You know how you and the other members of your family have a sort of unspoken agreement that everyone acknowledges, to see which branch of the family tree will reach the farthest? Well maybe it’s just my family; hell, maybe it’s just me, but either way I’m the second-oldest of my grandparent’s grandchildren, and I’ll be the second one to graduate from college. However, the one graduating before me is my younger cousin—the third oldest of the grandchildren. Now it’s hard not to be bitter, especially considering that I am just one semester away from graduation (not including the hours I’m taking this summer). I am unspeakably proud of my cousin, whose name is Ally by the way. I still wish I could have been first, simply because I never get to be first at anything. I have my older sister to thank for that, but she never went to college, so I really could have been first, but I ended up having to take a year off while my husband was deployed to Afghanistan because I was such a damn wreck without him. I did try to take classes the fall after he left, but I had to get a medical withdrawal because I would have failed out and lost my scholarship money. It is for that reason alone that I am not the first of my grandparent’s grandchildren to graduate, and I’m kicking myself for it now. Especially since my mom and her kids (myself included) have always been the rejects so to speak. don’t get me wrong, my family is wonderful and I love everyone in it, but if you compare my immediate family to the ones of my grandparent’s other two children who are still living to what is considered “good” or “acceptable” overall, we’d cone in dead last. My mom is the only one of her siblings who was never married, yet she has the most children and we all have different dads. Not to speak down about my mom, she is my hero, but I know a lot of people probably disagree with a lot of the choices she has made. My sister is pregnant with her fourth child and she is still legally married, but she is also engaged to the father of her third and fourth children (childs?). My little brother doesn’t know how to behave in any situation public or private. He repulses and repels anyone he meets. I will be utterly amazed if he gets into a college or university, let alone completes a degree of any kind. I have always been the smart one I guess you could say. With the exception of a few awkward years during my adolescence when I was first diagnosed with ADHD, and my medication dosage was being figured out, I have always done well with academics. Reason being that at an early age, my mother made it clear to me that if I didn’t do well in school and earn some kind of scholarship, we’d have no way of funding my education. My scholastic career is marked with certificates of achievement, president’s list memberships, honors and T.A.G. classes, and standardized test scores that are off the charts. I don’t mean to brag, I’m just trying to stress how important school has always been to me: it is my way out, my only way out. I don’t want to live in government housing and depend on of food stamps to feed myself and my children. But I digress. What I’m trying to get at here is that I think I give my mom and the rest of my family plenty of reasons to be proud of me, and deep down I know that they are, but they don’t always show it as much as I wish they would. Especially when it’s all starting to wear me down and I’m doubting if I’m capable of doing all that my professors ask of me. When I was younger (until last July) I was a smoker, so that was all I’d ever hear about: “when are you gonna quit smoking?” When I wasn’t being nagged about that, it would be the tattoos and the piercings or just my style in general (including my haircut). I’ll never forget the time my grandma looked me strait in the face and almost began to cry as she asked me why I don’t love myself! She based her decision that I don’t love myself on the fact that I like having my face pierced. We just have irreconcilable opinions of beauty. Now that I’m a bit older and married, many of my piercings have been allowed to close up, and my hair has grown out, and I even quit smoking. But now I’m getting fat (as I’ve mentioned in previous posts). I have yet to go on a single run, despite having an overflowing motivation meter. Every time I see a part of my body exposed, I am repulsed. I can’t stand it. Every time I try to put on a pair of shorts or something that I haven’t worn in a while only to find that I am no longer able to get it up over my fat ass, let alone fastened. I cannot tell you how much I hate my body this way. I cringe at the thought of running into an old friend whom I haven’t seen in a while, because I know that as they walk away they will be thinking wow, she sure got fat! I can’t take it anymore. My biggest hope is that I will be able to whip my ass into shape this summer during term A of summer classes because I won’t be working, and I’ll only have two classes. I should have more free time and more energy and I just pray that I’ll see enough of a result by the end of A term that I am encouraged to continue exercising. Hopefully, by the time I graduate in December, I’ll be in the best shape of my life!