{FAMILY} Epic Quotes From My Angsty Teen Years

My closest friends and family roll their eyes at me whenever I share a story and say that it ‘happened in grade 9’. They claim that everything I talk about ‘happened in grade 9’. They mock me, but it really was a monumental time in my teen years.

Grade 9 was the year that I fell into a full-blown stage of teen angst. That stage when you hate your parents, your boy crush doesn’t know you exist, your friends are your world, and your self confidence is at an all-time low. You’re consumed by how much your life sucks, and how no one understands you. You’d do anything to fit in, and you long for nothing more than to find yourself.

Grade 9 was a long long time ago for me now, but some of these quotes, shows, songs and moments, will stick with me forever. Because these moments – these epic quotes from my angsty teen years – bring me right back to grade 9. And they remind me of my ‘so called life’ as a teen.

My So Called Life

Long before she played Carrie in Homeland, Claire Danes epitomized my teen self in what will always remain my favourite 90s show of all time – My So Called Life. Swoon-worthy scenes of Jordan Catalano – his perfect coif grazing the brow of his crystal blue eyes as he pulled on Angela’s heartstrings (and ours). One does not get over Jordan Catalano. Not ever.

my-so-called-life-j-leto-and-claire-danes

Ugh, she tried to play it so cool in this scene. Poor, poor girl.

The Cranberries

To this day, whenever I hear an old song by The Cranberries, I am immediately transported to my best friend’s bedroom, where we used to sit together and cry as we sang along to the angsty lyrics of songs like Linger and Zombie.

I’m sure our parents just loved our off-key whining at all hours of the night.

teen angst

Pulp Fiction

The entire soundtrack from Pulp Fiction brings me back to the early 90s – everyone had the soundtrack – and I played this CD on repeat (yes, I said CD). Tarantino was a movie producing superstar – responsible for not only Pulp Fiction, but also Reservoir Dogs, and Natural Born Killers. There are so many great quotes that I could pull from this movie, but this one summarizes the teen rebel that I thought I was at the time.

teen angst

Clueless

While I thought I knew everything, I was completely and utterly clueless. And this quote was basically the worst insult you could possibly give to a clueless, emotional, angsty teenaged girl like me at the time.

teen angst

Reality Bites

Winona Ryder pretty much owned the 90s.

teen angst

And so did this movie.

Lisa Loeb

That little black dress, those thick-rimmed glasses and those lyrics! Nothing got me through my make-believe heart break like Lisa’s words in her chart-topping hit Stay.

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90210

The real Beverly Hills 90210. So many epic scenes and memorable moments, but none like this one. My best friend and I still reenact this scene from time to time.

Wait for it…

Brenda: “I was always taught that if it looks like a duck, and walks like a duck..”

Kelly: “Go to hell!” (storms out)

EPIC!

Do you have any epic shows, songs, scenes or quotes from your teen years that you want to share?

Adoption: Telling My Kids That I’m An Adoptee

I’ve been very open about my experiences as an adoptee. I’ve shared my story of how an ad in a newspaper led to my adoption. I’ve shared the story of my unexpected reunion with my biological father, and what happened when I discussed adoption with my eldest when she was five. But while I’ve been candid with my friends and followers about my stories of adoption, I haven’t been so open and honest with my children.

My mom used to dance around the subject of adoption when talking to strangers. “Oh, her father was African” she would say when confronted about my ethnicity. I didn’t really understand why, and at times, I felt as though she was ashamed of where I had come from. I know now that she did it out of love. To her, I was her daughter, and how that came to be wasn’t anyone else’s business. But we didn’t look alike, and our differing appearances prompted questions.

Why I Waited To Tell Them

I had always believed that I would be open and honest with my children about my past and where I came from, right from the beginning. After all, adoption is part of who I am and how I came to be. But when I became a mother, I hesitated. While I had discussed adoption with my daughter, I had refrained from sharing my own experience with her. I thought maybe she was too young to understand.

But I soon realized that my hesitation was about more than my child’s maturity. I was worried that knowing that her mom was adopted would somehow devalue her relationship with her grandparents. I was worried about the questions she would ask, and that she wouldn’t understand why my biological parents had given me up. I was worried that she would think that we would give her up for adoption if she did something wrong. For so many reasons I was afraid to tell her that I was adopted, so I didn’t. Until last night.

My mom had recently asked me if I had told my oldest that I was adopted, and suggested that I tell her before she hears it from somewhere else. She had a point – I definitely wanted to be the one to tell her, but how? When would be the right time?

