A Letter To The Teen Who’s Experimenting With Drugs.

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Hey there you little rebel you. How’s it going? So listen – I know you don’t know me, which probably makes it super creepy that I’m writing to you, but I’ve got some pretty important stuff to tell you, so you gotta hear me out.

I can tell you – from experience – that being a teen is tough.  School, relationships, mid term tests, and your naggy, annoying parents (ugh-parents are the worst aren’t they?). Right now you are in the process of trying to figure out who you are and where you fit in, and you are probably learning that it is much more fun to be rebellious, than to be a goody two -shoes and follow all the rules, (boooooooring.)

Peer pressure is a powerful force at your age, and the desire to be liked and fit in with the “cool kids” has led you to experiment with drugs. (How do I know? I’m a mom-we know everything)

This is why I’m writing to you. 

I know that you have been smoking some grass, (Gonja? Green? What are you kids calling it these days?), and chances are – you enjoy it.  It makes you laugh uncontrollably and have the appetite of an NFL player. You are probably stuffing your face with Cheetos and watching a documentary about Zebras in amazement, as we speak. I get it, your peers are doing it, and it sure as hell beats sitting at home listening to your Mom complain about how dirty your freakin bedroom is.  But I’m here to drop a knowledge bomb on you real quick. And if you are wondering just who the hell I think I am to lecture you – let’s just say, I’m an expert in the field of…Ahem…your newfound “hobby”.

See I know something you are unaware of.  I know what comes next. The part that no one thinks of when they make the decision to try a drug for the first time.

If you do a drug, there is a very good chance that your body -your physical body – will get addicted to it.  You are probably saying to yourself “No way stranger lady, you don’t even know me, I’m strong-I would never let that happen.” And I am here to tell you – You. Are. Wrong.  I know, because it happened to me. (Also, it’s a scientific fact that if you do a drug enough your body will become addicted so…… booyah)

Once your body becomes addicted, it will rely on that drug to function properly, if your body doesn’t continue to receive doses of that drug, it will rebel in ways you can’t even begin to comprehend.  Imagine the worst flu you’ve ever experienced.  Your mommy was probably sitting at the edge of your bed, petting your head and hand feeding you soup with a spoon.  You probably had to stay home from school because you felt terrible and couldn’t “bear” to sit in class feeling the way you did.

Now multiply that feeling by 300, and while your at it-go ahead and hit yourself in your arms and legs with a hammer a few times.  Now imagine being drenched in sweat, your body temp 104 degrees, yet you are freezing as if standing in an igloo.  Now picture sitting on the toilet for hours with a bucket in front of you as your body attempts to empty the poison from within it – you still aren’t even close to imagining what withdrawal feels like.

This feeling of withdrawal is so powerful, that you will do just about anything to avoid it.  This means, that you will need money to buy more of the drugs to avoid feeling sick.  What happens if you don’t have the money? Good question – you have a few options here.  But the 2 quickest and most common ways are: 1) Lie to and con your loved ones into giving you the money or 2) Taking it without their knowledge.

You are probably shaking your head as you read this saying “No way, I would never do that to my family.” But guess what? You have never experienced withdrawal. You can’t possible have an idea of what you would do in that amount of physical and mental anguish.

Aside from the physical pain – the drug also affects your brain.  Basically what happens is – the addiction climbs up into your mind and hi-jacks it. It grabs on to the steering wheel and starts controlling your every thought, and your every move.  Addiction makes you do unimaginable things, things you never knew you were capable of.  It will turn you into a liar, a thief, and a criminal.  Contrary to popular belief – being a criminal sucks. It makes it incredibly difficult to get a job or own a home, as employers and realtors generally frown upon criminal history.

Anyway, listen, If someone had written me a letter similar to this, I might have taken a different path.  I may have avoided going to jail, living at a rehab facility, losing countless jobs, and destroying relationships with my loved ones .  I might have gone to college, I would most likely have a career by now -making money, owning a home, and going on vacations- but I didn’t know. I am a 31 year old waitress who is only just beginning to live her life. I spent 10 years lost in the fog of addiction, 10 years I can never get back.  It seemed fun, I wanted to feel different, I wanted to fit in and temporarily escape. I had no idea what I was getting into, and It cost my everything.

I pray you will take my advice (which, you may not, because sometimes we have to learn thing the hard way) however if you chose not to, I want you to at least take a break from googling cat videos on Youtube for a second, and spend some time educating yourself about the realities of drug use and addiction……  It may just save your life.

Sincerely,

The girl who learned the hard way.

P.s. Be nice to your parents, they aren’t going to be around forever….

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So, This Happened.

My Husband is watching basketball, and I am bored – so I’ve decided to take this opportunity to tell you all a quick, very embarrassing story.  The main reason I am writing this, is because if I appear to be busy typing something important, my husband won’t make me watch basketball with him….shhhhh….

Anyway, the year was 2008-ish.  Social media then, was nothing like it is now.  It had only just begun to take off, people still did things and lived their lives around that time.  So, here’s the deal, I had gone to Victoria’s Secret that morning, because I hadn’t updated my underwear style since 7th grade.  I was around 23 and lived with my boyfriend, so I figured it would be nice if he happened to catch glimpses of cute lacey little undies, instead of my regular Ninja Turtle granny panties.

When I got home from the mall, I went into my room to check out my new stuff.  I had been home alone and decided what the hell-let me try some of these bad boys on.  I modeled my new stuff in the mirror, and the idea hit me out of nowhere – I should take cute pics in them and send them to my man.  I never did stuff like that, so I decided I probably should, you know – to keep the spark alive.

Anywho, I put my camera on a self timer and began posing as it snapped the pics,. Like seriously, there was a second there where I thought I was on the Victoria’s Secret Runway, I was not messin around.

