“JUST SO YOU KNOW, I CHECK YOUR BLOG LIKE EVERY DAY.”

Dear Reader,

My sister sent me that lovely text this morning. But when I replied, “aww bb” she said “ya but it doesn’t even matter cause you don’t POST ANYTHING ANYMORE.”

Ouch.

But okay, u right.

The thing is, I’ve thought a lot about random blog posts I wanted to write. I read ten books in September and there’s one in particular that I’m dying to talk about. So I thought about doing reviews, but then I could never just find the time. I have two other “journals” (I suppose) that I try to write in and I guess this blog just sort of became neglected.

So then I thought about writing a post called “something’s gotta give.” I actually wrote part of it during one of my lectures, which is kind of ironic because in part of it I was talking about how I was becoming a good student.

And it was just during this time of beautiful clarity where I felt like the pieces in my life were all coming together. I was working out with my friends and exercising daily. I was eating better. I was sleeping more. I was caught up on all my homework and I was enjoying all of my classes and life was just really good.

Then I lost that freakin’ notebook. And my life took a little bit of a spill. (I really want to stress how little the spill was, though, because I am very very aware that many people have things a lot harder. My life is still very very good. Everything is relative.)

I’ve actually been losing a lot of stuff lately, which really pisses me off because I can’t afford to be this much of a hot mess anymore. I lost my brand new water bottle that I got maybe two weeks ago. I lost my favorite pencil (which doesn’t seem like a big deal but it absolutely is and it’s like a $2 pencil). I can’t seem to find my headphones right now, which sucks. And I also couldn’t find the book I need for class today.

I’m also skipping a class today, but it’s to work a shift for my friend who drove home because her best friend from high school’s mom committed suicide last night.

I think I might write about suicide pretty soon, because it’s been on my mind a lot. Not in the way that I’m thinking about it for myself–I’m actually very mentally healthy right now and I really don’t like seasonal depression is going to be an issue for me this year. Let’s hope I didn’t just jinx that though.

But suicide has just been everywhere. My friend had to fly home for his cousin’s funeral a few weeks ago. My friend at school lost his best friend the week before classes started, and the suicide note was written to him. I’ve been noticing all of a sudden how many friends of mine have the semicolon tattoo. Beautiful, hilarious, intelligent and kind friends of mine. And it makes me wonder whether or not they see that. It makes me realize how little I know about what truly goes on in my friends’ minds.

So, I don’t know, I guess I’ve been a little down lately thinking about all this stuff. And every time I try to write about it, the post just gets depressing and I hate that I bummed myself out by thinking about what everyone else has to deal with because it feels like I’m, I don’t know, mooching off of feelings? Or like I don’t have the right. I really can’t articulate the strange shame I feel, but I never finish writing it thinking, “this is good. I’m gonna publish this.”

So there’s your post, Sarah. (lol)

Sorry I’ve been a little all over the place lately. I don’t really know where my head’s at. And I guess sorry for no longer using my blog to figure that stuff out. I feel like it just got too repetitive. Like how many times have I written about why I started this blog? Or how many times have I said “I’m writing for clarity!” It was boring me, so I’m sure it was boring all of you.

Wow. I really don’t want to post this.

This is the kind of thing that I end up deleting and immediately trying to forget about.

But, what the hell, let’s just hit publish.

I think I just want Sarah (or whoever else) to log on and think, “oh wow, she wrote today!”

Sincerely,

Sammy

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WRITING EVERY DAY, EVEN IF IT SUCKS

Dear Reader,

Happy August! Happy Monday!

Sarah and I just had the joint realization about Garfield’s hatred of Monday’s: so he obviously hates them, but why? He doesn’t have a job. He doesn’t go to school. He’s a cat and should have no particular preference or even awareness for the days of the weeks. But he does and he hates Mondays.

But maybe this is because Jon (his owner, I spelled that right, right?) does! So Mondays signify the end of the weekend and mean that Jon will be absent for much more of Garfield’s life for the next few days and obviously that’s sad and lonely and Garfield just really loves Jon! Isn’t that beautiful?
(Sidenote: I haven’t read Garfield comics in years so I don’t know how well this theory holds up. Does Jon have a job? Taking care of Garfield seems like a full-time job to me.)

