From the Blogabout me

What I believe?

Most people have strong looks on life, politics, religion, iPhone vs Android, and pizza. Beliefs of all types mold who you are, and who you will become. Beliefs are just like opinions in that there is no right or wrong belief, but it is great to explore yours from time to time. I as well have my own beliefs, and thought it would be worthwhile to share a few of my own beliefs.

 

Everyone has something to bring to the table; listen.

Maya Angelou - When you learn, teach. When you get, giveWe are all unique, with special skills and talents. When everyone gets a voice, and others listen, great things can happen. Some times you won’t be heard and you may get frustrated, but we cannot control what others are doing. Instead of shutting down, listen to them and offer advice.  Over time, your advice might be heard. If this becomes the case, those people will hear you more often.

Recently when Maya Angelou passed away, I couldn’t help to think about a quote she once said:

When you learn, teach. When you get, give. – Maya Angelou

We are all teachers.

I can usually learn something new from every person I encounter. I believe that everyone has the ability to teach something new to someone else. I love it when that happens, and watching it happen for others. If you are not learning from others, you are not paying enough attention to those around you. Keep an open head and heart, you will learn.

The direction which education starts a man will determine his future life - PlatoI believe in lifelong learning.

Learning continues throughout a lifetime. I love the quote:

“I’d rather know some of the questions than all of the answers.” – James Thurber

What you see is what you get.

I don’t like pretending. I will strive to put myself out there in the most honest, transparent way possible. Even if it’s not the most popular method. And I tend to gravitate toward people who share the same philosophy.

Cooperation beats competition every time.

Exciting stuff happens when we pool our talents together. I love sharing back and forth with my colleagues who are in the same industry. We all have different skills and backgrounds, but putting those different talents together make amazing things happen.

A sense of humor will get you through almost anything.

Laughter need not be cut out of anything, since it improves everything.  - James ThurberLaughing—at myself and at the weird stuff life which can be thrown into my life sometimes is the only way to make it through the times. Laughter is good for the soul, and feels good.  Take advantage of it, and use it often.

It is better to look for what we have in common than what divides us.

I won’t go near the political discussions on social media because I truly believe that it builds walls, because I would rather be a bridge for getting people together. For years I would help others find their own bridges, but I built walls around myself and didn’t really understand. Finally I discovered it was because I was insecure and afraid what would happen if those walls came down.  Over the last few years, I’ve let many of those walls down and opened up more. It feels wonderful, and I wish others would try it more often.

Don’t try to find the division between each other, even though it is extremely easy to do so. Take a little time and effort and see what you have in common with your neighbor, it will be worth it.

People are basically good.

I have found that most people are honest, kind and wanting to do the right thing. If I go into this expectation when meeting a new person, I am rarely disappointed.

 

 

Go. Explore. Learn.

 

Your mindset – Eating Soup With A Fork…

For years my mindset was to be a very negative person, carried lots of baggage, and just threw pity parties for myself for the heck of it.  But in the last few years I really started thinking about my mindset, and how it has affected the rest of my life choices.

So when you hear this phrase, do you think negatively or positivity:

Eating Soup With A Fork…

 

When you wake up in the morning you get to choose your very own mindset every day. Think about that for a second.  That is an amazing power to hold. So what do you chose to do?

  • Start the day with a positive outlook, or do you
  • Start the day with a negative outlook

It’s so easy to start with negative thoughts:

Gosh, another day of work.

It’s only Wednesday!

It’s raining/too cold/too hot outside

It’s just so easy to do that, and I’ve done it so many times.  But what if just for a month, you woke up and found something positive to say? Every November, I see so many people post things they are grateful for building up to Thanksgiving and I see so many people find good things to say, and less negative vibes. Why don’t we do that every month, every day? Is it so hard? Now, let’s face it. Some days it will be hard and you will have to dig for something to be grateful for, but try it. You will find something to be grateful for each and every day. A good attitude doesn’t just happen, you have to work at it.