Once I was satisfied with the 600 pictures I had taken, I decided to download a picture editing app to make them look fancy by adding filters and what not. Keep in mind this was all new to me, but I was fascinated that the ability to edit pictures myself was a reality.  So I open my Appstore and type in “Picture Editor.” The very top one had an icon of a little camera.  Awesome.  I downloaded it, and accepted all their random terms and conditions quickly so I could get down to business with editing.  I began uploading the photos I liked to alter them into sexy little masterpieces.  I made some black and white, some were sepia and others had a beautiful vignette around the outer edges. I don’t want to bragggg but – they looked awesome.  Once I finished, I changed back into my normal clothes and went outside to smoke a cigarette – (yes I smoked back then, and photoshoots are exhausting, I needed a break.)

I stubbed the cigarette out into the ashtray and went back inside and I immediately noticed my phone was lighting up with a new text.  It was from my sister in New York.  The subject line had a question mark, so I plopped down on the couch to see what it was all about.  I expanded her text – and almost s*** my pants. My jaw hit the floor and I immediately began sweating profusely.

It was a picture…of my ass….that I had just taken 15 minutes before….

What? Huh? How? Kill me.  I called her immediately to ask how she got it.  I asked how the hell she snuck into my damn house without me knowing and how long she had been there. She informed me that her male coworker had brought it to her attention….Whattttttt?

I asked her how the hell he got that photo as I began searching my home for hidden cameras.  Once she explained to me what had happened, I wanted to dig a hole, crawl into it- never to emerge again.

FunFact: Instagram is not a photo editing app.  Another Fun Fact: It is imperative that you read the terms and conditions before accepting them, or you may just end up linking your Facebook to your Instagram.  If you follow this advice, you may just avoid giving your male 10th grade social studies teacher, your boyfriends mom and your grandma a front row seat to your personal peep show.

It took me 45 minutes to figure out how to get the pictures off and delete the app. FML.

The End.

120 Days In-My Time In Jail. Chapter #5

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish.
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

120 Days In-My Time In Jail. Chapter #4

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish.
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

“Attitude of Bratitude”

Today was one of those days. You know the days-where the universe is conspiring against you, and you decide to throw a party, of the pity variety. It’s only 9:30, and everything that could go wrong, has.

I woke up to find that my sweet baby girl had turned her crib into a life sized toilet bowl. The smell is what initially awoke me from my delightful slumber. The aroma of baby poo wafted about the room until it reached my nostrils, engaging my mom brain into the ‘on’ position. I jumped out of bed and was met with the sight I can only describe as a crime scene. I wanted to cry, however since that would only prolong this experience, further spreading the mess as she twisted and cried, I sprung into action. I ran to the bathtub and tossed her in.  Well, I set her in it. I got her all cleaned up and changed. It’s now 8:00 am. My son heard the commotion and woke up screaming, demanding to be held. I however now needed a shower before I could touch him.

I showered quickly and held him for a split second, until the realization that my landlord was coming in 3 hours to show our house suddenly popped into my head-at which point panic took over. I yelled “Aubrey!” at the top of my lungs and she came running out of her room with a look of terror on her face. “What?!” she said to me, surveying the room for blood, a choking baby, or whatever else could have caused my random outburst. I just stared at her for a second. I honestly have no clue why I screamed her name. Apparently my brain decided she needed to be present for my panic attack for some reason.

I quickly dressed everyone, poured some dry cereal into ziplock baggies and loaded everyone into the car. I had plans to make pancakes this morning, however due to unforeseen circumstances, that s**t was not happening.

On the drive to take Kaiden to school, I hit every red light. I am fairly certain that those lights had a meeting that morning and were like “Okay guys, Tiffs gonna be leaving her house in about 20 mins.  We gotta make sure we all turn red the minute she approaches, its gonna be hilarious, she’s gonna be all ‘ahhh, eff my life’-pounding the steering wheel and stuff, its gonna be great, lets go.”

Anyway I dropped Kaiden off and headed home, I realized I needed gas or else Aubrey and I were gonna have to push the car down the road while Chloe steered. I put my credit card into the machine at the pump and the words I dreaded most appeared across the across the screen- “Please see cashier.” Had my children not been in the car I would have set that place on fire.  Instead I unloaded both of them and hauled them inside. Apparently that machine was broken, so I moved my car,  I got the gas and headed home.

I put the T.V. on for Aub and set Chloe down for a nap so that I could begin the daunting task of getting this place spotless in under an hour. All Aubrey saw was flashes of brown hair and pajamas as I whipped past her. I ran the length of the living room with my finger on the trigger as I emptied an entire bottle of Febreeze into the air. 45 minutes, 2 cups of coffee and a few curse words later, I finished the job.

I collapsed on the coach and pulled out my phone to check the time. I had received a new message, it had been sent 30 minutes before. It was from my landlord. “The guy cancelled on me Tiff, sorry about that.”

My first thought was to drive to his house, ring the doorbell, and throat punch him.  My second thought was to throw myself on the floor and cry. I ended up laughing-it started quietly at first, then escalated into a weird cackle. I had officially lost my mind. Suddenly, I had an “Ah-Ha” moment.

It was as if the universe slapped me back into reality.  I had forgotten all about my rusty toolbox of tips and tricks that had been bestowed upon me once I choose this new way of life in recovery. I would periodically add new tools to the box to use as time progressed, pulling them out during times of conflict as a means to resolve my problems. Evidently however, I have been under the impression that I didn’t need the tools I possessed, that I could just use my own hands to fix my life. This is a big mistake.

I mentally rifled through my Tool Box and located a tool that had saved my life a thousand times over….

Having an “Attitude of Gratitude” is one of the most important things someone like me needs to possess. It is easy in the hustle and bustle of my daily life to lose sight of how wonderful things actually are. At times, after prolonged sobriety, we begin to forget where we came from, and the stepping stones we passed over during the journey of reaching our goals.  I decided to make a gratitude list right then and there, and to say the results were humbling was an understatement. I realized I was in fact grateful, for ALL of the things I had been complaining about just this morning.

Once I changed my attitude from “Bratitude”  to “Gratitude”,  I was able to see things from a completely different perspective.

My daughter invited me to an unwanted morning poop party – I have been blessed with a daughter with whom I love and cherish.

My son was screaming and annoying me with his need for attention at an inconvenient time-I have a son who will be grown before I know it.