The Conversation

Last night as I was eating dinner alone with my kids, I bit the bullet and started the conversation. “Do you know what birth parents are?” I asked my eldest. “Yes, parents who made the child. (My friend) was adopted and showed me a picture of her birth father the other day,” she responded, and took another bite of her dinner. “Well, I’m not sure if you know this, but I didn’t come out of Nana’s tummy like you and your brother came out of my tummy. I was adopted…” I began. I took a deep breath and paused, awaiting her reaction. She looked at me wide-eyed and waited for me to continue.

“Nana and Papa adopted me, and they are my parents. They love me just as much as I love you, and they are very special people because they chose to adopt me,” I continued. She didn’t seem phased by this new information. “They have adopted you and your sister and brother, right? They must be special to adopt so many kids.” she said casually.

“Do you have any questions about it?” I asked, expecting a slew of difficult and complicated questions to come from my inquisitive little girl.

“Yes.” she proclaimed, and took a deep breath.

“What were your birth parents’ names?” she asked. I told her.

“And, if you were very young when you were adopted, how did you get your milk?” she asked. This prompted a short discussion about breast milk and formula, and how some mommies are unable to feed their babies with their breasts. She seemed to understand my explanation and moved on to her next question.

“Did you ever meet your birth parents?” she asked. I told her that I had reunited with my birth father awhile ago, but that he had unexpectedly passed away.

“Can I see a picture of your birth parents?” she asked. I told her that I had some photos, and that I would share them with her one day, but not today.

And with that, she seemed satisfied with the discussion and answers I had provided, and changed the topic of conversation. And that was it.

I feel a sense of relief knowing that I am no longer keeping a secret from my big girl. She now knows, and she doesn’t seem to be affected by the news of my adoption. I will continue to check in with her to make sure that she doesn’t have any questions, but am so happy to have finally opened up to her about my past.

And I will tell my other children as well, in time. When they are old enough to understand.

adoption quote

 

 

Mixed Babies: What Will Baby #3 Look Like?

Between my husband and I, we cover 6 nationalities – Trinidadian and English (him), and Macedonian, Irish, African, and German (me).

us

With so many ethnicities under our skin, the possibilities are endless when it comes to what our babies will look like. When I was pregnant with my first, I assumed that our darker genes would dominate and we’d have cute little light brown, afro-donning babies.  To my surprise, my first born was peach-skinned with dark wavy tresses.

Our first born, Emma (3 months):

her

 

With our second child, I assumed that his physical appearance would mimic that of our first, but we were again surprised by the unpredictable results of nature, and he came out with bright orange locks and pale pink skin. My little bit of Irish snuck through and presented itself in his cute little ‘do.

Gavin (at 3 months):

him

 

With baby #3 on the way, I’m left to wonder what this one will look like! I’ve learned my lesson and will not make any assumptions, but wouldn’t it be cute if she came out completely different again – perhaps dark olive skin with blond curls and green eyes? We will of course love her no matter what she looks like, but one fun thing about waiting for the arrival of a new baby is wondering what his/her face will look like. Two more weeks until we see her cute little face!

Were you surprised when you first laid eyes on your baby? Did he/she look like you/your partner?

 

I Just Blogged A Little In My Mouth

I’ve been thinking about my journey as a writer a lot lately. Where my journey began, why I love it, what motivates me to write, and where I want my writing to take me.

Before The Blog

When I was six years old, I wrote my first book. I remember stapling together a stack of lined paper, and wrapping it securely in a folded piece of cardboard. I had found a piece of burgundy velvet, and had glued it to the cardboard cover. I remember thinking it made the book look mysterious and exotic. I filled the book with stories and colourful drawings of a character named Garbanzo, each page neatly numbered, and each chapter cleverly titled. I cherished that book and was proud of its contents.

Throughout my childhood I journaled daily. I filled diaries with my thoughts, fears, dreams, secrets and desires. Writing was how I coped with teen angst, secret crushes, quarrels with friends, insecurities, and frustrations with parents. It was my outlet – a way to clear my head.

I remember writing my grade 12 final exam. While my grades had been average throughout my final year of high school, I had received such a high grade on my final exam essay that my English teacher had double-checked my paper. He was convinced that an error had been made.

When I went to University, I was convinced that I wanted to be a Child Psychologist, so my first two years of study were focused on Psychology and Sociology. But what I soon realized was that I was only excited about what I was learning when I had the opportunity to put my thoughts down on paper. I received the highest grades and more thoroughly enjoyed assignments that required essay writing. In my third year, I switched my focus to English Literature and obtained my BA Degree.

