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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Two Sides of Every Story

Tonight my heart is heavy. Thanksgiving is just around the corner but it's difficult to be in the holiday spirit when the country is facing such a rough patch. Once again a black young man was killed and once again there will be no justice. The really sad aspect of this Michael Brown debacle is that I don't know anyone who was surprised by the jury's decision.

Prior to delving into this let me say a few things. 1. Thank you to all the police officers who do their jobs properly. 2. Not all white people are racists or ignorant to the struggles that people of color face. 3. Not all black people are thugs nor are they all innocent angels. They are simply people who desire to be treated with equality.

For those of you that don't know, my father is black and my mother is white. My mother raised me but she always wanted to expose me to my other half. While I do not look black and I consider myself mixed, being half black in America is the same as being full black. Now due to the color of my skin I have not had the same experiences that my younger sister (who has a darker complexion) has had with racism. Anyway, because of how I was raised I can see what's happening from both sides.

The general consensus from many white people is that Darren Wilson killed Brown out of self-defense. While I understand that cops are taught to defend themselves I wish they would use killing as a last resort. The more that comes out about the case the more that it sounds like Brown was not an innocent victim. I'm not even talking about his past run-ins with the law I'm talking about his last 10 seconds. Whether or not he was trying to harm Wilson did Brown deserve to be shot repeatedly? To me that is another sign of a police officer with some aggression. Does an unarmed person need to be dead for an officer to get control of a situation?

Black people are angry because they are seeing this situation for the bigger picture. Did you know that black people only make up 12% of the United States? Now combined that with the fact that black people comprise over 50% of the inmates in this country. After letting that sink in, imagine that your son or brother didn't have a weapon and was shot multiple times. All you want is justice or some type of acknowledgement of your grief. Instead the Supreme Court decided not to indict Wilson. The Grand Jury deciding not to indict almost NEVER happens. How would that make you feel if Brown was your family?

There's so much I want to say on this but I can't, I don't know where to start or end. The destruction that's happening in Ferguson is a shame but it's what happens when people don't know what else to do. There's so many different stories on what happened that night that I honestly have mixed feelings on the situation. But just from past incidents the concept of having a black son terrifies me and it shouldn't be that way. And even though the United States isn't as bad as it was 70 years ago there's still a race issue. That much is obvious from everything being said on social media. So this Thanksgiving I am going to say my thanks for the progress this country has made since it's conception but I'm going to pray for another leader like Martin Luther King. We are in times of change and we need leaders that can organize and unify us.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A World Without Me

Eugenics: the study of methods of improving genetic qualities by selective breeding (especially as applied to human mating)

People hear the word "eugenics" and they automatically think of the Holocaust or the sterilization of the poor, uneducated, colored, and or people with disabilities. That E word has a huge negative connotation because there's been people with God-complexes and their own agendas that did horrible things thinking they were improving the human race. Eugenics is a very ethically complicated subject. And whether we like it or not eugenics will one day lead to the eradication of most if not all diseases.

Since I was a little I've been told that one day there would be a cure for my disease, Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). I was also told that if I ever wanted to have children I should have my partner get genetic testing. Around 1 in 40 people unknowingly carry the SMA gene and it takes two people with the gene to have a chance at having a baby with SMA. Since most carriers of the disease are unaware that they are carriers it never occurs to them to get genetic testing. If I decide to have children I could have my partner tested and if he wasn't a carrier there would be nothing to worry about. If he was a carrier then we would discuss our options such as adoption or selecting the egg and sperm that didn't have SMA. I want there to be a cure and I'm an advocate for genetic testing. However, not everyone with SMA feels the same about these topics.

(1. I respect that opinions about this are very personal and I'm not saying that anyone that doesn't agree with me is stupid or selfish or whatever. 2. One aspect of genetic testing is having your baby tested in utero and deciding whether you want to terminate or not if they have a disease. I'm generally against that. I'm only a proponent of preventing diseases pre-pregnancy.)

I was probably a teenager when I decided there wouldn't be a cure for SMA in time for me and I've accepted that. I still want a cure for future generations. Sure I love my life, it's been great, I wouldn't be who I am, or met the people I have without this disease. That doesn't change the fact that SMA is an AWFUL disease that robs people of their abilities and lives too soon. I would not wish this disease on my worst enemies. It takes a certain type of personality to truly thrive with a disease like this.

