Fifty Facts.

I hope everyone is enjoying their week so far. I had a terrible weekend, so I think I’m going to unload with a ton of emotional writing on the blog. So lets kick it off with something a little more light-hearted like a post of “Fifty Facts” on myself. Lets see how well this goes.

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1. I was named after Haley’s Comet.

2. I hate space.

3. Speaking of space, Tony Nelson is probably the only astronaut to ever have my heart, and I wish I could be Jeannie when I grow up. (If you didn’t get that…shame.)

4. My dream career is to teach, not to be a test-giver, or scorer.

5. The mountains are heaven on earth.

6. I am spiritual, not religious.

7. Studying Native beliefs in a way made sense of how I should be living my life.

8. Rain, and clouds are the most favorite of favorites. I’m not into sunshine.

9. I believe in equality; and yes I’m a feminist, not a man-hater.

10. I’m an old soul.

11. I want four kids, possibly five. Don’t tell me that’s too much, I’ll figure it out myself.

12. Rocco Ricardo is my love.

13. I don’t seek a relationship, or marriage. What will happen, will happen organically.

14. I believe in mother nature’s healing.

15. If you don’t like my music, it will be difficult to get a long with you.

16. You cannot understand the creators love for you if you do not understand how to love the people you can see. I believe in loving people.

17. Throw your beliefs onto me, and I will throw you out of my life.

18. Disrespect me once, and that’s the only chance you had to begin with.

19. I was a trouble maker in high school, not for usual reasons. I just believed in calling it how I saw it which made people mad.

20. Yes, I have severe anxiety.

21. I think I eat grits once a week. Its comfort food. Is that sad?

22. Eggnog latte’s are my favorite holiday drink.

23. Despite my opinions, I am a very open-minded person.

24. I like to adapt.

25. I don’t like labels, or titles, or status’.

26. I’m inconsistent because that’s just how I function, if you can even call that functioning. There is no time management skills in my life, and I own up to that.

27. I love a lot of qualities about my hometown, but I strongly dislike the values and people.

28. I don’t believe in watching the news.

29. I believe its important for your kid to be involved in a physical activity, but an art based one as well. Art is beyond important, and the ability to communicate those underlying talents and emotions. Art is a universal language to be able to sit, communicate, and understand more.

30. I can’t decide on a favorite anything hardly.

31. My mind works two ways; utterly obsessed or completely uninterested.

32. I’m not shy, or moody. I’m just socially selective.

33. I am weird, and I don’t care.

34. I own a record player, typewriter, and eight track table. Yes, they all are used regularly.

35. I have a heated mattress because who survives without one?!

36. I plan to be in New Mexico within five years.

37. Writing is a happy part of my life, and I do it for me.

38. Being a patient with Pulmonary Hypertension gave me a lot of direction, determination, and opportunities. I’m glad they were here, and now I’m ready to move forward.

39. I wrote a book. I don’t know if I can ever publish it because yea…

40. I collect wedding rings (obviously cz.)

41. This is the first Christmas where I’m actually getting into the spirit. I bought a tree for my back living room…

42. I don’t actually know how to correctly play any instrument. I pick them up, and I can play by ear. Its something that my brother, dad and I have in common.

43. I can’t stand people who cannot listen to others opinions. When you walk around believing only what you think is right, or what you know, you live a very close-minded life. How terrible.

44. I am an accessory NUT. I love jewelry, coats, shoes, bags…you name it. Clothes are another nightmare.

45. My favorite part of my job is holding screaming patients down. SO FUN. Sounds terrible, I know. I miss teaching my students, but I feel like I’m exactly where I need to be.

46. Anything mid-century, or sixties, and I would probably love to own it.

47. Dancing is my favorite. Any type of dancing.

48. I used to never watch anything scary. Now I’m almost through all seasons of American Horror Story.

49. I’m not a very private person. What ever happens, I will tell people; there are no secrets.

50. I’m attempting to enjoy my life, and love me. Its not working out so far.

The Last Good Day.

“There’s no way of knowing that your last good day is Your Last Good Day. At the time, it is just another good day.”  That line in itself from TFiOS is something I’ve pondered on the past week since I’ve driven almost twenty-four hours in just a few days. I spent time with my best friends in Albuquerque, enjoyed the New Mexican atmosphere where I gave my last words to my grandmother in a chapel over the phone. I received the news that she passed away that next morning, then drove to Odessa where our family home is, drove onto many other locations for the burial, then my brothers home in Dallas, then onto my hometown. Its been a whirlwind of events, and family which led me thinking about this one quote.