The above video was recorded a while back and really states a point that I feel too many people forget. There are so many approaches and possibilities we have each and every day.  Some which you can control while others you cannot. Keep positive as much as you can. You have to be happy with what you have and where you are at now or you will never reach where you want to be.

Think about it this way = We can’t control the weather or control others, so why complain about it.  Instead, go with the flow with these factors and find a way to make it work.  If you go through life just being happy when things are going your way, you will find that life does not go your way often.  Instead, if you go through life finding things to be grateful for, life will go your way much more often.

Seriously – Set your tone for your day, and life. Try it, what do you have to lose? You can make the choice today and do one of the following:

  • Go out expecting problems & people not treating you nice, you will get your wish.
  • Go out expecting people to be good to you. If it doesn’t happen, keep a smile on your face and go with the flow. Something will happen even better. Maybe not today, but it will happen.

 

I’ve heard this type of mindset similar to faith.

You have to believe it before you see it

 

When bad things or people come into your life, realize it’s just part of the plan. One good break can make up for all of those bad-breaks in the past. You have the choice to look for those breaks!

Do you see beauty or do you see prickly?

prick-beauty


Being negative is a lot of work, and draining to your body

Your life follows your thoughts. If you think

“this is not going to go my way”  = no problem, it won’t

“I’ll never meet the right person” = that only draws in loneliness

“I hate my job” = only draws negativity to your workspace, which effects your performance

“I’ll never do that” = you’re right, it’s only going to draw in mediocrity

Go out keeping your mind focused on the good thoughts, makes your mind too full for the discouraging thoughts

Years back, I didn’t like the way Olive Garden’s cheesecake tasted. Instead of complaining, I went home and learned to make them, and they are better than any manufacturing company can make.

I also didn’t think have confidence that I was good at DIY’s like woodworking or making things with my hands and was afraid to start any project. But then I told myself it couldn’t be that hard, so I learned to make candles and soap, next building small things with my hands, and now I am not afraid (too much) about what I can carry out with the right tools. Challenge me!
I also believe that in many cases, your body will not get well until your brain gets well.
For me, I think a good part of my health over the years has played a role in my mental health. I feared so long that seizures would affect me and always focused on them. I told myself one day that I wouldn’t let them control me or who I am, and it’s been over 6 months since my last seizure.

Give yourself permission to be happy

This is going to be a good day!

 


So, instead of thinking that

“Eating Soup With A Fork” as impossible and as negative as possible,

Think about “Eating Soup With A Fork” positively, in which you can never can get enough.

 

*I originally posted the article Eating Soup With A Fork in 2010, and have been so grateful of my relative who had such great wisdom. I read that journal entry she wrote for a reason; I am sure of it…

 

 

 

 

 

Spring cleaning

Do you feel that your life is just a little too cluttered?
I find clutter comes in a wide variety of forms and can slowly accumulate over time and often times show up when I least expect it.
And I have a theory, which is probably not too original.

I think people do not even realize this is part of the reason that they feel as though they don’t have “enough hours in the day” is due to disorder and disorganization. If you are feeling stress, your clutter definitely is not helping.

don’t have enough hours in the day

You don’t have to look much further than your email inbox to see an example of what I’m talking about. When I have 50 or less emails in my Inbox, I feel so much better than when I have hundreds. Heck, I know some one who has at least 5,000 in their Inbox (and most of those are unread. That sounds awful.
20140306-111845.jpg

While clutter doesn’t sound much by itself, it might not seem like a big deal, but it steals our most precious and valuable commodity, our time. It’s a manifestation of chaos, and we have no choice but to roll up our sleeves and tackle this issue.

Stop the Mental Clutter

Wake up, stop what you are doing for just a second. Take a close look at not just your tangible items, but what you are thinking about and what’s going on in your head. In my opinion, the worst kind of clutter is the kind that happens in our minds.

Think about all of the outdated ideas and memories that are sitting up in your brain, because those are hurting your productivity and happiness. Once you can clean the corners and sweep those up, it will be one of my smartest moves that we make.

