I can do it all by myself, except sometimes I need help

When I was young, about the age of 3 or 4 my mom gave me the book All by Myself by Mercer Mayer. At the age of 31 my mom still reminds me that ever since I read that book over 25 years ago, I have always wanted to do things all by myself. When I was a child it was simple things like tying my shoe, or doing my homework. I would sit and try it over and over again until I got it right. I wanted to do it all by myself. As I got older life became more complex, and the complexity of things that I could actually do all by myself began to change. In high school it was filling out college applications, I didn’t need help, I could do that all by myself. However, once I got into college I had to pay for tuition, books, fees, oh and lets not forget that I actually needed to move everything out of my bedroom in Queens to my dorm room in Connecticut, yeah I needed help. Mainly from my parents, and because they are great parents they helped, and because they had hindsight to know I actually couldn’t do it all by myself I really didn’t even have to ask for much help. They just knew what to do.

As we get older we have greater needs in life, and may need more help. I have always been one to hate asking for help because I could do it all by myself. My favorite question to ask my clients in therapy sessions is “how is that working out for you?” When I think about times that I didn’t ask for help but really knowing that I needed help, I reflect on how poorly that is working out for me. When I bought my first car, I went into full-blown panic mode. Buying a car is stressful and I needed help. Luckily I had that help, my ex boyfriend helped me find a car, and my dad helped me to get my care registered, inspected and ready to drive. Needless to say without that help I would have been left stuck and riding the bus for a mighty long time.

Before moving to Hawaii, my mom asked me was I scared to go alone. My answer of course was no, if the fear was there I was never going to admit that to anyone anyway. She told me she doesn’t worry about me because she knows I will be fine, she reminded me that I have always had that determination that I could do it all by myself. That determination helped me to take leaps in life and never look back. That determination helps me prove to myself that no matter where I am in life and what I am going through, I will always at least try to do it all by myself, even though sometimes I may fail.

I am no longer a 3-year-old kid who just wants to tie her own shoe, or a 4-year-old who just wants to walk into a new classroom all by myself just to prove that I am a big girl. I am a 31-year-old who has grown to realize that as much as I want to do it all by myself, sometimes I need help, badly.

I realized the importance of help when I was living in Honolulu, I was all by myself, and couldn’t possibly do everything alone. Upon arriving on the island, I received help from my first landlord. She was overwhelmingly kind to me. She was local from Kauai and now living on the Windward side of Oahu. She went out of her way to welcome me to the island, I had no car, she drove me around, she showed me how to get to my job, how to get to the store, and what I would need to do to be safe in Honolulu. Her warming attitude made me feel like I would have a great home in Hawaii. I continued to find help along the way in friends, those friends helped me to overcome a sense of loneliness, and seemed to always make sure that I was doing ok. I received help to stay in shape from my motivating workout crew, and due to the fact that I had amazing co-workers, they never failed to help me learn my way around the island, and adjust my mainland style of building therapeutic relationships, to the local style of how to be a successful therapist. I was starting to learn that needing help was not a sign of weakness, but much-needed to keep building future success.

Now I am back on the mainland and have found myself in a place where I once again need help, and I continue working to overcome the struggle to ask, although it has gotten a lot easier. A few weeks ago I went snow tubing and broke a bone in my leg when it hit a block of ice.  Ok maybe I should have not been so quick to jump into winter sports since I have been living on an island that was 80 degrees every day for the past 4 years. Nevertheless, it was fun, well expect for the part where I broke my leg.

Being on crutches with a broken leg, yeah I have needed help. I want to do it all by myself, but life’s turns has hit me and now I can’t. This has truly been an experience in asking for help. I literally have needed help from everyone who is around me. Even my 7-year-old god-daughter has had to help me carry my purse. Lucky for me I have an awesome support group. My friends have been nothing less than amazing and have been there fully to help me. I end up feeling guilty though, I hate to inconvenience others or need help for something that I could just do on my own a few weeks ago. I remind myself that this is a temporary situation. It’s still hard most days.  It’s not forever, just for now, and now I have to continue to ask for help. This has truly been an eye-opening experience, I was the girl who thought I could do everything by myself. I could do it all, no help necessary. Now I can’t even drive my car, so to go anywhere outside of the house, yeah I need help.

