Closure by Inquiry

Just over five years ago, I was 23 and employed full-time in a profession I loved, which more or less fell into my lap one day.  One moment, I was unemployed, desperately searching for a career, unaware if my degree would prove fruitful and the next instant, I was helping to impact people’s lives on a daily basis. Battling self-esteem issues the majority of my life, I was still highly critical of myself, but slowly managing to combat these emotions in a more constructive way as time progressed.

Longing for a romantic relationship of some kind, or at least someone to date, I met a guy who intrigued me, but also sent perplexing thoughts through my mind. He was three years my senior, working in a high-level position and for one reason or another, captivated me. Still to this day, I never quite understood what it was about him that stirred such emotions within me. That being said, I was enthralled with him from day one, yet we never could seem to figure each other out. We were never “together” per se and much of our communication was conducted via text message. He and I lived a distance from each other (the suburbs for me, him – the city). Though I had a car, I was desperately fearful of city-driving, hailing from the suburbs my entire life. As an anxious person, driving in the city, or even the mere thought of driving in the city, frightened me beyond words. My fear of driving in the city erroneously translated to him as me not wanting to see him and rather than explain myself, I suppose I allowed him to believe it.

Time passed and he moved away years later, back to his hometown thousands of miles and states away. No words were exchanged, but for years, I still thought of him and wondered if he followed suit. At some points, we would exchange text messages, but never made concrete plans to see each other again, or travel to one another. Still, in the back of my mind, I always wondered what could have been or what it could or may lead to. Perhaps it is the romantic in me, or quite possibly, I read too many novels, but the idea of us somehow “finding each other” after all these years, left me swirling with contentment and contemplation.

Then, roughly two days ago, my fate was more or less sealed when it came to him. Knowing he was living in the midst of the Hurricane currently plaguing portions of the US and outside areas, I fretted and contemplated texting him. My inability to text him at the first thought was my fear of him being in a relationship and not responding to me, or at my worst fear, him exchanging a hurtful message to me. Still, I couldn’t live with me not inquiring after him to learn if he was safe or not. Summoning the minuscule amounts of courage left within me, I bravely tapped out a message to him, reading none another than, “Hey, how have you been?” To me, it was innocent, but friendly, a friend simply inquiring after another friend. There were no romantic implications in that, or so I believed.

A short amount of time later, his number was swiftly deleted from my phone, tears began to fill my eyes and the ruminating and disparaging remarks directed towards me filled my head. “How foolish I felt. How stupid I was, how grossly ashamed I was. I was undeserving, ugly, to be ignored and forgotten of. How idiotic I was to have thought I could have meant something to someone like him.” This disparaging inward monologue transpired within my mind for much of the evening. Instructed to delete his phone number, because he was “dating the woman he intends to marry,” I was filled with shock and an inability to initially comprehend all I read. Sure, I can understand if he is with someone else, it is his right and prerogative, but to have sent me such a hurtful message as that, to me, is unacceptable and not to mention, undeserving. What did I do to deserve such a message, I asked myself? All I merely asked him was how he was. I struggled to come to this conclusion, but when I ultimately did, I decided I was proud of myself for who I am. I’m proud that I was a big enough person to ask after him, because I was concerned about his wellbeing as a person who I believed was living in the storm zone. There was nothing romantic about my inquiry. Therefore, it is him who should be regretful. Him, who should feel guilty because of the language he used and the harsh tone of his words. It is not me to be reprimanded or who should feel ashamed, I’m proud that I am caring, I’m proud that I am brave and I’m also proud that I took the time to speak my truth through this blog post, because if it happened to me, it’s happened to others, as well. So, whenever you feel the urge to berate yourself because of someone else’s words toward you,  remember that the way someone behaves or speaks to you is not a reflection of you, but a reflection of them, as a person.

I’m glad I learned now, rather than later; it is the closure I needed and in the wise words of someone I know, “Beauty is what you feel inside, not what you see the mirror.”

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No Reason Needed

It’s now late afternoon and almost Halloween eve. For those of you who are fans of Halloween or will be celebrating in some way, I wish you lots of fun and excitement! Before we head into the weekend, I felt I needed to share an article I stumbled across merely moments ago. One of my favorite authors, Amy Hatvany, shared an article on Facebook this afternoon and also posted a quote from the article, which ultimately lead me to click over to read it in its entirety. What I read left me nearly speechless and stunned. The author said many of the words and thoughts that are difficult and painful to verbalize, but he did so in such a way that made sense and commanded my attention and thought.

