Category Archives: Appreciation

The Peace of Wall Street

My brief time working on Wall Street again is coming to an end … bittersweet end.  It has been an awakening time for me … accepting and new found peace time for me.  I still have a strong connection to this place.  I have turned down a few jobs through the years to work in this financial downtown area because I just couldn’t bear to go through the World Trade Center and pass the site where my forever heart perished so many years ago.  This past year, I have grown to accept my life in ways that no one can understand – ways that I can barely articulate..  I still ache each time I pass through the WTC, but pain and nostalgia no longer paralyze me.  Sure it overwhelms me at times, but I keep moving forward.  I try to focus on all the good memories and new memories of being downtown, the familiar and the unknown.

I met someone briefly that allowed me to open my eyes to so many possibilities.   There are so many beautiful things in the world to explore, experience, relish and I plan to do just that.

I am going to miss being able to walk down to the South Street Seaport and just look out into the calm waters and let my thoughts drift.  I am going to miss the soft jazz music that can be heard every morning outside my work building.  I may even miss all the tourists and school groups that come this way….ah maybe not.   I will miss Brookfield Place and all the fun things that take place in the area, especially the Lowdown Hudson Music Fest!

I won’t miss the 9/11 Memorial.

I will miss the hand that held mine recently on a few walks around this area.  I wonder if he will ever know the profound effect he had on my life in such a short time …  and although he may never know, I will forever know.  The way he would apply a little pressure when holding my hand, calmed me and made some of anxiety melt away, especially when he squeezed the area between my thumb and my forefinger.

The way he evoked so many memories for me … maybe wasn’t fair to him; but priceless to me.  I knew Michael, my forever heart, was trying to still tell me something even if I wasn’t ready to fully understand all at the time.  Comforting.

I am moving forward … with grace in my step and hope in my heart …

 

 

 

 

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The Art of Saying Thank You

I would have to say one of my biggest pet peeves is when people don’t say thank you. What has happened to good manners. etiquette, gratitude, appreciation?

I know society has changed in many ways:  I understand how the world moves at a faster pace – and so many of us have adapted to this pace and prefer things be done more quickly, by email or phone.  I believe that some people have so much that so many take it all for granted.  Some people just have a sense of entitlement, and they feel like they deserve it.

Acknowledging takes very little effort but people still don’t make the time. I am tired. Tired of all the selfish people, especially in the family I was sadly born into.  I give, and give with very little respect.  I have to stop.  I always feel worse after holidays.  They under appreciate, and I over give.  No more.

For years, they take and rarely express gratitude – they just continue to show me they don’t care, they demean me, and show by their silence and lack of acknowledging my giving how much they belittle me and I guess they don’t have to thank me because I mean nothing to them.

They never recognize that I had a choice, I didn’t have to buy anything, all their favorites. They were not entitled.  I didn’t have to make the time, to pick up anything.  I am just a giver.  I am respectful.  No more.

I have to write this over and over, so I can make myself accountable.  Some people truly don’t deserve me in their life – in no form.

Keeping more to myself.  Learning to respect and appreciate myself more.  Give to myself more …  with grace in my step and hope in my heart.


Reminder

Came across some of Rachel C.Lewis’ writing and had to share … resonates …

Tell The People You Love That You Love Them

“I love being horribly straightforward. I love sending reckless text messages (because how reckless can a form of digitized communication be?) and telling people I love them and telling people they are absolutely magical humans and I cannot believe they really exist. I love saying, “Kiss me harder,” and “You’re a good person,” and, “You brighten my day.” I live my life as straight-forward as possible.

Because one day, I might get hit by a bus.

I could be walking down the street one day, blasting Rihanna or Fleetwood Mac, jamming so hard that I don’t see the bus coming. I could be walking with a book in my hand, reading until the very end. I could be paying total and complete attention, imagine the impact before it arrives.

And I’d really, really rather not die with some confusing statement I said sitting in the phone or the thoughts or the memory of someone I know, care about, need.

I know how it is — we all want to be mysterious. None of us want to get hurt. None of us want to look desperate. So we wait to respond to texts, phone calls, emails, Facebook messages, Tweets. So we communicate our emotions in how we end our messages (no period this time? Really gonna get them.). So we say vague, half-statements and expect people to read our minds.

But what if we died?

Maybe it’s weird. Maybe it’s scary. Maybe it seems downright impossible to just be—to just let people know you want them, need them, feel like, in this very moment, you will die if you do not see them, hold them, touch them in some way whether its your feet on their thighs on the couch or your tongue in their mouth or your heart in their hands.