I was born a stubborn surviver. That isn't a personality trait life with SMA gave me. I don't know who I would be without SMA but I know my stubborn streak would still be in me. A lot of people with disabilities contribute all their good qualities to the adversities that their disease have put them through. I am not an angel or anything, there are parts of myself I need to improve. But sometimes I think that everything bad I've been through is the reason I have a great personality. Adversity adds character and all that jazz. Then I think about all my great able-bodied friends/family and realize I could still be an awesome person without this stupid disease. On the other hand, I've met some people with various disabilities that are horrible people. Good character and a functional body are not mutually exclusive.

As far as genetic testing goes, I don't even know if I want kids. Men have never been historically known as the caregivers in society. Of course, there are men that choose and love being caregivers but that's a little harder to find. As it is, whatever man I end up will end up being my caregiver part of the time. Assuming we can't afford a constant nanny he will also be a single parent in the physical aspect of raising our child. An able-bodied child typically won't need physical help for 18 straight years. A child with SMA typically will need that help for 18+ years. To me it would be extremely selfish to ask my husband to spend the remainder of his life being a caregiver for me and our child(ren). So yes my husband will be getting genetic testing if we want children. And it's not just my husband I'd be considering; if it can be avoided I don't want my children to have this life.

I wouldn't trade my life for the world but yes if I can I want to prevent others from this life and pain. I was emotionally bullied extensively in my later elementary school years. In 6th or 7th grade I came home from school everyday that year and cried due to excessive loneliness. I relinquished certain dreams because my body wouldn't cooperate. I watched my little sister hit milestones I never would and I had to teach myself to be happy for her. I've had countless guys reject me straight away or tell me I'm that I'm their "dream girl" but ultimately they couldn't handle my disease. I've learned to ignore the stares, whispers, and points from strangers in public. I lost my first, out of many friends at 13 because a disease killed them. And everything aforementioned is just the tip of the pain ice-berg. If I was a weaker person I would have cracked years ago. So no I don't want a stranger, let-alone my child to experience that. (By the way, the older I've gotten the more grateful I've become for everything I can/do get done. I've done a lot in 22 years. And now I am typically happy, but I don't want to sugar-coat things. SMA is not something that's always easy to live with.)

This is why I'm pro-cure and genetic testing. One day if scientists eradicate diseases there won't be people like me. But that doesn't mean the world won't have any unique or good people. A world without children that have bodies that waste away or are forced to become wise before their time isn't a horrible world. That's the plus side of eugenics.

(P.S. As I Christian I feel that God made diseases for a reason but I also believe he made technologies and Doctors that can discover treatments and cures, for a reason.)

Friday, August 1, 2014

Great Expectations

As I turned 22 a few weeks and August is Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Awareness month I thought it was fitting to discuss expectations. There are literally millions of articles/blogs about SMA so I'm not going into great detail about it. There's a lot I could say about the disease but I'll just say this: not only does SMA steal muscles, but it also steals lives and certain expectations. My parents had anticipated a life of "normalcy" for me until the doctor told them I wouldn't live past the age of two. I've defied a significant number of negative and positive expectations.

Expectations are everywhere in life. Whether it's about yourself, your loved ones, your future or anything else you have these hopes for how life is supposed to turn out. If you're exceedingly lucky your future will unfold exactly as you desired but most likely it won't. Expectations are tricky because if one doesn't have any one might live a stagnant life that can't progress but if one has too many or too great of desires then they are just asking for disappointment.

Balance in this area has always been a struggle for me. As a child I was convinced that most of teenage and adult life would be almost like tv and the movies. Obviously, I would soon learn how disillusioned I was. That didn't change that fact that I had ridiculously high hopes for certain milestones and when they didn't go as planned I was often crushed. It got so bad that I started expecting the worst out of everything. That way if something good occurred I was pleasantly surprised. However, a mindset such as that is a very cynical approach to life.

For me life is best when I don't expect the worst but I expect nothing at all or keep my desires very minimalistic. Recently I went through an experience that would have broken my heart years ago because I would have wanted so much more. As it was though, I was able to see the whole ordeal for what it was: a necessary learning experience. I was only able to do that because I went into it not anticipating much.

And maybe that's what life is about: learning not to expect so much out of people, places, and things but learning that you can expect to learn a lesson in every good and bad thing that happens in your life. You can't expect someone you love to always be there. You can't expect your children to be exactly who you imagined. You can't expect to be financially rich. You can't expect an impossible future. But you can expect routes that deviate from your plans so adapt and learn from them because in life the expectations that are completely unexpected are the ones you can always expect (try saying that 10 times fast ;).