In the article, (http://www.timjlawrence.com/blog/2015/10/19/everything-doesnt-happen-for-a-reason), the author states that everything doesn’t always happen for a reason, contrary to the phrase people so often utter. This thought in itself was intriguing and prompted me to question the times I, myself, have personally said it. His rationale behind it was unique and I more or less do agree with him. However, the most intriguing and eloquent aspect of the article for me, came towards the end, and I’d like to share the specific passage:

“When a person is devastated by grief, the last thing they need is advice. Their world has been shattered. This means that the act of inviting someone—anyone—into their world is an act of great risk. To try and fix or rationalize or wash away their pain only deepens their terror.

Instead, the most powerful thing you can do is acknowledge. Literally say the words:

I acknowledge your pain. I am here with you.

Note that I said with you, not for youFor implies that you’re going to do something. That is not for you to enact. But to stand with your loved one, to suffer with them, to listen to them, to do everything but something is incredibly powerful.

There is no greater act than acknowledgment. And acknowledgment requires no training, no special skills, no expertise. It only requires the willingness to be present with a wounded soul, and to stay present, as long as is necessary.

Be there. Only be there. Do not leave when you feel uncomfortable or when you feel like you’re not doing anything. In fact, it is when you feel uncomfortable and like you’re not doing anything that you must stay.

Because it is in those places—in the shadows of horror we rarely allow ourselves to enter—where the beginnings of healing are found. This healing is found when we have others who are willing to enter that space alongside us. Every grieving person on earth needs these people.”

After reading the author’s writing, I felt relieved and understood. So often, I have experienced situations where a loved one or close friend has experienced something tragic, overwhelming or upsetting and I’ve been torn with what I should say or how to convey them how much I care and want to be there to support them. I’ve often wondered if I’ve conveyed this in a way that makes them feel supported and cared for, or if I’ve simply sounded foolish. The way the author describes how to support someone, is eye-opening for me. It makes me recall all those times I’ve wondered what to say or do and lets me know that just by being there and sitting through those painful silences, maybe my support is known. It’s also comforting to know that by writing this article, I am aware that I am not alone in the sentiments I’ve felt.

Presence Quote

Anyhow, I felt it was necessary for me to post this today, because I know if I hadn’t stumbled across my favorite author’s post, I might never have come across it, so I thought if it offered me a perspective, it might prove to do so for others, as well. With that said, Have a great Halloween weekend and take time to enjoy the Fall foliage!

A Supportive Paw

Good Morning! I hope your weekend has been a pleasant and relaxing one, thus far! On Friday, the temperatures ended up being extremely oppressive and uncomfortable with the humidity soaring, making it nearly impossible to be outside for more than a short period of time. Also, I made the poor decision of leaving my flip flops in a closed, sweltering car, which almost melted them! Lesson learned, for sure. Thankfully, they were able to be salvaged after taking some time to cool off in my air-conditioned house!

Therapy Dogs 3

Anyhow, given I follow several local television news stations in the area, I recently noticed my local ABC News affiliate, 6ABC Action News of Philadelphia, shared an article via social media (i.e. Facebook and Twitter) and since having stumbled across it on Thursday evening, it’s been on my mind. It’s not the first time I’ve heard of animals, in particular dogs, assisting in the most unique ways and providing a source of comfort, encouragement and companionship to people, even those they just met; (To preview the article/story I’m speaking of, here is a link, if you’d like to check it out: http://6abc.com/pets/newest-court-employee-dog-providing-comfort-to-kids-on-the-stand/778441/)

Therapy Dogs

In the city of Poughkeepsie, NY, specially-trained service dogs, will now be a permanent presence in the courthouse with the ability to provide children with support and comfort, as they take the stand, a task which can be anxiety-ridden and overwhelming for anyone, let alone children. Dogs such as Bosch, the canine featured in the article, will be trained by nonprofit organizations, such as the East Coast Assistance Dogs (ECAD), which, according to the article, has trained over 250 canines thus far and has been able to assist in an array of situations for over 20 years.

Employees of ECAD stated that the dogs provide children with the feeling that they can “tell their stories in a safe way.” The dogs are trained to sense anxiety and stress and perhaps already harbor an innate sense of recognizing these signs of distress. I was more than intrigued after reading this article and seeing how helpful and significant a dog’s presence can truly be. It’s not the first time I’ve read about an initiative such as this and in fact, I have experienced something relatively similar myself.

