Archive | October, 2012

Happy (almost) first birthday, lifeintheblueridges!

31 Oct

Even though today isn’t the “official” one-year birthday of lifeintheblueridges, I will be starting NaNoWriMo tomorrow. Therefore, my post tomorrow will be my writing piece for day one of NaNoWriMo rather than a “Yay lifeintheblueridges is one year old today” post. However, I knew that I couldn’t go full tilt into my first NaNoWriMo experience without celebrating the one-year birthday of this blog.

As well as November 1st being the one-year birthday this blog (in which I have written one blog post every day for an entire year), it is also the celebration of the beginning of my journey to find myself. Yes, that may sound cliché, but it’s true. Since I started my blog, I have become a completely different person. When I first began, I had no idea that my words would act as a gateway into what I strive to do in life: advocate for people with disabilities. I first began acting as an advocate in January of this year when I made the decision to share my own story of living with Cerebral Palsy. Though it was a very spur of the moment decision that was made one evening as I sat in bed thinking back on my life in and out of hospitals and how hard it was not having someone who understood my pain and fear, I knew that it was a decision that would stick. I could feel it.

I am proud to say that 10 months later, the decision has remained strong. More than anything, it has grown. Though I know that part of the growth has to do with the inner strength that I have rediscovered within myself, I also know that it has a lot to do with the support and encouragement that I have received from the blogging community. Before beginning my blog a year ago, I never knew that the blogging community was as close to a home with a strong sense of belonging that I’d ever hope to find. Even though I am sure that there will be other places along the way that will allow me to feel a similar sense of belonging, I know it started here. I have no doubt that as I continue to share my story, I will continue to become more confident in myself. However, I also will be sure to not forget those who helped me first begin to recognize my true self: my parents, my friends, my mentors, and all of you lovely blog followers.

It’s always so crazy to think of how much can happen in a year. When I began this blog one year ago, I didn’t know that this is where it would lead. I didn’t know that I would reach a point where it didn’t scare the hell out of me to talk about my life with Cerebral Palsy. I didn’t know I’d be able to talk about certain memories without crying because I could remember the pain so vividly. Honestly, I didn’t think I’d be able to revisit any of the painful memories at all. For so long, they were stored away. I kept them in the dark recesses of my mind, and I never even considered the possibility of bringing them out into the light. The simple thought of reliving the moments in my life that were filled with so much pain and fear was unimaginable. However, I think all of that began to change when I realized that I had the power to help other kids with disabilities feel less alone by sharing my own story. Truthfully, all of it changed because of Grace.

Grace. The twelve-year-old girl who I know who has Cerebral Palsy. The girl who is facing what I’ve faced, and yet always seems to have the biggest smile on her face. The girl who looks up to me as if I have hung the moon and the stars. And yet, she’s also the girl who has the ability to break my heart since, at the time, I knew I’d never be able to save her from the pain. There was nothing I could do that would result in Grace not having to feel the emotional and physical pain that I have had to face my entire life. However, eventually, I thought of a way I could help Grace. Though it may not be in the way that I wished, I know that I can help Grace (and many others like her) by sharing my own story and bringing to light the pain, fear, loneliness and rejection that I have faced throughout my life. Grace. The girl who I feel like I can completely relate to since we know each other’s pain. The girl who often sends me spiraling back into painful memories that have been long gone and over for many years by simply being present in my life. And yet, I long to help her see that she is not alone, that she is strong, and that she is loved. I long to help her see that she is one of the reasons why I’m writing my memoir. Maybe even the sole reason.

Tuesday’s Tunes: Kacey Musgraves.

30 Oct

This is the last Tuesday’s Tunes before NaNoWriMo begins on Thursday, so I thought I’d share a recent song that I heard on the radio that’s been stuck in my head recently. Enjoy! 🙂

How to prepare for a potential snow day (according to a college student).

29 Oct

There is a possibility of a decent amount of snow to hit Asheville tonight and into tomorrow, which means that my trip to the grocery store lasted 40 minutes when it should have just lasted 5. When there is even a slight mention of snow, people race to the nearest grocery store and stock up on food as if they are planning to be snowed it for a week. Though I find this funny, I feel the same inclination to get my butt to the store, even being the college student that I am.

