Tag Archives: Mountains

Where lifeintheblueridges has been, and what’s next!

6 May

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written a blog post, and that’s mostly because I have been focusing solely on my final year of college. As of last Thursday, I completed my last final exam of my undergraduate career. I’ll be graduating in just 4 days with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. I truly can’t wait to have that diploma in my hand and have my family and friends around me to celebrate!

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.-Henry David Thoreau

What’s next in my life: Graduate school! Starting in August, I will attend UNC Charlotte’s MSW (Master’s of Social Work) program, and I truly can’t wait! One of my dreams of helping others is finally going to be coming true, and I am so ready for the journey ahead. Though it will be sad to close the UNC Asheville chapter of my life, I am anxious to start the next phase of my life in a new city which holds new opportunities and the chance to bring more wonderful people into my life. What could be more wonderful than that, you ask? Well…finally getting to focus solely on what I love and long to do for the rest of my life: helping others (hopefully the special needs population).

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

Where lifeintheblueridges has been: Since its creation in November 2011, this blog has been an incredible gift to me in so many ways. Within the first few months of starting my blog, I connected with many people like me, aspiring writers. More than that, though, I was welcomed with open arms into a community I never knew I needed. Because of constant support and encouragement from those who knew me not personally, but simply through my writing, I finally reached a point in which I was able to start something I never thought I’d be able to do: the sharing of my story of living with Cerebral Palsy. In January of 2012, I began receiving positive feedback from fellow bloggers and connecting with others who either have Cerebral Palsy or another disability or know someone who does. Because of all the positive feedback, in January of 2012, I started writing my memoir of living with Cerebral Palsy. If it hadn’t been for the encouragement from the blogging community and other friends, I don’t know if I would have ever had the courage to open up about my experiences of living with CP. Since opening up, however, I have connected with so many people who’ve told me to keep on sharing. More recently, I’ve also been giving talks to elementary and middle schools in Buncombe County regarding my experiences of living with CP, and more specifically, the bullying experiences I had as a child as a result of my Cerebral Palsy. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities I’ve received to talk with so many kids about disabilities and bullying, especially because they have allowed the kids to learn more about what it’s like to live with a physical disability and it’s given them the opportunity to ask any questions they want about me and my disability (which I fully support since I know there are so many kids who are curious). Overall, through this blog, I have gained the courage to open up about my experiences and have developed the desire to share my story with others. However, I’ve also gained encouragers, supporters, fellow writers, beta readers fellow CPers, special needs parents…or more precisely, a community of people that is cheering me on currently and will continue to do so even after my memoir is eventually published (or that’s what I hope, anyway).

Where lifeintheblueridges is going: Beginning this July, I will no longer live in Asheville…no longer will I be nestled among these mountains I love. Therefore, the beloved lifeintheblueridges will be ending after this post. In the coming months, I’ll no longer be a college girl in Asheville. I’ll be even more than that…a graduate student in Charlotte! Therefore, though this blog has provided me with more than I ever thought possible…I’ll be creating a new blog, especially because I am about to close one door and open another. I am incredibly excited to begin a new blog journey, a blog that will solely focus on writing about my experiences of living with CP. Since this blog helped me to open up about my experiences, there’s NO WAY I’m going to stop sharing my story and writing my memoir. I hope to be sharing my story and the writing process of my memoir even more on my new blog!

*As of right now, I am not sure when my new blog will be up and running, but I will make one more post on here once the new blog is live so that everyone can continue following me and my story.*

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Finding Determination Through Fear.

19 Oct

A few days ago I was talking with a friend of mine, and he asked me to explain my absolute worst fear in life. Though some classic answers popped into my head, like ending up alone and losing the people I love, I knew my absolute worst fear. I tried to say it, but couldn’t. I felt like I was about to cry. However, after a period of silence stretched over us like a blanket, I finally spoke.

“I’m afraid of the day when I’ll no longer be able to walk.”

I spent my entire childhood learning to walk so I could be as independent as possible, despite my Cerebral Palsy. Before my intense operations, I learned to walk in my own way, my knees knocking together as I put one foot in front of the other. During the years I spent on a t-ball team, I loved the feeling of running to first base. Even though I typically got out before making it to first base, I ran with all my heart just like everyone else on my team. I ran in my own way, but it never stopped me from trying.

After my first operation at the age of 10, I had to completely relearn to walk after having my femurs straightened out and kept in place with rods. One year later, when I got the hardware removed that was placed during my first operation, I had to relearn to walk yet again. See, not walking was never even an option for me. I wanted to be like the other kids my age, and to do that, I had to be able to walk. I had to be as normal as I possibly could. Even when I was faced with physical pain that made me want to curl into myself and give up all together, I kept going. Every day, I literally walked towards my own independence, one step at a time.

Because I spent so much of my life struggling, and ultimately succeeding, to walk, the thought of reaching the day when I’ll no longer be able to walk is completely terrifying. In so many ways, when I reach that day, it will feel like a kind of giving up. Though I plan to walk for as many more years as I can, I am scared of the day when the pain will just be too much, when walking will be putting too much strain on my body. It’s especially frightening because I know how much physical pain I’m in on a daily basis currently. The realization that I am in so much physical pain and I’m only 21 is terrifying. Trying to imagine my level of pain when I reach age 30 is nearly impossible.