Years ago and fairly recently, as well, while waiting in my local hospital’s emergency room (both for myself and family members, at one point), a man walked through with a golden retriever on a leash. Instantly, I noticed the faces on many of the people’s faces light up. They were instantly taken with the sight of the friendly dog, who casually and happily walked over to many of them, greeting them and sending friendly and relaxed vibes through the otherwise, tense room. It was hard to be sad when in the presence of this dog and for a short while, he provided the room (and most definitely, me) with a pleasant distraction.

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In another instance, I also learned of a program where children read to dogs, as a form of therapy, comfort and a source of reassurance. One organization in particular, Therapy Dogs International (http://www.tdi-dog.org/OurPrograms.aspx?Page=Children+Reading+to+Dogs), state that their mission in providing the program is:

“To provide a relaxed and “dog-friendly” atmosphere, which allows students to practice the skill of reading. Many of the children chosen for this program have difficulties reading and as a result have developed self-esteem issues. They are often self-conscious when reading aloud in front of other classmates.

By sitting down next to a dog and reading to the dog, all threats of being judged are put aside. The child relaxes, pats the attentive dog, and focuses on the reading. Reading improves because the child is practicing the skill of reading, building self-esteem, and associating reading with something pleasant.”

Tail Waggin Tutors Logo copy

Ever since I was first made abreast of this program, it’s always been on my mind and I am in full support of it. Having worked with a vast array of children in school settings throughout the course of my life and having weathered through a host of self-esteem issues myself, there is nothing better than providing children with an alternative way to foster a love of reading and a boost of confidence.

My reason for this post today, is my desire to share with you, whomever may be reading, of the many ways dogs can often offer us something well-beyond what traditional therapies and “scientifically” proven methodologies can. It is proof that sometimes, the only “medicine” or “treatment” a child, or anyone, for that matter, truly needs, is unconditional love and unwavering support. A supportive presence, helping hand (or paw) and listening ear can make all the difference.

Therapy Dog Quote

Bark Around the World

Good morning! I hope your week has been a pleasant one and that your weekend will be filled with fun, sunshine and relaxation! Originally, I had intended to compose this very post yesterday, after first reading the to-be mentioned article, but honestly felt too overwhelmed with emotion to do so. I figured this morning would be best, after I gave myself a chance to digest all I read.

If you’re a social media follower (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, etc) of news organizations/TV stations, such as ABC News, or a follower of various magazines, such as Health or others, then it’s very likely you’ve already seen, read, or heard about the heart wrenching story of New York City resident, Thomas Neil Rodriguez and the trip around the world he recently took with his terminally-ill, 15-year-old mixed-breed dog, Poh and his fiance.

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Together since Rodriguez adopted him in December 1999, Rodriguez described Poh in an interview with ABC News (via http://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/york-man-takes-dying-dog-bucket-list-adventure/story?id=31338158) as, ”

“My life is kind of hectic,” Rodriguez said. “I’m always traveling, but Poh is my home, my child. I think this resonated with a lot of dog owners. They wish they could do stuff like this with their dog and spend these moments, but sometimes life gets in the way.”

“I am super blessed that I have actually gotten to do this,” he added. “People think I take care of Poh, but Poh takes care of me.”

Back in March, the 12,000 mile journey throughout the United States commenced and was documented on an Instagram account he created to show others of their experiences. Several of the photos were shared on the aforementioned ABC News article and one in particular brought tears to my eyes. Though the story in general left me in tears for a good portion of the day, the photo of Poh in a wagon, with the San Francisco Golden Gate bridge as backdrop, touched a part of me that hasn’t been that moved since my own dog, Oliver had a recent host of health issues. What I felt when looking at the photo and simply reading through the article is something that is truly difficult and near impossible to place into words.

Poh

In thinking about it, I suppose what really got to me, is the notion of me being a dog owner since a couple days before my 14th birthday. As a child, I begged and begged my parents for a dog, always finding comfort and solace in them. Beginning from when I was 9 years old, I was enthralled with dogs. Towards the end of May, as a 9-year-old, my sister and I took comfort and comradeship with the dog belonging to the family who lived behind us. Our grandmother had recently passed away after an intense, 6-month battle with Leukemia and being able to play with Darby, the friendly Golden Retriever in our backyard, was the best therapy that could have ever been offered to me. He stayed by my side, licking my hand, taking delight in my playful nature. He offered a distraction from the sadness and loneliness I felt.