But there is nothing more beautiful than being desperate.

And there is nothing more risky than pretending not to care.

We are young and we are human and we are beautiful and we are not as in control as we think we are. We never know who needs us back. We never know the magic that can arise between ourselves and other humans.

We never know when the bus is coming.”

― Rachel C. Lewis


Playing Dress Up

With Halloween fast approaching, I have been thinking a lot about what to wear this year for a costume … now if you truly knew me, you would know how odd this is. I used to dread this time of year. I was always the one turning down invitations to a Halloween costume party. I would avoid them like the plague. I used to wonder why some people wanted to dress up in silly, offensive, scary and/or skimpy get ups. I used to shiver at the thought.

But the last few years, I have been trying to make a conscious attempt at being more social. So the invitations have increased. And I have come to believe that many who dress up may be less inhibited, more carefree, more creative. Maybe these enthusiastic people who participate and look forward to this favorite holiday tradition have better sewing skills or a more versatile wardrobe than me.

Lately, I am leaning more to the mindset of wow who doesn’t want to dress up and pretend to be something / someone else for a day?! What kind of person doesn’t like dressing up for Halloween? I have slowly adopted the idea. It’s just fun trying to be creative, think out of the box, come up with ideas for a costume that many will not conceive. How many times, do we as adults, get to put our hair down = or up, just stop being our normal, every day self, shed our uptight personalities? Heck, I don’t care how old you are, it’s just a fun time waiting to happen.

I am slowly accepting that I am just a theme party kind of gal. I like parties with themes where I get to re-invent myself for a few hours.

Hmmmm …. glamorous movie star, princess, sexy nurse…ooohhh firefighter, oh no warrior. Black & white, Great Gatsby, all white party, pajama party, travel theme, Breakfast Club party, Work of Art Party – they all await me. So many choices. So much fun just waiting to happen.

With grace in my step, hope in my heart…creativity in my mind.


Hmmm … arm candy!

So lately, I have been all about the skies, food, sweets, wine, shoes, and last but not least bangles …  my latest craze in arm candy.  But I think I may have just found another form of arm candy … the younger man.

Yes!  Now I am playing cougar.  Who knew?!  A former co-worker and I have re-connected on social media.  We have met up as friends but now he is pouring his heart out to me about love, relationship … with me.  So, I am trying to keep an open mind.

I have been having issues trying to date in my age range. We all have baggage – some more than others.  Learning, that with a younger man there is definitely less baggage. I won’t have decades of past relationships and other issues to deal with. I don’t have to worry about his ex-wife and children — it will be all about the two of us.  And right now, at this point in my life – it’s what I want and deserve, Growing tired of playing it safe, of being alone.  I like to be chased, adored.

I was always a bit of a late-bloomer, and being with a younger man may just somehow keep me in a forever-inspired mode.  My younger friend may have less, but gives more.  I am in a non-settling frame of mind.

One of my favorite aunts was in town last month and she started telling me how lucky she was to have married a younger man – her second chance at love. She was widowed at a young age with small children when she found her second chance. She had a stroke two years ago and was feeling fortunate her husband is healthy and younger. She also told me that he was less judgmental, less traditional, less bound by stereotype – which has helped her in many ways to being happier, even a better mom. She had me thinking … then bam, he comes back into my life – this time not as a co-worker, but a friend.

Who knows…I am not making any decisions, I don’t need to. I am just taking it one minute at a time. Enjoying life. Trying to worry less, stay sane and get healthier. I am going to stop worrying so much about what others may think, stop wondering what this younger guy sees in me, and just enjoy the attention. I deserve every flattering, delicious moment … so I plan to sit back and continue counting my blessings and start looking for this Maca root from the jungles of Peru.

Looking forward to finally, freely living some more, to have my emotions raw, to the potential and the possibilities of having my body, mind, and soul literally rocked … ah nirvana may indeed be mine. Fulfillment, contentment … indeed … on my journey of living deliciously with grace in my step, hope in my heart. I am back …


PTSD … still …

Its been two years since I got hit by a car. And my anxiety, especially during the winter months, has not diminished. Lately, its at an all time high!! I am so afraid of slipping on the ice, breaking more bones. So much anxiety. I have definitely noticed how being hit by a car has changed the way I experience the city. Every time I see a taxi cab coming down the street, an almost daily sight, my thoughts rebound to my accident. Some changes, like never stepping off the curb until the light has actually changed, or looking both ways before crossing (sometimes twice), are probably good in a way. But all these inane thought race through my head in seconds – I am never again sure that a car will stop, and now my carefree walking in the city has come to and – abruptly and forever.

