Category Archives: Strength

My Scars Tell A Story …

20170804_204354I was on the line this past week at the NYC Passport Agency … more than 2 hours in 90 degree August weather … Not fun!  Realized that sometimes life becomes less about living and more about waiting … So tired of waiting!

A complete stranger noticed my scar on my back, near my right shoulder blade.  They asked me what happened.  I was surprised because it’s been a part of me for 40+ years – I forget it’s there.  I had my first cancerous tumors at six months old.  Forty years ago, no one was thinking beyond me getting healthier and growing old – not worrying about scars and plastic surgery.  This stranger mentioned I should look into scar revision surgery.   I politely listened to them.  But in my head I am thinking please leave me alone.   My scars are mine and they tell my story.  Some days they bring me comfort and remind me how much I have gone through and of my strength.

The quote by Steve Maraboli – resonates:  My scars tell a story. They are a reminder of times when life tried to break me, but failed.

My life has been hard.  It still is – most days.  I deal with sadness, grief, pain, hurt, anger, loss … I struggle on a daily basis to get out of bed and just put one foot in front of the other, trying to find my purpose and my smile.  I struggle to find the tenuous line between what hurts me and what heals me.  I struggle in letting go of the past and keep moving forward.

So I need to see beauty in my scars.  So many of us have scars – some visible, many not.  Some are inside of us, some are on the outside prominently and permanently on display.

So I will show my scars … because I continue to fight and survive.  I won’t hide my scars.  They are my reminders that I am still alive.  They serve as proof that God is forever healing me.  And I will keep finding beauty in my life and sharing my story … with grace in my step and hope in my heart.

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39 More Days

Only 39 days left until Sunday – January 1, 2017!  39!!  I don’t know where the time goes.  Most days, it all seems to pass in a blur … a blur of depression, sadness, hurt, tiredness.  The past two years, I have to admit, has seen me at my most vulnerable in real time and not just via words on my blog.  I have had some heart-to-heart conversations with family and so-called friends who have hurt me or not been there for me in my darkest hours.  I have done a lot of de-cluttering of my life.  I may still be alone, but I am at peace.

I have tried to make each year better but I failed so many times.   I pray that 2017 is it – the biggest year for me yet.  I have been living off the radar, under the bar for so long.  Now I just want to shine bright.  I want to be noticed – I want to be appreciated.

I wish I knew now what I have learned while dealing with the death of so many loved ones back-to-back.  I believe I wouldn’t have lost so many good years due to my mourning.  I put myself in such a dark place, such a sinking hole.

Ironically, I have complained that I had no support system but honestly I realize now how much I cut people out, and how easy immediate family made it for me.  As for new friends, I rarely let new people in my life the past 15 years.  Working hard on trying now.   I need and want people in my life – but worthy, deserving people.  I want to be able to build each other up, not tear each other down.

For so many years, being strong found me pretending to be okay.  I didn’t want to appear weak.  But this pretending came with a very high cost which I am still paying the price.  I shut people out, I lost interest in so many things, I gave up, I let depression and PTSD keep me mired down in grief.  I hid parts of me away.  I would not get really close to anyone.  I kept to myself, isolated.  I didn’t want to be completely vulnerable nor have anyone worry about me.  So today, I have no support system and no one is worried about me.  I guess I ultimately got what I thought I wanted.  Emotional seclusion instead of a complete and utter breakdown is where I have been residing.  And the few times I have let myself be honest, forthcoming, and vulnerable, I have been met with lack of understanding.  So I withdrew even more.

It’s such a cycle.  When a person like me who is already an introvert, keeps everything inside, never fully accepting how messed up I really was, it’s all downhill from there.  I find myself trying so hard to crawl out of the dungeon I found myself in.  Writing has helped me tremendously.  Social media  has helped me as well – I get to be somewhat social without actually investing in friendships too much or sharing true intimacy.   It has provided an outlet – a necessary one.  I need to search and bare my soul.  I need some guidance, acceptance, understanding – even if it at first it appears shallow.  We all need to feel connected.   I’m thankful that social media has brought people back into my life. To me, the past few years have been a rebirth for me – learning how to crawl, walk, talk … all over again.  Now I am more than ready to spread my wings and fly away … with hope in my heart and grace in my step.


In My Veins

Watching episodes of Sons of Anarchy and all I can say about Jax and Tara’s relationship is WOW.