I hit every red light on my morning drive- In my own vehicle that I am lucky to own.  I used to gladly take the Scat bus everywhere, now I’m whining about having to sit in my air conditioned car for a few extra seconds.

The machine didn’t accept my card at the gas station-I had money, on a card, to afford gas-to put in the car I own.

I had to clean my messy house – I have a house, and it is messy because my loved ones have fun and I am able to afford toys for them to leave around.

My landlord cancelled on me- okay I’m still a little bitter about this one. But, I am now free to take my girls to the park to meet up with an old friend that I haven’t seen since high school.

My higher power has a plan for me each and every day, I need to remember to stay out of his way and allow that plan to unfold.  When I try to control everything around me, and place expectations on people and situations, I am setting myself up for anxiety and resentments. All of the problems I experience each day are created in my own mind-based on how I view a certain situation. Happiness is a choice I have to continue to make. I can either stomp around loathing my current situation, or I can switch my perspective and focus on the positive aspect of it. My attitude has the ability to affect all of those around me, especially my children – therefore, I must continually strive for happiness and content with what I have, and never forget where I came from- and how much worse it could be.

Today- I am grateful for the mess, the unforeseen obstacles, the inconvenient setbacks and the surprises I am met with throughout the course of my day, for all of these things mean one thing…I am alive…and that in itself is a beautiful gift.

 

10 Ways To Be a Kick A** Step Parent.

Being a step parent is one of the most challenging and confusing titles one can hold – as there are many gray areas that go along with raising someone else’s child as if they were your own.  Knowing when to step back and when to step in, or when to speak up and when to remain quiet – can take a while to sort out.  Parenting your own child is confusing as it is, with a stepchild there are usually a few other disciplinarians in the picture that you have to consider when establishing rules.

I have had my struggles in the past-misguided resentments, frustration and control issues-just to name a few.  Over time I realized it was up to me to create that bond with her.  I was the adult, and she wasn’t just going to wake up one day and feel close to me based on the fact I happened to love her dad.  I chose to put the effort into our relationship and in return-she blossomed.  I have decided to share some things that worked for me, in case you need a new perspective while you are in the process of working on a personal relationship of your own with a stepchild.

1. Spend one-on-one time with them.

There is nothing kids love more than attention ( Okay, maybe ice cream), either way-children love it when someone shows interest in things they enjoy. (If I had a dollar for every I heard “Momma Look! Watch mom! I’d be rich.”  Find out what their hobbies are and plan a time when just the two of you can explore them.  Not only will it make them happy that you are showing excitement for things they are passionate about, it will be a good opportunity for you to converse with them and get to know them better.

2. Get excited when you see them.

This kind of goes back to the giving them attention thing.  Whenever my bonus daughter walks through the door I usually yell something like “Heyyyyy pretty girllll!” and give her an embarrassing dancey hug while giving her about 10 too many kisses all over her head. Obviously avoid this advice if they are over the age of 12- otherwise you will just creep them out. But if they are younger than that-act ridiculous. She giggles uncontrollably as soon as she walks in the door, and that sets the tone for the rest of our time together.

3. Insist on being the one to tuck them in and tell them a bedtime story.

My kiddo and I have a routine every night.  I tuck her in (literally) then I sit on the edge of the bed and make up a crazy story. I use her as the main character, and add a scary moment, and then a happy ending.  I usually leave it with a cliffhanger, so that she is excitedly anticipating the next installment of “Bedtime Stories with Tiff” the following night. I give her a kiss and a hug and tell her that I’m so happy she is in my life. She goes to bed with a smile on her face every night….(as we all should)

4. Create something together.

Here’s what you do- hop on Google (or Pinterest, for all you fancy pants out there) and search for fun crafts for kids. Make a quick supply list and shoot on over to the Dollar Tree. Grab said supplies and head home to lay it all out on the table.  When they get there, the two of you make an awesome masterpiece and hang it somewhere in the house.  Every time either of you passes it by, you will remember the wonderful bonding time you spent creating it together.

5. Be consistent when disciplining.

Believe it or not, children thrive in a routine environment. They crave consistency. If you tell them they are not allowed to have chocolate before bed, and they defiantly inform you that “Grandma lets them eat ice cream in bed as they are falling asleep”-stick to your guns. Establish rules and boundaries for your home so that they always know what to expect. And hey, if you want to reward them with an ice cream sundae in their pajamas one night for getting good grades-do it….Do it because you want to, not because Grandma said it was okay.

6. Speaking of rewards, reward them for awesome behavior.

This is a fun one, because I do this regularly and I love watching her as she smiles with pride upon completing a task. We have a big chart on the wall with different categories: brushing your teeth without being asked, being kind to your brother, using manners, etc. We put a sticker each time she does something on the list, and after 10 stickers she gets a prize. After a while it became a habit for her to do these things and waalah!

7. Put the phone down and watch “Dora The Explorer” with them.

I know. This is probably the last thing you want to do, because the best time to scroll through Facebook uninterrupted is when the kid is preoccupied with television. However, if you are wanting to work on your relationship with the child, you can’t do it by liking a status, you have to get down on the floor with them – fists under your chin – learning Spanish from a small cartoon with a backpack.

8. Never, ever, EVER speak negatively about their birth mother/father.

Listen, your job is not to be “Captain Super Parent”, swooping in to be the perfect mother/father they always needed. Your job is to help guide them on their journey through life. Don’t make it a competition with your spouses ex.  Regardless of how hard you try, you will never be able to sway that childs opinion of their parent. I know this one can be hard sometimes, especially if you know what a deadbeat or crappy parent that person can be.  Children are unaware of conditional love, so they will adore them regardless of whether or not they have missed their birthday for 3 years in a row and never show up to their school performances. Always speak positively when speaking about their parent, it helps them in the long run, more than you realize.