Although I recovered, for the most part, physically, I still walk around the city with a sense of permanent vulnerability. I still cannot cross many streets without looking both ways about four times and looking over my shoulder a dozen times while crossing. If a car gets too close, or if I think a driver turning my way doesn’t see me, I panic, break out in a sweat, and sometimes literally freeze. Sometimes, on crowded walkways, people stare, get frustrated with me, bump into me … all which just adds more anxiety.

Physically, I have been certainly recovering. But the last two years, I have became seriously depressed. Drugs did not help all that much. I was referred to a post-traumatic stress disorder therapist and during non-winter months, I think I am ok. But now my PTSD is at the forefront of my life. Waiting for the winter blues literally to leave so some of my depression can gradually lift.

For a long time, though, my life was defined by my accident. And I guess it still is -0 just when I thought I could put things behind me. So much is how much of my energy and time is spent on all the medical procedures, tests, rehabs, doctors’ visits etc., building anxiety, not to mention all that time I missed from work before they laid me off. And now looking to go back to work, I see how much I have really lost.

And the experience lingers, both mentally and physically. I have regained about 80 percent of my mobility and 70 percent of my strength, but it is just not the same. So many things I still can’t do, and this only leaves me more frustrated and disappointed. In my mind, I’ll never be the same and that’s heartbreaking to some extent.

And the fear and the vulnerability stay with me. I wasn’t paralyzed or killed, so I felt fortunate. Being hit by a car did, however, damage my sense of security and safety. I am still working my head around all of this.

I have become an exceedingly careful pedestrian. *sigh* I guess that is a good thing. I never got my driver’s license, I never quite liked cars nor traffic, but these days I am even more against them. I just pray to return to some form of stability — both on a professional and personal level as well as emotionally and physically.

I desperately seek and need the feeling of responsibility and accomplishment. I want my life back. But am keeping my true appreciation for why I am still here.


Mental Health

Today is National Depression Screening Day, ‪Bipolar Awareness Day, and ‪‎World Mental Health Day. I have lived all my life with family members who are manic, depressed, alcoholic dependent, and have extreme personality mood swings, and are most times than not in complete denial. I myself suffer from depression and all too aware. I know sometimes when I look back, I am completely lost. We all need to work together to work on increasing our awareness, acceptance and be more patient. Help eliminate the stigma.

This quote by Spike Milligan resonates with me: ‘It’s a gift and a curse. You get the pain much worse than anybody else, but you see a sunrise much more beautiful than anybody else!’

This is how I feel so many times…You start to wonder if maybe something has come over her and she’s finally coming around. Maybe this is the start of something better, more peace, less tension. You even get a little upset wondering, “Well why can’t she just be like this?” And that’s the part that keeps you sucked in, thinking she can someday rehabilitate her attitude and behaviors toward you after all this time. My expectations were always off track. I felt that I just held onto just hope. But I learned that sometimes it’s that very hope – false hope – that keeps us inappropriately connected. You want what you can’t have – a mom who’s proud of you, a grandma who doesn’t pit people against each other, a sister you can trust. When you can accept the face value of your painful situation instead of the fantasy, it gets easier to live with.

Now that doesn’t mean you alienate yourself from the very people you love but drag you so deep down. Sometimes we just have to be inwardly and outwardly strong, brave, patient. Breathe. Count to ten. Limit the contact. Call once in a while, be around for two hours at Christmas, or have dinner once a month. You may need to set some strong boundaries when they start to treat you poorly. That might mean getting up and leaving their house, hanging up the phone, carefully choose what gatherings you attend, etc. And truthfully, it means setting your expectations pretty low. Casual activity that doesn’t get emotional is ideal, unless they are so destructive you should cut them off completely. Lucky for me I have not had to cut any family member out completely.

Sometimes you can stay around and take it, hoping they would get into a better mood; other times you just have to leave and wait. Pray. Hope. There is always hope. If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it….truer words have not been shared.

“Every day may not be good…but there’s something good in every day”
-Alice Morse Earle

I choose to live my life with awareness, hope, faith, patience, and grace in my step.