My first night in Odessa consisted of taking down our family home, and dividing out little things before the lawyers come in to appraise the estate, or whatever. I just sat there, and didn’t know how my mom remained so calm (she had been living there since she was five) and this was merely a home we came to for the holidays and summers as grandchildren. Many exciting Christmas’s, Easters, dress up parties, historical story telling, and family gatherings happened in this home for me. We were always moving as kids, but this home remained the exact same since nineteen sixty-four. Now the green carpet will be torn up, the vintage furniture will be hauled out, and all the family pictures removed from the walls. I tried to think of the last time I spent with my grandma, but even then the house was in the process of being packed up, and there were home nurses invading privacy. But still while gathering her Christmas decor its like I could hear her rummaging through the house with us yelling at herself, and us. Its weird. You see, I can’t remember the last good day, or the good family event. Why? Cause at the time, it was just normal, it was like any other.

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I never thought about our family Christmas’s, or my brother moving to a different city until it stopped. Now its an act of hoarding any little time I get with my brother, who I now have to drop off at the airport a couple of days later; He used to live right across town. Christmas’s are complicated, and an act of making appearances on each side of the family. Getting everyone together for the holiday feels like trying to schedule a meeting for the United Nations Council. It’s not tradition always, its ever-changing life now.

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Christmas’s that were large, and together? They are merely memories on a videotape. My brother living in town? Now its just stories exchanged between he and I before he leaves. The last good day; the lasting memories. Why do you choose to live a miserable life? Why do you choose to make decisions that don’t empower you, but hold you back? What will you have to look back on and cherish when you are too old to barely remember? People wonder why I’ve developed such a chase for adventure, to want to DO things, and create things, because of this! You can’t just pause life and say, “Wait, I’m collecting memories here!” No. It’s your job to create them, making them wonderful, and remember them because of that simply and beautiful line. You never know when life ends, or the opportunity. Put your phone down, your barriers, and try to remember the good days before they become your last.

-haley.

Instagram@haleyann92

Song of the week is “Christmas Time is Here” from Vince Guaraldi. Enjoy.

Restore the Old; Heal the Broken.

his·to·ry

the study of past events, particularly in human affairs.

Growing up, I was the child that spent hours at my grandparents asking to look at more photos, to try on dresses, and my questions were endless. Looking back, that’s probably one of the earliest signs of a personality trait that has never faded away, and it intensified into a passion of mine. I am not a huge history buff, and I can get sidetracked easily, but I do believe in the importance of studying our past. There is so much to learn, and something special about places, pictures, and objects that have captured yet withstood time. I cannot explain the magic of visiting something older than most people around you, and I do believe there is a certain spirit attached to places like so.

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My lovely little town is famous for tearing vintage places down. Seriously though, all I have are beautiful yet aged photos of what once was, what they turned into a parking lot, or what buildings have rotted away and become empty decaying shells of interesting stories that once filled the paint chipped rooms. My heart sinks into my stomach to see such photos, and while yes I’m happy to envision the history that once existed in my town, I possess such an overwhelming sense of sadness that we did not appreciate such beautiful, and what looked like entertaining places. We have lost a majority of personality and activities to superstores, fast food chains, and parking lots. Call me crazy, but one day if we were to continue on that path, every town would look the same. No thanks. There is of an utmost importance in showing youth how to appreciate such things, or to show them a history that started this town, not to mention envelope the word unique.

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Ever since my dad showed me Summit Elementary, a school that shut its doors in 1972 because of integration, I was beyond intrigued. I thought it was beautiful, and such a waste of an incredible architectural building to just be sitting there. Seriously? Another building that this town claims to just sit and rot? The answer was yes; for forty-two years. The paint peeled, windows were broken, cracks shuttered down the stucco, and empty desks were thrown into classrooms that were once prepared for the next coming years. Spray paint covers one end of a hall making it look like the set of American Horror Story, and here I stood in random rooms trying to figure out what outdated equipment was used for. My body was encompassed by a place that had so many stories, held so much human life, and was such a pivotal piece to local history. After years of taking pictures on the outside (one that this blog was used to seeing) I finally stood among the inside overwhelmed by the still, yet sadness that my town could do such a thing. When will we start pouring money into restoring the old rather than continuously bringing in new that we can hardly keep up with? Why not restore such amazing pieces of history rather than running right over them?

