Tag Archives: Growth

Almost a year ago…before the writing began.

24 Dec

Since tonight is Christmas Eve and tomorrow is Christmas, I thought I’d share a picture I came across today from last Christmas.

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It’s crazy to think how much can happen in a year. This time last year, the idea of starting my memoir of living with Cerebral Palsy hadn’t come into existence quite yet, and in all actuality, that is hard for me to believe. I remember how, on a cold winter day in January, I made the quick and impulsive decision and said, “I’m going to write a book about my life!”

A few days later, after I had spent many hours just writing, writing, writing without even thinking of stopping, I emailed two very important people in my life: my writing mentor and my freshman English professor from my previous college, both of whom have always been incredibly supportive of my writing. Both of them have always been big supporters of me in general, and so I wasn’t surprised to receive positive reactions concerning my decision to write a book about my life. Though I did receive support from both of them, I sensed hesitation, and truthfully, I’m still unsure if that hesitation was just my own lack of self-confidence coming to the surface or whether it was something else entirely. Either way, at those very beginning days of my memoir, when only the first thoughts of it were being formulated in my mind, I never thought I’d reach the point where I could talk about my past with such ease. Granted, there are definitely memories that still cause me to pause simply because I haven’t quite gotten the guts to pull them out of the black box they have been hidden in for so long, but considering where I was this time last year, I’ve come very far.

Truthfully, it’s because of the support I’ve received from my mentors, friends, family and all you lovely fellow bloggers that I have made it to this point concerning my memoir. Though the amount of pages I have written is incredibly, incredibly slim considering a full year has passed since I began, most of my writing took more mental preparations than I anticipated in the beginning. Though I wrote like crazy in the beginning month of beginning my memoir, that “early fire” started to fade when the emotions of what I was doing began to fully set in. Since then, I have continued battling those emotions, and those battles have taken up more time than I anticipated….time that could’ve been spent writing. However, I needed to give attention to those battles…to all of the emotions that were being brought to the surface after essentially burying huge chunks of my life in boxes in the back of my mind. Therefore, though I don’t have very many pages to show for all that I have trudged through over the past year, if anything….I know what I have finally faced…and what I have grown from.

Therefore, I wish to say thank you for every single one of you who have been a part of the supportive hug I’ve been receiving for the past year. To family, friends, mentors, and fellow bloggers…thank you for sticking with me through the really hard writing days, the really good writing days, and all those days in between when I was either talking about my memoir or talking about a certain memory from my past. Though there is still a very, very long way to go, I know from experience that the beginning of a project…or the simple act of even starting it…is the hardest. Though there were many days throughout the last year that I either debating stopping or could no longer remember why I was putting myself through the pain of writing and reliving the hard parts of my life, I kept at it. I kept at it for you, for me, and for all the families and kids dealing with a disability who just need someone to relate to or someone who understands or someone who they can look to and say, “She made it through. So can I.”

As well as my many thanks and lots of love, I’d also like to wish all of you a happy holiday season. 🙂

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Photo Friday: Spring Buds.

30 Mar

I captured this photo last weekend when I was on the Blue Ridge Parkway with friends. It reminded me, as Spring always does, that change is necessary for further growth and progress, even if it’s scary or painful at first. Happy Friday everyone! 🙂

Learning From The Memories.

15 Feb

A few days ago, my parents told me that they’ve put our South Carolina house on the market. Though I’m looking forward to having my parents closer to me, another part of me knows that it may take a while to call our mountain house “home.” Though I’d pick living in Saluda over St. Matthews any day, I grew up in St. Matthews. It was my home for a long time.

No matter how many times I say that I’m happy that I won’t need to go back to St. Matthews once my parents are in Saluda, there are so many memories that St. Matthews holds that no amount of time in another place will be able to replace. Playing t-ball at the baseball field on the end of our street, finding a family through getting involved in theater with the Calhoun Players, riding my various go-karts around the block again and again, driving up and down the street in my Barbie Jeep, learning to drive my first car, the ice storm that lead to my dad and I going to get pizza from the Pantry. All my great birthday parties growing up, getting to be a “flyer” on the cheerleading team when I was really little, catching frogs in the “pond” behind the Piggly Wiggly after a big rain, the Purple Martin Festival, discovering my love of writing, spending the Saturdays of summer at the small county library, making mud pies in the backyard, running through the wildflowers in the back lot, cracking pecans, swinging in the old tire swing in the back lot, my dad rocking me in his mom’s rocking chair on the nights when I couldn’t sleep, sitting out on the screen porch listening to a summer thunderstorm, making brownies in the kitchen with mom and always wanting to lick the bowl. I could go on forever…