“We don’t know who we are until we’re connected to someone else. We’re just better human beings when we’re with the person we’re supposed to be with. I wasn’t supposed to leave. I belong here.”
―Tara to Jax

Nothing goes as planned
Everything will break
People say goodbye
In their own special way
All that you rely on
And all that you can fake
Will leave you in the morning
But find you in the day

Oh, you’re in my veins
And I cannot get you out
Oh, you’re all I taste
At night inside of my mouth
Oh, you run away
‘Cause I am not what you found
Oh, you’re in my veins
And I cannot get you out

Everything will change
Nothing stays the same
Nobody here’s perfect
Oh, but everyone’s to blame
Oh, all that you rely on
And all that you can save
Will leave you in the morning
And find you in the day

Oh, you’re in my veins
And I cannot get you out
Oh, you’re all I taste
At night inside of my mouth
Oh, you run away
‘Cause I am not what you found
Oh, you’re in my veins
And I cannot get you out

(No, I cannot get you out)
(No, I cannot get you)
(Oh no, I cannot get you out)
(No, I cannot get you)

Everything is dark
It’s more than you can take
But you catch a glimpse of sun light
Shining, shining down on your face
Your face
Oh your face

Oh, you’re in my veins
And I cannot get you out
Oh, you’re all I taste
At night inside of my mouth
Oh, you run away
‘Cause I am not what you found
Oh, you’re in my veins
And I cannot get you out
(No)

No, I cannot get you out
(Oh, you’re in my veins)
No, I cannot get you out
Oh no, I cannot get you


Lesson for today…

Such a great quote from Sons of Anarchy:

Jackson ‘Jax’ Teller: Maybe that’s the lesson for me today, to hold onto these simple moments – appreciate them a little more, there’s not many of them left. I don’t ever want that for you, finding things that make you happy shouldn’t be so hard. I know you’ll face pain, suffering, hard choices but you can’t let the weight of it choke the joy out of your life. No matter what, you have to find the things that love you. Run to them. There’s an old saying – that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, I don’t believe that. I think the things that try to kill you make you angry and sad. Strength comes from the good things, your family, your friends, the satisfaction of hard work. Those are the things that will keep you whole, those are the things to hold onto when you’re broken.

I agree…. ♥


I Will Learn To Love Again….

So many thoughts, feelings…words waiting to be written, shared…but the second my fingers touch the keyboard, I feel overwhelmed with emotion. Listening to music, trying to unwind and this song comes on….

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent” – Victor Hugo

So letting this song express how I am feeling tonight…

I Will Learn To Love Again

To love again, to love again
To love again, to love again
To love again

Drowning in tears, that won’t be me
I will soon be, free from the chains of all this pain inside
And though I cry it won’t be long
Till I regain my strength to know I can go on

I will find my way through the heartbreak
I will not give up on love, I believe

I will learn to love again, I will learn to trust
Once this heart can start to mend
I will learn to, learn to love again

All of these tears, time will dry them
I will survive them, and make it through into another day
All of this pain, time will heal it
There’ll be a time sometime I know I won’t feel it

I will live through life without you
After the hurting is done, I believe

I will learn to love again, I will learn to trust
Once this heart can start to mend
I will learn to, learn to love again

And I will find someone who deserves my touch
After all the hurt is through, I will be so over you
I will not give up on love, I believe, yeah

I will learn to love again, I will learn to trust
Once this heart can start to mend
I will learn, to love again, I will love again…


Moving forward…

Ever just feel like you are being dragged under…and the only way to get through the day is compartmentalize and just try to go through the motions? I find myself so overwhelmed lately and wanting to give up. But I know I can’t. I won’t allow myself to be fully defeated.

I need to remain strong and unaffected when dealing with the weaknesses and shortcomings of others especially lately. I can’t allow other people’s fears, bad habits, gossip, or envy to harm me. Forging ahead, trying to remain confident and keep my decisive attitude although I have learned this arouses competition or insecurities in others, and I continually find myself subjected to deception and lies from people around me, especially colleagues.

“Pulling through is what people do around here. There is a kind of bravery in their lives that isn’t bravery at all. It is automatic, unflinching, a mix of man and machine, consuming and unquestionable obligation meeting illness move for move in a giant even-steven game of chess – an unending round of something that looks like shadowboxing, though between love and death, which is the shadow? “Everyone admires us for our courage,” says one man. “They have no idea what they’re talking about.”

“Courage requires options,” the man adds.

“There are options,” says a woman with a thick suede headband. “You could give up. You could fall apart.”

“No you can’t. Nobody does. I’ve never seen it,” says the man. “Well, not really fall apart.”
― Lorrie Moore, Birds of America

Love the quote above and the collection of stories is a must read. We all, at certain times in our lives, find ourselves broken. True strength is found in picking up the pieces…and moving forward.


Missing my brother….

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal; Love leaves a memory no one can steal…today marks 19 years since Heaven needed another Angel…not a day goes by without me thinking of my Brother, AJ. So many thoughts, feelings….None the more poignant or heartbreaking than the loss of then my 25 year old brother. Always….♥

We were only one year apart.
AJ was the healthy one, the athletic one.
I was the sickly one.
Yet he passed at 25 and I got to live on…without him.
From day one all we did was fight,
now all I do is fight back my tears.
We were so close.
You’re still here in my heart and mind,
still making me laugh cause your stories live on.
I hold you in a thought and I can feel you.
I feel you and this gives me strength and courage. ..