Though this current situation of my broken leg is temporary and with time my bones will heal, it is a sudden much-needed reminder that life is not meant to be lived alone. If you always have the right circle of support you will never be alone, and when life throws you a curve ball, don’t struggle, put pride aside and just ask for help.

 

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences

Advertisements

Starting over: life’s trials and tribulations

Ever have one of those days where you just feel lost and uncertain? Not sure where to go, what to do, or what happens next?  So many possibilities and not sure what direction to turn to.  I am falling in on life’s uncertainty and I am not sure what makes absolute complete sense anymore. Let me back up a bit.

After about two years of living in Honolulu, I thought that I needed to move off the island, more specifically I felt I was ready to move back to the mainland. East coast, west coast, where was not important, but I felt the essence of the mainland calling me back. That was in 2011. It wasn’t for another two years that I would actually take advantage of the opportunity to move back. That was scary. I had a plan, executed that plan, now what?

Whenever I tell anyone I meet in the D.C. area that I spent the last 4 years of my life living in Honolulu, I always get asked why I moved back. Well, my move to Honolulu was never meant to be a permanent home, I never really thought that it would be a home, but for a brief period in my life Honolulu was my home. In some weird way I felt apart of local culture. Everyday I woke up the sun was shining, it was 80 degrees, and from my apartment I had a breathtaking view of the mountains that one could only dream about. I lived that life. For the most part life had minimal stress, I was in optimal health, and I was learning more about myself each day. I was living my best life.

Although it was my best life, it was my best life only for that time. In life things begin, but they also end. The end finally came. Why did I come back? Well although I had created a new life, I very much missed the old one at times. Your past will always be a part of you, and no matter how far you travel, you will never leave the past behind. I never left to run from my past, I left really to understand my present self. I needed to go to a space where I could learn about me. Away from distractions, away from expectations, away from what I once was. I found a me that I loved. I found life. I learned to slow down. To appreciate the simple pleasures of life. I never knew how peaceful life could be at the top of mountain, until I actually climbed to the top of that mountain and just sat. I never knew how much I could enjoy my own company, until my only choice was to enjoy my own company, and I never knew that I could survive so far away from everything and everyone I knew, until I had no other option than to survive. Looking back I did a pretty good job. But I knew it had to end. I miss it. But why do I miss it so much, when I knew it would be over?

I grew up along the way. I built attachments. For the first time in my life I was attached to my job. It was the first time I had ever had the feeling of wanting to cry as I submitted my letter of resignation, and every day after second guessed if I was really ready to go. I met friends who cared for me, friends who were sad to see me go, friends who showed me  Aloha from the day they first met me. I miss it.

Now I am on the mainland. Working in D.C. This is what I wanted. I am surrounded by friends who love me, my family is now only 4 hours away in New York, yet at times I still find myself dreaming and reminiscing of my time on the island.  A time of my life that is never to be forgotten.

Now it is time to start a new chapter. Which leads to that feeling of uncertainty. Where do I start? How do I start this chapter? Life is happening. Am I doing it right? I am on the mainland. The mainland is filled with opportunity. How do I take advantage of that opportunity? How do I continue to live my best life? That is a question I frequently ask. Adjustments take time, and transitions are not easy. I am adjusting. Winter doesn’t help. Its 9 degrees over here and 79 degrees in Honolulu. Those are the times when I want to return to Honolulu. But life goes on, I continue to grow, to learn, and to live. My uncertainty will eventually go away, and I will be back in tune with my purpose. But for now, I will continue to learn, focus, and stay motivated to conquer what is next. To Honolulu: I came, I saw, I conquered, To DC: Ok I’m here, let’s get it!