Do you have self-defeating thoughts?

It is important that you identify them so that you can start moving towards letting them go. And if you don’t, then you only have yourself to blame.

Eliminating Physical Disorganization

Finding physical elements may be harder than it might initially seem — as that clutter does sneaking up on us.

If this describes your situation, you can be very sure that it is causing you a good deal of lost productivity. But where do you begin?

First and foremost I suggest that you buy into the idea of how you pack before going on a hike (or the airport, for those who do not hike much). Pack light and unloading the excess baggage of your life.

The next step is going room-by-room and taking note of objects that serve no purpose, are no longer used or are in your way. I’m not just talking about if you can see the floor in your room, but so much more. Is your garage too full to park your car(s)? Can you move around in your attic?

You’d be surprised how much distracting junk you have lying around. When you are trying to focus and achieve your goals in life, this “stuff” can truly interfere.

After all, even if you are successful, tackling the largest decluttering job first will leave you feeling quite exhausted and may prevent you from moving forward.

Track Results

If the steps that you’ve taken have indeed removed mental and physical clutter, you should be able to achieve more in a given day. More importantly, you should also notice that your stress levels are dropping.

If your mission has not reduced your stress levels, then perhaps you had very little mental and physical clutter to begin with and congratulations are in order. Another option is that you still have work do it on your decluttering.

Don’t forget though, this is not a one time weekend project. Staying on top of clutter is a permanent “side job.” The bottom line is that periodically you’ll need to invest the time to make sure that clutter isn’t sneaking its way back into your life.

Once you’ve removed excessive clutter from your life, you will not just have more time, but you will also have a sense of accomplishment and experience a boost to your self-esteem.

If you want to make a great, zero-cost investment, declutter your life today.

 

St. Valentine – The untold story.

When you hear “St. Valentine” what do you think about? Flowers? Balloons? Stuffed animals & chocolate? February 14th? Satan’s day (for singles)? My guess is – “yes of course.” (at least for one of these) What if I told you there is much more to St. Valentine that chocolate covered strawberries and cupid flying around shooting arrows into young love birds?

So before you read any further, ask your question:

What would you advocate for?

Share your thoughts in the comments area below.

Quick historic facts about St. Valentine, himself:

As a Roman priest around 250+/- AD, St. Valentine did not think it was a good idea for young couples to get married. See back then, the “traditional” way of marriage was to have Polygamy partnerships. Thus, he believed young soldiers who got married would be terrible on the battlefield because they might be too caught up thinking about lots of lady-lovin’ back at home, instead of being focused and effective enough out in the field. Okay, that sounds pretty reasonable if you ask me; lots of lady-lovin’ is not such a bad thing. So instead of leaving too many hotties back home, he (Valentine) was determined to have people do this whole “one man & one woman committed relationship”, which was a sin! He would marry people in secret. Oops, that turned out to be not a good idea. So the Emperor imprisoned Valentine for these acts, but then for a few reasons the same Emperor started liking Valentine. But when Valentine made the mistake to try to convert the Emperor to wanting everybody to have a 2 person marriage, it was the bottom-line… So that was the last act for Valentine. He was beaten with clubs, stoned, and beheaded on February 14th, around 270.

All because he wanted people to marry single spouses…  Dang him!
Pretty romantic so far, right?

Since St. Valentine has been well-known for wanting to make marriages set to a couple, instead of a polygamy partnership, he is known as the patron for engaged couples, happy marriages, and lovers.

 


Ok so there was the history lesson, get to the point Kevin… Have you continued to think about what I asked about earlier?  

What would you advocate for?

Do you love something so much that you would stand up for it, no manner what?  Some people say they would stand up for their children, their partner, their religious beliefs, their pets, or maybe something else altogether. But would you stand up for what you believe in? I mean, here is a guy who stood up for couples who wanted to be happy and go against the government (i.e., the Church) and do what they felt was right.  Go against traditional marriage and join in a partnership with the one other person they loved.