I Just Blogged A Little In My Mouth

As I moved through various careers (editing for a teen magazine, teaching English as a second language, and more recently, marketing and business development roles), I felt as though something was missing. I had stopped journaling and missed writing. I realized that I was frequently sharing stories (whether people wanted to hear them or not). I was thinking about writing ALL THE TIME – in the shower, as I fell asleep, any waking moment when I had a few moments alone with my thoughts.

I wanted to write again – to document my thoughts and let my creative juices flow – but I didn’t know where to begin. After a few popular Facebook posts and conversations with friends, I was convinced: I needed to start a blog.

The name came to me quickly, and after a few Google searches, I had my platform set up and ready to go. And then…I wrote. Words spewed out of my fingertips and across my computer screen. I wrote until my fingers hurt. I didn’t edit, I didn’t proof read, I just wrote. I was quickly transformed into a blogaholic, and it felt good.

Blog Quote

 What’s Next?

I want to step outside the blog world and expand my writing to other platforms. I want to continue to write freelance articles on topics that require research and creativity – that challenge me to write beyond the confines of my own thoughts. I dream of one day writing and publishing a novel – of hiding away in a bungalow in a small town in Greece like Leonard Cohen, and writing until my book is complete. I aspire to write a column for a newspaper or magazine, and to make a living through my passion. I want to continue to write, until I become a kick-ass writer. For as long as the passion flows through my veins, I will write.

 

When The Heart Stops: My Experience With Pregnancy Loss

FINDING OUT…

I woke up with butterflies in my stomach.

After 15 weeks of pregnancy, I was going to find out the gender of baby #3. I’m lucky enough to have a friend who works as a sonographer, and as with my previous two pregnancies, she had agreed to sneak me in for a peek and a gender assessment.

I had decided to go alone so that we could be discreet about my unofficial visit. My friend greeted me with hugs and walked me into the room where she squeezed the warm jelly onto my slightly protruding belly, and turned her face towards the glowing screen.

“Oh Bianca.” she said immediately. Her smile dropped and her face paled.

I thought to myself, I don’t care if it’s a girl or a boy. I’m happy no matter what it is. Why does she look so upset?

She scanned a bit more, moved and paused. Moved and paused again.

“Bianca. There’s no heartbeat.” she said.

Stunned, I asked if she was sure. How could this be? I had gone through two official ultrasounds, the blood tests went perfectly and I had just been to the doctor two weeks ago and was measuring right on track.

She showed me where the beating heart was supposed to be. She switched the view so we could see the blood flow – nothing lit up around the image of the small fetus.

In complete shock, not fully comprehending what had just happened, I quickly hugged her and left.

When I climbed into my car, I began to cry. Tears streamed down my face as I called my husband to let him know. I called my parents, and then unable to speak through the sobs, I texted my best friend with the sad news. I sat and wept for what felt like hours, and then turned on my car to head home.

When I started the car, this song was playing, and it hit me to my core.

Earlier that day my 6 year old daughter and I had gone to the store to buy blue and pink balloons – props for the big reveal. I knew that my kids were waiting with bated breath for me to come home and let them know what their new baby would be.

When I told her the sad news, she cried. “Why do babies die? Where is it now? Has this ever happened to anyone else? Can’t you put another one in there?” – the questions kept coming, and I felt her innocence slowly slipping away.

WHAT HAPPENED NEXT…

The next morning I went in to see my doctor. She quickly used a Doppler to check for a heartbeat, and then rushed around booking appointments and sent me off to the hospital.

When I arrived, I was rushed in for an ultrasound where an ultrasound tech, and then a radiologist slowly inspected the images – measuring, noting and scanning intently. It was confirmed officially, the baby no longer had a heartbeat.

I was then sent up to Emergency where the doctor on call walked me through my 3 options. I could:

1) wait and try to pass the baby naturally. NO THANKS.

2) have the hospital administer some medication that would induce a miscarriage, and stay at the hospital until the baby passed naturally. NOPE.

3) have surgery to remove the fetus from my body. OK.

Because I was in my second trimester, I was too far along to have a D&C (the most common procedure for miscarriages that occur in 13 weeks of pregnancy or earlier). I was to have a D&E, a more invasive surgery that is used for women who are later in pregnancy.

THE SURGERY…

That night the doctor inserted some algae sticks that are used to naturally dilate the cervix, necessary for prepping my body for surgery. The procedure was quick, but very painful, and the cramps that followed rivalled those of labour pains.