 

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences.

No expectations, no regrets, A life worth living

The best things in life are often the most unexpected.

I love moments of self-reflection. Looking back on life’s moments always offers me greater insight into what I am fully capable of accomplishing in life. Life always has a way of working out if we choose to let it work. For that I am eternally grateful. Moments of self-reflection help me to realize how far I have come in my own personal growth, and remind constantly that life is a journey. At times that journey is slow, at times it moves faster than I can ever imagine, but I am always evolving on this journey.

The exciting part; you never know where the journey will take you. The scary part; you never know where the journey will take you. But you feel the need to go. I like to go fast.  In February of 2009 I packed up everything I had, left everything I knew, left everyone I knew, and moved to an island in the middle of the pacific. Having no idea where I was going, and vague plans that I could only hope would work out I began a new journey.  I had no idea of what I would find, no idea who I would meet, and had no expectations. It felt right, so I ran with it. Scary? Well, yes maybe a little. Was it needed? Yes most definitely.

In September of 2013  it was time to close my Hawaiian chapter, a bitter-sweet ending to an unbelievable journey. I arrived on the island emotionally empty. To be honest, I had hit life’s emotional rock bottom. Nothing mattered. To be in a state of going through the motions just because you have to, felt like a state of not living. My life needed more, my challenge was to find it.

I spent the last 4 and a half years of my life on the island of Oahu.  Wow writing this from a Washington DC coffee shop, it’s still hard to believe that it was not all a dream. I arrived with nothing, I left with more than I could have ever imaged. I was happy.  How did that happen? My emotionally empty glass was suddenly full.   I gained a new family or Ohana as they say in Hawaiian. I never thought I would meet people who would overwhelm me with a sense of Aloha. I was embraced by an amazing level of kindness from day one.  Friendships were formed. People cared about me. Strangers grew to love me, and will always have a place in my heart for them. I always thought the only people who would ever care about me lived on the east coast. I was never alone on the island in the middle of the pacific. I had people who loved me. Why is that so hard for me to believe? Even as I sit here and write, it seems like a dream. A false reality that never existed. A made up adventure of my life. But it really happened. I lived it. A  time in my life when I was able to let go and live. To prove to myself that I could live. Living was OK, I gave myself permission to just live.

When I was packing up all my belongings to leave Hawaii, I wondered to myself how did I get here. Seriously, I felt like I was in a fog when I left New York on that cold February morning in 2009. I cried all the way to my first layover in LAX. It was a day I will never forget. That force of knowing that my life needed change, gave me the strength to leave. When I was packing up my apartment in Honolulu, many times I wanted to cry. I had that part of me that wanted to stay. I had built a new life. Fearful that I would have to start over again. Fearing what the east coast would now hold for me. I was leaving different. I wasn’t the same girl who arrived on the rock in 2009. In essence I had changed. That’s what life is about, changing. I could never have lasted as long so far away from familiarity if I had remained the same. Somewhere along the line I grew up. I found hobbies. I fell in love. I fell in love with the island, with adventure, with mountains, with the ocean, with the culture. In my mind, shoot I was local. Even though I could never master the art of speaking pigeon, and still would never attempt to pronounce many of the Hawaiian street names, I still felt a sense of local flavor.

I went with no expectations, and gained more than I could ever imagine. I made new friends. My newfound extended ohana took care of me.  Those friends  pulled me through the bad days, and made good days all the more exciting. It worked. Life worked the way it was supposed to. I learned lessons. Even though I wanted to figure out if I could really cut my own safety net of my family and friends in New York while managing alone, that was impossible. I learned that no matter where I am in the world life can never be done alone. Life is not meant to be lived in isolation. I found friends. Friends that helped me adapt. Friends that cared, friends that loved me, and made me feel at home. Friends that would miss me when I’m gone.