Isn’t that what we all ask for today? Is that such a big thing to ask for?

I want to say there are things I would advocate for so much that I would be willing to die for them, but I think when it comes down to it, there are probably only 2 or 3 things that I would feel that way for.  Look inside of yourself, and think about that about yourself.  Look deep inside.

If you find there are not things, I don’t think that is a bad thing.

If you find there are things though, really think about them and why you feel that way. Do you show that in your daily life? If not, why not???

Share your thoughts in the comments area below; what / who would die for?

Additional History Lesson – Extra spin for those who read this far:

Did you know St. Valentine is also known as a Patron for many things other things? The one that really hits home for me – Patron of epileptics. The name “Valentine” and the German word for “fallen,” which is gefallenen, as it’s pronunciation sounds like “Valentine.”  So I guess when you have “fallen” in love for St. Valentine’s Day, you might want to think again what you are implying…

 

< Research credit: Epilepsy UK >
< Sense of humor credit: me >

 

One, Two, Three – Words of 2014

As 2013 came to a close, I was spending a bit of time deliberating on what my previous year brought me and what I could expect from 2014. As a person who believes karma is real, I still do not quite have enough faith in it to think you can just slide along being nice without some direction, and all things will just come my way. This year I wanted to approach it by trying to set the stage… This year I am shaping my year using a few actionable words to my vocabulary to help guide me.

This, to me, is not the same as doing New Year’s Resolutions, so don’t think this is just another blog about resolutions. Heck, I don’t trust myself with those any more than I trust myself with diets. Instead, I wanted to at least give myself some guidance, some would say “goals,” for 2014.

When I started making my list of goals guidance tools, I remembered some of my inspiring fellow bloggers (Brian GardnerCooldeb, and Bobbi Klein) words of thought, and decided it was time for me to put things out there.

Here are my Words of 2014:

Fair

For years, I have programmed myself to be dependable and fair to get things done if I had agreed to do those things. You know: being on time for something, getting a project done, helping out a friend when I didn’t have the resources to help. Not that this is a bad thing on its surface, but dig a little deeper.

give-powerSome time during 2013, a weight started to press on me causing me to realize something. Being so dependable for others all the time had caused me to not been very dependable to myself.  I would make sure I bent over backwards to make sure others would have something done or feel a particular way, but it usually meant there was a hardship on me. I didn’t get “my things” done, or my feelings would not be expressed. With that, maybe I would clean up a mess for somebody and delay something of mine, but then afterwards, I would tend to be “humble” about it or not take credit for the hard work I had done. Basically, I would discount my time and my worth.

Wait a minute? This old mindset had to change!  My time and efforts are important and valuable, and others need to realize this.

If I am taking the time to help you – you should appreciate my efforts.

Right? If not, doesn’t that just discount myself just like I’ve allowed others to do to me? I’m not saying I want to get honored for every good thing I do, but I just don’t want others to take advantage of my good heart.

 

Ownership

I’m a nerd at heart, plan and simple. I’ve known that for my entire life. I enjoy sitting around talking about computers, video games, camera specs, and PMS colors (BTW for all of you who know the inside joke: No bi#Ch, stop taking it so personal because I am not referring to a female condition. So shut up!). Even though I have known about my nerdiness for years I still wanted to “just fit in” or be accepted by any particular group instead of being comfortable in my skin. I tried to find comfort through the clothes I wore, people to associate with, or just generally becoming a chameleon as the situation called for it. But why?  Why have I tried to be somebody different than who I am? Why am I putting so much energy into not being true to myself? Not being true to myself only meant I couldn’t be true to those closest to me.

if you cannot love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else - RuPaulIt wasn’t until mid 2013 that I started even trying to do something about this. Now, look around my blog – I’ve really started opening up and becoming much more transparent about who I am. I talk about geeky stuff, I talk about my interests in cooking and doing random Do-It-Yourself projects, and I talk about my medical condition. I have opened up to myself and those around me can see me for who I am.