That is one great thing about fear though. It has the ability to help us find the determination and strength we didn’t know we had. Yes, my worst fear is seeing the day when I will no longer be able to walk. However, I’m not there yet. I am a long way off from that day. Today, I am able to walk and do the things I love, despite being in pain. Today, I am able to push through the pain, because the result…the view at the top of the mountain…is worth it. The happiness, joy, and pure bliss of the destination weighs so much more than the pain of the journey.

The fear lingers in the back of my mind, the fear of knowing one day I won’t be able to get to the top of Max Patch, my absolute favorite place in the world. However, the fear also gives me the strength and determination I need to continue doing what I love. Yes, one day I may not be able to walk because of the amount of pain I am in. But I’m not there yet. I’ve still got plenty of fight within me.

At the top of Max Patch (October 2013)

At the top of Max Patch (October 2013)

Back in the land of the Hokies.

8 Nov

I’m up in Blacksburg, Virginia spending a long weekend with my best friend. However, though that is exciting in itself, I’ll also be going to a Virginia Tech football game tonight! Though I went to a game last year, this will be my first night game, and I’ve heard that Thursday night in Lane Stadium is CRAZY. Even though the Hokies have had a rough season, just having the chance to go to a game is really fun. Plus, the fact that my best friend will be dressed up as Super Hokie, Virginia Tech’s first superhero, is just going to make the whole experience even better.

I consider Blacksburg to be my second home away from home. Since I have been coming up here for the past 3 years to visit my best friend at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg has become a place that I’m always excited to get back to. Even though it’s different from Asheville and different from Winston-Salem (which is where my best friend and I met), there is always one aspect of nature that I have always been able to connect with: mountains. Though the mountains in Blacksburg aren’t the exact same mountains I see in Asheville, I still view them as a piece of home.

My heart is in Texas.

3 Nov

I haven’t been to Texas in a few years. However, over the past two weeks, I’ve been missing it more and more. Through loving Texas and North Carolina (which are two very, very different states), I’ve learned that it’s possible to feel like you belong in more places than just one. Yes, I absolutely love North Carolina. The mountains have allowed me to find a true happiness within myself that I didn’t know existed until recently. However, there is something about Texas that acts almost like a force of gravity. I don’t know if it’s the big Texas sky (which seems simple, but is one of the most incredible kinds of natural beauty I’ve found), the connection to my country roots, the amazing Texas bbq (which is so much better than southern bbq, at least in my opinion), the wildflowers in the spring, the amazing music scene or the huge sense of pride than those living in Texas seem to have for their home state. Either way, I absolutely love it, and every time that I’ve visited, it’s been harder and harder to leave.

 

 

 

An I’ll grab the wheel and point it west
Pack the good and leave the rest
I’ll drive until I find the missing piece
You said I wouldn’t get too far on a tank of gas
And an empty heart
But I have everything I’ll ever need
I got this old guitar and a brand new set of strings-Miranda Lambert

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.

Photo Friday: Bursts of change.

19 Oct

I just love fall in the mountains!

The autumn leaves blew over the moonlit pavement in such a way as to make the girl who was moving there seem fixed to a sliding walk, letting the motion of the wind and the leaves carry her forward.-Ray Bradbury

Natural beauty in a fractured world.

18 Oct

Driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Sometimes it takes my breath away that I live in such an incredible place. However, more than that, it seems surprising that I’ve only lived here a year. When you consider how attached I’ve become to all the natural beauty that’s around me as well as the wonderfully accepting people who live in Asheville, you’d probably assume that I’ve been living here for years. Truthfully, that’s how it seems sometimes.

I’ve had very few times in my life that I could honestly say that I have completely loved the way my life seemed to be spanning out before me. However, I would definitely consider now to be one of those times. No, things aren’t perfect. Today just felt close to perfect. For instance, I got to campus 30 minutes earlier than I normally do on Thursdays just so that I could take pictures of the fall leaves that are finally fully bursting with reds and oranges, I went to my favorite used bookstore to buy Life of Pi (which I started on Tuesday while I was at work but wasn’t able to finish obviously), and then I just spent some “me time” driving around town looking at all the incredible natural beauty that I’m fortunate enough to see on a daily basis. So yes, today was pretty perfect.

I’ve always loved natural beauty. Since I grew up making frequent trips to the mountains and went camping and hiking with my family starting at a very young age, I guess you could say that it was pretty obvious that I’d become a mountain/nature girl. However, despite having all that exposure when I was young, I love it for all my own reasons (even though all the hiking and camping definitely helped). I love it because it shows that even through adversity, there can still be beauty. Yes, that’s cliché, but it’s cliché for a reason. I think nature in itself has always reminded me that there is something to smile about in every situation. Though it may be something small, like a red leaf that has landed on the asphalt in front of you, it’s reason enough to stop, take pause and breath in the beauty that surrounds such a fractured world. Even as I write this, it seems sad to think of our world as fractured. However, when you consider all of the bad things that happen in the world for unknown reasons, I think it’s an accurate description. Despite its fractured nature, there is something to love about the persistence of natural beauty. No matter what, autumn always comes. Even if things seem like they are falling apart around us, we can count on the seasons. We can count on looking out before us and being overcome with love for the mountains we call home.