I know I will see you again …

I get so more melancholy and turn more quietly inward – especially between August through September. I have lost so many people I truly loved. For the past 13 years, I dread today. I dread the anniversary and the repeated replays of the planes, the impacts, the fireballs and the collapsing towers.

It truly is like ripping off a Band-Aid … but my heart feels this open wound. Today, 13 years ago, I lost four true friends, one my irreplaceable heart, my soul mate.

The days will always be brighter because he existed. The nights will always be darker because he’s gone. And no matter what anybody says about grief, and about time healing all wounds, the truth is, there are certain sorrows that never fade away until the heart stops beating and the last breath is taken. Always my heart ♥mm♥ …(Excerpt from Tiffanie DeBartolo, God-Shaped Hole)

I have come to realize that destiny can hurt a person as much as it can bless them, and I find myself wondering why – out of all the people in all the world I could ever have loved – I had to fall in love with someone who was taken away from me.

One day he was there and then all of a sudden, he is gone. There’s less of him each passing year. And you wonder where that part went – if it’s living somewhere, outside of you, and you keep thinking maybe you’ll get it back. And then you realize…it’s just gone.

Many say it’s easier to burn than to build; many say it’s easier to hurt than to heal…But I say you lose when you give up what you love…And I’ve lived my life without that long enough.

I hold pieces of him; I hold them so tight that they eventually become pieces of myself that am still learning to grow from but never away from. I hold onto them so tight that they eventually become the only pieces that can hold my shaky bones together. They become the only pieces that can keep this broken heart of mine held together…

Have you ever thought that if one thing hadn’t happened, a whole set of things never would have either? Like dominoes in time, a single event kicked off an unstoppable series of changes that gained momentum and spun out of control, and nothing was ever the same again. Don’t ever doubt that a mere second can change your life forever. It can. It has. Everything does really happen for a reason.

I’ve got no more illusions…I know I’ll see you again…but for today, I am allowing myself to fully experience the full impact of my loss. Grieving all over again. Grief…I am following it, crying when I want to, yelling at God, screaming into my pillow, and avoiding most people and definitely the news.

Grief is itself the only medicine I need right now. And anyone who doesn’t understand this or who can’t accept, stay away from me. So fake better stay away from me.

“After a while you learn the subtle difference between holding a hand and chaining a soul. You learn that kisses aren’t contracts and presents aren’t promises. You learn that loving doesn’t mean leaning and company doesn’t always mean security, and you learn that even sunshine burns if you get too much. After a while you learn to build all your dreams on today because tomorrows ground is too uncertain for dreams, and futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight. After a while you learn to accept your defeats with your head held with the grace of a woman and not the grief of a child. After a while you learn to plant your own garden and decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone else to bring you flowers. And you learn that you really are strong, that you really do have self worth, and you can endure, and you learn and learn, with every “goodbye” you learn…” (Veronica A. Shoffstall)

“I am not the happiest person. In fact, in the battle between joy and misery, I’d say that the latter often seems to prevail. I don’t like this, and every day I refuse, for the eighty millionth time, to put up with another minute of it. But the world does what it does, and I often find it disagreeable. After all these years, I’m kind of resigned to that. But I do have one thing on my side: I have enormous faith. And hope. I am not speaking of the kind you find in church or in the afterlife or in heaven or in the Saint James Bible or in the Hare Krishna’s that we all encounter changing flights in the airports of the world, I am speaking of a simple faith that says that one way or another, no matter how many times I stumble and stub my big toe, somehow life is going to work itself out.” (Elizabeth Wurtzel)

candles


Me….Screaming….

So many people take so much for granted. I think sometimes life is so unfair. People have parents, brothers and loves and take them for granted – I wonder do they realize what they have. I think too the price we pay for loving so much is an immense pain when we suffer loss because I don’t just hurt like normal people – I hurt so much more- I can’t let them go and in many ways I refuse to let them go. Cancer may haunt me, but I will be damned if I will let it define me…I am trying so hard each and every day not to let my health define me nor change my life drastically. I sometimes lose that battle. I struggle to regain some normalcy. Many people just don’t get me nor can understand my choices. And that is okay. I get it. And that is all that should matter. I sadly don’t think many people realize how words can affect other people.

Words can be so brutal. Sometimes I just feel lost, helpless. I try so hard to just smile through all. I just wish more people could think before speaking, writing. We all should guard our words better. Words once spoken, can’t be unspoken. We just can’t take them back. Even if it was a joke, even if you were being curious; your words can be hurtful, brutal and may stay with the other person forever. It’s better to be silent than to be an idiot. For the most part, I believe that people don’t mean to be cruel, they just don’t fully comprehend all.