9. Surprise them.

There is no greater blessing than seeing joy on childrens faces..(okay, maybe an hour alone in a bubble bath with candles-but smiles are a close second). On a Friday or Saturday, wait until they put their pajamas on and start winding down. Then tell them to “hurry up and get in the car!” and take them on a surprise trip to the ice cream shop. Tell them you’re going to (insert most boring store ever) then pull into the movie theater instead. Fill up water balloons and put them in a laundry basket, tell them to do you a favor and grab the mail- when they exit the house-sneak attack water bomb ’em. Aubrey and I had a surprise water balloon fight once and she still talks about it to this day..

10. Get Weird.

Blast “let it go” from the speakers as you drive around town yelling the lyrics at the top of your lungs.  Pull them out the front door with you once it starts raining and do a rain dance in the yard.  Hide behind doors and pop out as they walk by. Play charades, do an animal impression contest, play dress up. Life is too short to be boring.  Make their childhood as fun as humanly possible, and they will fondly reflect back on it for years to come.

There is no perfect way to be a step parent, all you need is a desire to be close with them, and the willingness to do whatever it takes to contribute positively to their life.  You are there to guide them, gently nudging them in the right direction along the way.  You are an extra person to love them, and children need as much love as they can get, there is no such thing as too much.  If you show them you care, show them you support them and show them you will always be there for them forever, then chances are when they grow up – you will be one of the people they hold closest to their heart.  Because you didn’t love them because you “had” to, you loved them because you chose to, and that makes you pretty special.

 

 

 

Uninvited- A Letter To Cancer…

“Cancer is just a reminder that life is really precious.  So many people lose focus on what life is really all about.  Everyone needs to rid themselves the drama and enjoy everyday you wake up.”-  Pauly Half Jack LaRocgue.

Dear Cancer,

Apparently you exist because sometimes,  “abnormal cells divide uncontrollably and have the ability to infiltrate and destroy normal body tissue-causing cancer.” After witnessing your affects on a loved one, I would have worded this a tad bit differently. I would have said “abnormal cells divide uncontrollably and have the ability to infiltrate your life and destroy it- but I’m not in charge here.

I know how you work. You knock on the door, and push your way in-uninvited.  Our family will sit around and talk about you, wondering what brought you here, and how long you will stay.  We will discuss what happens if you decide to stay forever.  We will all cry together, praying that your visit will be short.

In the meantime, we will walk around carrying on, as if you are not here.  We will try our best to act as if we are not completely devastated by your presence. We will smile, and make small talk, in an attempt to avoid acknowledging your existence.  We will pretend that the uncertainty of your unexpected arrival isn’t crippling us with sadness.

You will inevitably destroy the world we spent a lifetime creating; and then you will vanish.  But you won’t go alone-you will take our most treasured love one with you, and we will never see them again in this world.

We will sit around wondering why the hell you chose us.  Why you chose them. You were unwelcome, and despite our best efforts, we were unable to get you to leave. You came suddenly, and like a tornado, you destroyed everything you touched – leaving behind only memories and ashes-along with thousands of broken pieces that we had to pick up one by one.  You were gone physically, but you continued to haunt us through vivid images of our loved ones slowly deteriorating, these will be forever ingrained in our mind.

I think it’s important that you know how your visit affected me……

Because of you, I lost all but one of my grandparents by age 22.

Because of you, I had to gently hold both my parents hands, and tell them “It’s okay to let go now. You don’t have to fight anymore. I will always love you forever, but I’m ready to let you go” as they struggled to breath their last breaths.

Because of you, I held the hands of both of my parents lifeless bodies.

Because of you, all I have left of the people that created and raised me-is a few ashes in a box.

Because of you my mother wasn’t at my wedding-nor will she ever meet my children.  I cannot call her and ask for marriage advice or help with a recipe. She is gone from this earth. I will never see her again as long as I am alive. I will never hear her contagiously loud laugh, or see her beautiful smile in person-because of you.

Because of you, my father will never meet my daughter.  He will never rake piles out of leaves for her to jump in, or ride her around the yard in a wheelbarrow, or scare her as he yells at the top of his lungs during a scary part of a movie-like he always did with me, because of you.

Because of you, I have an irrational fear that everyone I love is going to die, anytime they leave my sight.

Because of you, my life will never, ever be the same.

However…..

Because of you I am strong. You have made me realize that I am capable of overcoming more than I thought possible. You are big, but my faith is bigger.  You may have taken the majority of my family from me, but you will never be able to take my happiness. I know I will see my parents again one day, in another life; and when I do-I know they will tell me how proud they are of me, for not letting you destroy my faith.

Because of you I will hug my husband a little tighter, I will hold my babies a little longer, and I will tell everyone exactly how much they mean to me-any chance I get.  Because life is fleeting, and I know that at any moment, you may show up at my door again…..Uninvited.

Sincerely,

Tiffany

P.S.    You Suck.

Lonely girl on a chair
Lonely girl sitting on a vintage chair

 

 

 

 

 

120 Days In-My Time In Jail. Chapter #3

I had only tried meth once in my life.   One little puff – and I hated it.  However, as an addict, if someone offers you drugs, regardless of the brand, you do them. Before I could open my mouth to say “hell yes“, Ol’ pain in the ass (pun intended) Ilene threw a fit.  “These ain’t your drugs to offer to anyone.  I only gave you some because you went in and got em, I don’t have enough to keep sharing- sorry 4 eyes.” To say I was disappointed would be an understatement.  There is nothing worse then anticipating being high, then something prohibiting that from happening-especially if you are on day 4 of detoxing.

I was consumed by rage. I contemplated murdering both of them and taking the drugs for myself, but there were no weapons available, luckily for them.  I continued fantasizing about how I could get those drugs, I had devised a few different plans, all equally absurd – one involved repelling down from the ceiling while they napped and grabbing them out of her pocket. However, I was not Tom Cruise and this was not mission impossible so I scrapped that idea. Then a voice over the intercom interrupting my thought process. “Johnson-roll it up, you are going to Gen Pop.”

I glanced over at my cell mates looking perplexed, “So, was that English or ? What the hell did she say”?  Destiny laughed at my apparent ignorance and let me know that woman basically said to gather my belongings, because they are moving me to general population, another word for ‘one big room filled with a shit ton of criminals’.