It’s times like these, when the memories run through my head like a slide show, that I get nostalgic. It used to amaze me that a certain place could hold so much emotion, but now I understand. There are 16 years of memories there, and they’re not going anywhere. Though I’ll take them with me wherever I go in my life, they belong there….in the small town that I always wanted to get away from and did get away from when I was 16. I don’t doubt that when I visit in the future, the memories will come back once I take that 136 exit off of I-26 to the place that I called home for so long. I’ll drive down my street, and it’ll feel weird….it’ll feel weird that time hasn’t stopped…it’ll feel weird knowing that someone else is living in our house…using my bedroom..playing in my back yard…and making memories in a place that held all the cherished moments of my own childhood.

At the same time, I’ve always had a strong connection with the mountains, and so I understand why my parents would also want to call the mountains home. As a family, we used to always make trips up to Saluda to get away, so I have a feeling it’ll take some time to not imagine taking a “trip” to Saluda. However, I’ve called the mountains (Asheville, in my case) home since August, and it’s been amazing. I’ve loved every second of it, and being among such beautiful landscapes has helped me gain perspective, while also giving me the opportunity of discovering myself some more. It’s a strange feeling….knowing that every day I’m coming closer to fully discovering who I’m supposed to be in this world. It’s exciting and scary, but the only way is forward. So, to all the memories that have taken up a permanent residence in my heart: Thanks for teaching me about life, what it means to love, the importance of friends and family. But most of all, thanks for providing me with courage, insane amounts of love to give to those around me, laughter, and hope. And showing me the importance of branching out, chasing my dreams, and ultimately, following my heart to the true place that it belongs.

Seeing Ireland On The Horizons.

15 Jan

Well, I sent in my application yesterday to study in Galway, Ireland with API from June 20th to July 20th. According to UNC Asheville’s study abroad office, I’ll have no problem getting into the API program in Galway since I meet the GPA requirement. So, YAY! Ah, I am so excited. Actually, so so so so soooooo excited. It’s always been a dream of mine to travel and study in Ireland. To be able to experience Ireland’s beauty for myself…ah, amazing!

With excitement, though, comes the common nerves of traveling to a brand new place with no one that I know. I’m scared, but I think a certain amount of anxiety is good. If I wasn’t a little bit nervous, I’d be even more worried. Honestly, I think once I’m there and settled in, it’ll be great. I’ll get to experience a brand new place and meet people I never would have met if I didn’t have this opportunity. Plus, with the API program, excursions are included, and I’m so happy about that. As well as living and studying in Galway, Ireland for a month, I’ll have the chance to travel to different parts of Ireland in order to fully appreciate the Irish culture. Gosh I’m smiling just thinking about all of it!

I’ve always loved to travel, and since getting older and having the ability to travel on my own, I’ve taken advantage of it. The past 2 spring breaks I’ve flown to Texas to spend time with my aunt and uncle. I’ve taken road trips in order to visit friends that live farther up the East Coast. And I’ve loved every second of it. At the same time, I know that there is so much more that I have yet to see, and I can’t wait to experience it. I feel like traveling is a huge part of the college experience, and life in general really. I feel like it opens our eyes to all that the world has to offer, while also allowing us to “find ourselves” along the way.

I remember going to Peru for 12 days during my senior year in high school with a group of girls from Salem Academy. I was nervous, but it was amazing. I was able to see things I would’ve never seen otherwise, and I began to understand the difficulties that a third world country faces as opposed to what we’re faced with in the US. For instance, it’s hard to say you understand poverty until you see how people live in Peru. Though I knew things would be much different, it’s not something you truly grasp until you go to experience it yourself. So, my trip to Peru was eye-opening, and it helped me learn a lot about myself. After being in Asheville since August and watching myself change since I’ve been here, I can’t wait to travel to Ireland and be able to see how it changes my current outlook on life.