AJ


What hurts you today, makes you stronger tomorrow…

Rough week!  So over the moon its Friday…but the weekend is already mocking me with silence.  Took my Chili dog to the vet, learned he had arthritis and a spinal injury deterioration – he is limping around a little better with his new meds.  Poor little guy – he has already endured two knee surgeries.  I had to go to the Orthopedic today to learn my results from my MRI – sure enough I need surgery on my right hand – they found a tear in my ligament, a cyst, and central perforation…enough said.  Was praying against hope that surgery would not be needed.  But learning that somehow this is my life…

I find myself repeatedly asking God how much am I to take and when will it be my year but I somehow find the strength He provides for me to keep moving forward…smiling through my tears.   I was hoping to find someone special by now so I can find comfort and support in another but I guess it’s just not my time.  I know my Mr. Perfect for me is out there.  And I know that God has a plan as to why my life, physically and emotionally needs to go through this pain now with broken bones that don’t heal.

I am learning that letting go has nothing to do with weakness, and everything to do with strength.  We let go and walk away not because we want others to realize our worth, but because we finally realize our own worth.

Sometimes you just need to do your best and surrender the rest. – Don’t be too hard on yourself.  There are plenty of people willing to do that for you.  Tell yourself, “I am doing the best I can with what I have in this moment.  And that is all I can expect of anyone, including me.”  Love yourself and be proud of everything that you do, even your mistakes.  Because even mistakes mean you’re trying.

You are in control of one person, and one person only: yourself. – There is only one way to be happy, only one route to happiness, and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of your control.  Letting go in your relationships doesn’t always mean that you don’t care about people anymore; it’s simply realizing that the only person you really have control over is yourself.

What’s right for you may be wrong for others, and vice versa.– Think for yourself, and allow others the privilege of doing so too.  We all dance to the beat of a different drum.  There are few absolute ‘rights’ and ‘wrongs’ in the world.  You need to live your life your way – the way that’s right for you.

Some people will refuse to accept you for who you are.   And I am learning not to care as much.   Always choose to be true to yourself, even at the risk of incurring ridicule from others, rather than being fake and incurring the pain and confusion of trying to be someone you’re not.  When you are comfortable in your skin, not everyone in this world will like you, and that’s okay.  Yup…it really is.

Relationships can only exist on a steady foundation of truth.  When there is a breakdown in a relationship, you must have the hard conversation.  It may not be pretty and it may not feel good.  But if you are willing to listen and tell the truth, it will open up.  When you learn how to build relationships based on truth and authenticity, rather than masks, false perfection, and being phony, your relationships will heal, connect, and thrive.

Sometimes walking away is the only way to win.  Never waste your time trying to explain yourself to people who have proven that they are committed to misunderstanding you.  In other words, don’t define your intelligence by the number of arguments you have won, but by the number of times you have said, “This unnecessary nonsense is not worth my time.”

Sitting in silence I will learn to hide my pain…

Focusing on what I have left, not only on what I have lost.

It truly should never be all about what you have lost, but about what you have learned.

Still looking forward on putting my loss behind me….looking forward to my newest finds….

I have said this before…

Every day I am crumbling more apart and yet falling more together all at the same time.

We all need to remember one simple thing: it’s OK to be lost. It’s OK to let go of needing all the answers. It’s not going to kill you— in fact, it just might bring you to life.

I’ve lived, I’ve loved, I’ve lost, I’ve missed, I’ve hurt, I’ve trusted, I’ve made mistakes, but most of all, I’ve learned.   Very happy that I am in one piece…mind, heart, body and spirit…. All good to go….♥


Reflections of a Year

Happy Holidays, Everyone!  I hope you have all been enjoying the holiday season and its many celebrations.   I have been blessed with love, warmth, meals, and friends, and yes – some truly wonderful gifts…♥

The past year for me has been a journey of discovery and re-direction in many ways.  It has been a time of quiet reflection, a time to gather my memories of my pasts, and learn how to accept love into my life again.  Aside from some grief and feeling of loss it has brought serious contemplation of the importance of friends, family, the necessity of unassailable caring for one another and the need to resolve differences and reach a level of unimpeachable understanding between us all.   And it hasn’t and still isn’t always easy to accomplish.   I have been fortunate though – so many times this past year, I have felt at peace, sense of quiet faith that all will be well in the future.

These last few days of the year will be all abuzz with chatter of the past year’s best of, hottest this, latest that.  And even more than that, everybody will most likely vow a commitment to some act of self-improvement for the upcoming year.   Ah – the infamous New Year’s Resolution.   Good intentions, that most often fall by the wayside only to be regarded as lists of would’ve, could’ve, should’ve.