Monday, June 23, 2014

Lonely but Never Alone

I can completely empathize with being famous and lonely. When I was younger though, I couldn't. I couldn't comprehend how a person could be lonely when an entourage accompanied them day and night. In these last few years I've realized that I'm just like them sans the fame (I'm working on it) and the size of our entourages.

I'm never, EVER, alone. I've had nurses since I was 2 years old. In school K-12 not only did I have a nurse for my personal needs, I also had an aide to be my hands in class. My “alone time” has always consisted of me sitting on the toilet or sitting in my room but even then someone is in the other room. Once in a blue moon I get 5 minutes in the car to myself when someone has to get one item at the store. I can't take walks by myself. Sure, I can speed ahead but I know that whoever is with me is only 50 feet behind. I can't go to the movies by myself, which doesn't seem like a big deal because my nurses have to do what I say. However, I like to try to be a considerate “boss” so I will only go to a movie if they want to see it as well. I can't travel by myself, which is my biggest issue since I desire nothing more than to see the world. I can't ever have a day where I just want to be on my own. As a teenager it bothered me the most because being with an adult most of the time robbed me of my rebellious stage. I did and do nothing on my own.

I suppose that's part of the reason why I'm lonely; due to the fact that I always had adults following me I've never had many friends. It's one thing to have people spend time with you because you pay them but it's another to have people do it simply because they cherish your presence. Of course, people like(d) me. And all through high school a lot of people knew me and if asked they would attest to being my “friends.” Yet, I was never invited anywhere and when I made the invitations they bailed. I went to many school dances on my own just to prove to my peers I didn't always have an adult with me. I always did my best at night, as far as my health went, and I figured if I started having issues I could get someone to call 911. High School was very confusing for me social-wise though upon graduating I realized I might not have made any true friends in school but I had a few great ones from other walks of life. My real friends show up in the hospital when I'm ready to be seen, they check up on me just because or because I posted some subliminal emo status, they support my goals, and most of all they enjoy spending time with me. Even though I have great friends it doesn't take away from the fact that my social life doesn't even compete with that of my able-bodied peers and sometimes I feel super lonely. Yet, the older I get the better am at focusing on what I do have as opposed to what I don't. A small circle of genuine friends is often preferable to a gaggle of flakes.

Being lonely at times without ever being alone is a confounding oxymoron. For those of you that can be truly alone learn not to hide from solidarity but grow in it. And those of you in my shoes, that are never alone, try to find comfort in the fact that even though you might experience loneliness there's someone out there that doesn't need to be payed to be with you.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Being a Christian in the Real World

 I created this blog with the intention not to discuss religion too much. It's often a topic that I only bring up amongst friends. I feel like regardless of how one was raised, a person's spiritual walk is their own. I also feel like people get extremely agitated when talking about the prospect of an after-life for no reason. There's no 100% proof that the IS or ISN'T an after-life. Therefore, it truly baffles me when people get their panties in a bunch about the religious notions of others. I was not created to save the world, it's not my buisness what a stranger thinks is going to happen to him after he dies. As far as my loved-ones goes, shoving my beliefs down someone's throat isn't hardly as effective as minding my own business and living my life the right way. By doing a good job at life others will follow.

I was raised in the church. I accepted Jesus into my heart as a child, got baptised a little later. I did all the things a good Christian was supposed to do. However, the older I got the less connected I felt to God. My best friend was a lesbian. My mother was never married. I believed in Dinosaurs and eventually I bought the theory of evolution. Negative events kept occurring in my world and all I could think was, “If there's a god why do bad things always happen in my life? Why don't I feel him? Why won't he speak to me?” You know, normal questions.

It doesn't help that we live in a world that says one has to be an atheist or a religious fanatic. A proponent of science or a believer of miracles. A person who has fun or someone who stays at home and prays. Secular music or gospel. This extreme or that extreme. Either or. It's overwhelming and totally wrong.

I've always been in between the extremes. I don't think science and religion have to be mutually exclusive. Science has saved my life on countless occasions. I like to believe that God created science to help the world. I believe in intelligent design and evolution. I don't buy into the concept that homosexuals are automatically going to hell any more than I think divorcees are. As a Christian not only do I believe in God's wrath but I also subscribe to the belief that he sent Jesus to die for my sins.