From that moment on, I desperately longed for a dog and for my 14th birthday, my wishes were finally answered. Seeing an ad for Bichon Frise puppies in the newspaper, my mom took my sister and I one Sunday afternoon to choose the puppy we wanted and having tied a blue bandana around him, Oliver was chosen. It’s hard for me to remember what life was like without Oliver. Of course, it’s not to say life has been easy with him, because it hasn’t. It has been a challenge, both physically and emotionally. Throughout the years, we’ve watched him battle through infections, surgeries, surgical errors, and a host of other issues, but his resilience has always shone through. Throughout all of it, no matter the obstacles thrown his way, he’s always risen above, maintaining his strength, sometimes sobbing, but still making it through, his tail wagging each day, greeting me when I walk through the door.

Oliver tongue

Though sometimes I can become frustrated with him, he is my family. It’s hard for me to imagine my house empty, without him. So perhaps this is why reading about Rodriguez’s journey with Poh hit home. Reading about their adventures together, seeing the passion and joy they experienced, is something I long for with Oliver. Looking back on old pictures of Oliver, it’s hard for me to remember when he used to move about easily, sitting perched on top of the sofa, eagerly running up and down the steps. Being 13-years-old now, it is challenging for him to move around, as the arthritis often reduces his mobility. My life with him consists of patience and understanding. It’s all I can do to repay him for his patience with me, seeing me cry as I experienced the many disappointments in life. Though I am often distracted by my own personal struggles, Oliver always seems to look at me with a certain sense of pride and understanding and he is forgiving.

Oliver in his shirt

If nothing else, Oliver teaches me what it means to be resilient, forgiving and understanding. He offers me companionship and like Rodriguez and Poh, for the past 13-years, he’s been my consistent home.

Mothers, Memories and Me

Happy Mother’s Day! This holiday has become a day that means more to me than most holidays, birthdays or really any other kind of event or celebration. This year, however, means even more than in preceding years, because I not only celebrate my own mom, who I love so very deeply and unconditionally, but also, my sister and best friend, who celebrates her first Mother’s Day, today. It’s truly challenging for me to place into words the way I feel about both my mom and sister. They are my closest confidantes, the ones I can turn to without having to contemplate a single thought, because I can truly be who I am around them. Throughout my entire life, they have loved me unconditionally, seen my at my best and at my worst, but always treated me like me, and nothing less.

Both my mom and sister inspire me every day and show me what it means to love, what it means to be strong and resilient. They also have shown me how important it is to keep moving forward, no matter what obstacles life may throw at us. They approach each situation with grace and poise. They’ve held my hand and wiped my tears through many trying situations and events we’ve weathered through and believed and trusted in me even when I didn’t believe or trust myself.

Last August, my sister gave me the greatest gift of all – the title of an Aunt, to my niece, who I love with a deeper sentiment than I ever believed possible. When I hold my niece, I feel such joy and calm, knowing she is my sister’s daughter, I see such beauty, grace and intelligence. She is not only my niece, but my friend.

The other day, as I perused through Facebook, a piece of writing about mothers filled by newsfeed, posted by one of my favorite magazines, Redbook. I thought I would share it with whomever may be reading this today, believing that perhaps you might be as inspired by it as I was. Reading through most of it, it resonated with me, and I felt a deep sense of understanding and was taken by how very true it is.

(Found via Redbook’s Facebook Page):

1. She knew and accepted you at every phase, even the awkward ones.
There aren’t many people there for us during both our temper tantrum years and the months we wore shiny silver braces.
2. Even when you didn’t want her there, she still stuck around.
Remember when you slammed the door in her face as an angst-ridden teen? She probably lingered on the other side for a bit.
3. And held your hand every step of the way, especially when you were lost.
Whether forcing you to go about your routine or sending you some inspiration through the phone or Internet, she continues to guide you.
4. She put your happiness above her own.
She helped you solve your problems, even when it meant missing her favorite television show or a night out with girlfriends.
5. She continued to support you even when many people left.
Friends come and go, but no situation can keep a mom from making her daughter’s life brighter.
6. She never failed to be honest.
She’d pick out the negative that many failed to acknowledge (that boyfriend really wasn’t worth your time) and most of the time, her perception ended up being scarily accurate.
7. And worry about your well-being when others steered you wrong.
The thing with a mom is she doesn’t care what’s popular or cool, but rather how best to protect you.
8. She isn’t likely to cancel on plans and leave you hanging.
Being with you is always going to be her first choice.
9. She’ll yell in your face before talking behind your back.
Her words may sound harsh, but at least she tells it like it is, unlike the many “friends” you’ve had who’ve told one of your secrets, spread a rumor or lied to you.
10. Your relationship goes beyond catty fights.
Since you’re at different places in your life, you’re not likely to be in competition for anything. And even the most intense fight could usually be worked out because, hey, it’s not like you can unfriend or divorce your mother.
11. She’ll hate the same people you hate.
We can’t deny that there have been moments when Mom acted like a vengeful teenager. It’s just that your mother isn’t only your cheerleader but also your bodyguard.
12. Because at the end of the day, blood is thicker than water.
Your first love may not be your soulmate after all. Your best friend forever may be your best friend until it’s less convenient. No matter how extreme your differences may be, family members seem to possess the gift of forgiveness. If you and your mom grow apart believe that you will eventually patch up whatever it is that soiled things. After all, she’s one of the only people who knows you better than yourself and has your best interest at heart 100% of the time.