So, If I want to listen to Trampled by Turtles /Ralph Stanley / Avett Brothers then switch to Crash Test DummiesAC/DC LMFAO, I just will do it… If I just want to dance in public or sing in my yard while mowing, I am just going to do it. If one weekend I want to do something off Pinterest (or God forbid actually make create something just to pin there) like make candles or homemade laundry detergent, but then want to go off and enjoy nature, then I think I just will.

These things might seem random to others, but these things make me feel creative, and happy, which provides much enrichment in my life.

 

Open

This will have many meaning to me moving forward, but the great thing is I can do so much with this word.

  • I will be looking for ways to get out in the “open” more and find the beauty all around me. Enjoy the sounds and sites we are all blessed with, yet take for granted. I am too plugged in most weeks, but love being outdoors. It’s time to open my windows and my mind and get out more. In the last few years I have traveled many places for the first time. Let’s hope I continue to keep my eyes “open” and my mind just as “open”.
  • I have so much in my life, I need to be able to “open” my arms to others and give some of what I am blessed with. It’s amazing when I look around at how much I have, and what I really can give.
  • Be more “open” to hearing and receiving people’s feelings, thoughts, and criticisms. Give opinions when asked, because people who ask think highly enough of you to ask. Just because they may not go with your opinion doesn’t mean anything. It wasn’t right or wrong.
  • Become more “open” about my medical condition. Although this also falls under my newfound “ownership” in being comfortable with who I am, I still need to be more open about things as well. Since I spent the majority of my life running for the conversations, this is going to take a lot of practice for me. I don’t like talking about myself, but there are things I need to say. It may take me a while to get things out, but I will get better about it as time goes on.

Look at situations for all angles and you will become more openLook, in summary the goal I have for myself (and hope you would consider thinking about) moving forward is this:

Be honest with yourself, take credit for your accomplishments because they are awesome, and remember we only live once (as far as I know) so be yourself and do what you love doing… Awesomeness will become you.

Have you thought about:

 

Comments are welcome on this, as always.

Moments between moments

While I was sitting on the beach only a few weeks ago, I started thinking about this post. Looking around, and any place I go these days, there is something becoming more and more noticeable.

People sitting and tapping…

Everyone is present, but are they really here? Tapping on their phone. Sending email from their phone. Taking pictures of their feet with their phone. Listening to music from their phone. Maybe even hurling birds at pigs.

It just got me thinking.

What did our brains do when it had downtime to relax? When going to the beach was to listen to the waves, fish, play in the sand, and not just time to photo your feet so your friends would be jealous? When going to a concert was to listen to and see the performance, instead of being behind a smartphone trying to take the epic picture to upload into a filtered square image? Going out on a date, and spending more time looking and touching their physical profile, instead of their “poking” their digital profile? Watching tv was relaxing and you didn’t have to give summaries online every commercial break (or vote a person off a show by using hashtags)?

When was the last vacation you went on that you didn’t check your email?

I often wonder what these lifestyle changes have done to our brains. Much of my best ideas come from the deepest crevices of my brain. Heck, many of my creative ideas tend to happen when I am just sitting by a campfire, sitting outside pulling weeds, or walking through the woods; not while I am staring at a computer screen or seeing how many of the same colored jewels I can match up in a 60 seconds. Wanted Time... I cannot be the only person who processes creativity and thoughts this way. The concept of ourselves becoming out of touch with our surrounding, becoming more interactive with our digital world and less involved with our physical world, all of which may be damaging us – shouldn’t be that hard to understand. So why are we starting to program ourselves more and more in this direction?

Paraphrasing a statement I’ve heard a number of times from a terrific woman to fit this article, I have come to think about this:

Be still, don’t let the world around you control you or swallow your life.

Be still, don’t let the world control you.

Be still

Be

 

Although I know I don’t unplug myself enough, I have to think of this from time to time (especially the last two points) because we as people really just need to “be.”

 

– Don’t let electronic devices take away those “between moments?”
– Don’t have your “moments between moments” been lost?

