Moving Forward

It’s been a crazy month for me, which is partly the reason why it’s been so long since my last post. So much has happened that I simply haven’t known where to start in terms of writing it all down.

The closer I get to graduation, the more I’m starting to realize a new dream of mine. I’ve had the opportunity in the past few months to work at an elementary school. It’s hard work to say the least, and most days I come home exhausted. I have a whole new respect for teachers that I’ve never had before. With that said, it’s also been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. I’ve always loved children, but I never saw myself in front of a classroom.

To say that the kids in my first class stole my heart would be an understatement. In the blink of an eye they became a big part of my life, and I look forward to hearing their crazy stories every morning upon entering the building.

There’s something great about kids that you don’t get to experience when interacting with adults. They’re eager, curious, innocent, and completely open. They say it like it is with no filter, and it’s so refreshing to see that in a world where everyone is constantly editing themselves to fit into society or to achieve a hidden agenda. It’s also amazing to see their thought process; how a story about cookies can easily turn into a story about their little brother, and of course the never ending question of “Why, Ms. Janet? Why?”

Unfortunatly this experience has also opened my eyes to some heartbreaking things as well. I’ve seen certain students struggle to function in a typical classroom setting. Some of the brightest kids I’ve come across are the ones who have disabilities. They have to work ten times as hard just to produce the same results as their peers, and they battle struggles every day that we can only imagine. No matter how hard we try to see things from their point of view, we won’t ever understand what it’s like to live with those conditions each day.

I’ve decided to pursue my Masters Degree in Special Education. It was a scary decision to reach, because I felt as if I were throwing away my writing dreams by accepting a new one. After much consideration and support from those around me, I realize that’s not the case. No matter what career I am in, I will always consider myself a writer. From before I can remember I would spend hours filling up notebook pages. When I sit down to write, I feel at peace.I want  my future students to know that someone out there believes in them. I want to help them find what they love to do and introduce them to the world around them. I want them to know how smart they are, no matter what restrictions they may have surrounding them.

I thought graduating meant that everything was set in stone and my dreams and ambitions had already been laid out for me. It’s wonderful to know that I can keep dreaming, and the best is yet to come.

 

Loss

Loss comes in many different forms; and no matter how many times we’re faced with it, it rarely gets easier.

The death of a loved one leaves so many questions behind; it’s so hard to grasp that someone can be here one moment and gone the next. Suddenly, conversations are set in the past tense instead of the present. Pictures mean more than they once did, because they now serve as windows to better times. Your mind plays tricks on you, and you see the person’s face everywhere you turn.

My uncle was very sick, and his life was far from easy. Despite everything that he went through, I can’t remember ever hearing a complaint from him. When I think about that, it makes me hesitant to complain about my own problems. I have great memories with my uncle; rollerblading around the park, spending hours in book stores, and all of his jokes that I didn’t always understand. Over the years, I watched him suffer, and saw first hand as illness took over his life. Those are not the memories I want to focus on when looking back. Instead, I  want to remember his laughter, which was so contagious, and his smile that lit up the room. As hard as it is, I try to remind myself that he is no longer suffering; death is only painful for those left behind.

I’ve lost so many wonderful people over the years, and each time presents a different experience.

Death is not the only thing that steals people from us. Sometimes, you can be standing next to someone and still feel like you’ve lost them. You remember a time when things were easier, and wish you could go back to that. Mistakes are made, anger takes over, and words are said that were never meant to be uttered. At times it feels like you can never go back to how things were, and maybe we can’t, but that doesn’t mean that what lies ahead won’t be just as wonderful. The world can try to rip things apart, but what’s meant to be will triumph over all of those obstacles. This is where faith kicks in;  because without the hope that things will work out, we would have nothing to look forward to.

Loss makes us realize what we have, and teaches us to hold on tightly while we still can.

Connection

You hear lyrics to a song and can’t believe how much you relate to them. You read a book that touches you; a book that makes you stop and think: “I couldn’t have said it better myself.” In that moment, you’re instantly connected to the person who wrote it; a person that you’ve never met and probably never will. You’re connected to every other person who is in their car singing the same song or curled up in bed reading the same book. In a moment when it seems that you’re alone, you’re not.

The ability to connect with another person is beautiful. My best friend and I can have a whole conversation without saying a word to one another. My mom knows when something is wrong with me before I even realize it myself. These connections are so vital to our survival, because without them, where would we be?

Even something as simple as a smile between strangers ties us into a greater picture. After all, what is life about if not making an impact on the world and those around us, including ourselves.

Sitting in an arena full of people at a concert, and everyone in the room is signing in unison. Helping someone overcome a difficulty, and watching their eyes gleam when they succeed. Going to your favorite place to think, and seeing a complete stranger doing the exact same thing. Meeting a new person and wondering how you could be so alike with someone you’ve never known.

Just as easily as they are made, connections can also be broken. It’s hard to accept at times, because you remember so vividly when  your ties to a certain person or thing were strong and reliable. Perhaps those breaks happen to make room for new ones to form, and that gives me hope.

2014

This time of year is filled with resolutions, promises, and positivity. We as a society look forward to new possibilities and happiness that we hope the new year will hold. 

Everyone seems to be positive and refreshed, and it’s a great thing to see. January provides us with a hope for the future, and hope, after all, is a powerful emotion. 

My social media has been full of happy and reflective posts, more so than ever. It”s great to see, and I can only hope that they continue that way.