How to prepare for a potential snow day (according to a college student):

  • Go buy cookie dough. It’s a necessity.
  • Make sure you have soup and/or ramen. Staying warm is important, obviously.
  • Make sure you have plenty of movies. Actually, why not just stop at RedBox when you’re on your way to the store. You can never have too many movies. Yes, there may be tons of movies in your closet, but you’ve seen each of those at least 20 times, right?
  • Have books at hand (if you’re a reader). No, you won’t be reading that Community Psychology chapter that’s not going to be covered for a week. You’re going to want FICTION, and lots of it!
  • Make sure you have cookie sheets at the ready. If there’s enough snow, you’re going to want to go enjoy those hills. Having to search for cookie sheets to slide down the hills on will just slow you down in the morning.
  • Make sure you have hot chocolate. There’s a potential for snow. Why not give yourself a warm treat?
  • Pull out the cute winter clothes that are still in the back of your closet. Even if the snow doesn’t accumulate, wearing those cute hats and gloves to go outside into the cold will make you smile.
  • Most importantly, be excited. Even if there isn’t a “snow day,” you can at least cross your fingers for a delay. You weren’t planning to go to that early morning class anyway, right?

Happy snow preparations, everyone! I’ve already got my sugar cookie dough ready to eat! There’s no shame in enjoying it early, right?

Sunday’s song: goodbye in her eyes.

28 Oct

I’ll be spending the day today working on a research paper for my Community Psychology class, and when a huge research paper is present, that calls for good music, some breaks for food and coffee and a few sayings that will keep me motivated to keep plugging along.

Our greatest glory consists not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall.-Oliver Goldsmith

It’s incredibly cold in Asheville today, which makes it easier for me to stay inside and work since warmth is wonderful. However, that being said, I enjoyed my nice brisk walk a few hours ago. I don’t know what’s so perfect about cold weather here in the Blue Ridge Mountains, but I absolutely love it. Maybe because it reminds me of coffee, hot chocolate, fall weather, and feeling genuinely happy with where I live. However, no matter what season it is, I am normally able to come up with numerous reasons why I love living in Asheville. When you reach that point, in which you can’t even find anything to complain about regarding the place you live, I feel like you’ve found where you belong. I know that I have.

Despite wishing I could take a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway today to fully enjoy the scenery I love, I know that I need to write, write, write, write (my research paper, that is). It’ll be such an amazing feeling once I’m able to turn it in a few weeks from now so that I can have it behind me. For now though, I’ve got to keep on pushing through, and what better way to get some motivation than by listening to the Zac Brown Band.

My first shot at NaNoWriMo.

27 Oct

I’ve decided to participate in NaNoWriMo this November, which is National Novel Writing Month in which amateur and seasoned writers alike aim to write a 50,000-word novel in one month. Even though I’ve never participated in NaNoWriMo, I’ve heard about how fun it can be.

My decision to participate in NaNoWriMo arose when I went to a NaNoWriMo planning party last week in Asheville. The wonderful thing about NaNoWriMo is since it’s a big deal, there are normally groups of writers participating in hundreds or thousands of cities in the world. Though I was at first iffy about the idea of writers getting together regarding a project that’s different for every person (since every writer is going to be writing something different), it actually is a wonderful way to gain support within writing and make more writing friends. Though I wasn’t sure whether I was going to participate in NaNoWriMo when I went to the planning party last week, I figured that it couldn’t hurt either way since I’ve been wanting to make more writer friends.

The writers in the Asheville NaNoWriMo group are mostly women, which is fine by me. I actually expected that. Either way, it’ll be fun to see how we grow as writers and as friends. Thankfully, I went to the NaNoWriMo group with a friend of mine that I work with at the campus bookstore, which made the whole experience much better since there was a friendly face there with me. Anyway, even though we aren’t able to start actually writing until the first of November, this first get together acted as a way to start planning, plotting, thinking of characters, and outlining. Though I was supportive of that idea, I was still incredibly unsure of what I was going to write. Though I wrote a lot of fiction when I was younger, I’ve been in the memoir-writing phase since January. I’ve gotten used to the style and how my writing days normally go. Therefore, I didn’t know whether I’d be able to switch genres at the drop of a hat.