Here’s another funny thing that happened this week: Sarah came downstairs in short shorts and I said “oh my God can you please put on longer pants?!” and she said “they’re called shorts for a reason Sam!”

Touche.

A lot happens in our home between Sarah and I that make me laugh but probably aren’t funny enough to document but also I still don’t want to forget them, so I’ll just write them someplace so when she tries to decline living with me in a few years I can pull out the list and say “but look at how much fun we have!! We’re so good together!”

One of these things is the other day I was in her room only wearing a bra and I sighed and said “I think I’m skinny fat” and she said “Sam, you’re beautiful,” and I yelled, “well I didn’t say I was ugly!

Honestly you’ve just got to be able to make yourself laugh and if you find someone who gets you enough to help you out and ensure that you laugh at least, I’d say, 75 times a day, then you’re pretty golden.

So what is the point of this entry? Just a hello, I guess. A quick check to see if any people out there are still reading this blog. An announcement that I will be back starting now and trying to post more often (maybe I’ll do a BEDA–blog every day of August–I think that’s the acronym). We shall see.

If you’ve made it this far please recommend something for me to watch on Netflix because I am quickly flying through every Netflix-made series, comedy special, and throwback movie on that site. So any suggestion would be highly appreciated. (I, myself, recommend Stranger Things, Ali Wong: Baby Cobra, and The Fundamentals of Caring).

Sincerely,

Sammy

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CURRENT OBSESSIONS

Dear Reader,

A good friend of mine and I always joke about how part of the reason why we’re such good friends is because of our obsessive nature. I think that’s a recurring theme with people in our generation–the tendency to become immediate fangirls when finding new things that peak your interest.

At this point in my life, there are many things that I’m mildly obsessed with–that all of a sudden seem to occupy large parts of my brain–which is a little worrisome. I mean, surely they’re taking up space that could be used for my Linguistics class or for memories that I’m forgetting.

I don’t know, I think about memory a lot because mine seems to be so bad. (Side note, apparently this is an effect/symptom/personality trait of people with ADHD. So that’s fun.) (Double side note: sorry for the sporadic nature of this post. I think both my coffee and medication just kicked in at once, which almost always leads to word vomit such as this).

Anyway, I decided to make a list of my current obsessions. To spread the love, you know?

Enjoy.

Hamilton the Musical: This has been getting a lot of hype recently and this morning, I finally understood why. Sarah had me listen to a few songs (beginning with Helpless/Satisfied which is perfection) and then she explained the rest of the musical to me and we both swooned over the voice Jonathan Groff and it was beautiful.

Drunk History: What educational fun! I mean, who knew that Woodrow Wilson had a stroke and his wife had to run everything for his last years of his presidency and was basically the first woman to become president?? Not me! Until I watched that episode of Drunk History.

Tumblr/Journaling: Ugh. I love Tumblr. I have one that’s primarily funny and fandom reblogs and another that’s more personal and is just soothing or thought-provoking or just makes me happy to look at. This one inspires a lot of my (handwritten) journal entries and makes me feel artistic, even though I’m really not.

I do really need to organize them, though, and change up the formats a little bit. They’ve been the same way for years.

Jim and Pam: I’ve been re-watching The Office and oh my god, Jim and Pam. They give me true hope that I will someday fall in love with someone who is my best friend and makes even the most mundane tasks worthwhile and just makes my world a better place to live in. Them being fictional might be giving me unrealistic expectations, but I love them nonetheless. And honestly, I just really want to find my own John Krasinski.

Thinking about the Future: I have a lot of things going for me right now and when I look to the future, I’m really excited. Growing up is terrifying, but I feel like I’m at a point right now where I don’t have to worry about being 100% on my own, and I can still be young and stupid and make worthwhile memories that I’ll tell, I don’t know, somebody someday.

Today is just a really good day, you guys. It’s beautiful and sunny with a nice breeze and Sarah’s here with me and we have plans to visit our niece and cousin’s baby tomorrow and I’m sitting in the suite with the windows open and my Lolla playlist going and I just know good things are going to happen.