Thank you to Redbook for providing me with a much-needed perspective and for allowing me to reflect on all the wonderful characteristics and comradeship my mom and I share. It is not only my mom who shares in these aforementioned truths, but also my sister. Together, they are the two best people within my life, who provide me with strength and inspiration, each and every day. I love them from the bottom of my heart and hope they have the most wonderful day today, filled with all the love and happiness life truly has to offer!

Mom quote           Mom quote 2        Sister quote

A “Forbidden” Bite

Good Morning, all! Yesterday, I went about day as routinely as I typically do. However, mid-afternoon, a news story suddenly came to my attention, as I discovered it via Twitter, TV and Facebook. The story was being shared and discussed in all mediums I regularly encounter, so it was considerably difficult to avoid it or not see it. It was a topic/issue that hit close to home, however. Perhaps you’ve already heard about it and have formed your own opinion or perspective:

A mother of a 4-year-old daughter (Natalee), Leeza Pearson, a resident of Aurora, Colorado, received a what she referred to as a “lunch-shaming” note in her daughter’s lunchbox after sending her to school with a package of Oreos. Having run out of fruits and vegetables, as a treat, she packed Oreos for her daughter, failing to see this as something shameful or harmful. Upon arriving home from school, Pearson realized the package of Oreos were noticeably untouched and accompanied by a note, which read (courtesy of http://abcnews.go.com/Health/mom-lunch-shamed-school-packing-oreos-daughter/story?id=30674158#.VUI2W9Lo0HF.twitter)

“Dear Parents, it is very important that all students have a nutritious lunch. This is a public school setting and all children are required to have a fruit, a vegetable and a healthy snack from home, along with a milk. If they have potatoes, the child will also need bread to go along with it. Lunchables, chips, fruit snacks, and peanut butter are not considered to be a healthy snack. This is a very important part of our program and we need everyone’s participation,” read the note, provided to ABC News by Pearson.

OreosSchool Note

Upon learning and reading about this, I was completely appalled and disgusted and shared in Pearson’s sentiments, when she expressed, “I think it is definitely over the top, especially because they told her she can’t eat what is in her lunch,” Pearson told ABC News. “They should have at least allowed to eat her food and contacted me to explain the policy and tell me not to pack them again.” I couldn’t agree with Pearson more. It is not the job of the school administrators or employees to police students’ lunches, especially NOT in this fashion. While I completely understand wanting to ensure each child is receiving and enjoying a nutritious and satisfying lunch and snacks, when in moderation, cookies CAN be acceptable. Reacting in this fashion seems to be extreme. As Pearson goes on to explain, she states that the Oreos were NOT her main meal. They were simply an accompaniment to a healthy and nutritious lunch.

The spokesperson for the school claims that they were “just trying to promote healthy eating,” however, as reported in the aforementioned ABC article, Pearson said that effort has often been inconsistent:

“They say I can’t decide what to feed her but then they sometimes feed her junk food,” Pearson said. “Why am I being punished for Oreos when at other times I am asked to bring candy?”

Also, the school administrator claimed Natalee was offered an alternative snack, but Pearson argues this was not the case and her daughter arrived home from school hungry.

In a world where healthy and “clean-eating” is constantly spoken of and advised, what messages are we sending the children and adolescents of today? Instead of simply enjoying a meal and a snack, they are constantly faced with the debate of whether or not is made of “clean ingredients,” or organic items. It becomes frustrating an overwhelming at times even for me, so I can only imagine what it would feel like to be faced with this as an impressionable child. In my mind, healthy eating is allowing for the occasional indulgence, taking time to enjoy something new or different every now and then, instead of solely fixating on its nutritional composition. In a world where we are constantly chastised as a society on our outward appearances, what we’ve done or bought, it becomes overload to restrict even something like an occasional Oreo to a child, whose meals and snacks are otherwise healthy.