As each day passes here in the east, it all continues to feel like a dream. Was that time a brief intermission in life a time solely for me to recollect myself? Or maybe it serves a greater purpose that I am yet to find out. Not sure what is up next. All I know now is that as I begin to settle in again on the east coast, and embrace winter, God is always at work, and He always has a plan. I just can’t wait to see what happens next, but until then I will continue to live.

Comfortable in my own skin (and it only took me 30 years to do it)

A few years ago I used to co-facilitate a  workshop for pre adolescent girls. The themes of  the workshop  focused on body image, and increasing self-esteem. Bi weekly my co-facilitator and I would have sessions with these girls to assist them with  becoming comfortable with themselves, and learning how to see themselves as beautiful both inside and out. During one of our sessions we began the group by handing each of the girls a mirror and, asked them to look into the mirror while telling themselves that they were beautiful.  None of the girls were able to do this task. They were not able to say “I am beautiful”. The girls told me if they said that then they would sound conceited, and they didn’t want to come off as conceited. I gave them permission to be as conceited  as they wanted. They continued to struggle. We were in a room with nine girls aged 11-13, not one of them were able to stand up, look in a mirror, and tell themselves that they were beautiful.

When is it acceptable for us to be comfortable in our own skin?

Now that I am 30, I can safely say to myself that I Am Beautiful. I wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, and think to myself, hey I look pretty cute. Am I being conceited? Some people might think so. But honestly, I don’t even care. As long as I am happy with me, my whole self, inside and out, what other people think is a secondary notion that spends little time in my mind.

Now that I am 30, I am at peace with myself. To be comfortable with myself goes far beyond the way I look in the mirror. I am a girl, so some days I will have my “fat days”, or my “I look like a hot mess” days, but even on those days I will be comfortable with who I am. This is only possible because I have found a sense of inner peace. I have calmed down from over thinking what everyone else expects of me, and what everyone else wants me to be. What is the sense of working so hard to please everyone else, when I am not putting any energy into pleasing myself? I have chosen to please myself first. If others do not agree, then its a great thing that this is my life. I can only be affected by those things that I allow to affect me. If it is positive then bring it on! If it is negative, well then it can stay far far away from me.

Now that I am 30, I choose to be in control.  I am in control of what happens in my life. At 30 I am at the most mentally, physically, and spiritually stable point in my life. I know how to control my moods, I am aware of my body’s emotional regulation so I do  not feel like a crazy person. I can run faster and longer than ever before, exercise has become a daily fixture in my life, and my body has the strength to overcome many physical challenges because of its constant conditioning. I am doing things that I have never done before, like actually sign up for races (who knew I would be doing that at 30?). I look forward to physical challenges, sweat is great, and exercise pain is my new best friend.  I am spiritually ready for what God has in store for me. Years ago I was far from ready for what God had planned for me. God knows exactly what he is doing, walking by faith, I will let him take the lead. With God and balance I will continue to be just fine.

Now that I am 30, I just like being me. I will always say it, I am a little bit different. I am slightly to the left, I am clumsy, I hesitate to wear white because I know something will spill on it. I hate getting my hair and nails done because I think it takes too long to finish, and I dislike shopping because I hate waiting in lines. Some days I never know if I’m coming or going, and I work best when I can just wing it. That is me. I laugh at my own jokes, and I can easily laugh at myself for doing something silly. I have a ton of faults, and I love them all. I am a consistent marcher to the beat of my own drum, and my beat sure does sound damn good (well in my head). I can only be me. And finally, I have fallen so deep in love with me!

So hopefully now it is acceptable for me to be comfortable in my own skin. Because if not, I don’t have another 30 years to waste on being someone else.

 

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences.

 

29 and counting….wow 30 is almost here

Less than two months away from turning 30! We are down to the final stretch, and enter panic mode. Well I guess that is what is supposed to happen. I have been contemplating what I should actually do for my 30th birthday. How do you celebrate the Big 3-0, what should I do to kick off this new decade of life? I want the next 10 years of life to be my best 10 years of  life, how can I make that happen? Sure, I am possibly over thinking this turning 30 thing a little bit too much. There is nothing I can do to stop it from happening, it will happen no matter how much I kick, scream, and cry. Its life. You get older, live with it, the end.