Once I started going back to church and reading the bible I realized that I was not made to be perfect or pretend to be. Maybe I was just made to follow my moral compass, mess up along the way, realize I need God, love him and love everyone. This is what being a Christian in the real world (a non-Christian world) means to me: worshiping God, facing my own sins but not beating myself up over them (I'm forgiven), and relinquishing judgement to harvest love.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My Most Recent Published Piece

About 6 months ago one of my poems was accepted to be published by Breath and Shadow which is an online literary journal that caters to people with disabilities. Their next few issues were full but I was finally in this month's issues. Here it is http://www.abilitymaine.org/breath/spr14b.html and I'm pretty excited because they have about 1,200 readers. That means at least 1,000 more people are going to know my name.

Anyway, I wanted to give some background into this piece I wrote. It's dark. I wrote it a little over a year ago after losing two friends, within two months of each other, under the age of thirty. Needless to say I was depressed and for some reason I write my best work when I'm depressed. I don't like talking about my feeling thus writing them down is my coping mechanism. Looking at this poem now I don't even feel the same way about love but at the time it summed me up perfectly.

My feelings towards the concept of romantic love is ever changing. I guess I've always subconsciously believed in it because I'm a hopeless romantic. I might talk a lot of crap about being “mushy gushy” but at the end of the day I want to believe that somewhere out there the love between two people really can conquer all. There was a period of time I didn't outwardly believe in love. The divorce rate is approximately 50% here and couples in my immediate family never made it. And at 13 I just thought I was much too sensible to put myself through any of that. Then I grew up a little and I thought to myself “well I do believe in love but I'm never going to fall in love with someone who can't love me back.” Fast forward a little a bit and I realized there's absolutely no sense or logic with who the heart wants. You're extremely lucky if you're heart and brain combined falls in love with someone who loves you back. Honestly, I admire the people that never let themselves experience unrequited love. Finally, everyone once in a blue moon (mostly during hospitalizations) I think to myself “Do I really want someone to fall in love with me? I'm a grenade.”

I used the word “grenade” because I just recently read “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green. It's an amazing book and I suggest everyone go read it. SPOILER ALERT (not really): the female protagonist has a severe case of cancer. She's dying. And she really doesn't want to hurt anyone else when she dies. She calls herself a “grenade” because at any second she will die and everyone who loves her will be hurt. Growing up with a terminal illness I know how easy it is to feel that way. Eventually though, you mature and you realize you may or may not die before your family and friends. The crazy thing about life is we are all dying. I've always had a number in my head but I try my best not to to think of it. Perfectly healthy people die every day in accidents. I love myself enough now not to consider myself a grenade. People who love me and the person who will fall in love with me know what they are getting into with me and I can't stop them. These people still love me regardless.

So now when you read my poem you know. I just didn't want people to freak out. I've actually been really happy lately. Happiness is a change I wanted to make with in myself so I'm doing it. But I'm an artist, I have my days. Remember the greatest artists in history were a little crazy.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A Poem for National Poetry Month 2014

Better Than a Zebra

They say a zebra can't change their stripes
Forever stuck they will be inside the confines of black and white
You make the same mistakes over and over again
Like they're repleting your livelihood
When in actuality they deplete
And before you know it all that's good has become a dump yard
Left-overs and raggedy scraps rest peacefully
Covering tarnished silver and dented gold
Even further under the muck lies more treasures
You don't see it
But I do
And I'm willing to pick through the unmentionables
If we can use your dirty hands
To put the them in the trash compactor
In order for you to realize your pricelessness
Only when your worth is a neon sign stamped in your vision
Will you become who you want to be
Then everyone that has imprisoned you in chain links of disbelief
Will be amazed when you show them you're not a zebra
But a chameleon

Friday, April 4, 2014

Naked men and sloppy boobies

I don't have it in me to wax philosophical about life today. Can't do it. What I can do is talk about last night. For those of you that don't know, last night I went to the casino to see the famous erotic dance group, the Chippendales. Now I love myself a real-life-Adonis as much as the next hetero-sexual 21 year old female. I expected to see all types of women because it was a free, first-come-first-served event. My expectations were proven.

