Friday, January 15, 2016

Checking In for December: The Month for Changes and Surprises

I don't do a monthly recap on the blog, partly because I'm lazy and partly because there isn't usually much to say. But I was inspired by Jamie's If We Were Having Coffee feature (which was inspired by someone else!) to start doing more personal posts on here. And what better way to do that than to recap my month in LIFE instead of just books and blogging? So Checking In will be a monthly feature on here that will help you guys get to know ME better, and hopefully you'll start sharing your own stories with me. :)

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December was a month for goodbyes, understanding, forgiveness, and a lesson that I’ve known I need to take to heart but haven’t quite figured out how to: being open and honest with people. Especially when it comes to friends and family. I have a bad habit of holding my tongue, letting things simmer and build until I either explode or just shut those people out of my life. Almost all of my friendships have just slowly descended into silence, neither party trying to build a bridge and make the relationship stronger. It was always easier just letting it die, without a fight. But I wasn’t completely sure if I wanted to do that with basically the only friend I have left from college.

I was having a crisis about this in the beginning of December. So I took to Twitter, because of course, I needed some advice. What I got was not only that, but people who shared their own friendship stories, and I realized I wasn’t alone. But I also came to realize that if it’s worth it, the friendship will survive, and we’ll be able to move on. So I texted my friend and asked her if we could get lunch later that week, and she agreed. It started out fine, and I WAS honest about the fact that I thought she was mad at me and that’s why we hadn’t been talking. And then she said, “I’ve been meaning to ask you something.” I was on immediate alert. “I read a blog post of yours.” I knew, deep down, which one she had read. It was the one where I summed up freshman and sophomore years, and why I decided to call my blog ‘The Fox’s Hideaway’ instead of keeping a bookish title. It was the one where I vented about the hurt and anger my friends had put me through my 2nd year of college. Through no honesty on my part, we were able to talk about, and LAUGH about, sophomore year. And we were able to move on from that, and it was like a weight had been lifted off my chest. It was like we were FINALLY honest with each other, as we hadn’t been in the past. At least, that was mostly on me. I felt incredibly bad she found out that way, as I’d HOPED I would be able to bring up that conversation on my own instead. But she didn’t seem to mind, because she’d been angry at first (which is completely understandable, given some of the things I said in that post), but then she’d said: “I put myself in your shoes and understood.” It was the most honest conversation we have EVER had before, and it felt great.

We haven’t seen each other since, but we’re planning on having weekly dates. It was funny, because she’d said she almost started crying when I texted her after the whole “Can we talk?” portion of it. Perhaps, instinctively, we both knew it was high time to talk about things. I don’t think she had much of an idea of what not only she put me through but of what everyone else had put me through (it hadn’t been JUST her), but she did a little, based on the way she reflected on it by herself. I’m glad that everything is out in the open now, that I finally feel like I can breathe and not be angry. The way I internalize shit is AWFUL and I’m not proud of that, but it’s something that has become a defense mechanism for life. And I know it’s bad, when it comes to not being honest, and I’m trying hard to work on that too. But this is the first time in 4 years where I finally feel like our relationship has changed, but in a good way. I hope we stay close friends throughout the years, because I love having her in my life, and I’m super happy we were able to talk it out and move on.

I didn’t say goodbye to her, but I said goodbye to my job, my boss, and everyone in the office. I’ve worked at my university’s library for almost 2 years, and it was a wonderful experience. Yes, I was spoiled. My boss was the coolest, the job was easy, AND I worked with my other close friend. But for me, it was the best possible way to ease myself into this whole job thing. I also learned a lot about myself: I CAN be assertive, I am good at asking questions if I don’t understand something or need help, and I was pretty much my own boss a little bit where I decided what tasks should be completed the soonest and what could wait. And because I had been there for 4 years, and I’d put in a great service, I got to pick any book in the library to put my name in. A sort of dedication for all the work I’ve done for the the library. And I picked The Scorpio Races. :) Seriously the most coolest and amazing thing EVER, and I’m so excited I can go to the YA section (I know where it is now) and see my name inside one of my favorite books of all-time.
(I teared up a little, ngl)