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Sincerely,

Sammy

SHOUTOUT TO MY BROTHER

Dear Reader,

It’s interesting to think of how I talk about my family. Most everyone who knows me knows about Sarah (because she’s constantly featured on my twitter/instagram/blog/facebook/snapchat). Yes, we all know she’s amazing and adorable and kind-hearted and sensitive because I showcase her all the time.

Then we have my parents, who I try to refrain from mentioning on here–at least when it’s negative. Most people know about my mom, though. A simple Canadian with outstanding manners (my favorite example is how she apologizes to Siri when she is misinterpreted). She’s a very typical stay-at-home mom who my friends adore, and then there’s my dad who is a very typical working dad. A family doctor in town who gets home between 5 and 6 and tends to spend the rest of the night working alone in the basement or watching shows with my mom or playing poker with some guys in the community. And it’s not like he was an absent father or anything, but because we don’t have the best relationship, I tend to hold back my feelings (or at least save them for my journal). Because, to be honest, our relationship has a lot of ups and downs (or a lot of downs with the occasional up) and I don’t think constantly sharing my side of the story publicly on a website that he could potentially find one day is a good idea in the slightest.

I will say this, though: while we butt heads on just about everything, the most important thing he has taught me is the value of family. A little ironic, right? But he was married once before he met my mom and together, him and Carol had Caitlin, my older half-sister. She’s another family member that many people don’t know about. She grew up in a house two hours away from us and we did see her fairly often (considering how busy we all kept ourselves), but that alone was enough to keep us from having a “typical” sibling relationship, I think. I still 100% call her my sister (“half” if I’m clarifying) and I love her family dearly, it was just different.

But, as the title indicates, this post is inspired by my brother–who is frequently forgotten by my friends (just as much as Caitlin) which is a little odd if you think about it because he is only one year ahead of me and seventeen months older. But we’ve had an interesting relationship. It started off great, back when Sarah was the third wheel and Sean and I were best buds, but then we were put in the same class (a 4th grade/5th grade experiment) and that was where we honed our most defining qualities to one another: my annoyingness and his tendency to be a dick.

Then we just kind of grew up wanting more distance. We could still be civil and get along, but I think being grouped together for so long was really damaging. I don’t know how he felt about me, but I mostly just hated being in his shadow. He was always hilarious and the class clown and going on adventures with his big friend group and having funny stories to tell. Meanwhile, I was hiding away in my room because I was somewhere between introverted and constantly self-conscience and I still had no idea who I was.

He had always been so sure, though. And, of course, sibling rivalry kicked in because he was always better at soccer and smarter naturally and didn’t have to try to get people to like him. I was always just a little behind.

When he went to college, though, I think we got the separation we needed. He was suddenly at the other edge of the state and we hardly ever saw each other. And I think that’s helping us repair this relationship.

But that’s the other thing, I don’t know if he wants the relationship repaired, because he surely could get by without it. He has the same family as I do, but he gets different things from different people. He has a dad he truly looks up to and a sweet mom who is always just trying to do everything right. He has a half-sister who has her own hilarious family and is a blast to hang out with, and he has a younger sister who adores him and can actually maintain a healthy relationship. And then there’s me–someone who can fight with him for hours and knows how to annoy the hell out of him.

But he probably doesn’t need that in his life.

Okay, this post kind of took a turn I wasn’t expecting (and it’s turning out to be much longer than I intended), but my whole point of this was to talk about a new resolution I have: to re-connect with my family. Because today I was sitting in EDP and we were talking about creativity and I was thinking to myself how Sean is one of the most creative people I know. And I don’t know if he knows that, because I’ve never told him.

So I want to make some changes this year because whenever I see stories of sisters who don’t get along or don’t particularly like each other or are just missing out on the relationship that I get to have with my sister, I am saddened to the point of tears. It’s why I cried during Frozen and it’s why I cried last week while watching a short video called “Where’s Molly” for class.

And then I think, some people out there have this kind of relationship with their brother. This indescribable, wonderful thing that can’t be put into words because it’s just the simple fact that revolves around the importance of family. And I don’t want to grow up and have kids who don’t get to learn soccer or hear the funny stories or get to look up to their uncle, all because their mom was too stubborn for too long and refused to just grow up.

