The Raider Diaries: Raider Goes to College

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12 years and 84 dog years later, Raider is finally branching out into the world. And surprisingly enough, after spending his whole life in the backyard, he’s good at it.

My decision to bring Raider to Huntsville was not made lightly. I wasn’t sure I could do it, or if I should. My weeks leading up to the move were filled with excitement and little sleep. I agonized over the details of owning a dog in an apartment with my free time. Even with all of the details perfectly ironed out and the support of my loving boyfriend pictured above (the one without fur), when my parents returned from our Easter rendezvous without him, I began to panic. Raider was finally my responsibility.

Two days in, and I don’t regret a thing. He adapted better than we could ever hope to my college life. He got a nice bath, lots of brushing, and so much love from his new family. As worn out as he was, his first night was a little disappointing. He was still too hyper to settle down while everyone slept, and when 7:30 am rolled around, he made his boredom known to the world. My Monday, which is normally the longest and most exhausting, started much earlier than I had anticipated. There was much grumbling and pushing of butts to get him taken care of and myself out the door. Since then, he’s become an important part of my life. I practically take him everywhere! (With the help of Jared of course.)

Raider’s move has allowed for a huge rise in mental stimulation. He gets to go to so many different places around my apartment and town. He often visits Jared’s house and enjoys frequent car rides as we run errands. No, we don’t leave him in the car unattended. Tonight, he walked around Petco with us as I scoped out good dog food brands (recommendations totally welcome) and tried to find a toy that he will actually like. To my dismay, he doesn’t seem to be a toy loving dog. This, I found out after spending $11 on a Kong toy, only to have him eat the peanut butter out of it then walk away. Never the less, we enjoy bringing him with us through out our day and will begin to show him around campus as things settle down.

A few things I’ve noticed about my new status as dog mom: where as I was always the chauffeur by choice among my friends, I now keep my back seats down for Raider to lay on. My room has been completely de-classified to support his new kennel (which he elects not to use, to my extreme irritation. This shall be fixed shortly, I assure you.) I have taken apart my apartment given dresser and slid it under my bed to make room, which isn’t my favorite way to use it, but absolutely necessary none the less. I can’t put anything on the floor at night. My extra pillows have to be carefully placed somewhere he can’t possibly get them should he feel frisky while we sleep. I’ve already learned that he gets out of character when we don’t exercise him….this, after he tried tearing up my favorite boots. I’m still salty. I have been reduced to putting my homework and other things off for after-dark dog park excursions when Raider is feeling restless. One day we’ll find a rhythm… Finally, my monthly budget and selfish desires have been put on hold in order to make sure Raider has everything he needs. I will not be cheap with him when it comes to his health and well being, so he will always come first. This is definitely a new and welcomed development in my growth as a person. He’s my baby, and I will do anything for him.

We love him dearly, and even though he can be a little asshole sometimes, and doesn’t seem to know anything about authority and right from wrong, I’m very content with my little family. TBC

 

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Bored With Being Insignificant

I’m bored. I’m bored with talking. I’m bored with writing. I’m bored with Netflix. I’m bored with Facebook. I’m bored with this town. I’m restless. It’s as if I’m waiting for something, but Lord knows what that is. I search my computer, flipping through tabs for something to do. I scroll through social media, uninterested in the mess our stupid world is in. I’m bored with ignorance. It’s the same thing every time.

I’m bored with the never-ending news of violence in the world and the way people seem to shrug their shoulders and move on. I’m bored with the selfishness around me. I’m bored with going in circles with stubborn, uneducated people. I’m bored with seeing the precious faces of my childhood friends in military uniforms, ready to kill for a broken country. Why do we kill? Why are your hearts so hardened?

I’m bored with being voiceless for every reason. I’m bored with being afraid. I’m tired of being told to change my attitude or fail in life. Change my perspective and demeanor or fall, because everyone is more damaged than I. What’s your damage? Do you see mine? I hide it well, can you tell?

I lose myself in albums from Owl City, Imagine Dragons, Never Shout Never, Ellie Goulding (the first, when she was actually likable), and Taylor Swift. I study them and memorize their lyrics, because everyone has something to say somehow. It’s the same for the cheesy romantic movies I watch and re-watch. This is where I learn.

I float to the balcony, hoping something interesting is waiting outside. I sleep early because it’s something to do. I stare at the list of online assignments waiting for me to complete them. I’m bored with school. Teach me something, I beg you.

I light candles not for their fragrance, but because it’s 10 seconds to be amazed by fire and play the game of lighting a wick. I’m a pyro, in case you were wondering.

I started writing a new novel. Did you know that? It’s my 3rd attempt. This one will be completed. I won’t allow myself to leave this one in the graveyard of my forgotten works. Morbid huh?

I wander about my day, half asleep, but really I’m inside my head contemplating things such as duty and finality. I’m bored with what this life has to offer me at this point, but it’s my duty to reach the finish line and receive a piece of paper. It’s my duty to support. My duty to lead. My duty to make something of myself. My duty to fit into line. My peers would call the list of duties I create “adulting”. I don’t want to adult today, please. Since when did everything bad in life become a verb? Adult used to be full of honor, something to be achieved. Not something to cringe at and roll over, snoring your way back to sleep. Did you know we have less than 5 billion years left? Our sun will become a Red Giant and swallow us in the process before our galaxy will be eaten by Andromeda. Andromeda collides in 5 billion years. We won’t see this occurrence. 5 billion years sounds like a long time…but it’s just a blink of an eye in matters of the universe. Who knows what we’ll be when we’re swallowed by the only thing keeping us alive? How ironic is it that the Sun, the huge ball of gas fueling our life styles, will be the one to snuff us out? The end of Earth. But I’m sure Pluto will be fine. It’s too far for the Sun to reach when it expands. And the scientists denied Pluto. Who will be the one laughing when we’re fried?

Do you see why I’m bored with life? We talk about trivial things like taxes and pointing fingers at other races, but we’re ants. Insignificant. I want to go somewhere and be someone instead of spending hours putting together outfits from my closet and straightening my hair. If 5 billion years is a blink, my life is nothing. I don’t want it to be nothing. I’ve already wasted enough time sitting at a desk, staring at the back of heads and computer screens.

Life starts with my engine. The memories I want are caught in the wind flying through the open windows and the giggles of my friends. They’re found in the stupid pictures I take of random treasures. I’m a junkie for the moment my heart soars, but here I am again…at a desk. I’m bored.

A Testimony for the Outsiders

It started when I was born a girl and handed to another family. A very Christian family. It built as I entered school and earned myself a seat in the ranks of quiet onlookers. It continued as boys and girls alike began to understand what little of the world they could when their ages were barely double digits. I was mocked for being a Christian. For carrying a mini composition book in my pencil bag to write my random inspiration in. For being too trusting. For not having an older sister present to teach me how to dress and act.

I was pegged as a target for pranks, games, and teasing. Someone who could take it and would still be your friend.

I always thought I was different. A black sheep in the family and my tight-knit group of friends. It wasn’t because I was adopted, because my sister (who is also adopted) has always fit in quite nicely. I just can’t seem to blend in with the crowd like I so desperately want to.

But I’ve clung to my groups all my life. I needed them. I still need them. All my life I’ve been ridiculed, pinched, poked, and prodded, and I still need them.

The same friends who defended me against the sick boys who laughed at me for being a Christian took up the habit of stealing my lunch and passing it around the table until I only had less than 10 minutes to eat. They often ganged up on me; whatever one said, the other swiftly followed. So, I left my usual lunch table to sit with my best friend who had long abandoned us for her new GT friends. (GT is an advanced program for kids in elementary and middle school who get bored in Pre-AP and regular classes) I had no place there. I was stuck. It was a small table even before I arrived, and I was just a desperate middle school-er taking a regulars spot.

Boyfriends came and went in grade school, monopolizing on my romantic nature and sweet disposition. I was used, abused, and manipulated. I was ridiculed yet again by the people I placed my absolute trust in. One even got bored with me because I wouldn’t Skype him at all hours of the night and left me for a few days to pursue another girl. I forgave him and took him back, only to find out a few days later he had tried to ask out one of my friends. I desperately wanted love. I forgave them. I was infatuated.

My opinion never mattered. Not even in my family. I was so sheltered, I didn’t really know much anyway..only what I had read and analyzed in my books. As I grew I even started sleeping in a tiny ball on the very edge of the bed so as to not bother my sleeping partner. I never got any sleep unless I slept alone. Being the introverted, nerdy, sheltered girl I am, I’ve been attached to the internet for a while. I spent hours on the kitchen desktop, posting to Facebook and exploring the webs while my mom cooked. One time we got a virus that downloaded fake porn apps to the computer, and my mom was furious because she didn’t believe I would never do something like that. In the Chat-Roulette/Justin.TV era, I found people around the world who never teased me like my “true” friends did, but instead talked to me as if I was an actual person who felt things. I was respected. My opinion mattered. My obsession with the internet and the world progressed.

After being the forgotten girl in a crowd of loud Theatre kids in High School, and constantly trying to find validation from parents who just couldn’t sympathize with my ever-growing awareness of the world, I was ecstatic to find a troop of true friends who understood me. I idolized them as gifts from God to make up for the constant struggle. Safe havens. I forgave them every time they pranked me as a collective. I forgave them when they made me feel like a child. I forgave them when they discounted my feelings. Summer came and I was the only one crippled by the separation, despite the shit I had dealt with throughout the year. I tried daily to keep conversations up, because I missed them and wanted to stay in their lives. I realized I was the only one trying. I was the only one trying, and when I did I only got rude remarks back. I stopped trying. It only took a few days of analyzing my past year to understand that recognize the patterns I had lived with my whole life. Even in college, we were still playing childish games, and I was still extremely naive.

I have yet to find more than 3 people who see me as more than entertainment. More than the giggly, blonde girl who is nice to everyone. I study and read to learn about the world. I have opinions. They matter. I contemplate life and enjoy the views and experiences Earth has to give me. 3 people have tried to dive deeper to witness those moments.

If there’s respect, I don’t see it. If there’s understanding, it isn’t being applied. As a Christian trying to follow in the path of Jesus, I’ve tried to live a life full of love and selflessness, and the only thing I get out of it is abuse of that trait. This is my wake up call. If you’re an outsider who can relate to these instances, you should wake up too. My advice? Find reciprocation. It’s draining to give and give without anything in return. You will burn yourself out. I’m burned out. Something needs to change.

The Republic of College

Think back to your college years. Do you even remember them? Are they worth remembering? Do you regret anything? Were you the type to party the weekend away and stare blankly at the board in the morning? Were you the quiet soul in the back who absorbed the information? Or were you a colorful mix of the two?

Two things have been on my mind today. One, who decided it was a good idea to throw baby adults out on their own in communities run almost completely by other baby adults? Two, why are we so often forgotten and/or ignored? With the rotation of these concepts, a resounding theme flashes in my head. We’re just trying to make it.

Here I am in the middle of a 24 hour Harry Potter marathon with 6 other people in my tiny apartment, it’s midnight, and we’re acting like everything is ok. Because maybe it is? Maybe we’ll fall asleep at 5 in the morning and wake up thinking we made the biggest mistake ever. Maybe we’ll finish and never want to watch another movie again. Maybe we’ll blacklist TV completely and become advocates for a healthier society. You know why? These childish decisions make people who they are when they’re 40 or 50. These chip filled, pizza stuffed, coffee flowing moments will remain with me forever. Unsupervised, living in the moment, trying to make ends meet, and trying to make the best of my current situation.

When you think about it….it really is stupid. I mean, it’s perfectly natural to kick your offspring out of the nest when they get old enough, but somehow we are beyond nature. We have alcohol, drugs, parties, hell I’m sure we’re stupid enough to vote Trump in as a joke. And that’s the more intelligent half of the adult population, apparently. It should be a crime to expect new adults to figure life out on their own. No wonder we suck! It goes like this; “We all do it, it’s fine.” Then when someone messes up, “It’s your fault!” Well yes….but who’s fault was it for leaving us out here?

My scrambled thoughts in between movies and junk food. Go figure. Now I want scrambled eggs.

Down to the Roots

Ta da! I’m adopted!

Believe it or not, this is not my first time writing about adoption. Somewhere in the desolate, forgotten land that is my Drafts tab there is a pretty interesting blog post all about it. It might surface one of these days, but for now I feel like writing about my recent adventure to connect with my biological family.

This visit actually amounted because of said blog post. But it was also way over do. I don’t care whether you’re adopted or not, a person should never go more than a year without seeing their family. I think it had been about 3 or 4 since I’d seen them, which won’t happen again.

So there I was, on a mission! One, to not die on the airplane. Two, to understand where I come from and get to know the people waiting in the wings.

I feel like it was more pressing that I go on this journey to others than to me. I just wanted to spend time with them. As it was an open adoption, I’ve known the important details my whole life. My mom loves me dearly, my dad sucks, and they wanted me to grow up in Suburbia. Done. But this weekend was so much more than a meet and greet. It was looking at pictures of lives I missed out on, seeing firsthand the world I would have lived in, and finally coming to peace with my own life.

I’ve spent my week contemplating the odds and ends of my situation. I understand God’s idea now. I had to grow up here. It’s not because of my temperament, because I’m not sure I would have been any less positive than I am now. It’s because if I had grown up in my hometown, I wouldn’t have met my sweetheart or found Sam Houston. The people I know now, the family I’ve planted myself in; they would all go on without me just like I would go on without them. It all had to happen, and it will continue as it should, with my bridge to both families.

However, there is still a nagging feeling to know the girl I would have been. I’ve always been a curious stickler for the details, so I can’t help but wonder. If I met her on the street would we be friends? What kind of music would she listen to? Christian, like her mother? Would she enjoy writing as much as I do? Or painting? Or even Theatre? Living in a northern Texas city, would I have a different taste in men? I admire the way they hold onto God and his precious mercy. It inspires me now, and I know it would have inspired me before. They insist I wouldn’t be as sweet as I am, but I know deep down that’s not true. I don’t know what trials I would have been through had I lived there, but it hasn’t been smooth sailing my whole life, and I’m still me. But I’ll never know. It won’t ever be answered in a final manner.

Even with the ghost of the girl lost in transition, I learned so much! Like the fact that I have 4 different types of indian in my ancestry, and my great-grandfather or uncle was a 7 ft Irishman! Now I know who to blame for my height!

Now, all I can do is get better acquainted with the other side of my family and make up for the time missed. I know I’ll go back to that flat, beautiful city, and there will be many more happy experiences with them.

My Dreams Will Be Reality

30 topic Challenge: Day 15- Your dream future!


I’m at this point in my life where I’m expected to have everything planned out….but I’m also at this point in my life where I have no idea what the heck I’m doing. Normal? Maybe? Sound like you at 19?

I could sit here and dream for hours going through the little bursts of excitement I send to my boyfriend when I think of something I want in the future. I could dream up the most spectacular, impossible future for myself (and maybe the current beaux). And, boy, would it be a fun waste of a work day! I dream of a lot of things, but I’ve also been a realist on the side. That Shelby keeps Dreamer Shelby in line. So, all future plans are within reach, and probably have somewhat of a road to get there. The catch? I have many…many….roads. This is my young adult crisis. 

At this point in life, all I want to do is travel. Why waste your life behind a desk when you have 7 Wonders and 50 Billion Nations to explore? Even domestically, every state in the US is different than its border buddies. I’d rather be well rounded through my travels than my mathematical studies. (notice how I keep bashing math in many of my posts? Do you feel my hatred yet?) My dream would be to travel and write my blog. It would be lovely if someone would pay me to do so.. 😀

But what about settling down? Kids? Family time? How will I get money? I used to adamantly support women entering the work force. I still do, to some extent. My feminist fire demands equality, but also realizes equality means a choice. Women are free to choose to stay home, and that doesn’t make them  burden on the feminist society in any way. Their rebel choice actually propels our cause and the human race forward more than someone would think. They’re paving the way for an easier, less “box-ey” working life style. One of these women will probably be me. gasps and shock everywhere! I’ve come to the conclusion that my artwork is more than just a hobby in my eyes. It’s pretty much all I want to do. I want to be like Allie from The Notebook, where she wakes up and spends her days leisurely painting. (forget painting in the nude. Too modest for that, Allie.) Then again, that was during a time when women didn’t exactly work unless they couldn’t afford being a single income family. Regardless, I’m inspired to progress my painting and writing/blogging to a new level.