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Well this downward article actually has a happy ending. As stated before, Summit decayed for forty-two years, and endured a lot of local abuse. Finally, someone saw a spark of hope, acted on it and turned it into Summit Baptist Church. While I can say I’m not a church-type person, I jumped for joy that we were putting life back into history. Someone finally saw this building as special, not just a “ghost hunt.” I pulled up to open doors, and didn’t hold back for a second before rushing inside to an old school that has itched my mind for years. Greeted by a friend, we began our walk around the building. An old stage, chipped floors, tin covered windows, and smiling pastors that overlooked all the damage. Acknowledging the ridiculous amount of work, and money for the work that has to be done, I did not feel a bit disappointment anymore. I can’t put into words what its like to stand in the middle of what feels like a war-zone, yet to be completely uplifted. The personalities, and determination as well as the focus of what they are doing to give life to this building left me feeling at peace. My itch had finally been scratched.

No, I’m not a church person, but I have never felt a greater sense of my creator in this place. From the people I met that didn’t care about the ring hanging out of my nose that I forgot to take out (oops), inviting me to the lunch that they prepared there, and the amazing yet earth shattering conversations that took place within those walls, I was drawn there for a reason; the type of reasons that leave you with hairs standing on the back of your neck. I believe there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people, and I felt it radiating within the building. I just want to congratulate, and send loving yet home-warming wishes to the Pastors that have made this their project, congregation, and believe in restoring this history. It truly is a form of art. May the creator himself bless y’all in your future endeavors, and challenges.

-haley.

Exit Here.

I’ve had some people contacting me over a subject that seems to scare them in this scary time of year; I am no longer PH centered. I know, its shocking to you, but it’s not to me. I think no longer just focusing on PH has given me a breath of fresh air into other subjects that have consumed my heart.

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You see, I’ve been passionately writing since I was in the fourth grade. I remember the exact day that the lesson “clicked” and this writing thing became easy. I was scoring Fours (four being the highest in Texas) while everyone was struggling to make it halfway down their little notebook pages. My thoughts have flowed onto a paper naturally, and I’ve enjoyed it. I stopped writing around sixteen. I have no idea why, but really I had nothing interesting in my life, in fact I was sleeping most of the day. After I was diagnosed, Pulmonary Hypertension gave me an angry and emotional trigger, and just like a bullet, I fired. All of my thoughts from years of silence flowed out onto this blog. I can’t believe I gained an audience, and I am forever grateful for my PH family, the conference, the wonderful thank you letters, and my award sitting at the front of my room.

My PH writing itch has mostly been scratched. There will always be more to cover as new challenges approach, but I have other things on my mind. I am an activist at heart. I don’t want to be the ugly, screaming activist, but I do believe in justice and broadcasting the truth that people mostly miss. That simple statement has a lot of you upset. Some have contacted me asking why I’m not writing, some of y’all refuse to support and voice your opinions on such, and while I respect that I can’t understand that. I cannot live and breathe PH daily because PH is a disease that does not believe in giving “breaths.” I have nothing against my disease, or my PH lovelies, I just don’t feel a desire anymore. I am currently at peace with my disease, but not other subjects that come to mind. I want this page to be something you can come to reflect on for new articles, or search old PH issues that I might have covered in the past. But lets just get one thing across about Haley Ann; I am not a people pleaser. People pleasing is one of the weakest things others can succumb themselves to. You simply cannot please everyone, so what is the point of trying? Please yourself, and do what is right.

So I hope that with all this being said, you can support the blog after the PH years that hopefully it supported you in. There are stages in a disease process, and all are different just like the patients themselves. I am merely exiting one phase, and transforming into another. Thank you (hopefully) for your understanding.

-haley.

Song of the week is “You Sent me Flying/Cherry” by the lovely Amy Winehouse.

hecheto welo! (It is Good.)

Happy Indigenous People’s Day!! Oh, yes, how could you not expect that from me? 😉

I’m so glad that some places in America have come to their senses to change “Columbus Day” to Indigenous People’s Day, yet here I sit in my hometown with everyone educating their youngsters on Columbus. Oh, lord help me.

