“I refuse to let others walk thru my mind with their dirty feet.”
I’m a walking contradiction, a conundrum even to myself. For I have everything and nothing at the same time. At the onset of myordeal(the stroke) Imissed out on a few social engagements, a tropical vacation, a raise, my apartment in Astoria Queens was no longer, andI lost the job I had been working when the stroke occurred.Oh, and I woke up back where I started before I moved to New YorkCity and physically worse for wear. To add insult to injury my boyfriend also broke up with me. This all accumulated into a waking nightmare. As if life isn’t hard enough, my blood and brain had conspired against me. I rarely(if ever) have written about how I felt after waking up in the hospital in my home state; but its safe to say complete and utter loss while in a black abyss. Ican recallmyself loudly and randomly letting out screams of emotional pain in the rehabilitation department. However, there’s a catch because, better a delaythan a disaster. Also, it didn’t hurt that Iam surrounded by an incredible group of family and friends; who helped me through my pain, and very often their own. At this point and especially in the hospital, most would concurthat I had lost it all and nothing remains. Even as I am writing this with one hand because my left arm is currently paralyzed, I know I haven’t lost it all. In fact just as the night is darkest before the dawn in nature, so is life sometimes. Indeed the days are getting lighter as time passes. How could they not!?You see I have everything because, I’vebeen instilled with an indomitable spirit, the determination and perseverance to succeed, andthe wisdom to recognize tiny daily miracles. This all adds up to my main goal, numero uno… which is to get back on the tracks my train was derailed from.Each one of us encounter disasters in life, but with the rightglasses on we can still see the light in the darkness. There is never complete darkness in nature or in our lives. Even when we imagineit to be so, the reality is that it is not. I can honestlytell you that it does get better. Except, there is one thing…. No matterthe mountain, you must never give up!
“Who are we but the stories we tell ourselves, about ourselves, and believe?”
― Scott Turow, Ordinary Heroes.
Stories of triumph, stories of success, and stories of dreams coming true. These are the kinds of tales that keep us alive and keep us going. For me, these stories were a life boat in the middle of a dark and stormy ocean. The stories you and I tell ourselves make a tremendous impact on how we feel and in which direction we go. The difference between a good story and a bad one canput into motion either success or failure When every avenue seemed bleak, I could always pullpositive stories from my memory library to serve as an escape. My current life circumstances(post stroke) were a sinking ship of titanic proportions. However, reaching back into my memory banks, I could pull a story from a happier time. Without these invisible books I was headed for the bottom gasping for air, another casualty of life’sbad circumstances.While these books seem imaginary, the life lines they offer are very real. These stories told me I could accomplish my dreams as I had before, that the impossible was possible(as possible is part of the word itself) and gave me a reason to get up in the morning rather then languish in bed. A good story will motivate you and give you confidence, while a bad one will take away all of your hope. Do you suppose that thelegends of our time told themselves stories of failure?I’m certain it was just the opposite! I posit they reassured themselves that their mountains could be conquered. In this way we need to do the same thing. Whatever your goal, tell yourself that you canand thenpull examples of all your past successes. The longer you ruminate on past or current(perceived or real) failures, the longer you’ll remain in unwanted circumstances. By dwelling you effectively anchor yourself in shallow waters. Therefore, use positive stories toputthe windin your sails and venture to deeper waters. It is there you’ll find more to explore and myriad possibilities. Furthermore, surround yourself with people that add to the positive stories rather than help anchor you in shallow waters.