I've never been to the average strip club with girls on poles but I'm pretty sure the men (and women) that frequent those don't act like bitches in heat. Hundreds of ladies, 21-70 years of age, lined-up outside the doors of the event room. Some of them were scantily clad and some could have put some better clothes on. Once we were all in there and the men appeared it was pure insanity. Don't get me wrong, I was screaming with the best of them. The men were putting on a great show and they were hot, of course I wanted to show support. However, that is the only similarity me and the other women shared. I was not drunk. I was not hoping the dancers would throw their perspiration soaked clothes at me. And I wasn't begging them to put their hands on me. I thought it was cute when they kissed me but realistically I wasn't expecting to spend the night with any of them. I wasn't %100 intoxicated by the pheromones they were emitting.

Maybe it's because I spent years on stage in high school but it's hard for me to over-look the fact that an act is just an act. I liked the show A LOT. It takes some massive balls (pun intended) to recreate sex acts on stage. It was fun momentarily fantasizing, but some of these women were seriously trying to take things backstage. Which is fine, but everyone knows half the male strippers out there are gay (I love my gay guys, don't take this the wrong way), the other half probably have significant others, and for the ones that don't have anyone I wouldn't want to add myself to their mile long list of conquests. Also, it was all an ACT, albeit a very scrumptious act, but an act nonetheless.

I've just never understood why females act bonkers over strippers. They are externally more beautiful than the average person but beneath the sculpted abs and symmetrical faces they are simply people. Females who lose their minds to men who perform just make all other females look ridiculous. I'm not saying don't go to strip shows. I want you to go and enjoy yourself with your girls but please control yourself.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Short & Sweet, I Need You

I'm sure most of you haven't noticed but I've been trying quite hard to write something worth reading every week. This will be my fourth post in four weeks. When I created this blog last year I knew that I wanted to write about everything and just really connect with my readers (as if I have thousands of readers, I don't...yet). There's countless blogs dedicated fashion, food, sex, love, music, et cetera. I could have stuck to one topic but I hate being put in a box.

Also, the thing is, creative writing has always been my thing. I like putting words together and making them flow in poetry. And I like creating new worlds in fiction stories because fantasy often beats reality. In high school there was an advice column that I wrote and not only did I have to write the advice but I had to make up the dilemmas because no one ever gave me any. Are you seeing a pattern here? I just like making stuff up and writing it down. Ergo, this whole blogging adventure is not my forte.

I have opinions about most topics, but it's exhausting trying to write something new and captivating every week. I've done the motivational, controversial, profound, and sexual post. In fact, my post about sex got the most views ever (so not surprising). I don't want to always discuss sex but I want to reach more and more readers. This is where you come in. If you read my blog tell me what you want to hear, er, read. I'll talk about ANYTHING. I really really want ideas. Sports, love, my life, religion, traveling, pop culture, anything, throw it at me. I'm serious though, let me know what you want to read about. I'm going to keep writing no matter what but I'd love some ideas.

You can leave those ideas here, Facebook, or Twitter. Thanks, I appreciate all the support!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Writer of Dreams

I believe that every decision I'll ever make, every person I'll ever meet, every road I'll ever traverse is drawn out on a map, penned in the galaxies. Whatever happens by the end of the race was meant to happen. Even if I don't know the reason I know that an event is never without reason. I believe in destiny, so to speak.

However, just because I believe in destiny does not mean I expect life to toss everything in my lap. I'm quite purpose driven. The entirety of my life has been spent making goals. In fact each hospitalization that I've had part of the reason I got through them is because I had some goal. My last serious hospitalization I was 17 and I wasn't supposed to make it. I remember saying in my head over and over again, “You can't die because you have to go to prom.” In retrospect that was kind of silly. I had more important upcoming events such as high school graduation or my graduation trip. But I was a girl that had spent my whole life dreaming about prom (not my wedding) and nothing, not even pneumonia and one non-functioning lung was going to deprive me of that night. Goals are what saved me.

As a child, I had aspirations of being the next Whitney Houston (minus the crack part), an actress on the red carpet, a dancer, a fashion designer, stuff like that. Then my disease kept progressing. I'm positive I was a famous stage actress in another life. Anyway, when those dreams were no longer viable I made new ones. To me, real life sometimes sucks if you have nothing to look forward to.

Many people think one of the biggest problems with my generation is that we don't believe the American Dream is alive so we just wait for our destinies to take shape. I think it's more than the elusive American Dream that stops people my age from going after their goals. I think most people are afraid of failing. They rather acomplish nothing than fail at something. The funny thing about that is the most famous people in the world experienced failures and rejections before anyone knew their names. The great thing about having aspirations is that no matter how many people don't believe in you they can't take your dreams. You're the keeper of your goals, don't pass out the keys.