I tried to act cool, like it was no big deal that I was about to enter a den of ravenous animals in various stages of drug withdraw suffering from undiagnosed mental problems and rage issues, but inside I was freaking out.  I gathered my mat and sheet-which took all of 4 seconds, and stood by the gate, waiting to be let out.  When the guard slid the door open, I turned around and smiled at my room mates. “It was nice meeting you guys”!  I said cheerfully, but they were too busy trying to avoid eye contact with the guard to even look up to bid me farewell.  They should really teach etiquette classes here, I think I’m gonna write someone a letter about that.

Anyway, the guard led me down a long corridor with my hands and ankles shackled.  The metal was digging into my Achilles tendon and it was incredibly painful.  “Um, excuse me, officer…” “Quiet in the hallways.”….”Okay, it’s just th-” ….”NO TALKING IN THE HALLWAYS!” ….”Kay”.  I was immediately brought back to my elementary school days.  Walking quietly in a straight line and following orders. I felt like a f***ing child. Last week I was managing a restaurant, and today I’m getting screamed at for saying words.

Alright, I’m going to undo these shackles and send you in with Miss Flower.” Awww Miss Flower, she sounds nice. He unlocked my chains, and my ankles immediately felt better.  I walked into the dark room and found Miss Flower standing there with her hand on her gun. “Take your clothes off, please.” Miss Flower demanded. “Woah woah woah, we just met, it’s a little soon don-” She interrupted before I could finish my joke. “Jesus Christ, you are literally the millionth person to say that shit to me. Take your g** damn clothes off and put your hands on the wall, now.” I wanted desperately to say another joke at this point, but decided against it.

I felt very uncomfortable showering in front of a complete stranger, so when she asked me to”bend over and spread”, I reached a whole other level of humiliation.  “Put these on”, she said, tossing me a new outfit. She handed me a roll of toilet paper, a toothbrush, then said “We are out of soap, tell the night guards they will bring you one.” “No problem.” I said, not realizing it would be 4 more days until my soap would arrive. Turns out my comfort wasn’t their main priority-I came to learn this and many other fun facts about the guards as time went on.

She led me to a large door and said “Ready “ into her walkie talkie to someone who was in charge of opening the doors remotely.  I wanted to grab her walkie and yell “Wait! I’m not ready. ” into it, but I figured it would probably get me tased.  As the door clicked she pulled it open and said “You’re in 5“, shutting it behind me. The loud roar of wild women suddenly stopped short. There was complete silence as I had hundreds of eyes suddenly pointing in my direction.  I wasn’t sure what to do so I awkwardly smiled.  Some women laughed, some started yelling inappropriate comments, and one person yelled “police ass hoe.” I didn’t know what that meant, but later found out that if you look like you don’t belong in jail, they think you are an undercover cop.  So, that’s good.

I found cell 5 and walked in.  There were 4 mats occupying 6 of the metal bunk beds. I asked a woman with no teeth if it was okay if I put my mattress onto the unoccupied spot under her top bunk.  She said “I don’t give a flying f***”…. so….. I went to the one on the opposite side of the room.

As they day progressed I remained in bed. I was in so much physical pain from drug withdraw that it was hard to breath. I watched through the bars of my cell as women were running around, laughing and having a good time.  How the f*** could they laugh at a time like this? Do they not realize they were in jail? I realized in that moment, that I would never be happy again…

Depression and despair weighed down on me so heavily, that I felt paralyzed. I realized that I was going to spend a very long time in jail, and even when I got out, I was going to spend the rest of my life paying for and replaying what I had done in my head.  I also knew that no one would ever respect me again.  Living with the choices I had made became impossible to imagine. I didn’t have it in me to keep going.  I suddenly wanted out. The anticipation of the unexpected, the waiting and worrying – I just couldn’t,  I needed out. I could not spend one more day living in the broken body with my broken mind. Tonight, after everyone fell asleep….I was going to kill myself-and I was very much looking forward to it….

10 Things I Didn’t Anticipate With Having 2 Under 2.

Hello my friends! I almost didn’t make it.  Between driving around listening to the ‘Frozen’ soundtrack while looking at Christmas lights and hand-washing my husbands work uniforms in the bathtub (because our friggin washer broke), this almost became a “Terrible Mom Tuesday” blog. But here I am! With 2 & 1/2 hours to spare.

Anyway, as most of you know, I have 2 children who are 16 months apart, not quite “Irish Twins”, but close a-freakin-nuff.

Having a second child so that Kaiden could have another little buddy to play with was part of our plan.  My sister and I are 17 months apart, and despite giving each other black eyes and scratches all over our bodies when we were kids, I couldn’t imagine what life would have been like had I not had her around.  The decision to reproduce again was quick and spontaneous, therefore-there were many things that I did not take into consideration prior to hatching Chloe.  I knew it would be a challenge and I knew I would struggle at times-I had no idea what to expect and I have come to realize many different things over the past year. Mainly I have learned that my mother was a Goddess and it’s no wonder she built a Tiki Bar in our backyard….

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Below is a list of 10 things I did not anticipate when I made the decision to have 2 babies so close in age:

  1. There will be diapers. So. Many. Diapers. My children like to synchronize their bowel movements so that the moment I change one, I hear a familiar rumble coming from the other one-followed by an evil grin. They are conspiring against me – I can see it in their little eyes.
  2. I have to start preparing to leave the house 30 minutes before go-time. Long gone are the days of getting myself dressed and heading out the door.  Even though I am only making a quick trip to the grocery store, I must now not only lay out an outfit for myself (usually pajama pants & my husbands shirt); I must also lay out one boy outfit, one girl outfit, 2 back-up outfits (because, poop) 4 pairs of socks, 4 shoes, 4 diapers, wipes, 2 binkies, a snack, and toys.
  3. Despite my best efforts, it’s nearly impossible to get them both to fall asleep at the same time.  One drifts off, while the other cries out, rebelling against naptime.  I have to start all over with the first one and hope the second keeps its mouth quiet long enough for the other to enter deep sleep. I magically get the second one to sleep as well – then the Jehova’s witnesses come a-knockin on my front door and they are both back up..
  4. I’m covered in sweat by the time I get them both unbuckled, out of the car and into the store.  People in the parking lot point and stare as I wrestle one child out of the confines of their seatbelt yelling “Don’t fight it! Just let it happen! Then run full speed to the other side of the car while carrying a little baby on my hip to release the other.  Sometimes the onlookers clap when I’m done. No they don’t…. I made that up.
  5. Taking a shower is a challenge. I have a few options to chose from when contemplating getting myself clean. I have to either: A) Wait until another adult is present. B) Do it during naptime (Yeah, see that is when I scroll through Facebook and watch YouTube videos uninterrupted so, not really an option).  C) Put one in a high chair and the other in a play pen and listen to them scream as I rush to wash my hair, getting shampoo in my eyes and slipping and cracking my elbow. Or D) Just not take a shower. I usually go with D…..Just kidding……no I’m not.
  6. I let my children use technology waaaaayyyyy more than I ever intended. Here’s me before: “Ew, my children are NOT going to be zombies, staring at a screen all day, what kind of parent wouldn’t rather spend that time interacting with their child?” Here’s me now: “Sweet Jesus, take my phone. Here, I pulled up one of those weird “Surprise Egg” videos you like-mommy needs 5 minutes of peace. Beat it”
  7. I would have to make life or death decisions in one second flat. Here’s the scene-I’m home alone with my kids, minding my own business, when I notice my son, is trying to stick a plug into an outlet with wet hands, as I run toward him, I notice Chloe has pulled a butcher knife out of the dishwasher and is trying to get a close up view of the tip of it.  This is hypothetical, but crap like this happens everyday. It’s like being on Fear Factor.
  8. I would have to keep them separated during all meals, every time. Otherwise, my youngest will claw her brothers eyes out in an attempt to steal one of his chicken wings.  Then he will scream and collapse crying, and she will pounce on the opportunity to take advantage of him while he’s vulnerable, and steal the rest of his wings.
  9. Kaiden not realizing that Chloe, is not a toy . This issue has gotten a little better as time has passed, he was a little rough with her in the beginning.  Trying to squeeze the life out of her and drag her around by her hair.  He realizes now he can’t do things like that,  however- I still have to remind him occasionally like, “Hey Bud! Chloe is not a coloring book so, lets lay off drawing squiggles on her face, Kay?”
  10. And the last, but most important thing I did not anticipate-was being able to love my second as much as I love my first.  I have more history with Kaiden, so I found it impossible to fathom being able to re-create that love for another person. The thing is, its a completely different type of love for each child-but equally as powerful.  I love different things about each of them, and just when I think I can’t love them anymore, they giggle together and hug and my heart explodes all over the living room.                                                                                          Some people said we were crazy when they heard we would be having 2 children 16 months apart. Of course there are temporary moments of craziness: one has an accident all over the couch while the other is getting ready to jump off a chair.  One insists on being held while the other needs food. Its a constant balancing and juggling act. Keeping both babies safe and happy while attempting to do laundry, clean the home, make dinner and work can be a challenge.  We prayed that the lord would give us the strength to handle it, we prayed they would have a close bond, we prayed that we would be able to show each enough love and attention that they felt complete. The lord has given us so much more. Its double the diapers, food, car seats, clothes etc…but more importantly its double the love, joy, and laughter. I am feeling so grateful for the bond these 2 and their big sister share today, and even though I haven’t taken a proper shower since 2014, I wouldn’t change a single thing.

 

120 Days In-My Time In Jail Chapter #2

 

Hey Friend!

There’s good news and there’s bad news.  Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.

The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order!  I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish.

I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog

Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know.  And thank you for being a part of my journey.  You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.

Me love you long time…

Tiffany Jenkins

 

120 Days In-My Time In Jail. Chapter #1.

It’s no secret, that once upon a time, I spent some time in the big house. It’s a matter of public record actually, so even if I did want it to be a secret, I’d be outta luck….Some of you have been to jail, most of you haven’t. For those of you who have never been, I have decided to fill you in on what my experience was like, as a first timer, just in case you were on the fence about whether or not jail is right for you. There are way too many things to cover at once. Therefore, I have decided to break them down into chapters.

My personal situation was a little different in that, the people arresting me, then transporting me to the jail, were my friends. In fact, I had just attended the baby shower of the person driving me to jail, the weekend before. See, I was in a relationship with a Deputy at the time of my arrest, but we will talk about that another time.

When I arrived at the jail, the first thing they did was had me change out of my pajamas, (what I was wearing at the time I was apprehended), and change into a polyester jumpsuit.  They took my earrings, my bracelet and my shoes, and gave me a pair of rubber shoes in place of mine. I tried my hardest not to think about all the different feet that had worn the shoes prior to me, but despite my best efforts, I was haunted by the thought of how many different species of bacteria were now inhabiting my foot.

The next thing they did was take me to a nurse for blood work and evaluation.  She asked me a series of questions and marked her little clipboard in response to my answers. I barely remember this interaction, as I was beginning to detox, and weakness had started creeping in.  At one point she asked “Yes or no, would you describe your crime as ‘shocking in nature’?” To which I replied, “Um yeah, probably.”

She looked up at me over the brim of her glasses, set her pen down, and leaned back in her seat. “Ok, I don’t usually do this, but you have peaked my curiousity, would you mind telling me why you consider it shocking in nature?”

I proceeded to tell her what happened and watch her expression go from curiousity, to shock, to disgust, then back to normal as she leaned forward to check something off on her clipboard. “Okay, yes, I would say that counts as shocking in nature, definitely.” She said, as she attempted to regain focus.

After my awkward interaction with the nurse, they escorted me to medical, since I would be detoxing off of opiates, they wanted me in a secure cell for monitoring. The officer slid open the heavy metal door, and slammed it shut behind me- I jumped about two feet in the air. I turned to ask him when I would be getting my phone call (I’ve seen this in movies), but he was gone. I turned back around and took inventory of my tiny room. There was a metal toilet, a metal sink, a roll of toilet paper and an empty plastic boat thing on the floor, I’m assuming I’m supposed to put this plastic mat I was holding in there to sleep.