I don’t make any resolutions, instead I take time to reflect on both past and present. For 2014, I want to continue living a healthy lifestyle. By changing my eating habits and my attitude towards my body, I’ve never felt any better than I do now. I’m anticipating my graduation in May, and can’t wait to see what that brings me. I’m hoping to grow as a writer, and am anxious to watch my blog continue to blossom. 

If you asked me last year what 2013 would hold for me, my answer would have been very different from reality. I didn’t know I would be where I am, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’m exactly where I should be, even when it doesn’t seem like it.

It’s not so much about changing ourselves; it’s simply the feeling of a clean slate that we all tend to feed into. Don’t think of it as changing what’s “wrong” about you, look at is as a time to make and accomplish new goals.

With that said, I hope 2014 is all that you want it to be and more! xx

Past Eats Present

The more you try not to think of something, the more determined the world seems to remind you of it.

Places, songs, and objects can so easily transport you back in time. You don’t want to replay the moments, but you’re not the one holding the remote. Before you can stop yourself, you start remembering, thinking, and feeling. You’re determined to be in control – you probably even starting talking to yourself, trying to convince your brain to focus on anything else.

Things that once comforted you now make you lose your breath, and not in a good way. You can only suppress things for so long until they reach the surface, determined to make their presence known.

So what do you do? You change the song, pick a different restaurant to eat at, but the memories linger long after. In that way, memories often steal a lot of our present moment. The night is crowded by nights from the past. Looking back now, it feels as if those moment were part of  another life – one far away from today’s reality.

There’s nothing left to do but make new memories; new places, people and sensations. Sometimes I can’t help but think, how will I remember this moment in five years, or even a few months from now? Things change in the blink of an eye, and along with it our attitude toward past events. Things I used to think of with a smile now make me upset, and vice versa. Remembering something that once meant the world to you, but is now too painful to concentrate on, is hard to digest. When does that switch get flipped, and do we ever stop finding ourself in limbo with our emotions?

How do you disconnect from the past without forgetting the lessons that come along with it?

 

An Emotional Person Living in a Disconnected World

If I had a penny for every time someone told me that I’m “too emotional,” I would be remarkably wealthy.

I realized early on in life that I’m more emotional than most people I’ve met. I spent years trying to change that; hiding how I felt for the sake of other people’s reactions. My biggest question now is why are emotions viewed as such a bad thing?

All emotions are beautiful in the sense that they represent a connection. They’re our link to the world around us; the space in which we have the ability to react. The word emotional often comes with a preconceived notion of being negative, but that’s not the case. Happiness and gratitude are  emotions, just as sadness and anger are. Not only will I cry at sad movies, but when I’m happy I will shout it from the rooftops and dance badly in celebration.

Another thing I’ve heard from people is that I shouldn’t “take things to heart.” I’ve never understood that much, and I’m not sure I ever will. Why on earth wouldn’t you take things to heart? I’m not a robot, nor do I want to be. To go through life without any meaning behind it doesn’t seem logical in my eyes. If something good happens, I enjoy it. If someone hurts me, I feel it. While it’s not always fun, I would rather feel something than nothing at all.

I love technology as much as the next person, and I’ll admit that I would be pretty lost without my cellphone, but maybe that’s part of the problem. We don’t even give ourselves a chance to feel anymore. It’s all about how quickly you can download a new song and post your reaction to it on social media. You’re too busy posting an instagram photo of your movie ticket to actually watch the movie. People break up with each other via text message now … I rest my case.

At the same time, the argument can be made that technology has helped us express ourselves. I’m sitting here on my blog, sharing my thoughts with you. I can text my aunt every morning and remind her that I love her, even if I can’t visit her as often as I should. We can send photos and messages around the globe in the blink of an eye and travel across the world almost effortlessly.

Either way, this post wasn’t intended to analyze technology. I’m just sick and tired of people telling me to stop being emotional, and I have been for a long time

I used to take the label of being an emotional person as an insult, now I take it as a compliment.

If being emotional means that I’m in touch with my feelings, then yes, I am very emotional. If it means that I’m comfortable enough with myself to let things affect me, that’s also true. It’s not a bad thing, and it doesn’t make me weak, in fact it’s proof that I’m strong. It’s easy to run away from things and mask how they truly make us feel, it’s far harder to face them head on.

I’m emotional, and I wouldn’t have it any other way, because I think it’s beautiful.

Listen Up

We all want to be heard. Whether it’s about the mundane details of our day, or something much deeper. Thinking back to any good or bad moment in your life, chances are there was someone you wanted to tell.

Words hold so much power, but sometimes silence is even more powerful. The art of being able to genuinely listen to someone is an admirable trait. Not everyone can do it well, but those who can are priceless, even if they don’t realize it. A good listener is someone you want in your life; a friend, a family member, or even an acquaintance.

Sometimes people don’t need advice or input, they just want you to be there.

Often just by sitting on the couch next to someone and allowing them to vent their fears, heartaches, dreams, and concerns, you are doing exactly what they need most. Every dark moment of my life was accompanied with a heart-to-heart that pulled me through. Maybe they don’t even need to talk, maybe they just literally need a shoulder to lean on or someone to cry with. (Nothing is worse than crying alone, right?)

As a society, we don’t listen to each other enough. We might hear what’s going on around us, but we don’t listen.

Take time today to genuinely listen to someone, it will mean more than you know.