You see, when spreading this news I’m encountering a lot of people who say, “Why are we just now changing it after all these years? Why not leave it be?” I translate that to, “I have this massive tumor growing on my back, but why take it out after all this time? Why not just leave it be?” Does that make sense? No. When did doing the right thing become exhausting, or not worth doing after quote “all this time?” Why change this to Indigenous People’s Day? “To reflect upon the ongoing struggles of Indigenous people on this land, and to celebrate the thriving culture and value that Dakota, Ojibwa and other indigenous nations add to our city.”

You see, people can argue all they want, but Columbus didn’t discover anything other than Native Americans who had been living on this beautiful land for a while. And it wasn’t just “Pocahontas” and the one tribe wearing warbonnets running around. It was countless Natives, very different by the numbering cultures and tribes that occupied this land. It amazes me to this day how we can continue to bury our head in the sand when it comes to Native culture. Its “weird”, “Makes no sense”, its “intense”, and to some people its just a fashion statement or trend. That buckskin dress? It was hand-made by the woman wearing it, and she earned if after hours of butchering that meat. Its bead-work is a symbol of her strength, her relationships, or her beliefs. The paint, feathers, or warbonnet? They all have specific symbolism, strength, and a sacred meaning to each tribe. Native American extends past the surface of “dressing up and looking cool” into a way of life, the only way of life they knew. Your Halloween costume, “Aztec” print/thunderbird/”Indian headress” shirt is not cute. Bottom line; the Holocaust of Native Americans was and is a very real thing. Millions were murdered, slaughtered, taken away, and forced into civilization. It’s not a joke, and despite how much your history book tries to cover up, it happened.

“By awakening the Native American teachings, you come to the realization that the earth is not something simply that you build upon and walk upon and drive upon, and take for granted. It is a living entity. It has consciousness.”

This was their land, their life, and many of their ancestors were buried here. Then, their children were buried in mass graves after they were slaughtered. You’d think America would provide one holiday for this amazing culture to gain more awareness and strive, but no. We gave it to Columbus who “discovered” this land?

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“Columbus did not embark on a simple voyage of exploration — it was always intended as a voyage of conquest and ultimately colonization. Columbus indicts himself in his journal as one of the most prolific slave traders in human history, buying and selling more than 5,000 indigenous people, and helping establish a brutal system of forced labor. Just decades after Columbus’ arrival, the indigenous population had been reduced by as much as 90 percent. This city should not honor a man who played a pivotal role in the worst genocide the world has ever known. Transforming this day into a celebration of indigenous culture and social justice is not merely educational in nature–it also allows us to make a connection between this painful history and the ongoing marginalization and discrimination and poverty that indigenous communities face to this day.”

Call me crazy, but I just don’t feel like celebrating a Holiday one in which Banks use an excuse to close, to honor a slave trading and racist man. Now Italian-Americans are deeply offended, and feel like they have lost a piece of their heritage. Yea, I know what you mean. By seeing everyone dress up on Halloween as an “Indian”, or not respect a culture that was here longer than the people of today, I feel like I lost my culture too…one that your dude took…not to point fingers or anything. I’m sure that Sitting Bull, Red Cloud, among every woman slaughtered and raped felt deeply offended too.

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You can turn your head and teach the “Columbus sailed the ocean blue” crap, or you can teach, and know what needs to be taught. A beautiful culture that was taken from the land that you are living on. Natives were intense, but among those intense people (just like we have intense people today) they had some very wise and on-point views on life. Not to get biased about my own culture, but the way they treated this earth, and respected it, it always provided for them in return and they lived fulfilled, and enriched lives. They were in tune with their creator, they danced, they prayed, they believed in doing what made them happy while keeping close with their love and families. They were very focused on the proper upbringing, and belief in their children’s potential. “Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children.” -Sitting Bull. All of this is merely scraping the surface into this amazing culture. Oh, how different life would be if things would’ve never changed, or at least people were taught these same values. Life was based on thanking the creator rather than taking. Prayer rather than hateful words, and dance instead of destruction. Tell me that is weird, intense, or unrealistic? Sounds a lot like what we should be doing as Americans. Praying, dancing, remembering our creator (for those who want to) and respecting this great Mother Earth who is constantly giving such beautiful and healing things to us.

“Regard Heaven as your father, Earth as your mother, and all that lives as your brother and sister.” Native Wisdom

Happy Indigenous People’s Day.

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Song of the Week is Red and White by Northern Cree to honor my beliefs and heritage! Hit play, and indulge yourself in a different culture. It will be something you aren’t used to, but I hope you enjoy it anyway. 🙂

-haley.

NATIVE PRIDE.