And you don't have to have big goals, but have something. Make a goal to just be happy. Or to work hard so one day you can support your family. Or to travel more. Anything. If there's one thing I can't stand it's people who constantly complain about their lives but never do anything to change them.

I believe that my whole life is already written out, but I'm the co-author. Very little will happen if I don't set out and push the first domino. I want to look back on my life with few to no regrets. In order to do that I know I have a lot to get done.

So, are you contributing to the story of your life or are you just hoping it will all, magically, write itself?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Let's Talk About Sex, Me, and Assumptions

Before I delve into this I want to say that I hate the whole hookup culture of my generation. Not saying I hate anyone that likes meaningless sex, just saying it's not for me. Religious ideas aside, sex is literally the closest you can physically get to anyone. The whole idea of sex is to momentarily be one with another person. I don't take that lightly.

Now many a misconception follow people with disabilities. The biggest ones in my opinion are that we can't be sexy and we are asexual. Both could not be more wrong.

Growing up as a female it was really hard on my self-esteem never seeing models that look like me grace runways or fashion magazines. On that note though, in recent months there have been two models with Muscular Dystrophy who have gotten recognition. One walked (rolled) the runway during New York Fashion Week and the other was a fashion blogger who got contracted with Diesel for a print campaign. The more that disability is brought to the media the easier adolescence for a lot of people with disabilities will be. That shouldn't be the way it is but I don't make the rules of society.

After my hormones kicked in full throttle I was pretty sure I was invisible to the opposite sex. I had made it all the way through high school without dating, surely I was completely undesirable. Then I started online dating and I realized what the problem was. One of the first questions almost every guy would ask was “Can you have sex?” At first I didn't get it. I had entered womanhood fully aware that I was capable of sex and getting pregnant. Why wasn't the rest of the world privy of this knowledge? I finally knew why I was I was never a prospect for guys in high school. Let's face it, high school is a time of raging hormones and when people are dating they expect some type of action even if it isn't full on coitus. Guys who knew me were more than likely too afraid to ask. Eventually I got so tired of answering the question online that I just stated it in my profile. Apparently that's what most people with disabilities who try online dating have to do.

Online dating has taught me a lot. I'm not invisible to men. I can be sexy. And most of all I have to communicate. (One day I'll dedicate a blog post or a whole book about my online dating experience. I have some pretty interesting stories. )

This is such an important topic to me only because sexuality is one of the pillars of human nature. EVERYONE has sex. Old people, I'm talking 80+ (kind of gross). People with disabilities. Homeless people. People who don't have feeling below their necks or waists (fun fact: people who can't feel their private parts will just find other trigger points for an orgasm). Transgendered people. People who look like they shouldn't be having sex are probably having it. Everyone has sex because sometimes being one with another person is the only thing that makes sense in this crazy world.

I wrote this because I can't stand assumptions. Able-bodied women and men don't have to say that they can have sex. I shouldn't have to either. My ability to have sex shouldn't be the deciding factor for anything but it is. That's the world we live in. And honestly I've spent my whole life trying to prove assumptions wrong. Why do we make assumptions about anyone?

People assume I'm innocent. They assume I can't have fun. They assume I'd make a horrible significant other and mother. They assume I spend my whole life in bed, for non-sexual reasons, obviously. They assume I'm not as bright as I am. Assumptions have become brick walls around me preventing others from starting many relationships with me, platonic or otherwise. And I'm not perfect I make assumptions too. But the best assumption we can make with strangers is that we are all just human, with human vices, desires, needs, and dreams. Don't let someone amazing pass you by as a result of assuming.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Key to Happiness

Lately I've been focusing on happiness. At times, happiness seems to be an elusive enigma. I've always been relatively happy but my whole disposition has taken a beating the older I've gotten. I'm one of those people that builds ludicrous expectations up in my head then I'm crushed when real life doesn't live up to make believe. I watch too many movies and read too many books. 12 year old Allegra was sure senior prom would be a night of magic. She was sure high school would be just like Pretty in Pink and the likes. And of course, when she was 21 she'd be married and maybe start having kids. As I said before, ludicrous expectations.

It's funny in a Shakesperian-tragic way how life will ruin the hopes you make for yourself as a child. I've been heart-broken, bullied, used. And sometimes I just don't want to be “happy.” I'm most creative when I'm in one of my “I hate the world” moods. Eventually, hating the world loses it's appeal and I have to suck it up and move on with my life.