As a child, my mother packed me treats in my lunch box, everything from Dunkaroos, to Tastykakes, to Hostess cupcakes and Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies. Did I enjoy them? Absolutely! They weren’t my main meal though and had no impact on what I feel healthy eating is. In fact, I love fruits and vegetables and yogurt even more than packaged treats. Being exposed to treats like Oreos allowed me to not see it as a luxury. It was simply another form of food, to be enjoyed on occasion. I didn’t lust after it or overindulge when I had access to it, because I saw it as something I could enjoy on occasion. It wasn’t labeled as a “forbidden fruit,” so to speak. I say this because I recall in my years as a child and a teenager, my mom used to keep a bowl of M&M’s or other candies on the table in the family room to be enjoyed by visitors or my us, in general. It wasn’t constantly being refilled, or even really eaten all that much, because it was a regular fixture on the table and not a “forbidden treat,” or indulgence. However, during birthday parties, some of my friends would overindulge in these treats, or exclaim, “Wow! You have access to these treats all the time?!” To me, though, it wasn’t something I overindulged in, because it wasn’t forbidden to me, or referred to as unhealthy. It was an occasional treat; a complement to an otherwise healthy diet, to provide me with an occasional dose of sweetness. It was how I learned the phrase, “everything in moderation.”

Dunkaroos

Policing children and parents’ food choices is not the answer. In my mind, it only promotes unhealthy behaviors and a self-conscious mindset. While Oreos may not be the picture of nutrition, it is not something to shame someone for occasionally enjoying.

Acceptance quote

Know Thyself: What I know & Where I’m Going

Good morning, friends! It’s a brisk and breezy Wednesday, here in Pennsylvania, so I hope you’re keeping warm, if you’re local, or if you’re somewhere else where it is just as chilly! This morning during my daily perusing of Facebook, I happened to spot yet another quote that piqued my interest and sparked an internal dialogue/thoughts: “I didn’t always know what I wanted to do, but I always knew the kind of woman I wanted to be.” This couldn’t be more fitting for me, as I find myself consistently searching for the ideal “career” or position for me. I graduated in 2010 from college with my Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and since then, while I’ve worked a couple jobs I started to consider a “career,” they were short-lived and I found myself again searching for that career opportunity that would fulfill my greatest desires and hopes, leaving me fulfilled and feeling as though I made a difference/impact at the end of the day. Still, I consistently came up empty and wracked myself with the goal of filling the void deeply etched within me.

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In years past, as I’ve previously mentioned in preceding blog posts, I was an avid volunteer, spending much of my time tutoring elementary-aged children, assisting with child care and meal service in the American Red Cross Homeless shelter, serving as an office assistant/event assistant for The Sunshine Foundation, volunteering at a local hospital, as well as a host of other volunteer endeavors at various nonprofit organizations. It was my passion and filled the part of me which yearns to help and assist others in any and every way I possibly can. Much to my dismay, my search for a fulfilling, lucrative career has taken away from my volunteer involvement. Sometimes, I think it is my lack of volunteering that leads me to harbor the void I speak of. Volunteering connects me to the community and summons many pleasant memories in my mind and heart. I suppose I’ve been thinking of my volunteer experiences even more poignantly lately, as a result of the impending Thanksgiving holiday, which to me, was always a big volunteer holiday. In high school, my friend and I would spend the afternoon serving a free Thanksgiving meal to community members in need. It was an experience I thoroughly enjoyed, conversing with the families who attended, while being able to provide them with something they were truly grateful for.

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When I saw the quote this morning, which speaks of not truly knowing what direction one wants to move in, as far as their career goes, but is self-aware with the type of person they wish to be, it spoke to me in ways I can’t even begin to explain. So I’ll try my best to interpret all I feel in this respect: I wish to be a woman who helps others, who listens to them when they are speaking and pays attention to their body language; I wish to be a woman who pays attention to the world, community, her family and friends around her and provides support when she can. Also, I wish to be a woman who touches others through both the spoken and written word and perhaps sparks ideas and hope, or at least awareness that one is never alone in the world. I’m sure I could continue my words about the type of woman I hope to be, but for now, I’ll leave it at that.

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Isn’t it funny how a single quote or sentence can spark an entire internal dialogue in one’s mind? To me, it is truly proof of the power of words and how they can lead to us to thoughts and ideas we never thought possible.

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