Sunday, March 25, 2012

We've Moved!

My blog is now going to be hosted by WordPress! I really liked the themes they offered and think it looked a little more polished (hopefully someday I will be able to afford all the cool customizations they offer too).

New location is here!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Self Help Section

Have you ever looked at the Self-Help section in a bookstore (specifically the dating self help section)...I mean really looked? It feels kind of like one of those hidden pictures you stare at for hours, trying to find the panda's face that's hidden in what really just looks like a Picasso painting. It should say somewhere, WARNING: Vertigo-inducing area. It's like a jumble of He's Just Not That Into You So You Should Act Like a Lady but Think Like a Man. I admit, I myself have fallen victim to the billion dollar industry of self-help books. I've tried to let it lead me and give me the "secret" to dating successfully and finding a mate. I even let Steve Harvey who admittedly cheated on his wife and didn't seemingly feel too bad about it try tell me how I should start acting to snag a man.

As I get older and go on more and more failed dates I've realized that there's really one simple thing, one "secret," one key to finding a mate...BE YOURSELF. It's funny how simple this is but how hard it is for all of us to do. I've struggled with it for the last 27 years and 7 months. Having a disability certainly doesn't help as unfortunately, some men just aren't willing to deal with someone who has a physical disability. But the older I get, the more I realize that that's ok. Yeah it hurts sometimes and I certainly wish that every time I had a date lined up, I didn't have to worry about how I was going to tell them about my disability (if they didn't notice from the limp before I could bring it up). But overall, I'm glad that it acts as an extra filter to weed out the guys that I don't want to date me anyway. I don't want someone that doesn't want me...period. And that can be applied to all of us, not just me. Yes, it's going to hurt sometimes when someone doesn't want to continue seeing you or he doesn't call. But the reality is if that person didn't want you for who you were anyway then you want them to go away so you can move on and find the guy that will love you for exactly who you are.

If you have to be someone completely inauthentic to "snag a man," then you're finding a man you didn't really want to begin with because he doesn't like the real you. And why would want that? I, I need someone who is willing to help me up when I fall sometimes (and someone who wont be embarrassed by it). I need someone who can lend me their arm to help me get up a curb and who will realize that though I won't be able to run marathons with you, I'll be at that finish line cheering you on and ready to give you a big hug and a kiss.

We as women need to realize just how fabulous we are and just how worthy we are of someone else to love us. I know it's hard with the all the commercials and magazine ads bombarding us on a daily basis, telling us we're not good enough. But know you are amazing and you are lovable and never let anyone tell you different. And know that as cliche as it sounds, there really are more fish in the sea if it didn't work out with that one guy you really liked. Never compromise yourself or what you want just so a guy will like you or because you're worried you'll never find anyone else. I've been guilty of this myself and it led me into a very serious 13 month long relationship that made me miserable. Maybe some self help books will tell you this, I don't know. But what I do know is none of those 8,000 books that are reaping a huge profit from people just looking for some help will help me learn how to truly love myself and be myself. And none of them will be able to allow me to take that with me on future dates and into any future relationships.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

My Own Personal Buddha

There's this great site on the net called Tiny Buddha. I found it via Twitter a few months ago. Everyday different people write articles on a personal struggle/topic in their lives and how they've overcome it and let me tell you, I have a light bulb moment just about every time I read it. Today I read "How to Overcome Loneliness." But it wasn't actually the overcoming loneliness part that really struck me. It was these few paragraphs (

First: Remember that feeling separate from others is the direct result of focusing on how others are different from us.
When you look for differences, you will find them. When you look for similarities, you will find them as well. There’s nothing wrong with doing either; however, each has their own set of consequences.
When we spend your time focusing on the differences, we begin to have thoughts about how “It’s different for him because he’s a man,” “She wouldn’t understand because she’s rich,” “He has kids so he wouldn’t have time,” or “She’s so attractive, she would never ‘get’ my situation.”
We start to place others into all sorts of categories.
Most of these categories include all the things that make them different from us. If this sort of thinking continues, eventually, we will find ourselves standing alone against the entire world—us verses everyone else.
There are indeed different circumstances and situations that we all have to deal with, however, it is also just as easy to see that underneath all the differences we may have, we all share a common human experience. We all feel the emotions of pain, love, loneliness, fear, loss, sadness, and joy.
When you start to understand that the human experience we share gives us more in common than the different circumstances we may be in, we can start to feel a lot closer to other people. This is the way to begin to mend feelings of isolation and loneliness.
The reality of my situation in life is that I am different than other people. I was born with something almost no one else in the world has. But I think for a long time I've been using that as a crutch. A crutch and an excuse not to get close to people because "they won't understand" or "what's the point?" I've always put a huge amount of focus on how I'm "different" from other people and how that "pretty" girl that just walked by me has no idea what it's like to be me, and how nice it must be for her to have guys throwing themselves at her all the time. I make these snap judgments about people that I don't even know, all because I have a disability.
I'm not going to deny that the reality is that most people can't relate to me on the disability thing. But that's only a small part of who I am. I'm a lot of other things too and who's to say people won't relate to me on those? Not to mention, we all have our own struggles whether that be a disability or a rough family life, etc. I've really started to come out of my shell these past few years and I think reading this article today will only help that. I'm going to start making a conscious effort to find the similarities between me and other people and not define myself by one circumstance I was given...and knock that wall I've built around myself down.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Updated: 30 Before 30