I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
-Thomas A. Edison
If a little seedlingcan manage to grow through cement, why can’t you do the same with your difficultcircumstances? The world worships at the feet of the God of success, but what do we do with failure and catastrophe? Rather than meet these challenges with a smile, We crumble and fade from them. When you’re going through a hard time keep smiling. Make people wonder wherethat smile came from, and how it got there. Meet life dancing with your hand in the air rather than lying down. Imagine what you’d do if the floor was pulled out from beneath you, because that’s what happened to me actually! In one fell swoop, I lost my high paying job, my apartment, a significant other, and my left arm and leg were paralyzed. I went to bed expecting to go to work and then home to New York City, but instead woke up in a Hospital back where I started with even less than I had as a child. In this situation you can either give up and fall into the arms of a suicidal depression or get upeven when you don’t feel like it. Despite my desire to bury myself under the covers in my bed, Iforced myselfto get up and go to rehab every week. Because, regardless of how I felt, life wasn’t going to handprogress over to meI had to push back to achieve it. I can assure you , that if I can do it, so can you! Just as trout swim miles upstream to spawn, sometimeswe find ourselves swimming upstream as well.Perhapswe aren’t swimming upstream to spawn, butour reasons are not so different from the trouts. That reason is simple,both of us are swimming towardsLife and not away.
“Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war.” -unknown.
Positive catch phrases are as rampant as fast food chains inthe midwest. Theydot the landscapewith sucharepetition youdon’t take notice of them or find them to be special in any way. Every so often though, in between these peddlers of obesity making people fatwith empty calories you actually find a restaurant serving real food. The many quotes and positive cliche’scan be empty as well, but every so often you’ll stumble across something actually meaningful. We are so afraid of failure thatthe pursuit of success has become its own institution, with sections of self help literaturetaking up real estate in most book stores. Achieving success personally or publicly is a lucrative business and is held in high esteem socially.Yet, failure still plagues humanity like adisease, because we’ve all failed. In fact, it’s nearly impossible not to fail. However,adverse to popular opinion the setup is in the setback. You can turn failure upside down and it willspell s-u-c-c-e-s-s! How? By changing your attitude and notbelieving that a failure is the final word on or chapter in your life. The world and societywould have you believe that a failure signifies the end of the road. However, that is far from the truth! If anything a setback can prepare you for an even bigger and better step in your life. Often, hardships not only toughen us up but strengthen us for the next round. Therefore, don’t dwell on the failure, instead push back on that setback and move forward!
“When nothing is certain,anything is possible.” -unknown.
I have a bone to pick with the medical community. Today I was mentally aghast, when Ioverheard a woman tellingsomeone about the parts of their brain that were now dead,due to a stroke. I find this and statements similar to be abhorrent concerning the recovery process. It is simply counterproductive and hope dashing. Being “realistic,”isan excellent attitude, if you don’t want to get very far. Do you know what drives success? Not only ambition, having dreams and setting goals, but also not listening to the naysayers.Those with negative or “realistic,” outlooks don’t get as far as the dreamers. Because in order to be interesting,successful,or have adventuresyou have to have a broader view and believe in the impossible. The difference is, thatbeing unrealistic lends it’s hand to inspiration,motivation,and success.When Iwas in the Hospital,in ICU it wouldv’e been “realistic,” to declare that I had severe brain damage and likely would not recover well,or at all. However, according to a neurosurgeon that saw my “brain damaged scans,” He declared with a happy face, that I was doing things that I should not be able to do. My answer to that(not at the time)is“Yes of course.”It turns out the more “realistic,” people were sadly mistaken. No one ever changed the world by seeing the glass half full.Dare I suggest to that woman, “ Your brain isbeautiful, We just need to work on this and you will improve!”Now, what would motivate andsend Her in the direction of abetter recovery? Telling Her that,or declaring that part of Her brain is dead? The more productive and correctanswer is the latter. There’s nothing I despise more than realistic or negative people.Some of my largest accomplishments and the best stories, were born out of ignoringthose people. I certainly don’t have any plans to begin listening to them now. My future and very life depend upon not listeningto them as a matter of fact. You must be wise in who you choose to listen to,or not listen to. You can’t go too astray by shooting for the moon and striving for more. Besides, if you don’t quite hit the moon, you’ll bea lot closer to the stars than those that chose to remain on the ground.