Internal Explosives.

Life is full of so many demons. Some we encounter, and others live inside of us which sounds like an episode of American Horror Story. Its been really hard to stay focused lately, to slow down, or to do anything productive other than my full time job. Why? Because I am the literal demon in this situation.

Anxiety was never a thing I took seriously, in fact, I didn’t even know it was a diagnosis. But as I sat across from a Doctor, and described my daily routine and thoughts attached, he diagnosed me with severe long-term anxiety. What? But as a flip back through family memories and pictures, certain moments come to mind. The thought of even rain sent me into a crying fit, throwing up before performances, feeling sick whenever I had to leave my dad, and having to have someone at the house with me all the time. As we get older, its not just storms but people, certain songs, walking around the house a certain amount of times before I know I can leave it, and all of this just adds up to be little emotional triggers; triggers that launch a explosive anxiety bomb in my brain.

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Whats it like to have anxiety? Its like seeing something that bothers you, and replaying that situation over and over again in your mind, thinking about all the horrible outcomes and what could happen, and either acting on that stress and venting to someone only to annoy them, or choosing to live with that sickening feeling. Its like laying in bed awake at night because you know the rare disease you have causes blood clots, and your worst fear is to die in your sleep, and you just know that even right now one could pass through your heart or brain and kill you instantly. So, you decide to stay awake. Its like worrying about your family’s safety because they didn’t answer the phone, you think you left the coffee pot on, and you cant focus at work because you just know you will come home to a house that was burnt to the ground. Anxiety takes away my peace of mind, my will to do things, it wants to me stay at home where I’m comfortable and not have to deal with anything that could trigger anything else. Yes, thats how bad its escalated. Dealing with people that have anxiety, I could only imagine is not fun. But your actions unfortuntely play into theirs. We need you as support, and a calming ressurance, not someone who makes us feel crazy. You doing that could actually make us crazy. What exactly do we need from you?

Understanding. You may not get how our brain works, but its locked up in our body. We don’t appreciate how it works, and you definitely don’t, but we need you to be that relaxed force for just that moment.

Genuine Concern. When you tell me to calm down, you’ve just evoked the powers of an anxiety hurricane. You made me feel stupid, out of control, over-exaggerated, and you’ve just triggered every other emotion along with that too. I know you do want us to calm down, and we do too. Think that all you want, but talk to us. Why are you feeling this way? What can I do to help? Lets take a couple breaths, and talk about this. Now that makes all the difference.

Don’t make fun of it. Its a serious problem, and I wish my brain didn’t function this way, but it does. It has since day one, and making me feel stupid and crazy doesn’t help. In fact, it makes me distance myself from you, and it makes me hate me. I’d rather overdose on anxiety pills than deal with this feeling. You merely get to hear about how my brain works, you don’t actually feel the internal thoughts. Its exhausting.

So this loves, has been a huge hindering factor on my life right now. One that I’m trying to control, but as stated before, its exhausting. Its no surprise that anyone who might’ve been diagnosed with something would have anxiety. If you feel like you do, then please talk to your primary, and a therapist. We already live with a chronic fatigue, so why add to that? Free yourself.

-haley.

A Sad Little Fantasy.

A couple of years ago I saw a picture on Pinterest (are we shocked) that said, “What messes us most up in life is the picture in our head of how we think it is supposed to be.” That quote in itself about summed up about the age of fourteen through twenty for me. Despite the happiness, and hardworking front I can put on, there will always be an impending sadness that I am continuously attempting to work through.

I think a couple of years ago when I realized I could let go of some very damaging things, mentally I was free; for a little while, that is. You see, despite how they act, or what they say I know people think I’m crazy because of how ridiculous I can be. I choose to be the person that laughs the loudest, has the outrageous stories, the most ridiculous twist and turns, and I also choose to be stupidly positive sometimes. For a very long time those “stories” and “twist and turns” were nightmares, and very long nights of convincing myself not to just end things. I choose to laugh because at this point, it’s all I have left, and why not be the butt of everyone’s jokes? Why not just love people instead of yell, or get enraged? I don’t see the point anymore. I chose to toss that expected picture of life out a long time ago, and create my own.