I felt something brush against my foot, I let out a scream that sounded reminiscent of someone being murdered, I actually thought I was about to be murdered for a second..

It was then that I noticed I wasn’t alone. On the floor to my left, there was another boat, and it was occupied.  The person was wrapped from head to toe in a wool blanket, completely covered. I whispered “oh sorry” for some reason, even though I didn’t do anything.

I had been sitting in my boat, feeling like death, still in shock about being in jail. I was literally in jail, and I couldn’t wrap my head around it just yet. I had been staring at the outline of my cellmates body for about 2 hours now, wondering what exactly was under that blanket. As I was imagining what she looked like and why she was here, I heard a loud ‘click’, and noticed our cell door was opening. Some inmate in a red striped jumpsuit slid 2 trays across the floor, and shut the door. Before I could even process the contents of the tray, the wool blanket went flying and my cellmate sat straight up and stared at me.

Oh S***”, I thought to myself, it’s awake-don’t panic. “You finna eat cho dinner?” She asked, burning a hole into my soul with her angry gaze. “Oh, um hi. I’m Tiffany, I’m not sur– I mean I’m not that hung- I hadn’t really thought about it, how come?” I said, trying to keep it cool and hide the fact that I was terrified….”Cuz Ima eat it if you ain’t.” She said, never breaking eye contact. I felt my palms start to sweat. “Oh okay, ya sure, go right ahead, I’m not hungry anyway, actually I don’t even really like food, so….”

She didn’t even thank me, which I thought was totally rude. She lunged for the trays and returned to her position. I didn’t want to awkwardly stare at her while she ate, so I laid down in my plastic boat and closed my eyes. I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep, I was feeling way too sick, but I didn’t know what else to do with myself……I listened to her chomp away like a cow as she gorged on my dinner, the disgusting sound of her eating was then interrupted by her voice…..”Let me see them boobs.”

My eyes popped back open and I pointed them at her to see who she was talking to. She was staring at me.  “I’m sorry?” I asked, perhaps I didn’t hear her correctly, maybe she said books, were there books in here? Please let there be books in here….

“Your boobs, let me see them.” She said with a straight face, her eyes locked on mine.

Now, if you were in my shoes what would you have said? “Screw you?” “No way.” “You’re crazy, leave me alone?” Any of those responses would have been appropriate.  However, I was terrified, and I had seen enough movies to know that jail fights are as common as finding a penny on the ground at the supermarket, and I was not about to get my ass kicked my first day in.

“Are you being serious or no? I can’t tell.”

“Does it look like I’m being serious?” She said, looking serious.

“Okay, is that a thing? Is that what people do? Is this like initiation or something, I don’t really want to be in a gang I jus-“

“G**damnit it show me your t**s, I don’t know how many times I gotta ax you girl.”

My hands shook as I grabbed the bottom of my shirt, and showed her. I pulled my shirt back down and settled back into my cot, awaiting further instruction.  She didn’t say a word.  She just kept peeling her orange. I sat in silence, trying to read her face for clues as to what the hell was going on around here, and why I just had to flash this complete stranger, but I got nothing.  She finished her orange and slid the trays back to the door. She sat and stared at me for a moment. I smiled, because I didn’t know what else to do. “Breakfast is at 6, let me know if you want it or not.” She pulled the blanket over her head and flopped back down into her cot…

I sat there in silence, staring at the outline of her body once again.  Is this what I have to look forward to? I’ve only been here 3 hours and I’ve already given up a meal and showed my boobs. My drug withdraw wasn’t even full swing and I still hadn’t gotten to make a phone call. I was stuck in 8ftX10ft cell with a lesbian womanbeast, and no one has told me anything about what my charges were, when I was getting out, or what happens next. Tears started rolling down my cheeks as the uncertainty of everything overwhelmed me. I was alone, and confused, and I realized right then and there that I better get some thicker skin, and quick…… I had many strange, uncomfortable, scary situations in store for me, and this was only the beginning………

 

 

 

Dear Technology: You Are Kinda Ruining My Life.

Listen guys, I’m a little sad.  It’s a strange kind of sad, almost like mourning.  It’s like when you drop your favorite coffee mug, and it cracks.  You may be able to glue it back together, but the truth is, despite your best efforts, you know it will never be the same.

I have that exact feeling, when I think about the world, more specifically, our society.  It has changed drastically in a short amount of time, and I know deep down in my heart, it will never be the same.  I’m talking about technology.  I know this subject has been talked about countless times on social media (ironically), but I’m gonna go ahead and add to what has already been said; technology is awesome, but it also really sucks.

The other day, Aubrey and Kaiden were reading a book, the kind where you press a button and an animal makes a noise to correlate with a picture.  Kaiden was mimicking the animal noises and the two of them proceeded to laugh hysterically, then eagerly smash the next button. Guess what? I. Missed. All. Of. It…..

Why? Because I was more interested in reading about why Sarah – the girl who sat 2 seats behind me in class in middle school, whom I had spoken maybe 2 sentences to in my entire lifetime – wasn’t going to be shopping at Walmart anymore because they refused to give her the merchandise at the price it was listed for in the aisle….

What the hell is wrong with me? Why would I rather read about “The Top 5 Reasons Squirrels Would Make Great Pets”, rather than shift my eyes 2 feet to the right, and take in the glorious sight of the little human beings I created dancing to the Macarena? It baffles me, yet I find myself continuing to do it every single day, and I’m confident that I’m not alone.

I take my kids to the park, and I am not savoring the moments, I am busy attempting to take the perfect picture. “Guys, stop what your doing and look at Mommy! Say Cheese! No, Aubrey honey, your eyes were shut, again ready? Say cheese! Ok, nope, no, get closer to your brother, yeah put your arm around him.  Yes that’s perfect! Good, Ok now lets get one of you guys going down the slide……”

My memories are constantly being interrupted, due to my incessant need to capture them. Experiences aren’t even experiences anymore, they are photo ops.