Sincerely,

Sammy

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[NEW VIDEO] SARAH’S REACTION TO HER BIRTHDAY VIDEO

Dear Reader,

I’m sure this video interests no one but giving Sarah her presents this year was one of my favorite parts of break so far and I had a good time recording it and editing it (and then showing that to her and laughing about even more stupid things) so here it is for anyone who wants to watch it.

Enjoy!

Sincerely,

Sammy

SO I TRIED VLOGGING

Dear Reader,

I tried out the YouTube thing again. This time it was in the form of a vlog.

The verdict is still out on whether or not my life is interesting enough to try this again.

Sincerely,

Sammy

I DID A THING

Dear Reader,

Over the weekend my dear sister came to visit me at Miami and helped me with my final project for a video productions class that I’m taking. I didn’t think I would be, but I’m actually pretty pleased with the final product, so I thought I might as well share it.

And who knows, maybe there will be more to come. I can only get better, right?

Sincerely,

Sammy

DAY 17: THANKS SIS

Dear Reader,

I was thinking the other day about how people get to be in our lives. I don’t know if you believe in luck or fate or any of that, but if not, it can all seem pretty random. At the same time, though, it’s pretty remarkable. Every decision we make leads us somewhere with people that may (or may not) become a very big part of our lives. I mean, my best friend moved to the neighborhood from Indiana about five years ago. She almost moved back too, but her old house was sold at the very last minute.

Just think about that. Out of all the public schools and neighborhoods and houses for her parents to choose, she ended up living just down the street from me. And I can say with full confidence that if she moved back, we would not even be in touch right now (we were very new friends when she almost left).

But everything worked out and today she’s one of the most important people in my life.

So I was thinking about that the other day and thinking about how random it all is–and how scary that can be too. Because these people can just get up and leave whenever they want. They can be done with me in an instance and never see me again.

Which led me to think about how important family is.

Which made me think about how lucky I am to have Sarah Neiswander as my sister.

Sarah is younger than me by sixteen months, but is infinitely better than me. She has a bigger heart than anyone I’ve ever met. She cares about everyone and is always more than nice and respectful. Honestly, she’s the only one in the family that no one ever has a problem with.

And she’s smart and beautiful and talented and hilarious. I’m weirder with her than I am with anyone else. I’m the most honest version of myself with her, which is something I’m truly thankful for.

Sarah is always there for me. We fight about the dumbest things but when it comes down to it, I’m more protective over her than anyone else in my life. And, to quote one of the smartest people I know, I don’t protect her because she’s weak. I protect her because she’s important. She’s my baby sister, my future maid of honor, and my best friend. She makes me laugh like an idiot, feel like a queen, and inspires me to be better.

I have to thank her. She’s the best sister I could ever ask for.

And, really, I’m just thankful she continues to hang out with me.

Sincerely,

Sammy

PS. This song is perfect for this post because it combines two of Sarah’s favorite things: Ed Sheeran and dance. It’s also the best song off his most recent album: Thinking out Loud

Our Eight Identities

Dear Reader,

I recently went to orientation for the college I will be attending in the fall: Miami University. At this event, we were put into small groups with whom we ate with, dormed with (for the most part), and familiarized ourselves with. In these small groups, we played light, little ice breakers to get to know one another. Our last one, however, was a bit deeper and more personal. And I thought I would share it because 1) it’ll introduce myself a little further for anyone who cares to learn more and 2) it’s an interesting idea for an ice breaker that could bring a group closer or just more aware of the problems others deal with in relation to their own. So without further ado, here is the ice breaker: Eight Identities.

Each one of us has eight identities. Eight categories that we fall into. Eight characteristics that make up who we are. So each person in the group will need eight pieces of paper. On each piece you will write something specific to the category that pertains to you.

1. GENDER: on the first paper, write what gender you identify yourself with. I put female.

2. SEXUAL ORIENTATION: on the next, each person should write their sexual orientation (and don’t worry because not all of these will be shared if you don’t want to). So you can put straight, gay, bisexual, asexual, pansexual, etc. I wrote straight.