One of the things I find the best about life is self-improvement. I feel like I am constantly learning from my experiences and from those around me. So I think these things we make called Bucket Lists or 30 Before 30 should change accordingly too. I mean obviously they're going to get updated as I actually achieve different things but day-by-day sometimes my values and what I deem important even changes so I feel like (here) my 30 Before 30 should reflect that. So, without further adieu...

30 Before 30
  1. Go to Ireland
  2. Go to a drive-in movie
  3. Girls weekend in San Diego
  4. Buy lunch for a homeless person (I seriously feel like a horrible person for not having done this yet)
  5. Take the train by myself somewhere
  6. Go on a Buddhist retreat
  7. Have a spa day
  8. Do karaoke
  9. Go on a Rick Steve's tour
  10. Reread all the books in college I never finished
  11. Volunteer at a soup kitchen
  12. Stay in a nice hotel
  13. Get a pedicure
  14. Try Indian food from an authentic restaurant
  15. Go back to New York
  16. Be more outgoing, even on days I don’t feel like it
  17. Find a hobby I’m truly passionate about  Thank you blogging!
  18. Save for/buy a new car
  19. Throw/ host a party
  20. Start writing again
  21. Buy myself a nice piece of jewelry
  22. Sit at a coffee house and read/write just because
  23. Go to Pink's Hot Dogs
  24. Stand on the Santa Monica Pier
  25. Fall in love
  26. Get a new job
  27. Get a dog (pet) of my own
  28. Go to a gay bar/club
  29. Ride a horse again
  30. Paint a room on my own

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Agoraphobia literally translates as "fear of the market," which actually sounds quite silly. Why would one be scared of Ralphs or Albertsons? But in actuality, the "market" it refers to is just fear of crowds. Fear of being around a lot of people at one time. Kind of like claustrophobia, only for people. For a large portion of my life, I had what I like to call self-induced agoraphobia. I hated being in, around or near crowds. This fear was heightened when I started college. I had a lot of classes in one building that often had large numbers of students gathered outside of it when class was just starting or had just gotten out. I was so utterly paralyzed at having to walk by this crowd that I would save any phone calls I needed to make that day until the exact point I needed to walk through that group of people and rush to the safety of the crowd-free building and classroom. To a lot of people this probably sounds insane but let me elaborate...

I mentioned in an earlier post that I used to always sit in the back of the classroom in school so no one could sit behind me and I wouldn't have to constantly worry that someone was talking about me or judging me behind my back. My avoidance of crowds such as those outside of Beckman Hall stemmed from a similar fear. I've always been acutely aware of the fact that I appear different to people on the outside and acutely aware of the limp I have. This knowledge is what made me sure that every time I walked past a big group of my peers, someone would remark to their friends about the way I was walking. In my mind, I could hear people saying "what's wrong with her?" or worse "what a freak, look at the way she walks." Did I ever actually hear anyone say any of these things? Not that I can remember. What I do remember though is the very intense hush that would often come over the group as I walked through it or past it. It's weird how sometimes silence can seemingly say so much more than talking can.

It just so happens that I work now for the college I went to and I still walk into that exact building and by groups of students standing outside of it. The difference is, those students are now about a decade younger than me. Even today, I still feel my heart start to pound a little and my hands start to shake as I approach the large gray building on the outskirts of campus. I had a realization the other day when I walked in though. There wasn't a big group standing outside or anything, in fact, there was no one but all of a sudden it just hit me. I would say about 9 out of 10 people that see me limp or see me walk don't know or have the slightest clue why I'm walking like that and a lot of them probably think I just hurt my foot or my leg (this is a question I get most often from people who do actually say something to me about it). So what does that mean you ask? Well amazingly, this eased a lot of my agoraphobia. All these years I had been afraid because I assumed everyone knew that I was handicapped or knew that something had to be seriously wrong with me. So when I would think in my mind that people must be thinking I'm a "freak" or laughing at me, I was basing that off the premise that these people knew I was disabled or even had muscular dystrophy. And I'm sure people have said negative things behind my back at some point in my life (some in high school yelled them at me) but for the most part, I think if people are saying anything it's "I wonder what's wrong with that girl's legs or feet?" which is really pretty harmless when you think about it. Of course I wish people were thinking "wow, that girl is really pretty" and maybe some of them are but I find solace in knowing that most of what I considered to be the "worst" people could say was mostly a fabrication in my own mind. I think in a lot of ways, I thought the worst of what other people could say on my own so that they couldn't get to it first. It's really not giving any of those people much credit either is it? I mean yes, people can be mean and nasty...I think we all are well too aware of that. People are scared of what they don't know or don't understand.