I have been sickly since I was born. So I have tried really hard to not take my health nor the days of my life for granted. I sadly see so many people who just think they are invincible. Some of my friends eat right, they exercise, and they still think disease or accidents can’t reach their lives. I just want to scream sometimes. I just want to yell, “don’t take your health for granted….don’t put things off…tomorrow may never get here…”.

Sigh….tired. Tomorrow will be a long day for my family. So many doctors, so little time. Aye, so I wasn’t blessed with good health. I have teeth that I’m lucky are still (mostly) there. I have hair that I’m lucky hasn’t all fallen out. I have a body that has been beaten and broken many times over by something I’ll never fully understand. And for a time, I really thought that was all there was. But, I’m a fighter and have decided early on that this wasn’t how my story will end.

Me….screaming…appreciate, don’t take the little things for granted…Live each day…live deliciously!

pray


Reunited…and it feels so good.

Reunited…and it feels so good. Yes! Finally! Yesterday was a great day…a day all about ME. I was funny, charming, silly, impulsive…I felt alive, like I didn’t have a care in the world. And for a few blissful hours, I didn’t. I made my usual Saturday night plans for dinner then movie…and found myself dancing the night away into the wee hours of the morning. I have not felt this free in years. It was fantastic. I was surrounded by good friends – the non-judgmental ones; friends who want nothing tangible from me except friendship. Being the oldest in the night club and not being comfortably dressed, did not deter me from having a great time. I felt at peace, even beautiful. I have realized that it has been way too long since I have completely, and literally, let my hair down.

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

The most important decision of your life, the one that will effect every other decision you make, is the commitment to love and accept yourself. It directly affects the quality of your relationships, your work, your free time, your faith, and your future.

I go out, and am usually worried about parents, dog, money, having to get up early to do things for others. I am usually so sleep deprived that I tire way too easy.

Yesterday, my Saturday started like most other Saturdays…buying the paper for my Dad, getting pastries, fresh bread for my parents, walking the dog, going into NYC for some volunteer work. I should have known it would be a great day…one of the young cancer patients I counsel, is actually showing such remarkable progress. Hope, faith…praying.

Trains were on time. I was actually only two minutes late for my much needed hair coloring appointment. Such a relaxing time at the salon. Learned one of the young ladies at the salon got engaged, met her new fiance, and her ring was a beauty. Love, hope…wistful.

Although, I was tired…I was determined to have a few hours of just pure enjoyment. Dinner was stress-free, conversations easy and flowing. Movie was sweet, funny. When we found ourselves not wanting the night to end, we decided to find a dance club. Although, most clubs are packed with the 20 something crowd, we were not deterred. We were on a mission to let the music just carry us away. I felt alive again. It was like stripping off several layers of paint from an antique piece of furniture. I found myself restored to my original beauty of life, full of joy. Not caring if I looked old, silly – allowed me to feel alive and I could abandon all those inhibitions. I just felt like the old me. Living in appreciation.

Most days, I tend to reminiscence, and live in the past. Missing the men in my life, lost to me too early. Suffering comes from living in the pain of the past or the fear of the future. That is not living. My fiance, who passed away, would not want me to be alone, wallowing in what ifs. I am determined to continue placing attention on the present moment and be at peace. Lately, I am trying so hard to live in the present.

Focusing on me…on loving myself more. True self-love requires time to relax, play, and create face-to-face interaction with others. Our fast-paced world creates a goal setting, competitive craziness that doesn’t leave room for play. A doctor once said, “The opposite of play isn’t work, it is depression.” Yes, I feel like I have lost too many years as it is. I refuse to live in shadows anymore. Letting go of negative people, judgmental people, lying people, and dramatic people. Trying to stay true to myself. Love myself. Put myself first. No more self-neglect.

The past few weeks, pre-spring cleaning, has also found me cleaning out my closets. I have gained a lot of weight the past couple of years. And although I have to lose some for health reasons, I am embracing my new curves. I never thought the clothes hanging in my closet were symbolic in any way. But they are. Having clothes that no longer fit me, made me feel bad. Made me feel unworthy and just plain fat. No more.

So, there you have it. My new clothes, less clothes in the closet. A few hours of pure fun. A few hours of pure selfishness. My new return to finding ME. My new determination to not forget myself again.

Yes, reunited…and it feels so good….singing…♥


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