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For time to time I focus on just reality, and it spills out onto my blog in angry protests and I have to pop a Xanax. I can read through your Facebook posts about ISIS, how downhill kids are these days, and all these wonderful people dying of the disease that I just happen to have, and I find myself in a corner of fury. I don’t find that fascinating at all. So I’ve built my own world full of writing, Nat King Cole, That 70s Show, Augustus Waters, I Dream of Jeannie, Rocco Ricardo, wonderful art, and I am happy. I know it’s an illusion. My writing is not famous, Nat King Cole is dead, no one knows what I Dream of Jeannie is anymore, and there is no Augustus Waters, only men who are weak-minded, and cats are better anyways. There will always be an impending sadness that my little haven isn’t reality; but within this fantasy I feel safe. It’s the only way I can achieve happiness these days.

I’m tired of trying to control reality because it’s just not going to happen. Are you doing that? Are you spending more time focusing on what you can’t control versus what you could be doing right? Love other people, that is something that can be done. Being that one light in a person’s life; that can be done. Focusing on what makes you happy rather than posting on what is going wrong; try it.

Life is not supposed to go any particular way, sometimes it ends before you get to finish it. Stop letting the picture mess up your creation.

-haley.

P.S. Song of the Week is still Rain Song by Led Zeppelin. I just cant get over it yet.

Too Much Pressure.

Hello August! I feel like I’ve made it over a crazy couple months of non-stop on-the-go Haley, and now things are slowing down. More writing, more calm, and more happiness. 🙂

I finally had a two month PH checkup, in which everything is ok except for a high heart rate out of no where, and I’m being referred to a new specialist that is closer rather than going to Houston. Also, I met a new primary doctor to handle all other issues who blew me away with not only his looks (hehe), but him thanking me for choosing him, and taking almost an hour examining me from head to toe to establish me as a new patient. He was very precise, and already knew Pulmonary Hypertension inside-out, and was quite interested that I had it. A PH patient’s whole world is full of pressure. The word hypertension literally means high pressure, high pressure in the lungs, high pressure in the heart, and I also found out that the pressure in my eyes is even high. When my new primary said, “I think we need to check your kidney’s for high pressure” I through my hands in the air with the response, “if there is anything that could ever have a pressure in my body it is high.” He laughed, but I was not as amused.

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You see, with all this “pressure” existing within my body, it makes it extremely hard to deal with outside pressure from other unnecessary things and people. Someone said to me to other day, or more yelled, “I know you’re done” and that struck an angry chord. I walk around everyday breathing twice as much as you, with twice the pain, and other everyday issues (like almost passing out from just bending over) and I’m just tired. Why? Because I have a disease that just so happens to have a side effect of chronic fatigue. When everything in my body is built up to functioning on a high level with outside demands, my body sure does reflect “done.” Emotionally, and really, I’m trying not to be done, but my lungs really want to fold themselves in half. Sometimes people really do not comprehend the realities of this disease…but your lungs and heart are a big part of why you are able to read this. When they don’t work right, despite how fine you may look, you really aren’t. People think I’m lazy, people think I exaggerate, but one of my PH friends who is my age (and shares my name) just received a double lung and heart transplant. While being prepped in the hospital she looked damn fine, because it’s an invisible disease. Appearances are deceiving.

Overall, you as a patient, or even just a caregiver, or person will have a lot of pressure throughout life. When its unnecessary, get rid of it, and embrace what truly matters. I’d rather my heart be overjoyed than overworked.

Song of this week! Houdini by Foster the People. Its fun, and perfect right now. Enjoy this week which is the start of a new month!

-haley.

Four Years.

I was only fifteen years old while watching my freshman English teacher scribble inside of a John Lennon book that she decided to give to me while repeating, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” She said this often, and as fascinated as I was with the quote, I had no grasp of the concept. I mean, doesn’t every fifteen year old know exactly what they are doing with their life? I did. Mrs. Hepler had spent that year critiquing short stories I wrote in private, and we continually bonded over the Beatles, writing, and feminism. She saw something I guess, and felt the need to repeatedly say that quote to me. Its been seven years since I put that book on my shelf, and since I’ve sat in a desk in Mrs. Hepler’s class.

seventeen2Two weeks pre-diagnosis.

You see, my life was all planned out at one point. I was graduated, eighteen, had a fabulous relationship, and even though I was walking into a hospital at five in the morning well aware of what was about to happen…I still thought I was in full control. I remember the nurse having me sign “death papers” in case anything happened. That sting of reality hit hard because I had been eighteen maybe two weeks. I mean, werent my parents supposed to be signing these? I recall the same nurse taking literally eight tries to start my IV, and feeling the frustration of my family standing around telling me their goodbyes before I was wheeled off. But I had to remind myself that this was surgery, I would be asleep soon, and it was all no big deal. The masked female telling me that I had to be awake took another hack into my control theory, and soon I watched it crumble when they injected me, and slowed my breathing. I felt a giant tube squeeze its way through my throat, and watched a cord weave its way into my beating heart on a glowing screen. Doctors chatted around me in professional gibberish that I was too tired to comprehend, and soon I was being yelled at because I was losing consciousness, and bleeding out. Then with blinding lights flipped on, and nothing but silence filling this tiled blue room, I heard my doctor say, “Its your lungs.” My control was shattered.

At first I was told I was physically dying, and then I was just mad. Later, I felt like mentally I was dying, and wanted to actually physically die along with my broken heart, and my life was a collage of unidentifiable direction, misleading information, and trying to fight for control. I’ve been PHighting for a long time. I’ve taken pills, had more tubes shoved into arteries, scans of my organs, and oxygen crammed up my nose. Four years has gone by quick especially when you are told you only have two years left to live. At times I really thought I would rather take my own life, than to continue to fight this tiring disease.

The blue prints in which I thought I had planned my life out perfectly went through the shredder a long time ago. At one point, you just have to sit back and think, “what the hell happened?” But this weird, and unpredictable road has been painful, but as I’ve said before, there is an odd beauty in pain. I saw this John Lennon book collecting dust on my shelf the other day, opened it and read a little message from Mrs. Hepler. I smiled, and soon everything fell exactly into place. I’m still me…but my life really did happen despite my other plans.

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Four years strong.

This is dedicated to Tricia Hepler, who without, I probably would have a ridiculous amount of comma’s on this page. In fact, I bet I still do. What a fantastic person, writer, and general artist you are. Thank you.

-haley.

Get Out of That Box!

I may not be able to pinpoint how I feel exactly lately, but I do know at least one emotion that has been consistently pumping through my veins all week; Anger. So much freaking anger just completely surrounds my world with situations, and with people…mainly how they decide to treat other people.

I follow this lovely vlogging couple on practically all social media (Anna-lee and Jesse) because they are adorable, smart, and creative. While scrolling through Jesse’s Instagram one of my other sleepless nights, I saw a picture of two dogs in which the caption was “retard club.” The dogs were being dogs, and Jesse was being funny. Jesse and Anna-lee both are constantly in the public’s eye, talking to people, giving advice, and successfully just showing who they are. Back to the picture. I noticed a ridiculous amount of people commenting that they were now unfollowing because of his word choice, how awful he was, he needed to be a better person, delete the picture…blah blah blah. Then you see Jesse’s reply to all of this. “It’s like you have to edit yourself until you are plain and boring to please everyone.” This stood out like a slap in the face because it’s what I’ve been wanting to scream all this week. I’m always on Pinterest (um, yea) and see all these lovely artsy quotes saying how much we need to be patient, not judge people, be ourselves, live life to the fullest, and live happily ever after. In a world so full of these thoughts that “be yourself, and screw everyone else!” we sure are criticizing every little bitty thing anyone ever does. We can’t show cleavage (you might get offended that your husband looked), we can’t take selfies (how awful that we love our makeup, or awesome beard that day!), we can’t support abortion (you have different religious views that you need to push onto us), we can’t use certain words, we can’t love the people we want to love, and we just can’t exist it seems like. I’m literally editing, touching up, walking on eggshells to make sure that I fit into society’s perfect little acceptable box. That box is an illusion.

letmelivecourtesy of Pinterest, of course.

After editing me, changing, feeling self-conscious, watching everything I say and do….I just give up. I give up, and choose to stop doing that because I am respecting me. It’s about respect, and it’s about kindness for all of you people in general. From what I hear for some of you Jesus followers (I know some pretty awesome ones) but I hear those are called Fruits of the Spirit in the Bible. Start working on them. There is a difference in an actual, horrible, and offensive person versus someone just trying to be a happy human. You don’t have to agree with what I do, what words I say, what I choose to put on my body, what selfies I take, or my spiritual views…but I would like you to respect me, and stop asking me to edit myself down for your personal viewing.

That is all.

T-Shirt orders are being shipped out all this week! 🙂 If you want to order your Just Breathe Tee, email me to see if your size is available. Also, follow Anna-lee and Jesse on Youtube! They are so fantastic.

annaleeandjesse

-haley.