Hurt and the holidays

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This has been a roller coaster of a year. I was crying in my house as the ball dropped and the new 2014 year started. The stress and difficulty of the holidays just being too much for me.

Since then, I have been happy, I’ve been sad, I have been picked up and dumped, I’ve been disappointed by people, I’ve made changes, I turned 30, I went to Italy, I found new and amazing family, I evaluated 30 years of life, I acknowledged emotional issues I never thought I would admit, I thought about going back to Italy, I enjoyed many vacations, I stood behind my new sister for her wedding, I watched my big brother marry the love of his life, I watched my younger brother propose to his, I admired two men who have grown and become examples of good men, I got into photography, I got a puppy, I loved my puppy, I lost my puppy, I gave up a home, I found my heart, I had my heart broken, I started mentoring again, I have been separated from friends, I lost hope, I found hope again, I reconnected with people, I let people go, I read my blog to smile, I began the pursuit of happiness… and I realized I am good enough.

Rejection is a powerful thing. I blame rejection for having the need to realize I am good enough. So technically, I have learned the lesson that was for me in that rejection. I am not saying, by any means, that it happens just with the snap of a finger, and surely there will still be difficult times. I am just saying that I think I’ve figured it out.

Most people do not realize the power they hold, just in their simple and common ability to reject another person. When rejection comes from a person you love, a person you don’t expect to hurt you or a person who never should, it can change your life. It can make you bitter…. Or it can make you strong.

I believe there is a reason for everything but that does not change how hard it can be when you are going through it. There is a lesson in every rejection and in a lot of cases, later on down the road, you find the reason that it happened. It is sometimes so hard to hold onto hope that one day you will understand or accept it, but it is necessary.

I understand. I know how it feels to be rejected by one of the people who should never want to, or have the ability or willingness to reject me. My siblings feel it too, all three of them. I know how it feels to be rejected by others too, but it doesn’t compare. I am here to tell you though that it gets better. People will love you enough, if you let them, to get through it. People are also willing to help, if you are willing to ask for it. Sometimes it is a grieving process, and even if that person is still living… You have to grieve the loss. I know, trust me, I know it is not a pretty process but it is life. It will make you strong in the end. It will make you value meaningful relationships and it will make you eliminate fake ones. It will make you appreciate the time you have with loved ones and appreciate having them to prioritize.

The reality is that the holiday time creates more awareness, loneliness and depression for some. For others, it is a happy time and you get so caught up that you can’t realize that someone in your own house is struggling. The battle to smile through while thinking you are not good enough or you don’t have enough is real. You don’t want to take away from the holiday for family and friends so you stay quiet, even isolate yourself in some cases. You don’t tell anyone and you put on a brave face to get through it. You are not alone.

This is what I have learned this year though: no one person or how they treat you can define you or your worth. You may think it can if you let it, but in reality it can’t. Be you. Live the way you want to. Don’t be apologetic for who you are and don’t let anyone change you. You are bigger than the person or situation that is holding you down. If you feel rejected, hang in there…. It will get better.

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A night on Ellis Island. Photo blog.

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The ride to the island:
This view made me smile as we were boarding the boat. Rocking back and forth, I thought the rough ride may scare me but I never noticed once I saw my surroundings.

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Look around:
The view of the new tower from the water makes us proud to be American!
The Statue of Liberty is breathtaking as she towers over the boat as we pass.

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Dinner in the Great Room:
I was able to find out, from my family in Italy, that my great grandfather came through here! I also found him in the online directory. I was disappointed that there wasn’t a book you could page through like in the movie Hitch! I really though that if Will Smith does it, it has to be real! I was wrong, it is an online directory, but it was still amazing!

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Do some exploring:
I asked for permission and went upstairs and walked through any open door. I was in awe seeing the old objects, the writing on the wall and the view of the great room from above. Thinking about how many people came here to start a life in America amazed me! I don’t think I thought about it enough until I was there.

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Taking it all in:
The view of NYC from Ellis Island.
The entrance on the island.

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A new view:
She looks different, and amazingly beautiful with the contrast of the black night sky behind her!

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Ending the night:
In awe of the Freedom Tower. It is larger than life and a strong and sentimental reminder of the buildings that stood before it.

I recommend Ellis Island, whether you have family history with it or not. To stand in the place and know that you are standing in a place with that kind of history is amazing.

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Care, teach…. MENTOR!

I needed a Mentor.

I remember it clearly. When I would get to those really important forks in the road of life, I had to make decisions. I didn’t realize it then, but I realize it now. I needed a Mentor…not because I made the wrong decisions (although sometimes I did) but because before, during and after big decisions you need support and encouragement…. everyone does.

I think about the time in my life when I was an impressionable teenager, under the impression that independence was easy and I knew everything. I think about that time often. I had gotten wrapped up in some rough situations and had to keep my head on straight. I realized that every influence was important, including the negative ones. I still do. However, since then I’ve learned that if you are surrounded by negative influences, you can and should change it. That was an empowering lesson and made me a lot stronger. See, life wasn’t always very nice to me but one thing I’ve always had was fact that I wouldn’t give up. I wouldn’t give up on myself and now I won’t give up on others.