The end of the semester was super easy, probably the easiest finals week I’ve ever had, and I was excited to be leaving the campus and taking online only classes in the spring. NO COMMUTE! I only have two classes left, and then I graduate in May, so woohoo! I pretty much spent the rest of December with family, whether it was baking and decorating cookies (I mostly did the decorating, tbh) with my mom and aunts (my cousins abandoned me, how rude) or having dinner on Christmas Eve. My mom, brothers, and I always go over to my grandma’s house (who lives directly behind us) for dinner with the whole family. I’m nearly always surprised when I find myself having a good time because I dread these gatherings a lot. My dad’s absence is like a giant cloud hanging over everyone. This is HIS family. His mom, brothers and sisters, his nieces and nephews. And he was the heart and soul of this family, and his presence is missed dearly. Holidays are the HARDEST, especially when it’s with his side of the family. But it was good. My cousins, brothers, and I, and even a few uncles, played baseball. Hello a Christmas without snow! Actually I was quite sad about that, but it sure made it easier when we lost power earlier in the night.

Yes, we lost power on Christmas Eve! Around 1:30 a.m., when little bro and I were in the middle of a Boy Meets World episode. We didn’t get the power back until 10 p.m., so we spent Christmas Eve in the dark after we got home from my grandma’s, and opened presents in the dark. And then there wasn’t much we could do! Haha. It was kind of nice, because it forced us to spend a lot of time together, and we were able to laugh about it. But we were definitely happy when the power came back on! And I was very thankful we had relatives close by who could help us if we hadn’t gotten the power back that night. I am definitely blessed in that area, even when I resent them at times. And that Saturday after Christmas we spent time with my Mom’s side of the family. It was the shortest we have EVER had a gathering, I think. It was around 2 hours, but it was lovely, and I adore my cousins and the time we spend together. My cousin Rae had me for Christmas (we draw names each year), and she gave me travel perfume that smells wonderful and a book! From an author I HAVE read before, but I’d never heard of this one, and it sounds so good! It’s called Frost by Kate Avery Ellison, and I plan on reading it soon. :)

I also participated in a few Secret Santas, the annual #TBTBSanta hosted by Jamie @ The Perpetual Page-Turner and one that my friends Shannon, Amber, Val, and I did together. Below are the goodies I received, and I’ve been very spoiled!
from the lovely Kay

from the ever always wonderful, Shannon

I was also spoiled by my mom and brothers. This year, I’d only asked for the special edition Harry Potter box set for books, and I got it! It is GORGEOUS. I also received a ton of POPs (I have a terrible addiction), Aladdin on DVD, leggings, and an Amazon gift card from my brother. My family knows me so well, and I think this is the first time my mom has ever stuck with my list (usually she finds me some stuff that I never would have asked for but LOVE). She also found it easier shopping for me when I didn’t have books on my list. HAHA! The presents are second to the time I spend with family for sure, and I just love the Christmas holiday so much! I love everything about it; decorating the tree (usually, I didn’t do it this year, but I did decorate my work tree!), buying and wrapping presents for others, finding the PERFECT gift for someone. I always gravitate toward the Christmas shelves in stores. But the one thing I HATE is the music. Just, hate. This is what happens when your parents name you Holly Joy. THANK YOU, PARENTS.

So yeah, I think that was my month in a nutshell! Er, well, I did give you a lot of details, and I almost want to apologize and shorten it up, but. I hope you guys don’t mind these long-ass Checking In posts. Trust me, I’m just as surprised as you are at the amount of shit that happens! Haha. Anyway, I hope you all had a wonderful holiday (if you celebrate Christmas) and a wonderful month. See you in February!


So how was your month? Did you guys have a good Christmas? Did you get any awesome gifts, see family and friends too? Has the holiday treated you well? Let's talk! :)