I recently thought that I would like to have a blow out party, that would deter me from having my very own pity party. If I have a semi real party, with actual people, maybe that will ease the torment of thinking about what life is actually like at 30. I want to still have fun at 30. I actually want to have more fun than ever before. So in my mind an awesome 30th birthday would be something that includes throwing a major party at Tao in Las Vegas, with streamers, a huge cake, and a well known DJ. It would be something like umm, Kim Kardashian’s 30th birthday. Ok, I know I am not Kim Kardashian, and I do not have anywhere near Kardashian money so a club party in Vegas will not be an option. Well at least not for this year, maybe next year we can shoot for that option.

So what is a good way to bring in your 30th birthday! I want to do something that matches my personality. I am 30 and the world is my playground. I live in the boundaries of very few limitations. I see myself on a path to extraordinary. What type of event expresses that notion? Do I go for a grown and sexy vibe, or do I go for a young and free vibe? Honestly, I really wish I had someone to plan a party and I just show up. I am not a party planner. I have a new idea for my life everyday, so obviously I will have a new idea everyday on ways to celebrate this overdramatized  milestone of my 30th birthday. I am not the first person in the world to turn 30 but, it is the first and only time turning 30 will happen to me. I owe it to myself to make it a memorable experience, who knows when the next memorable experience will happen to me.

I have less than two months to enjoy my last days in my twenties. Some people want to be married by the time they are 30. If I was one of those people then I would have to hurry up and find a husband real quick. But I am not. I never really thought of what it was going to be like when I turned 30, well not until I turned 29. Then 30 was hitting me in the head hard, I was forced to create an image of what life is like at 30. Soon enough I will find out for real. So what should I do to celebrate my 30th birthday? Should I go over the way of full on party, or low key and relaxed? Whatever I do, I sure hope it is fun.

Any ideas on how to celebrate the big 3-0?

 

 

Positive thoughts, positive ideas, positive experiences

We all have a story, what’s yours?

We all have a story to tell, whats yours?

The only way you can really know a person is to actually know their story. Know their history, know where they came from, how they got to their current situation. It is easy to pass judgments on others, to make assumptions about their present lives because we do not know, or put little effort into caring about their back story. The story that has made them who they are, the story is what has created the person who you see in front of you.

One thing I have learned through my career is that everyone has a story. Though some stories may look the same, they are all very different, the differences make us all unique, the stories create inspiration for others. Hawaii has a large homeless population. Each of my homeless clients has a very unique story. To look at an individual homeless person, it is easy to pass judgment. To assume they have caused their own situation. However, they also have a  story of survival, a story of hope, of story of love, a story with an ending that is yet to be written.

Recently I saw a man living in a box. I wondered what is story was. I also thought that no matter what life I lead today, it is also very possible that I could end up living in a box. Life is not to be taken for granted. To many of the homeless in Hawaii, Hawaii is not paradise. Hawaii is a living hell. Some feel stuck, some feel empty, some feel that everyday is the same, no movement. The ocean waves become torture, the daily sunshine enhances one’s own personal misery. Depending on the way you view their story, it could be one of sadness, or a story that inspires change in your own life.

Since everyone has a story that is unique, start by taking the the time to stop and pay attention. To listen or to watch, to allow ourselves into the world of someone else because they may hold the key for that change that we need for our own lives. In 2012, make it a year where we view the world through the eyes of others. Expanding our lives by allowing an understanding of the story of others.

Tell your own story without fear.  Keep telling it. Your story can create change, can inspire, you can make the difference. For the new year, try something different for others. Allow others to know you, to understand where you come from. Stay positive, decrease assumptions, and live without judgments.  Be open. Inspire.

What’s your story?

 

 

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences.