11.11.2018

[mistakes, i've made a few.]

in college, there were a lot of things working against me. i graduated from high school early, so i was an incoming college freshman at 16 years old. that's not the youngest ever.. i mean, i know tons of kids started college much younger than i did. it's just that on top of being so young, i had been very, very sheltered as a child. let me be more clear.. i'd been very sheltered from the outside world. so starting college at 16 AND not knowing much about anything at all, was... weird. i wasn't old enough to hang out with other students at bars and clubs so i was left on my own a lot. also, i had never even had a boyfriend before i started college so i knew absolutely nothing about boys and relationships. i started school and just focused on academics, like i had done in high school, and hung out with other students when i got the chance.

growing up, my family had been super poor. my mom got us "new" clothes at the local goodwill or community center, and the whole reason i was able to start college at all was because i qualified for a valedictorian scholarship and some grants for being poor. i also had to apply for loans to make the rest of the money for tuition. it was hard figuring out what to do for money, but i found a couple of jobs to make it work. i learned pretty early in life that no one had anything to give me, it was up to me to make ends meet.

i figured out ways to cover extra costs that would come up, like when i desperately needed new tires on my shitty car. i found out that i could go to a clinic across town and they'd pay me for my plasma. i didn't even know what plasma was, but i thought if i had extra, i could really use that 40 bucks they'd pay me for it. forty bucks got me one used (but new to me!) tire and if i waited a few days, i could donate again to get that other tire. done! easy!

when i had afternoons off from school, i'd put on my ugly polo and pleated khakis to go to work at blockbuster. on the evenings i didn't have classes, i worked at a fancy steakhouse in dallas.

when i finally graduated from college, i still didn't know what i wanted to do with my life. i got a couple of entry-level sales jobs, WHICH I HATED, but didn't feel like corporate america was right for me. i was still poor, always poor, and decided i'd try my luck as a massage therapist. my boyfriend at the time paid my tuition. it wasn't a ton of money, but it was way more than i had, and i started what i thought would be a new career. i loved massage school and was excited to start working as an independent therapist when i finished. my dreams were crushed, though, when i realized how much all the equipment that i would need was going to cost. i had nothing, and no one else to ask for help.

i overheard a fellow student at school one night talking about how she battled depression and so disability benefits paid for all of her equipment plus money to get started with her new massage business. i thought to myself, I DESERVE THAT, TOO. i mean, i was working so hard trying to start my life. i'd battled anxiety and depression, but NO ONE WAS PAYING ME FOR IT. i called the next day and scheduled an appointment with the disability office.

i was determined to take their test and answer all their questions like a severely depressed person would. i may not have been severely depressed at that moment, but i knew what it was like, and i had lived with a person MY WHOLE LIFE who was super fucked up so knew what to say and do. they asked me questions, showed me pictures and asked what i saw, and made me fill out a ton of paperwork.

AND IT WORKED.

i got the disability benefits. i was officially (as far as the government was concerned!) depressed and i was getting paid for it.

at the time this was all happening, i felt a little bad for taking advantage of the system. little did i know, and a few therapists later i would find out, i had a very fucked up childhood that would put anyone on the charts for depression and anxiety. i was lucky to have come out on the other side of it as someone wanting to work to get away from where i had come from.


11.07.2018

[happenstance.]

[originally written 2010.]

have you ever had one of those days when you're just a half-step off all day long?

you catch yourself wondering what it was you were about to say but there's nothing on the tip of your tongue.  you think maybe you forgot something... but as much as you wrack your brain there's just nothing there.  you think you misplaced something but you're not sure what it was....

you're not sure what you're waiting for exactly or where it may be coming from but you've just got a feeling in your gut that...

something. is going. to happen.

?

i've got a funny feeling.

[the depths.]

[originally written 2012.]

i signed on blogger tonight with the intention of deleting everything. the idea crossed my mind a couple of days ago... and i guess tonight just felt like the right time. you know, since it's the first day of a new year and all.

i started to feel over the last few months like this wasn't really my place anymore. life got too big, and when i contemplated writing it down here, it was overwhelming, and even scary. and maybe even like the person i am now is different from the one who wrote all of those posts sitting over there in the archive.

but then i sat down and started reading them.

my heart is in each and every one. from the post about grandmama passing away, to the one about grandpa, all the way down to the ones about mike: proposing, leaving for tour, coming home from tour, and everything in between... to my family visits, and all my rants about life in general.

i want to keep writing my life here.. even when the days are dark and i feel like there's not much hope. it's all worth recording... remembering. and then someday, if we're lucky, the sun will come out and life will again be grand, and we'll get another chance to get it right.

happy new year. here's to getting it right this time.

[swear I was born right in the doorway..]

[draft from 2014ish.]

“So you really don’t love me at all?”

“No.. No, I don’t.”

And I hoped that he believed me. I hoped I would see exactly how far I could push him before he would stop loving me back.. before he would give up, throw in the towel, call it a day…

But I never did see it.. and I never have.

He looked so sad sitting there. His arms at his sides with a look of complete bewilderment on his face.

And I did. And I do. And I will.

2.18.2016

[in and out and all around.]

we took sailor with us for our 20-week ultrasound yesterday. we wanted to give her a chance to see her baby brother on the monitor and see what she thought of the whole thing. for the most part, she was awesome...quiet and attentive, with bursts of the wiggles now and then. mike did a great job of keeping her occupied during the boring parts. as she looked up at the monitor at one point, she got a very serious look on her face and said, "does he have legs?!?!" and we told her that, yes, he does have legs and we pointed them out on the screen. when she was satisfied with seeing his legs, she asked, "does he have SHOES?!" we all laughed and said that, no, he doesn't have shoes and that we'll have to get him some when he comes out. she wasn't worried about that at all, though...she said she has a jacket and some shoes at home that he can use.

such a nice girl. already taking care of her baby brother.

this is going to be fun. 

1.01.2016

[2016.]

ringing in a new year always makes me feel compelled to say something profound about the outgoing year and something hopeful and wise about the incoming one. i don't have anything profound to say about 2015...i honestly just feel proud for having survived it, for having shared my life with a tiny human whom i taught a few things and managed to keep alive for almost three solid years now. i'm still married to my husband of 14 years and we still like each other (almost all the time, even!) and i think that's an accomplishment, too.

on the downside, i feel like i've dropped the ball in a lot of areas of life:

not that i ever had much of a social life before sailor came along, but it is completely non-existent now. by the time i get the tot to bed, all i want to do is put on sweats and think about absolutely nothing and probably watch netflix and maybe stay up until 10 if i'm feeling crazy.

i also used to write and think actual thoughts. my daughter is my full-time job now. i no longer dress up in librarian-chic clothes, put on my professer-ly glasses, and head onto campus to teach english and communication classes at the local junior college. i miss it deeply. i miss using a part of my brain that's getting dusty up on a shelf while i play play-doh and hold up my daughter's hair because she's afraid she'll pee on it when she uses the potty. i know that i'll teach again and that this time with a tiny babe at home is short-lived. i know all of that, but at the same time, i feel like i could continue to exercise that part of my brain by writing and keeping the fire burning bright somewhere in the corners of that brain that i'll hopefully one day use again.

i know i'm still a newbie mom, but i feel like i'll get to a place where i know what the hell i'm doing and can balance all parts of life again. it's a matter of time before i'm wifing, momming, teaching, writing, gardening, cooking, yogaing, and mastering all of them.... right? right.

so i guess my goal, my resolution, for 2016 is just that...balance. i want to give equal parts of focus and energy to all of the things in life that i enjoy, and to working, and most of all to myself and my family. i only have this one life and there are so many ways i want to fill it...one of those ways is right here in this little blog. so this is where i'm starting. check back in another year and a half and we'll see if i've managed to make any progress.

happy new year, other humans. make the very most of it.


8.10.2014

[18 months.]

"and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you"

e.e. cummings


Follow me on Instagram for lots of family & baby spam: http://instagram.com/holliherrera

8.09.2014

[bookworm.]

I used to read a lot... like a lot, a lot. I'd go to Barnes & Noble and peruse all the books until I had a big list of must-reads, then I'd go home and buy them on Amazon for cheap. Gone are the days of luxuriating in Barnes & Noble, though, snuggling down into one of their big welcoming chairs with my latte to read a few pages of a book to see if it sparks my interest. Now I'm lucky to squeeze in thirty minutes before bed or the rare hour during nap time when I don't have 5387425896325 other things I need to get done before I turn into a pumpkin and nap time is over. Ahhhhh, yet I wouldn't have it any other way. : )

All that being said, I've had some serious good book luck lately. Granted, I have lots of bookworm friends who recommend amazing books to me so I guess it really isn't luck, but I seem to go through periods where I just can't get into anything. Since this isn't one of those times, I thought I'd pass on some titles in case you're going through a book drought of your own.

Most recently, I read The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer. It's the story of a group of kids who met at camp one summer and follows them through their lives. It made me nostalgic for being a teenager, and summer, and for a group of friends I never even had. 5 stars.


Before that, I loved This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper. Dark humor at its finest- I loved every second of this book. I've heard it will be released on the big screen sometime this year and I can't wait to see it. 5 stars.

Last but not least, The Goldfinch by Donna Tarrt, was so beautifully written I read it slowly and hoped it wouldn't end. I reviewed it in a previous post, and I know a lot of people felt differently about this book, but I truly loved it. 5 stars. 

Anyway, just a quick book post. Sailor's ready for my undivided attention so adiĆ³s! 

4.14.2014

[the goldfinch.]

The Goldfinch

rating5 of 5 stars
bookshelvesread
statusRead from January 14 to March 28, 2014
formatHardcover (edit)
reviewI really, really enjoyed this book. I think The Little Friend was such a huge disappointment to me after The Secret History that this came as a huge relief. The story may have been slow at times, but there was something about it that kept me intrigued. Also, Tartt's writing is captivating. She really knows how to craft sentences and string them together in just the best kind of way. I highlighted so many entries and went back and read them all when I had finished the book.

I don't want to build it up too much- it was no Secret History. I think you have to be in the right frame of mind to stick with the story, but it was what I needed to read right now, at this moment in time, and I'm so glad that I did.