 

Let’s Take Hold of “The Sacred Disease”

Have you ever heard of the “Sacred Disease?” If you haven’t, you might learn something today.

[ Hippocrates wrote about it around 400 B.C. describing how ignorance of men thinking it was something from divinity only because there was nothing else like it, Julius Caesar suffered from but didn’t let it stop him from being a one of the most powerful rulers of this world, and even Othello’s jealously would cause him to struggle with the condition.  Do you know what I am talking about yet? ]

What if I told facts about how human society all thru different decades also can offer up facts such as:

  • Witches would give it to people, or maybe it was contagious
  • In the 19th in was highly common to, and even in 20th century U.S. states, sterilized people with the condition (the last 18 U.S. states stopped in 1956).
  • You couldn’t go to lots of public places (restaurants, theaters, etc) until the mid-1970s
  • Heck you couldn’t get married until a repealed law in 1980. In some cultures to this day, if it is determined you have this disease, your partner can annul the marriage

It’s one of the oldest known diseases, but there is still so much ignorance towards it and so much stigma towards it. I would dare say in the last 2,500 years, there is just about the same amount of ignorance towards this disease as when Hippocrates wrote about it. Heck, there are probably even people out there who think, “you are not born that way, it’s a life choice” but maybe I would be pushing it.

I digress.


Let me ask you this:

How much do you know about breast cancer, and how scary it can be?

Have you ever heard of Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and/or muscular dystrophy?

 

Of course you have… Unfortunately, you probably even know at least one person who struggles with one of these conditions. You also are probably aware of what at least some of the side effects these conditions have for a person affected by them.

What if I told you there is one condition that is just as common as breast cancer, and affects more than the above conditions combined, yet you probably don’t know much truth behind the disorder?

Don’t get me wrong, these are all major life changing conditions and I am not making light of any of them, but the condition I have actually has just as much impact on people, but isn’t known to be as widespread as the above conditions. This being said, the next part may surprise you.

your-beliefs

 

In America, Epilepsy is just as common as breast cancer and takes just as many lives (roughly 50,000 lives in America each year). Also, it’s on the rise with the veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan wars who suffered any type of head injury.

No way Kevin. There is no way that many people have epilepsy?

Most people think all people with epilepsy fall down and start shaking and flopping around like cooking bacon. Unfortunately this is not an accurate stereotype.

Some people even think a person having a seizure could shallow their tongue, although that is almost impossible. Since a human tongue is connected to the bottom of their mouth, they would have to saw off their tongue completely before they could swallow their own tongue.  My guess is, if they have shallowed their tongue, having a seizure is probably the last thing on their mind at that moment. You can read more about this here (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/22/health/22real.html)

Also there are some who believe when a person is having a seizure it is best to stick a spoon or something in their mouth.  Although a person having a seizure would appreciate the sentiment of a good samaritan, that same sentiment could actually cause a great deal of harm.  The person undergoing their seizure if likely to having mouth injuries, broken teeth, and probably of visits to the dentist. I like good samaritans, but I don’t like going to the dentist, so please don’t give me a spoon to eat 🙂

There are over 40 types of epilepsy, and even more types of attacks. Heck some people with epilepsy do not have noticeable seizures of any type. When children’s brains are still forming they could have them because their brain is still forming and growing. They stop or freeze in place for a few seconds, and they are fine afterwards. Of course, there are people who have convulsive (grand-mal) seizures, and those are displayed by a much more obvious observation, but there is so much more to this disease. So, so much more.

Even so, funding for this condition is very limited, for many sad reasons. It is a known fact that only about $35 is devoted to an individual U.S. patient, while a comparison of roughly $130 and $280 is devoted to Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis patients respectively.


Now having the above information in mind does the thoughts below, which I originally reflected on previously, have more context as to why I some of my original feelings where so strong and depressing. 