Everyone has a blog,reads a blog,or is currently the writer of one.A Google inquiry ofhow many blogs? Yields results in the millions like this one: On 16 February 2011, there were over 156 million public blogs in existence.
The internet has not onlybecome a means of big business, but also amain facilitator of human communication and expression.Therein lies “the blog,” an omnipresent entity among the tech savvy movers and shakers.Not to mention the social butterflies, It isa great way toconnect in an increasinglydisconnected world. The one where everyone knew their neighborsseems to be a thing of our Grandparents day. Concerning all these personal gadgets and media I can recall one comedian’s observation ;“Thank you Apple for giving NewYorkers another way to ignore eachother.”As a rulesocial interaction is not encouraged on the subway. It makes strangers uncomfortable. While I completely understand that,it seems this may be happening on an evenlarger scale.When faced with a lack of social interaction, it seems We have taken to writing creative lettersin cyberspace to an invisible audience,if only in our minds. However I’ll admit I quite like having the ability to pass out well designed business cardsthatsay“I’m a writerandI have a blog.” Therefore I must be interesting, right? I find, like many I’msure that writing is cathartic.Whatever your reason, it’s a great wayto spendyour time!It’s certainly more productive then sleeping or being a couch potato that’s for sure.Personally I’m not doing it for money.Perhaps in the beginning I had grand delusions of using it as an additional source of income..That has since changed more into a means of personal satisfaction, and ultimately helping someone else.Furthermore have you heard of suchglamorous workshops for more serious bloggers called Blogcademy!? I was unfortunate enough to miss the very first one, but caught one in Chicago(see here!) which was great and fun.Being afan of creative things I find blogging to be enjoyable and like the ability to change things around like it’s silly putty.Not to mention I take satisfaction in knowing that my ex boyfriend’s blog is not as interesting nor as well designed(Ha!) that gives me some odd sort of revenge.Although, revenge aside it’s creating awhole community, and were seeing things like bloggers being invited to fashion shows,beingtapped into promoting a brand,and even gaining large followings andinternet famemuch like some Youtubers.At any rate,I say let the bloggers blog!
“Sometimes heartbreak is a lesson, the best thing to do is just learn the lesson.” – Jon Voight.
Since the eponymous holiday of St.Valentine is upon us, this led me to reflect upon past loves.One cannot avoid this holiday as it announces itself in a flurry of pink,red, hearts, and candy in every convenience store as soon as February draws near.I guess Love just cannot wait! Normally this holiday comes and goes with an eye roll and “anti- Valentines Day,”cards mailed to friends from me. Instead, in anticipation of it I thought about the subject of heartbreak(that and the great decor’ this time of year) I admit, I have a difficult time letting go.The biggest regret I have of this is the time wasted spent talking about, thinking about,or crying about someone who was simply not worth it. A good friend of mine once told me “Don’t waste your time on a man(in this case boy) who is not strong enough to jump the hurdles with you.” This is good advice for a couple of reasons, one, look for those on your playing level and two, time is precious. I’m no expert but I do know the best things I did when in this sad state were going out and pursuing what made me happy and healthy(yay for rad friends!) Unfortunately though for some it is true that no one can complete you.However, if you learn how to love yourself(start HERE!) you’ve already won.While you shouldn’t resign yourself to lone wolf status forever, you’ll be better off(and healthier) if you can carry your own.It’s a win-win situation to be and feel whole in yourself.We all deserve a person that recognizes how wonderful we are.Do the things that you enjoy,fulfill you, and that truly enrich your life it will only serve you for the best. As they say “The best revenge is living well.” Besides when you do meet the person who is worthy of your time it will be all the better if they find you to be a happy and whole person all on your own.When your on life’s path to the top of the mountain to conquer it(whatever yours may be) the best thing is to meet a fellow traveler who is also on their way up too and can keep you company on the way there.This year go on a date with your best friend,be it a boy or girl! 🙂