REALLY long time. My maternal grandparents celebrated a 50th wedding anniversary, as well as my great grandparents. AND THEY ALL KNEW WHAT WAS GOING ON!  

My whole life I thought that was how life was meant to be. Beginning with my first love in high school, marriage was talked about. Yes, you meet someone in high school, fall in love and think you are meant to be together forever. I mean my parents did it. My whole family did it. That is how it is supposed to be right?!

First love came and went, second love came and again marriage was a topic of conversation. Well this MUST be the one; we have been together for a really long time and after college we must not waste any time and we should get married. Again, it doesn’t always work out that way.

Life HAPPENS. Life isn’t so simple anymore. As time has gone on, women aren’t staying home anymore. Men are becoming stay at home dads. Women aren’t just bearing children anymore, and simply never bearing children. People aren’t getting married and having kids until almost 40!

These “ways of life” have always been cemented in my brain. I graduated college at 23, why wasn’t I already engaged or planning a wedding? Is my boyfriend ever going to propose to me? My mom was already married at 22!

Having cancer made me feel like “my life” as I knew it was at a stopping point. I couldn’t progress with relationships, friendships, or careers during this time. There are moments from this time where the frustration comes back and I feel that I am not where I should be because of my cancer battle for three years.

I was diagnosed with cancer at 23 after both of my parents had passed away. Going into remission, I was only focused on one thing; getting my life back and having fun. I was 26 when all was said and done. People that I have graduated high school with are now doctors, nurses, getting married, having babies and have excelled in life where I felt I couldn’t. With my parents’ death and having cancer, there was a lot of anger where my life was not going as to how I had “planned it”. At this point at 26, I was single, working at a job that was not supposed to be my career, and was nowhere near where I wanted to be. (Social media was something else our parents and grandparents didn’t have!)

As life went on, people continued to get married, have babies and start careers. I may have had a delay in my early 20’s but my attitude quickly changed in that I can’t pity myself anymore. Cancer is NOT my handicap. So what if my life was put on hold? I’m going to go back out in the world and make life EVEN BETTER than it was before. This will make me work harder to get to my goals.

There are still times where I feel life feels rushed at this point in life. Sure, I am 30 now but I don’t feel ready to have children. Yes I am married, but I got married because I have met my person. I didn’t get married just so I could have babies. Society makes us feel this way, and that we should all be having babies before we are 30-35.  Many people will be LUCKY to celebrate a 40th anniversary now let alone a 50th. Also, I am selling the house I grew up in to DOWNSIZE to an apartment in Chicago.  My mom was 31 when she bought this house where I am living.  My husband and I have taken a lot of criticism because of this choice of moving out of a house.  After you get married, aren’t you supposed to by a house?  Why are you moving to Chicago now?  You want to raise a family in Chicago?  Why am I doing this you ask?  Because I WANT to. That’s all. 

My best friend and I had a conversation this weekend about life. We are 30 (alright she’s not 30 YET) and we are in different stages in our lives. We had a long talk about this subject and how everyone goes at their own pace. It is easy to feel down, because again society says that 30 is an old age and you should have many accomplishments already. (you’re as old as you feel). Who cares if you don’t have a serious relationship? Who cares if I don’t have children and have no immediate plans for motherhood?  Who cares if I don’t have my dream house? Who cares if I am not making enough money or have my dream job? That is what life is; you have time to explore anything and be whatever you want to be. You have time to change, you have time to travel and do whatever you want to do.  What I have learned is no one is the same, and social media has a way of pointing it out right in our face. Rather than be envious of others, support those life stages. I feel that is why I have friends in all walks of life; I have friends with children, single friends and everyone in between because we all share one common goal; to be happy and support one another.

If you’re like me, and maybe feeling stuck sometimes and you don’t feel that you are where you’re supposed to be; just STAHP IT! You are where you are supposed to be; right now. You can’t control outside day to day life, you can control what you do about it. You can’t keep blaming outside circumstances. You can apply for jobs if you want to grow your career. You can meet new people if you want to find a relationship. You can do whatever you need to do and work to where you eventually want to be. Yes it takes time, yes it takes blood, sweat and tears but if you keep working towards your life goals, whatever it may be, you will get where you are MEANT to be.

Thank you for reading. Please leave your comments and thought below 🍍💜
Lo

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