However, after talking out my ideas with my NaNoWriMo group, I realized that there’s nothing against continuing my memoir during the month of November. Truthfully, that made me ecstatic simply because I feel like this is the kick in the pants that I’ve needed. The simple fact that for the entire month I’ll be concerned with word count and simply getting everything out is what first drafts are all about anyway. Getting it all out first and then cleaning it up later. There’s a reason why they are called “shitty first drafts.” So even though I couldn’t start writing during our NaNoWriMo meeting last week, I started to write down all the memories and moments within my childhood that I haven’t yet included in my memoir, and trust me, there are a lot. I have 3 to 4 pages dedicated to simple memories. I truthfully can’t wait to get started on the 1st of November. It’s going to be even better to have constant support while also knowing that fellow writers will just be writing their hearts out as well.

Even though I’m set on participating in NaNoWriMo to move forward on my memoir, I was a bit unsure about how I would keep up with my memoir as well as this blog. As of the first of November, I will have blogged every day for an entire year, and this blog is definitely not something that I’d want to fall by the wayside. Therefore, I’ve decided to incorporate my writing for NaNoWriMo into this blog, which means that for the entire month of November, you will all be getting to read everything that I’m writing as I partake on my very first NaNoWriMo journey. I’m incredibly excited for this next phase in my writing life, and I can’t wait to share it with all of you!

So, now the big question: How many of you are participating in NaNoWriMo this year? Are any of you newbies this year? Do you have a regional NaNoWriMo group that you’re meeting with, or are you just going solo? I’d love to hear your thoughts, especially since this is the first year I’ve decided to participate in NaNoWriMo.

Photo Friday: A best friend reunion in autumn.

26 Oct

 

 

I’ve included two photos for today’s Photo Friday because I absolutely love fall (It really is the perfect season), and my best friend, Skidmore, is coming down from Virginia today to spend the weekend with me. We’re planning to go shopping (yay retail therapy), watch movies (which will be chick flicks galore, obviously), jam out to Taylor Swift’s new album (since she’s our favorite singer. Yes, guilty as charged) and just do our typical best friend things. I can’t wait, especially since I haven’t seen Skidmore since the beginning of August. This best friend reunion will be much needed after the stressful week that I’ve had. And having Skidmore here during my favorite season is as close to perfection as things could ever get. 🙂

For anyone needing a pick-me-up.

25 Oct

Though it’s Thursday, which is only one day closer to Friday (and the weekend), the light at the end of the tunnel that signals the end of this incredibly hectic week seems very dim. At this point, I am up to my eyeballs in notecards that cover Developmental Psychology, Community Psychology, and Human Biology. Whoever thought it was a good idea to give me 3 exams that are back-to-back on a Friday is a complete nut job.

However, as I was taking a quick break from trying to memorize buckets and buckets of information last night, I was reminded of a short, but effective motivational video that I saw about a year ago. It’s called “Jessica’s Daily Affirmations,” in which a little girl named Jessica is standing up on her bathroom counter and looking at herself in the mirror as she proceeds to state everything she loves about her life. Even though it seems a bit silly, it is a video that never ceases to put a smile on my face and inspire me to get my work done.

Even though I may never have as much guts as Jessica (as well as not being a cute little girl who can easily get away with standing on her bathroom counter shouting positive things at herself), I have always been a lover of quotes. I don’t know what it is about reading others words regarding the difficulties of life, but it seems to help. So, even though you won’t catch me shouting positive phrases into the bathroom mirror every morning, don’t be surprised if you see some of the following quotes written on post-it notes that have started to accumulate on my bathroom mirror and other places that strike my fancy.

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is more people who have come alive. -Howard Thurman

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. -Helen Keller

We must let go of the life we had planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us. -Joseph Campbell

Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. -Elizabeth Gilbert

Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swaps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it’s yours. -Ayn Rand

I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass. -Maya Angelou