As a person who was diagnosed when I 16 years old, I remember thinking “Crap, my life is over” and “I am going to be such a burden, I might as well help everybody out and fix that problem…” Lots of depression set in at first. Luckily, I realized very soon that my life was not over with, and I could provide a lot of things to this world. I approached my condition with the the attitude of, “I am not going to let the diagnosis define me… I will define myself.” For the most part, I still do not tell people right off about my condition because of the amount of ignorance behind the condition.

 

“Try” or “Do”, which are you?

Be honest with yourself for a moment, and answer this:

When somebody comes to you at work and says “Hey, I need you to find the answer to _________,” do you respond with something like

I will try to find the answer

life-lesson-doers

For years, I have been a person who “tries” but just a short period of time ago, I realized I needed to do more.  Why was I just “trying” and not “doing?”  I mean, if you are going to put forth the half-ass method to “try,” shouldn’t you just go ahead and put a tiny more effort in to “do?”

I know, I probably sound a little bit like Yoda except I could never put it quite the elegant way he does:

YouTube Preview Image

 

I’m not just talking about work either.
Relationships of all types need more “doers” and less “triers.”

 

Don’t be a person who “tries.”
Be a person who “does.”

 

If you are only plan to “try” then watch this last clip from our friend Yoda.

YouTube Preview Image

What defines you?

Have you ever encountered people who pass judgement or criticize you when they do not really know who you are?  Lots of times people are judged by their physical appearance or social status. Think about high school (if in it now or once was), it can be quite challenging with the types of criticisms you may hear. Those same people who critique thou go through additional personal growth or life experiences, and will realize their shit stinks as much as everybody else’s. Also, at a young age, you will hear and feel words with great emotional impact. As you get older, those same words will not mean the same, and those same words become easier to tolerate.  They may still hurt, but it will be different – trust me on this one. Working with others, trying to have better lawns that your neighbor, have smarter kids, or maybe you have a medical condition – folks will pass judgement to give themselves more security.

What I’ve learned so far with life is I cannot change the people who I encounter, nor can I change those who simply want to break my spirit. Since you cannot really change their words, it is up to the individual (YOU) to decide how to let others make us feel and shape who you are.

But people are not the only things in this world that can shape you…


So after receiving my diagnosis at 16 years old, I remember thinking to myself

Crap, my life is over

I am going to be such a burden, I might as well help everybody out and fix that problem…

be-yourselfLuckily, I had decided early on that my life was really NOT over with. Instead I was determined I could and would provide things to this world. At first, I approached my condition with the the attitude of, “I don’t need to tell others, because I am not going to let this diagnosis define me… I will define myself.” Don’t be fooled though. For the most part, I still do not tell people right off about my condition because of the amount of ignorance and stigma behind the condition, but I am continually getting better at sharing my story because people will stay ignorant unless you share your side of things, and will continue to make bad assumptions.

What I didn’t realize though, by me “not letting my condition define myself” (i.e., denying I even had a condition) so strongly, I ended up defining a portion of my life and who I was. Don’t let this be you though.  Simply be yourself, and don’t fight your imperfections.  Instead embrace and own those flaws, and show others your courage to embrace your flaws and imperfections with confidence.

 

Today I leave you thinking – how will you define yourself?
Will you let others lead the way and do it for you, or will you embrace yourself and take control?

Dear 16 year old me,

You have just visited your doctor, he has referred you to a specialist, and you will soon be diagnosed with a medical condition which will change your life forever.

Are you going to be prepared for this?

I’m sorry to tell you but, no you’re not prepared. But you will get through it over time. I’m not going to lie to you. It will be hard, and will take a significant amount of time and effort. Just keep taking small steps in the right direction and it will get better.

worrying


This is what type of advice I would have liked to have heard, from future me or anybody, when I was leaving the doctor that significant day. Even if I wasn’t ready to listen, if I just had somebody tell me this advice, it would have been noted, and one day down the road I would have remembered it.

I plan to open up to my journey I have been traveling on for almost 20 years, what I was worried about and what I was afraid to travel on for too long; but have started to embrace and be more comfortable to travel this journey.