Think about what a difference we could make on our society if everyone we knew mentored one person, and then they mentored one, and perhaps that even continued. The influence would be amazing and perhaps we could change the current culture that most people are complaining about. Young people especially need someone to believe in them, someone to point them in the right direction and someone to comfort and encourage them when they make a mistake.

Mentoring is so rewarding. I try to have two professional mentoring projects and two personal mentoring projects at a time. My Assistant worries about the required time but it is not a job, it’s an honor, so I won’t stop. I love the people I mentor, it isn’t just factual. You build relationships, see things through and you work hard with them and for them. My newest Professional is amazing and inspiring and I sometimes wonder how I can help her. We bring accountability and motivation to each other and I find that we are both better for it. Personally, I have just accumulated “little sisters.” I went through a phase where I would talk to anyone who would listen. Teenage girls have it rough and if they were open, I would give a “Laura lecture” as they would call it. I was surprised at how many tough, stubborn, teenage girls would listen and even ask for more.

As new generations come up, they are becoming less connected and less focused. This is a new day of distraction and temptation but some only need to hear that they have options. Integrity is important. Listening to your heart, face time (in person face time, not on an iPhone) and true relationships cannot be replaced. Keeping your word, letting actions speak louder than them and really being intentional about being positive will help, even when it doesn’t seem cool. These things seem simple to some of us and that is great but we’re only helping ourselves if we don’t share it.

I have never been able to commit to a formal program because of the demands of my Career but that doesn’t have to stop any of us. You can do it yourself, just like I can and you can make a difference in someone’s life.

I treasure every single person I’ve ever mentored and I can only hope that they have learned as much from me as I have from them.

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How To Ruin Your Life (Without Even Noticing That You Are)

Love this!

Thought Catalog

Erin KellyErin Kelly

Understand that life is not a straight line. Life is not a set timeline of milestones. It is okay if you don’t finish school, get married, find a job that supports you, have a family, make money, and live comfortably all by this age, or that age. It’s okay if you do, as long as you understand that if you’re not married by 25, or a Vice President by 30 — or even happy, for that matter — the world isn’t going to condemn you. You are allowed to backtrack. You are allowed to figure out what inspires you. You are allowed time, and I think we often forget that. We choose a program right out of high school because the proper thing to do is to go straight to University. We choose a job right out of University, even if we didn’t love our program, because we just…

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9/11 and NYC – a photo blog

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The pursuit of happiness continued in NYC this week. This is a photo blog because there are no words….

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We were consumed with the museum. The audio, video, pictures and exhibits were breathtaking. The emotion in the museum was incredible but they made it educational and honestly, it felt more like a tribute to the lives of the lost rather than an incredibly sad experience. I was not sure how I would handle it from an emotional standpoint but I have been wanting to go for a long time. Every room gave me goosebumps and we completely lost track of time. We spent hours in there, and I would do it again….

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The pursuit of happiness… A photo blog…

I believe that sometimes you have to place yourself in a happy environment to find yourself in a happy place.

Now that it’s fall, it is easy for me to find happy places because it is my favorite season.

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The flowers are still pretty and it’s not too cold.

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The colors of the leaves are just beautiful.

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Sitting outside is just perfect!

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You’re not alone because the birds are still out.

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A nice walk is fun.

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Sunsets are gorgeous.

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Everything is decorated for fall.

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You can find so may new things to do!

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It’s a good time to relax and reflect.

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The scenery never gets old…

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And the sunrises aren’t too shabby either.

Fall is the perfect season to be in pursuit of happiness.

-L
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Clean Slate

I woke up this morning and didn’t even know where I was.  I looked around at the white walls and thought, did it finally happen?  Am I institutionalized?  I wouldn’t have been surprised but I was far from it.  I was sleeping in the guest room at my brother’s house.  I will be bringing them some wall art to prevent future confusion but it was an interesting exercise for my brain.  My recent emotional state has allowed for new and deeper thoughts and this morning, that white wall seemed to be a clean slate.  I thought about it over and over again.

The reason I am sleeping at my brother’s is because I do not want to be alone and I have finally allowed myself to admit it.  My brother and his fiance have been completely understanding and supportive and have taken me in like I belong there.  I don’t belong there though, in my mind I keep wondering how much of an inconvenience it is to them or, even worse, an annoyance.

People who are important know how to make you belong. Last night, I cooked dinner, we looked at pictures, we went out for ice cream and I never felt like a burden. It was exactly what I needed and I felt like that is exactly where I belonged at the time. Interesting how that happens when you give up on the thoughts and beliefs you have always held. The alternative was sitting alone in my empty house dreading each minute to come and the thoughts that haunt my brain when I am in that place. That is exactly where I would have been at a different time.

Today, I find myself thinking of that clean slate, thinking about how that small adjustment in my willingness to admit a need helped me. Now, I’m thinking of what else I can do.

I know, I can find productive things to fill my time that I now find empty. It’s fall in Pennsylvania! It’s my favorite season and it’s beautiful out. Time to find new happy places!

Here are some things to do, and places I found to visit:

     Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway http://www.lgsry.com

     Pennsylvania Grand Canyon www.pacanyon.com

     Valley Forge National Park (my fav) http://www.valleyforge.org

     Horseback riding http://www.haycockstables.com/

I may have some new picture blogs this weekend! =)

-L
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