3. BACKGROUND: for background, write where you came from. Where your ancestors originated from. My mother was born and raised in Canada and my father’s family is German (thus the name: Neiswander, which was once Nuenschwander), so I wrote Canada & Germany.

4. ETHNICITY: which ethnicity you identify yourself with. I put white.

5. SOCIOECONOMIC LEVEL: on this piece of paper, write where your family falls financially. Again, it’s not necessary to share all of these identities, but it’s important to be truthful with yourself. So you can write working class, lower middle class, higher middle class, upper class, etc. I wrote higher middle class.

6. RELATIONSHIPS: this may be the most involved identity. On this paper, write all of the relationship roles you identify yourself with. I wrote sister, daughter, grand-daughter, niece, sister-in-law, aunt-to-be, and friend. You can also write goddaughter/son, boyfriend/girlfriend, mother/father, etc., if you fall into those categories.

7. RELIGION: write the religion you believe in, if any at all. This one was by far the hardest for me because I definitely believe in something, but I am embarrassingly ignorant in this subject and wasn’t raised with any kind of church or temple to be a part of. I just put Christian and will leave it at that, but this topic will probably resurface in a future entry.

8. PHYSICAL/MENTAL ABILITY: for the last piece of paper, write how able you are, physically and mentally. If there are no illnesses, you can write able-bodied. If there are, you can name them here. This includes diagnoses such as depression, arthritis, diabetes, etc. For my card, I wrote ADD and POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome).

Once everyone is finished writing, they should take a moment to look through their cards and read their identities silently to themselves, thinking about all of the stories and experiences behind each one. When that’s finished, it’s time to put them in order. You start with the one that is least important to you. Either least important meaning you don’t think it really matters or causes much difference, or meaning it’s not how you commonly categorize yourself or describes who you truly are very well. You continue doing this from least to greatest until you have a stack of eight identities that start with the ones that are most important to you. When everyone is finished with this step, you’ll go around the circle and share your top two. You don’t have to elaborate on any if you don’t want to, and you don’t even have to be specific (ex: you can say my top one was socioeconomic level without saying which category you fall into), it is just encouraged that you share two traits–two identities about yourself.

My top pieces of paper read, “ADD and POTS” and “sister, daughter, grand-daughter, niece, sister-in-law, aunt-to-be, and friend.”

My relationships with the people around me are important because I am lucky to have such loving and supportive people in my life. I’m lucky enough to be going to a college and rooming with my best friend, and I know she will stay by my side, but I’m also aware that the transition is going to be rough. And leaving my sister behind, who is just two years younger and one of the closest people in my life, is going to be ridiculously hard. But we’ll get through it despite the 200 miles between us. I also put in sister-in-law and aunt-to-be because my oldest sister married her high school sweetheart in November of 2012 and they recently announced that they’re expecting! I love that my family is expanding and am so excited to welcome the new baby into our lives.

My most important “identity” dealt with my physical/mental ability. As I’ve mentioned in a previous entry, I was diagnosed with ADD in the summer after my freshman year of high school. I’ve been put on countless medications and felt like a guinea pig for much of the next three years while trying to decide for myself if I even really had the disorder. And my prescriptions were ridiculous. Once, I was prescribed to take three pills in the morning, two when I got home, and another one at night if I wanted to study some more. Another kind of medication would make my heart beat wildly once it kicked in. When I told that to my doctor she informed me that that wasn’t normal behavior and sent me to a cardiologist, where I got diagnosed with a dysautonomia disorder.

This happened a year ago this month, actually, and I am still trying to adapt to it. It’s not fatal or even difficult to manage really, I just mostly have to watch what I eat and consume a lot of sodium. But these two diagnoses have made me become more aware of the differences between me and others and I’ve had to learn how to deal with them on my own, which has been quite the struggle. Still, they’re both a part of me and they make me who I am.

So that’s the ice breaker. It was really interesting to learn more about people and it’s always good to partake in an exercise where you have to be completely honest with yourself, I think.

Sincerely,

Sammy

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Small Group #5; yes I know I look way too excited for this picture. I thought we were all doing the same thing. I’m embarrassing.