Negative Positivity ~ an essay

Striving to achieve – searching for ways to find – to hear, to speak, and to see the positives in life is something we all desire.  Yet, we are hesitant and somewhat fearful of things unfamiliar or negative to us.  At an early age, we become infected with negative, character and ego defining words which can cause staunch, defensive, irrational, and sometimes self-righteous behavior.  Our response – the human reaction. 
NO ~
When we are young, the word “no” means that we are doing something wrong.  The same scolding command given to a puppy when he pees on the rug.
As we age, grow into adulthood, the word “no” has a different meaning and effect.  It shuts us down, tells us not to pursue any further. It sounds and feels finite, but is it really?  No…not always.  When communicated effectively, being told “no” is not always the definitive answer we have to accept. It can actually open the door to new knowledge, viewpoints, and interesting conversation.  Be respectful, yet open minded.
To doubt someone or something keeps the skeptic flourishing in constant indecision.  Doubt can be an eye-opening learning tool inviting research and understanding of the unknown.  Discover a new outlook – look around – open your eyes.   
Therefore, study, listen, and realize that doubt can be a bond as powerful as certainty –
and just as sustaining.
“Never say never”…we’ve all said this to others, and to ourselves. “Never” is such a finite word – as relating to an occurrence forbidden from taking place ever again. 
I am sure there are some people who abide by their proclamations of “never again”.
In regards to a bad marriage, dating, unhealthy vices, careers, etc. Even so, there is no guarantee that “never” shall prevail in any circumstance – it is not as finite as the definition dictates.
To say that something is impossible can actually be both true and false.  For example:
True – it is impossible for you to change my heritage or my race.
True – it is impossible for you to turn back time and be 13 again.  However,
is it impossible that you’ll take a trip into outer space, win an Academy Award, or become President of the USA?  Well, these things are highly improbable,
but NOT impossible.  
Fear is common.  But, it has many different, unique meanings for all of us.  Fear reigns dominant over all of the words I’ve written about in this piece:
No – Doubt – Never – Impossible
Fear takes hold – it holds us back from facing all that is foreign, unfamiliar, and uncomfortable.  But, we need to face some of our fears.  We must teach and encourage children to do this at an early age.  We must get out of our comfort zones, be open to “change” and be motivated to discover new things…things which could be beautifully life changing.  Fear makes us hide – from ourselves and from others.
Worse, we are crippled with the narcissistic worry of what others think of us!
You see, all these words… and the pessimism they typify, merely have the perception of being negative.  When in reality, these words can represent opportunity for change – an opportunity for courageous endeavors – an opportunity to change our outlook of life – and our world. 

Things I Would Tell My 14 Year Old Self

We can’t go back in time and re-do our “boo-boo’s” in life.  We’re not supposed to have that option to edit or do-over our experiences – this is how we grow and learn.  We learn from our decisions, challenges, mistakes, as well as from our good fortunes.  We try to advise our children and young people in today’s world what to do, what mistakes to avoid based on our lives and experiences, but they must also learn on their own…in their own time…like we did.  Although, the opportunity to have a little conversation with my younger self is intriguing – I probably wouldn’t listen, though…sigh.   

Art by:  2Birds 


Be patient…
It’ll get better
You’ll miss out on so much if you’re self-absorbed
Know who you are and listen to your gut
Be unique – celebrate that
Don’t go out of your way to prove yourself to others
If you do your best, you’ll reap rewards
Avoid becoming infected with perfectionism
You are worthy, you are good enough…
You are you’re own unique version of perfect
Don’t be afraid to try new things, face that fear…a reward is waiting
Don’t worry about what people might think
Don’t rely on others to make you happy
When meeting a boy, don’t say to yourself, “I hope he likes me” – say instead, “I hope I like him”
Your skin will clear up, your body will change
Those gorgeous stars & models in magazines… AIRBRUSHED
They may look “perfect”, but they’re human – flawed, like we all are
Don’t try to look like anyone else
Don’t try to act like anyone else
Don’t try to be like anyone else
Learn to say “NO”
Embrace the power to say it
Pace yourself in life, it goes quickly
Use sunscreen…
Please, oh, please…embrace your body
Embrace what God & parents gave you
Play music and sing
Think before you quit taking music lessons
And the dance classes, too
Laugh out loud, and often
Speak up, ask questions
Have an opinion
Stand up for yourself
Read even more and be curious
Study…be wondrous of the world
Do more for others
Spend time with your grandparents before they’re gone
Listen to their stories…learn from them
Hug your friends and family often
Tell them that you love them
And SMILE – every day.

I bid you adieu, MS! Are you listening?!?