But I'm glad that at least I can say now, over 5 years later, I'm almost completely home free of my agoraphobia. Most times I can walk confidently through a crowd and though I still wonder if people are commenting on the way I walk, instead of putting words into their mouths or assuming the worst, I just think "So what if they are? I know who I am and I know I'm more than a limp, so I don't care either way."

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Words of Wisdom from Viola Davis

I find myself sitting here on the couch watching Oprah's Oscar Special. When you've recently lost your full time job, you find that you have a lot more free time to do such things. And it's ironic that as I watched this special, and watched Oprah interview Viola Davis, that I had what Oprah herself refers to as an "aha" moment.

Viola Davis was talking about what kind of impact people criticizing her, her looks, and her career has had (sometimes coming from other African American people even). She said something that made not one light bulb go off in my head, but about 1,000 of them. She said that she realized by caring what those people thought, by entertaining the criticism, she was putting a value on that because she was listening to the words of people who didn't even love her. She decided she was no longer going to listen to things people had to say that didn't love her. Such a great thought right? She went on to say that by listening to these people that had no stake in her as a person and had no love for her, that she was thereby devaluing what those people in her life that did love her were saying. I had never thought of that before! By giving people who try to bring you down and criticize you the time of listening to them you are essentially saying to the people who do care about you and have invested their time and their love in you, that what they think doesn't matter. I don't think a light bulb moment can even fully describe what those few sentences meant for me.

My whole life I've been a "people pleaser" by definition. And of course, I don't think there's anything wrong with caring about others and wanting to treat them with kindness. But I think it can be very easy for that line to get blurred and for that to turn into never wanting anyone to dislike you. You never want anyone to say a bad word about you. This is where what Viola was talking about comes into play. My whole life I've been scared that when I walked into a classroom people were talking about me and the way I walked or the way I looked. I've been teased for my hair, my slender frame, my meager chest, and my limp. I would sit in the back of every class I ever took (even in college) so that I wouldn't be constantly worried the people sitting behind me were criticizing me.

Even now, in my late twenties, I still have trouble not walking by a group of people and worrying that they're saying something negative. I never realized though, that for all these years when I was so concerned about what negative things people either were saying or just what I thought that they were saying, I was negating all the positive things those around me had been saying. Those that love me. My parents telling me I'm smart. My family telling me I was beautiful. My friends telling me how funny I was. I completely pushed their words out, took away their meaning and chose to give complete strangers more of a voice than anyone close to me had. I think Julia Roberts put it best in Pretty Woman, "sometimes it's just easier to believe the bad."

But starting today...I'm not believing the bad and I am listening to the good. I am believing the good. Thank you Viola.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Aspiring to Be "Normal"

A previous entry elucidated my thoughts on the word "should." Another word that holds its own interesting back story is the word "normal." As a girl living with a disability, growing up all I wanted to be was "normal." I wanted to look and walk just like my classmates. I wanted to be invisible; to blend in with those around me so no one would notice that limp that I had or notice when I fell in the middle of the hallway. Whenever I had a choir concert, I wasn't thinking about how we were going to sound and I wasn't nervous about my voice. I was nervous about having to step up onto the risers in front of an entire audience of people. I was nervous my choir mate in front of me would forget to help me up and I'd have to stand awkwardly to the side until someone came to help me up. Then I worried about having to get off the risers once our performance was done.

This was my definition of normal. Normal meant "like everyone else," meaning "no disability." As I get older though, I realize more and more than there is no "normal." Normal is a word society somehow created to make us all strive for something we will never attain because the wonderful truth about humanity is that we are all different. We all have our own issues and insecurities. Our families are probably all a little crazy in their own way. We've all overcome struggles. Being disabled just so happens to be mine.

I think I forget sometimes that I'm not the only one dealing with insecurities in the world. I forget that that beautiful, tall, perfectly proportioned girl that just walked by me in the mall probably has something she doesn't like about herself. Women especially are bombarded with so many images of what's beautiful in our society. An image that only about 1% will ever fit into. So straight out of the gate, we're forced to try and overcome this perfect standard of beauty placed on us. To not let it tell us we're not worth anything because we don't look like that ridiculous version of "normal." So who am I to think I'm the only one dealing with some kind of insecurity?

So yeah, maybe I'm not"normal" but you know what that means? It means I'm unique. It means I'm special and yes, it means I'm different. And a beautiful thing.