The next morning I went in again for the insertion of more algae sticks. I now had 5 in my body, and the cramps only strengthened. When I went in for surgery that night, I was scared. I had never had a general anesthetic, and I was worried about the complications that could arise.The surgery itself went well, but I had abnormal levels of excess bleeding and was scheduled to spend the night at the hospital. I was lined up for a possible blood transfusion as my hemoglobin levels were terribly low (they were supposed to be at 140, but were only at 86). After some rest, fluids, and crackers, I was sent home. I’m weak, dizzy, and woozy, but happy that it’s over. I will heal, both emotionally and physically, and will only become stronger through what I have experienced.

WHY BLOG ABOUT IT?I wanted to share my story for a couple of reasons:

1) pregnancy loss and miscarriage is more common than I had known, but many women don’t like to talk about it. Nothing has been more helpful for me than to talk through it with my friends who had experienced the same things as well, and I encourage more women to do the same. There’s nothing stronger than a support system in times of need.

2) It’s tough to have to tell people in person when you’re going through such a devastating loss. Everyone I know (both in real life and through social media) knew about the pregnancy, and I feel as though writing about it is healing and a good way to spread the word without having to say the words.

Thanks for listening, and I’d love to hear your stories too if you’re willing to share  your experiences.

Coming Out

ON COMING OUT (AS A BLOGGER)

It’s been just over a year since my very first blog post. When I first made the decision to start a blog, I was a bit (ok, a lot) shy about it. Everything associated with my blog – the name, the associated Twitter and Instagram accounts, and even the email account, were all under my alias “Bits of Bee”. With the exception of a few friends, no one knew that I was actively blogging, not even my parents.

It wasn’t until I was recognized as a Top 30 Vancouver Mom Blogger by Vancouver Mom that I allowed for my two worlds to merge. I had to give my name and a short blurb on who I was for the nominees page, and I knew this would be the turning point – that this would “out” me. I tried to be discreet about it. I hesitantly mentioned my nomination on Facebook, and tweeted only once or twice during the voting period, and I think my friends and family were a little confused – what’s a blog, and what does it have to do with Bianca?

Once my name was out, I decided to embrace it. I updated my “About Me” page with a little more personal information. I started to send links to my blog posts through my personal Facebook page. People started to ask me about it, and comment about my blog to me in person.

Then, and even now, I find it awkward to discuss my blog in person with coworkers, friends and family. I feel like my blog world is a completely separate world, where I don’t have to worry about talking out of turn, or minding what I say, or being judged for the words that come out of my mouth. I can write freely, and if people don’t want to read what I have to say, they don’t have to. I can nurture my love for writing without being judged, and I can do it on my own schedule, with my own parameters.

But I’ve also grown to love the engagement as well. Nothing thrills me more than to see that I’ve had new readers stumble upon my little blog. And I love discovering other blog moms with the same love for writing and photography and family as myself. This little blog community is welcoming, rewarding, and completely worth joining, and I am so thankful for all of the connections I’ve made in the process.

Here I am, Bianca, the person behind Bits of Bee
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BLOG REBIRTH

Now that I’m out, I’ve decided to make a few changes. I want to focus more on what people would be interested in reading about. I want to share ADVICE. QUOTES. ANECDOTES. I want to continue to weave in personal stories about my life as an adoptee, and to share photos and ideas of my journey through this wild and precious life I lead. I hope that you’ll stick with me, and share your thoughts and ideas as well.

Thank you to those of you who have followed me over the past year (and then some). And welcome to those of you who are reading my blog for the very first time.

For fun, I’ll leave you with some of my most popular posts:

On embracing your Mama’s Bits

My comparison of Big Macs & Babies
Life from my dog’s perspective  “Do These Spots Make My Ass Look Fat?”

Some thoughts on Why I Would Make A Kick Ass Cop

My experience with Discussing Adoption With My Five Year Old

And my question to you all: WTF Is A Wiggle?

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

I have to confess that I have a bit of a problem. I change my hair, love it, and then get bored of that hairstyle and drastically change it up again. I can walk into the office with long straight hair one day, and then stroll in the next day with an inch-long cropped do. The thing is, I’ve never had that dramatic haircutting experience where a girl runs home in tears terrified by the results, feeling like she’s lost herself in a bad haircut. For me, it’s just hair. Why not make it fun, and if it doesn’t work out, hey, it’ll always grow back!
These are just a sneak peak at the hairdos I’ve sported over the years – I’ve also expirimented with different colours (but those dos were before digital cameras and blog posts).
Which one do you like best?

Adoption: How I Met My Father

“I’m here and available if you can forgive me enough to communicate.”

It was a fluke that I had even received the email. It had automatically gone to my junk mail folder, which I usually delete without looking at its contents. But on that day, something made me look, and there it was. At 32, I had been found and contacted by my biological father.