When I was younger, I specifically remember being so curious what my friends were up to at any given moment. I would call their house phone, and if they didn’t answer, all I knew was that they had left their house, destination: unknown. Now all I have to do is click a couple buttons and I can tell you where they are, who they are with, where they were two hours ago, what they had for breakfast, what show they watched last week, what time they wiped their a** and what brand of detergent they are going to wash their clothes with tonight. The mysteries of life, aren’t really mysteries anymore.

A family goes out to dinner to eat, and their children are playing games on a tablet, like, when I was little, I was lucky if I got to draw on the back of the paper menu with a pen from my moms purse. Nowadays kids can update their status, talk to someone in China, and play a full round of Mario Kart before the appetizer even arrives.

I feel like hundreds of years from now, evolution is going to run it’s course, and the humans of the future are all going to be hunchbacks with elongated necks. Because 90% of our lives are spent looking downward at some kind of electronic.  I mean, the minute a commercial comes on the T.V. I’m reaching for my phone so that I can aimlessly scroll through opinions, memes & videos of goats singing. Why is that my go to? Why can’t I just be still, be present, be free? It’s simple, because that’s not what we do anymore. We need constant stimulation.

Imagine sitting in a room, and instead of holding a cell phone, you are holding a piece of cardboard. Just a small, plain piece of cardboard. Imagine your children calling your name over and over as you ignore them to stare at this piece of cardboard. Your alarm goes off in the morning and you immediately reach for your cardboard, and you lay in bed staring at it for the first 15 minutes of your day. Picture sitting in class and instead of paying attention, you are randomly sneaking glances at your cardboard. Out to dinner with friends, while you wait for your food to arrive, everyone just whips out their cardboard and stares at it, like zombies. Really picture it for a second. It sounds crazy right? Like a weird cult of brainwashed cardboard people. ………Just blankly staring, occasionally letting out a chuckle…for hours and hours…….When you replace the cardboard with a phone, and you replace those zombie with you, and I, and our children; it’s suddenly not so crazy right? But it is crazy. When you actually stop for a second, and realize what we are doing….it is.

So what do we do about it? Do we all gather together and start a revolution, throwing our cell phones, laptops and tablets into a raging fire while chanting “No More Technology! We Want Freedom!” in protest?

Naw, that’s never going to happen……Ever. Sadly, it’s too late. We have become too reliant on our phones, if they went away, we would all kind of be sitting around anxiously wondering what the hell to do with ourselves.  We’d be eating at crappy restaurants because we were unable to check Yelp for reviews, we would have to attempt to work an AM/FM radio to listen to music, but would just end up twisting all the big knobby button things to no avail, giving up and sitting in silence. We would pick up the house phone to call our grandma and wish her a happy birthday, only to realize we didn’t have the slightest idea what the hell her number was because house phones don’t have a “contact list”, and we would all be driving around town lost and hanging out the window asking for directions, because none of us owns a map.

However, fear not….All hope is not lost. There are a few things we can do, starting today, to create better habits for ourselves and our family. I believe if we start making a conscious effort to do these things, as hard as it may be at first, our lives will improve drastically.

*Start small. Monday through Friday, create a “phone free zone”. So from, let’s say, 7:00pm to 9:00pm, every family member is required to turn their phone OFF. (But what if there’s an emergency, what if my boy crush Billy Baxter calls…blah blah blah,) No.  There was a time when phones didn’t exist, and people used lanterns to light up the house, you’ll be fine.  You should turn the T.V. off too. You will all be awkwardly sitting around at first, realizing you have no idea really, how to function or what to do without a phone, but as time goes on it will get easier, and you will think of creative ways to fill that time as a family.  You might learn things about one another you never knew, and even crazier, you may just end up having fun *gasp!*

*If you go out to dinner with your friends, you will be there an hour, 2 hours max. Put everyone’s phones in a bag under the table. The first person to touch their phone, has to pay the bill for the person to their left. You can snap a photo of yourselves in the parking lot at the end of the night if you must.

*If you are playing with your baby/kids, really play with them.  Don’t try to momentarily stimulate them to get a cute picture of them laughing.  Throw your phone at least 2 feet away, and spend some time just genuinely enjoying your babies. They will only be that age for that moment, they are growing older every second, of everyday.

*Your mom didn’t give birth to a phone. She didn’t spend hours rocking a phone to sleep, changing it’s diapers, taking it to soccer practice, wiping it’s tears away, and paying for it’s college; that was you, she did that for you.  Don’t just send her a “Hey Mom, I miss you” text.  Pick up the damn phone and call that woman. Give her the pleasure of hearing your voice, your laugh, your personality. Better yet, pay her a real life visit, if it’s possible. She won’t always be there, trust me.

*Leave your phone at home every now and then.  I know this sounds completely unimaginable to some of you, but it’s possible. I do it all the time.  You would be amazed how much more of the world you are able to take in, when you don’t have your leash with you. It’s actually quite freeing.

Can you imagine if every memory you have of your parents, consisted of them staring down at a phone? The smallest changes can make the biggest impact on our children and I truly believe, this technology addiction has severely affected some aspects of our quality of life.  Don’t get me wrong. I admire the technological advances we have made, I have found it to be incredibly useful. I just feel that there is a fine line between convenience and reliance, and we have to be careful.

SO, having said all this, I am going to practice what I preach.  Starting today (Monday) I will be implementing a “No Phone Zone” rule in my house, (shhhh, I haven’t told my husband yet.)  I am very much looking forward to the extra memories I create this week, and will be reporting back soon to let you know how the week went.  If you are crazy enough to try this with me, I would really love to hear about how it went for you. Was it harder than you thought? Easier than you thought? Did you do anything amazing that you might have otherwise missed? I really want to know.

I meant what I said earlier, our children are getting older by the second, as are we.  Life is fleeting, and temporary, it can be over in an instant.  Let’s try and make sure we are looking up, when that time comes…….

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