Want to know why I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions?!   I have said this many times – they are an excuse to take the bad parts of your life and flaunt them with the promise that you’ll change them; they’re an excuse to realize you have messed up and are going to change without being ashamed.  But there is no shame in wanting to change.  We are constantly changing, whether we know it or not.  Take a year and live it one day at a time; you’d be surprised how much can change on its own when you’re not making dreamy long-term goals.  That is how I have lived my life…and now here I am and I don’t know how to accept people who don’t.

At this time of year, we naturally think back over the past twelve months and look ahead towards the future.  Looking back at times gone by (Auld Lang Syne) can be a good thing, especially if we focus on the stuff we’ve accomplished and the adventures we’ve had with friends or family. I think reflecting on our accomplishments and giving thanks for our good fortune is healthy.  But what about looking forward?

So I wonder how many of us will make New Year’s resolutions:  Lose weight.  Sleep enough hours.  Hit the gym.  Cut out the fast food.  Quit smoking.  Drink less.

If you’re looking for a new way to approach your outlook on the New Year, try this instead. Take a moment for some silent self-reflection on the past year and use where you are today to get where you want to be tomorrow.  While I’m not one for New Year’s Resolutions, I am committed to setting goals.

This coming January, concludes my first year writing this blog.  What a journey it has been.  I want to thank all of my followers for taking time out to read some of my musings.  This has been a very disparate year for me – looking for love, fighting demons of insecurities, loss, dealing with cancer, re-connecting with family and friends, looking for work, joining support group, volunteer work…the year is ending on  a very positive note for me…finding a great man and steady work have been true blessings.

How about you?  Are you setting resolutions goals for the new calendar year?


Can Something Good Come From This?

Wow!  I have been busy…between working, dating, volunteering…I am surprised I have found time for sleeping.  But I am happy…happier than I have been for months.  I am so looking forward to my volunteer work with the Ronald McDonald House this coming Thursday.  We have gathered a good team.  I know the impact will be great.  Knowing that even for a second, I can help make a child smile is so rewarding.   Personally, many of you know that I myself have lived with cancer so it means more to me to be a volunteer.  Throughout the years, I have found many ways to give back.  I have loved each and every moment of the many fundraising events that I’ve volunteered at, and making lifetime friends along the way!
I’ve grown very passionate about the work so many provide, such as the Ronald McDonald House and how they lend support to children and their families living with this cancer.   So I am going to remain forever optimistic and hopeful.  I am going to maintain my enthusiasm and get a kick out of putting smiles on children’s faces, and continue to reap the rewards of being a volunteer.

And as much as I want to fall in love again, I have been soooo dreading dating again.   But being out in groups with my support group and my volunteering teams, has introduced me to many like-minded people.  I am truly enjoying spending my time with quality people who know how to give of themselves.  For now, just taking it slow.  Meeting in groups is key.   So volunteering may even help me find my next true love.  Who knew?!

What I am learning is that cancer can take a lot of things but that it could also help me and others realize many more important things.  Cancer gave me focus and determination – to live what life was given to me to the fullest.  It has helped to make me deeper and wider and more impassioned than those who have not had to experience the harsher sides of life.  I learned that the unexpected gift of cancer is an intense appreciation for life.  I found compassion for others where there had been none before, I found strength I didn’t know I had…and I would not trade my experiences for anything. 

No one would volunteer to have cancer. Even though it may seem impossible to imagine at the beginning, most people find the strength to deal with cancer when they or a member of their family become ill.  I see it every day!  Most people cope with the challenges cancer brings one day at a time and come out okay in the end.  Overall, most children’s cancer survivors have a good quality of life and sense of well-being.   Also, after getting through such a challenging experience, many people look back on it and feel that they underwent some positive personal changes as a result of having cancer.  Here’s to continual hope…

It is easy to think of the negative things that come with cancer:  having to be in the hospital, missing out on school, work and social activities with friends, feeling too sick or tired to enjoy life, worrying about the future. During treatment, the time is often spent managing these negative or unpleasant things.  After treatment, looking back on these experiences can challenge the way people and their families think about themselves and their world. Many people begin to see positive changes in themselves as a result of surviving the cancer experience. They feel stronger. Parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, and friends may also experience positive changes as a result of someone close to them having cancer. For example, some people say the cancer experience helped them focus on what really matters in life. They say they appreciate life more, have deeper personal relationships with family and friends, and find a stronger sense of spirituality. Others report increased confidence in their ability to handle difficult situations, and more certainty about their priorities; they feel more confident and have new interests and goals. Some people experience a desire to “give back” to others and work to help current and future cancer patients. These people might get involved in organizations like Ronald McDonald’s House that provide resources to cancer patients and families.

So here I am…on my journey to give back…find my way…hoping…♥


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