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Blog

Inaugural Blog Post: Amy Fotis

Alexandra Fotis

This is my inaugural blog post. I wrote most of this last year on my mother’s birthday last spring and meant to start my blog then, but finals got in the way. Writing about my mother is the perfect starting point, because this woman is a large part of my heart and my self. I graduated from the University of Michigan a week ago, and I couldn’t think of a better time to start publishing the sh*t that goes through my head. When reading and following along with my blog, expect everything from Catholicism to Snapchat marketing. If you know me very well, this makes a lot of sense. If you don’t know me very well, I’m excited for you to discover who I am as I’m figuring it out myself.

 

Women who behave rarely make history.

If you follow all the rules you miss all the fun.

Never be afraid to ask. The worst they can say is no. 

 

Anybody who has met my mother knows she doesn’t follow the rules. She does what she wants and almost always gets what she wants. Thinking back about how my mother has influenced me, I think this is one of the most important and defining qualities about her. My mother doesn’t take “no” for an answer, and “can’t” isn’t in her vocabulary. Can you imagine being raised by a human who believes this? She successfully integrated this way of thinking into my personal ideology.

At times this was a nightmare. Put two strong willed women (one teenager and one mother) in a room and watch as they argue the consequences of underage drinking. It will get heated and emotional. My mother told me “no” many times, however me being my mother’s daughter, I didn’t accept this. I pushed and argued, and at the end of the day when my mother told me I wasn’t allowed to do the things I wanted to do… I did them anyway. This was problematic for our relationship, especially in high school. Regularly we would tell each other “I love you… but I don’t like you."  And she would tell me, “don’t have children- they’re overrated.” High school is a rough time for many mother-daughter relationships but our relationship was significantly tried and tested. All I can say is thank God for my father’s level-headedness and my grandmother’s flawlessly compassionate words of support and kindness. As I have grown, I can look at this time and be thankful for this. While our relationship was temporarily injured, it helped me define myself as a young woman that doesn’t take no for an answer, and also helped me realize that I am my mother’s daughter.

Sometimes this mentality is problematic, such as the time when we got kicked out after sneaking into a Disney resort when we were explicitly told not to enter (mind you, we paid for the resort's expensive lunch and why should the pool only be for hotel guests?!), but often it’s awesome. Often it makes for better stories and a better experience. A personal certainty I have come to know is, “Who cares? Rules aren’t real”, and it’s safe to say this way of thinking has come from my mother. I’m not saying we should completely disregard all rules and do whatever the hell we want, but many rules, especially the social norm rules, the “best practices” rules, and the times we are told “no” should be taken into consideration when deciding what we want in life. Another thing that is very similar to this that she has unknowingly taught me is to not give a sh*t about what people think about you. Don't let their opinions hold you back. I think she wishes I cared a little more, but I know I learned it from her. I’m very, very thankful for these lessons and qualities that have been instilled in me at a young age. I definitely have incredible experiences because of this simple truth. Not only has my independence and disregard for unnecessary “rules” defined my character, but it has pushed me professionally as well. I can attribute much of my success to my tendency to challenge “best practices” and norms. And I am a much more creative person because of it.

Another important quality from Amy that I have grown into is my compassion and love for my family. My mother always says family is the most important thing in the world, and I have learned this to be true. This Christmas I was raiding my grandma’s fridge at 2 AM with my sister and brother and couldn’t stop laughing about something we said. I was so happy with them and casually uttered one of my favorite things I’ve ever said: “We have a whole lifetime of this.” Siblings are the best blessings our parents have given us, and I’m so glad my mother has stressed this importance.

Even though my mother tells me all the time not to have children (sometimes with a smile sometimes with daggers for eyes), it makes me want to have them even more. The dysfunction and the anger and the emotion are what make us alive. Even though we’ve told each other we hated each other before, I wouldn’t trade my mother in a heartbeat. It’s the heated emotion that can sometimes tear a heart, but can also make it grow. Some smaller things I’ve gotten from my mother are my tendency to cry often (about everything from hugs to commercials to injustices in the world), humor, persuasiveness, ability to befriend most, and my hot bod. I really hope I pass on all of these things I’ve written about. I know that when I have a daughter, I’m going to hate her more than anyone at times, but I’m also going to love her fiercely. I’m going to push my children to be the best version of themselves, to not give a sh*t about what anyone says, to challenge the rules, and to love their family fiercely. I look forward to the day when my daughter realizes how effed up we can be and then looks at her grandmother and realizes just how awesome our family really is. Happy Mother's Day, Mom. I love you a lot and thank you so much for everything you've taught me, everything you've done for me, and everything you are.