I genuinely want to be a happier person. Which begs the question where does happiness stem from? Money. Sex. Other people. Fame. If you seek out happiness among those things you'll be sorely disappointed. Money comes and goes. The richest people in the world are in and out of rehab. So obviously, while money and fame would be nice it's not best to expect happiness from those two alone. Then there's people who can't be single. This is a struggle for many people my age. I'm sorry but I don't want to rely on my significant other to quench my thirst for happiness nor do I want him to do that to me. That is a lot of pressure. Sure I want to be happy in his presence but I desire to know how to be happy outside of or in spite of him. People will leave you and break your heart but if you know how to be happy on your own moving on isn't such an impossible feat. Lastly, everyone knows sex is beautiful and amazing. A lot of people think getting laid on regular basis will make them happy. Those feel-good endorphins are only temporary, hate to break to ya. Sex will only make you happy until it doesn't. Until you fall in love and the other person doesn't. Until you wake up in bed with someone you wouldn't have hooked-up with while sober. Until you're super old and you have no game. Or until you love it so much you let it control your life and ruin relationships with people you truly care about. I may be young but I know the key to happiness is somewhere else.

I'm realizing happiness is a plant in the core of my being, it was just under all the rubble and dirt. Some people have the perfect chemical balance in their brains to be cheerful all the time. I am not one of those people. In order for me to become a happier person I have nurture that plant inside me with some TLC, as corny as that sounds. It's not easy and it will take a lot of work on my part. If I felt so inclined I could let my happiness wither and die. But I don't want that. Up until several months ago I was looking for joy in places that I knew it wouldn't be discovered. All along it was inside me. I have talents and I have great people in my life now that I've relinquished a few that were bringing me down. And I've been waking up and thanking God for everything great in my life. I have a feeling that by making gratefulness a habit, surrounding myself with positivity, and cultivating my gifts that flower inside me will blossom. Sooner or later I'll have a colorful garden of bliss that no one can destroy but me. (That last line was so peppy it made me wince. But hey, I'm trying.)

May you find that plant somewhere inside yourself!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

What is time?

[I'll preface this post by saying I suck at blogging and NEVER know what to write. I haven't posted anything in a long time because I've been working on my poetry and novels. It happens to be a new year though, so let's give this another try.]

I love time. I detest time. I wish I had more of it but I don't want an infinite supply because then I wouldn't appreciate it. The beauty of time is the scarcity of it. The concept of time occupies my mind more than that of the average 21 year old. But I'm not average and that gives me wisdom. Wisdom in turn, is my double-edged sword. I feel blessed with wisdom. I feel cursed.

A few days ago Muscular Dystrophy robbed another friend of mine of life. He was one of the most genuine, kindest men I ever had the pleasure of knowing. He had the sageness of a man twice his age and the humor of someone who loved life. I've known him forever (when I was young our few years age difference felt insurmountable) but I just started getting close to him in the last few years. It's one of the best decisions I've made.

Unfortunately, I've loss too many friends, all under 30, at the hands of MD. The worst part is my heart has been broken by so many deaths that when I learn of a new one I experience numbness. It thaws eventually but still. Even worse, death doesn't surprise me any more. I've shut parts of myself off because I can't handle letting anyone else in and having them leaving me because of death or otherwise. However, my friends that have passed, they'd want me to keep loving. It's a persistent internal fight for me to remind my heart to keep loving. Stay open, stay beating.

My friends have taught me what time is. It's moments in the presence of loved ones. It's doing what makes you happy because in the end does it matter what the world thought? I'm not a patient person, I guess because when I seek it I see my clock ticking. I see the minute hand gaining speed like it's faulty. I get obsessed with thoughts of the future when all that matters is now. I have to work on being patient and appreciating all that is now. Tomorrow is nothing but a tease that will never pull through. Time is now. Literally.

Half of what I do with my time, I do for my friends that aren't with me. I love because they loved. Hate is a virus that thrives on time and energy I don't have. I laugh because they laughed. I keep living because life does not revolve around death. To waste what precious time I have left is a disgrace to the memories of those I've lost. If they had one one more day, hour, they wouldn't have squandered it. They don't want me to squander it.

Everyone is born with a clock that has a number of predetermined ticks. Tick. Some people have more. Tick. Some people have less. Tick. What is time to you? Tick. Do you make the tick of your clock worthwhile? Tick...