Another road, and the longest in terms of preparation; becoming a theatre teacher. I haven’t exactly announced it, but I have decided to stay away from teaching for a district. I have no interest in re-entering the school system, so should I continue down this road, it will be towards a community theatre setting. This school year will test my passion for theatre and whether or not I’m willing to spend that much time producing that form of art. I still have a dear love for the stage, but I have so much more I want to spend my time with, that it might be set on the back burner for a while.

You might read this and think I’ll spend my life being poor. Or that I’ll have to marry rich. No thank you! My determination is all I need. I won’t settle for a little house or small apartment unless I begin a phase where I adore cottage-like homes. Trust me, it might happen. The big mansions aren’t really my forte either. I mean, I already have trouble decorating my apartment bedroom, and you want me to furnish 50 rooms? Are you kidding me? Who needs 10 couches? My enormous wealth will be distributed elsewhere.

Where, you ask? Horses. Ranch property. Beach property. Maybe a ranch on the beach. Oh, that would be lovely! I’ve always wanted to ride a horse down the beach! That would be my dream home. A modest, but stylish home smack dab in the center of acres full of animals, with an ocean view from my bedroom. (Take notes, boyfriend. This is your mission) My list of pets would include a few cats for the house, 2 horses for my hubby and me, a few chickens for eggs, maybe a cow, a duck, and a large dog. (Great Dane, German Shepard, I’m not picky.)

Just to sum all of my ranting up, my dream/reality future will include:

1. A living room large enough to put up a tent to camp

2. a loving husband who will stick by my through everything and support me in my stupid adventures (I think I scored already, we’ll see)

3. Everything my children will need to grow up to have a good head on their shoulders

4. A job that will not seem like a job because I will not be crushed or resent having to wake up in the morning

5. Each of my passions, whether they change or remain the same

6. many cats. Because I’m me.

7. enough space to sit outside and breathe, because I was supposed to be born in the Hippie age, but I decided to wait a few decades for whatever reason.

8. A purpose of breaking down barriers and shining, however that may be achieved.

I don’t have it figured out yet…but does anyone really? One day I’ll be in this scene I’ve just laid out, and I will sit on my porch giggling at the people who thought I couldn’t do it, and reminiscing about whatever road I took to get there.


Next: Day 16: Academics

The Troubles of Perspective

30 Topic Challenge: Day 13- A problem you have


I guess you could call me blessed. I spent my entire week thinking up a problem, with no possibilities. Until today, I was convinced this would turn into a blog post about how wonderful my life is and how I have no feasible problems to bother the internet with. But, shower times are good times, and it finally came to me amidst the steam. Who else is inspired while in the shower? I hope I’m not the only one. That would be awkward.

What is my problem? You might enjoy this. I have a problem with the little things. Like so many in the world, I’m obsessed with the tedious, insignificant, troubles in life. They really shouldn’t even be problems.

I like how Joe Rogan and Duncan Trussell put it. We’re literally on an enormous mass of rock, rocketing through pitch black nothingness at enormous speeds around this massive ball of gas. We’re small, insignificant bits of production in a single universe, and we’re worried about getting to work on time? Do you realize how terribly STUPID that is?

So this is my problem. It’s all about perspective. “Don’t sweat the small stuff” honestly has never been so true. The stress in my life is so insignificant compared to everything else around me, yet I still consider it a big deal. Forget space for a second. People are dying from hunger and exposure to the elements and I worry that I won’t have money to buy gas or new make up. I worry about deadlines and future plans and I forget the big picture.

My Love always laughs at me because I freak out over Chick Fil A closing at 9 and say we HAVE to go right now, even though it’s still 7. Life is “boom boom boom” in my eyes, but to what end? If all we worry about is the insignificant parts of life, what will we have left? All of our energy will go towards the negative and then we die.

I think my life, and the lives of many, would turn out less stressful if we all took time to reflect on where we are in life. The good things. The positives.

Life can be so simple. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t fear being 5 minutes late. Don’t cry over a home that has been used and loved. Schedules are framework, not stone works. I leave you with this quote: “Worry is praying for something you don’t want.”


Next: Your Fears. Time to meditate on the nightmares of my brain!