I was adopted at the age of 5 by the woman who had been taking care of me off and on for years (for the full adoption story – click here). I grew up believing that a loving environment was far more important than biological ties, that while people often repeated the saying “blood is thicker than water”, I believed that a loving bond could trump it all (and I still do).

I grew up without knowing what it was like to have someone’s eyes, to inherit a personality trait from a parent, to share the same physical features as a sibling. I was a biracial girl (African, Macedonian, Irish, German) with Caucasian parents. I was raised as an only child. My family life was perfect in every way, so perfect that I had no interest in trying to find my biological parents. I had known some of the story, had accepted the reality of my situation, and had settled into a kind and loving family. But receiving the email made me curious. I had to know where I came from.

“I have never felt resentment towards you and am thankful for the decision you made to do what you thought was best for me. I’ve had a wonderful life and was raised by the most loving family a child could ask for. That being said, I have always been curious about who you are and where I come from, so I’d love to get to know each other by email if that’s alright with you. I’m sure we both have a lot of questions for each other. Thank you for thinking of me and for feeling ready to reach out to me after all these years.”

My adopted parents welcomed the idea and thought it was important for me to reach out to him to learn more about my biological background. The story of why he had made the decision to give me up, and how he has lived with the decision he had made is a long and complicated one, but we have been emailing each other every day since (for over a year now). We have had 5 visits in person and have started our own unique relationship.

I’m grown up now. I have my own family and have a solid and secure extended family. My life is complete, which is maybe why the decision to welcome this new person from the past back into my life was an easy one. I have no expectations and he has been very understanding, leaving me with the power to decide how far we take this newfound friendship.

I have a unique family – loving adopted parents, 2 step siblings, 2 foster siblings from equally complicated backgrounds, and a large extended family on both sides. But I’m not out of love to give, and I always keep an open mind.

To now know my biological background and history, to have someone in my life who looks like me, who has the same interests and personality traits as I do is exciting and new. I will definitely keep him in my life, although I’m still figuring out how far I’d like to take our relationship. He will never replace the father who raised me, but will always be the one who made me.

Death By Chocolate

When I was in grade  8, I started to get sick. Daily. It would start with blurred vision, which would blind me to the point of not being able to see faces, or words on pages. Then it would evolve into a state of unbearable nausea, followed by vomiting and a pouding headache – both which would last for 2-3 days. Most times I would end up in the hopsital for dehydration. Then it would start back up all over again.
After about a month, my doctor recommended that I see a neurologist for some testing (no, it was not psychological, it was for allergies). They drew blood and tested me for every allergy on the list. The outcome: it was determined that I was allergic to chocolate, resulting in severe migraines – the kind they had only ever seen in adults.
The solution: they told me that as long as I refrained from eating chocolate, I would no longer experience these regular bouts of sickness. They might as well have told me that I was dying. To hear this news, as a chocolate lover, was devastating.
Since then, I’ve been very careful not to ingest the heavenly cocoa. Yes, there have been a few times where I’ve tried a little sample, attempted to test my allergy in hopes of it having passed, but with no success. One chocolate chip and I was back in the hospital, following 3 days of unbearable torture.
I’ve come to terms with it now – the fact that I will never again enjoy the pleasure of an After Eight mint melting on my tongue. I will never again enjoy the satisfaction of overdosing on Halloween chocolates or Easter eggs. I will never again participate in the daily joys of a December advent calendar, or a warm hot chocolate by the fire. No more chocolate puddings or Turtles treats.
I will never forget the taste of my beloved chocolate. The cravings still come, and they are left unfulfilled. A part of me died the day I was told my life with chocolate had come to a screeching halt. And that is why, my friends, I have truly experienced – death. by. chocolate.

The Story Behind The Picture

I remember the day so clearly. I was a new mommy basking in the warm sun in my backyard with my 4-month-old baby girl. We were lying together on a blanket, and I snapped photo after photo of her latest milestone – holding her head up while lying on her tummy. I mimicked her position, propped myself on the ground in front of her cherubic little face, and snapped this beauty of a shot.
As I snapped this photo I glanced over at the grass beside me. Looking at it from this perspective made the grass seem so clear, each blade stood out prominently, bright like the peel of a ripe lime. I placed my cheek on the cool grass and looked at my little girl, only half of my face peeking out over the green surface. She let out a little giggle. “I wonder what a picture would look like from her perspective?” I thought to myself. I turned the camera on myself, and this is what I got:
When I made the decision to start a blog, I came up with the title Bits of Bee because I thought each post could show only bits and pieces of who I am. The more you read, the more you learn about the Bee that is me!
Wanna know what the rest of me looks like? Check out my newly added About Bee page!