I’m having an exacerbation…

Photo: Edie Beale

It started a week or two ago, I think.  This is the first flare-up I’ve had in years.  It feels a bit foreign to me since I’ve been flare-up “free” for such a long time.  On a positive note, this seems to be a minor attack – weird numbness, in weird places – nerve pain across my shoulders – bladder games – emotional swings for no reason.  AND, as usual, all are invisible symptoms which are frustrating as HELL to explain to family and others.  Based on facial expressions and comments, I’m not sure who’s the more frustrated…me or them?  Hmm, this behavior is such an energy buster…something I must let go of and fast!  I’ll start my steroid “dose-pack” this week.  My attitude is actually positive regarding the Methylprednisolone, as my sinuses will thank me for it too…kill two birds with one stone? I hope.

I’m slowly trying to get back into blogging these days, but it’s been difficult to find the energy.  In fact, I’m missing out on a #bloggab chat on twitter right now because I felt compelled to write this little entry.  I think I made the right choice – I needed this writing “therapy” session!

I’ve somewhat pinpointed the trigger responsible for this latest exacerbation.  It all points back to stress, and too much of it lately.  Stress is my worst enemy.  To me, it’s a “disease” all in it’s own which can intensify problems of the always present cog fog and fatigue issues I possess.  When I was first diagnosed with MS in 2001, researchers and doctors continued to debunk the connection of stress and exacerbations or how it affects those of us with MS.  Thankfully, opinions have now changed about this via continuous study, and most importantly, MS patients began to speak up – LOUDLY!  Stress means different things to different people.  Stress affects us in different ways too.  It can temporarily intensify existing symptoms, or it can cause a full blown MS attack.  I have learned some wonderful tools to help me cope over the years, but stress still happens – because, life happens.  I’m now trying to “practice what I preach” to others when stress, set-backs and emotional issues take hold.  I must remind myself to be kinder to ME – to rest – to let go of guilty thoughts, things that I “shoulda, coulda, woulda” done to possibly prevent this set-back – remind myself that I’m human, and repeat a reassuring mantra… “this too shall pass”.

MS is different for us all.  MS is unpredictable and somewhat uncontrollable in it’s nature – which makes it difficult to “manage”.  Stress can be managed…sometimes it’s easier said than done, but it’s possible. Therefore, as I put my turbulent winter/spring of 2014 behind me, I will breathe.  I will focus on managing the things in life that I have control over and am CAPABLE of managing.  For the remainder of this year and years to come, I will embark on realistic journeys…calm and serene, infused with healing thoughts of wellness and joy.

In conclusion, I submit this request to my MS pals and to others who know me:  
If you catch me falling, ignoring my own written words and promises, remind me.  Call me out, will you?


For Amy ~ Happy Birthday to my Best Friend

FOR AMY ~ Happy Birthday to my dear friend 

“Ooh, you make me live –
Whatever this world can give to me. It’s you, you’re all I see –
Ooh, you make me live now, honey, Ooh, you make me live.
Oh, you’re the best friend
That I ever had.
I’ve been with you such a long time, you’re my sunshine
And I want you to know that my feelings are true…
I really love you.
Ooh, you’re my best friend.”

~ Lyrics by Queen

You’ve been my best friend
Longer and truer than any other
And, I’ll love you and our everlasting
Memories – always.
WE connected under DeNardo’s desk
Scolded for singing, giggling to
“You’re a Bitch Girl”
Here we came, walking while singing down Stanford Avenue
 Like The Monkees did.
Playing jacks, yet learning “O Sole’ Mio”
And “Sakura”.  We were a melting pot
Then – and still are.
Perms – LOTS of perms, Noxzema and Sergeant Pepper
Led to Mariano’s Margarita mix hidden in your closet
And carrot bits scattered across the side panel of your mom’s car –
Mary Ellen consoling and cleaning my T-bird carpet.
Cayman Islands – vodka
Cruising Forest – vodka
Cruising Caribbean – VODKA
College…growing up and moving on – distant
Yet, we still managed to know we were still there for each other.
Dating, World Gym and beginning budding careers
Weddings and divorces
Adoptions and illness
So many stories we have separately and together.
The years have flown
Lives challenged and changed
Sometimes our times together less frequent
Yet, each reunion feels the same…honest, open, and real –
I feel at home when I’m with you – you ARE home for me.
You love and accept me – the good, bad, and the really ugly!
I know when we’re both 90 years old, we’ll be
Celebrating our birthdays together.  We’ll still feel and act like 5th graders,
Middle school and high school pals – maybe add a few more lines on our faces,
A few more grey hairs…wearing “sensible” shoes, but
I’ll always have you – and you’ll always have me, my dear friend.
“Ooh, you make me live –
Whenever this world is cruel to me,
I got you to help me forgive.
Ooh, you make me live now, honey,
Ooh, you make me live –
Oh, you’re the first one when things turn out bad.
You know I’ll never be lonely, you’re the only one and
I love the things that you do.  I’ve been wandering round,
But I still come back to you – In rain or shine you’ve stood by me girl,
I’m happy at home –
Ohhhh, you’re my best friend.”

~ Queen (second verse)