Persistence

per·sis·tence \pər-ˈsis-tən(t)s, –ˈzis-\

: the quality that allows someone to continue doing something or trying to do something even though it is difficult or opposed by other people

: the state of occurring or existing beyond the usual, expected, or normal time
(Websters)

This – “do something even though it is difficult or opposed by other people”.
How is it possible to only do things that are easy and accepted by others?

In one form or another, we are all persisting throughout our days. Whether our days are filled with answering phones, folding merchandise, answering to a higher authority, educating children or painting someone else’s home – we all face challenges and want to give up at some point.

At times I feel as though my life is wonderfully composed, but those moments are fleeting. My health, ability to be a wonderful wife, preserving my friendships, and attempting to maintain a healthy attitude around a two-year old wear me out. It doesn’t sound like much, but those are the areas in my life I am constantly persisting through.

I am not a robot, but I do my best to keep my challenges to myself. Why? I’m scared that if people really had the chance to see me worry and fight through as much as I do on a daily basis they will see me as a weak link, unable to handle anything more. But that’s not me. At all.
I may fight my way through my days, but at the end of each day I am a conqueror.
I am standing ready for more.
I am filled with persistence.

Why I Celebrate

Today a large majority of people dress in green, wish one another “Happy Saint Patrick’s Day”, and participate in many forms of merriment. All in all, it’s a fun holiday. But March 17th is a day I celebrate for an entirely different reason.

I’m pretty open about this topic, but I realize some of you have no idea what today means for me.

This year makes it ten years. That’s a full decade everybody!
At the lovely age of 17 I was desperate for answers. Desperate for direction. Desperate for meaning. Desperate to understand what my place in the world was. As a typical teenager, I was lacking answers. As a result, I felt entirely lost, confused, and as though I didn’t have a reason to live. March 10, 2005 my parents sat down and approached me with something I had written just a few days prior on an online journal I didn’t think they knew about. It gave them reason to think I was going to end my own life. What I had written alluding to my suicide was true, I had been feeling suicidal for some time and was ready to do it. For months I hid the fact I was depressed and it became so intense I didn’t want to continue to live. My parents were concerned enough for my safety that they (against my will) admitted me to a hospitals psychiatric ward for clinical depression. I spent one week in the hospital talking with so many doctors and students in the medical field it was disgusting and annoying. After a few days though, I began to see the light. I started to understand that my life had only just begun. When I was released on March 17, I knew that every year I would reflect on what happened. For the last ten years I have not only reflected but I’ve also celebrated.
I celebrate being alive. I celebrate the good and bad times each year brings. I celebrate the fact that I am here, and as a result I make an impact on others’ lives. I celebrate the experiences I’ve had. I celebrate my life. I celebrate.

If you would have told me then that in ten years time I would have been to Europe almost ten times, driven cross-country twice, impacted thousands of lives, found my true desire of working with children and become a nanny, gone to school for early childhood education, become engaged twice and married once, let alone experience any of the other things I have… I wouldn’t have believed you.
But here I am.
Alive.

Depression and suicide are both very serious issues. If you struggle with depression, don’t think it will go away on its own or it will get better with time. Take action, talk with people, share with those closest to you what you’re thinking. There are people who love you.

Against the grain (Update!)

This post is over 8 months in the making. Rather difficult to believe it’s been that long but nonetheless, time certainly does fly!

Mid-June there was a desperate need of a move from the city into the suburbs. Rather than keeping the window treatments closed for fear of who was outside, the curtains are open to trees. Taking Ava (the dog) for a walk means fresh air and no concerns about the convicted sex offender who lives a few doors down. Night no longer brings bangs, swearing, and fights outside the window but now there is the noise of crickets. Such peace and contentedness now!

More important than a move… I am so thrilled to be able to share that my dear barista, Bruno (first mentioned here), and I have joined one another for life. We were engaged June 28, 2014 after a whirlwind day and our proposal took place via a PA system on a plane mid-flight! Yes, the proposal was caught on camera. While it had been our hope to be married in 2014, we hadn’t set any plans in stone prior to the engagement as we understood that sometimes things don’t happen when you want them to. Alas, between the two of us and our experience in planning events, exactly three months from the date of our engagement we married. I’ll share more about the rush in another post, but for now just revel in the fact we put together a wedding in such a short period of time!

For the first time in two and a half years, a semester began this January that I was not considered a full-time student. In addition to putting together a wedding in three months, the Fall semester of 2014 I managed another perfect semester wrapping up all but one class to earn my associates degree in early childhood care and education. My final class, practicum, will be completed this summer.

Such a relief to have free time and cognitive function, I found that only working as a nanny was a bit boring. Picking up a part-time job only made sense, especially when Bruno started taking classes. (Haha, yes… The first semester of our relationship I am not in classes, he starts.) With no problem I found a flexible position to teach some classes at a children’s gym while Bruno studies.

For two years now I’ve dealt with having Celiac disease and therefore have been pushed to lead a healthier life. While it could have been a challenge for me to face alone, Bruno has stood by and supported me by following a gluten-free diet as well. This is most advantageous for me because I do not have to cook any meals that contain something I’m seriously allergic to. Constantly discovering new recipes is a joy. I love that I have my own kitchen to cook any combination the comes to me. I rarely make the same meal twice because I never follow a recipe completely. Throwing in my own twist is a necessity. It is for this reason that I probably am so terrible at baking!

The life I have walked for the last few years has in no way been an easy one. There have been personal, professional, emotional, and spiritual challenges. Through it all I have pushed on and persevered. I know that I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for those closest to me, my family and friends (those near and far).

Oh life…

“It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up”

In my life recently there has been interest in my free time. When people ask me if I’m getting enough rest or what I enjoy to do in my free time I mostly laugh at them. This has been the story of my life for many years now. I work full-time and I go to school full-time. Those two in themselves is enough to consume my entire life. I find it truly amusing when college students complain they have no time and upon further discussion I discover that they live with their parents and don’t work. It’s around this point that I lose hope in humanity.

If we are raising children to become young adults who cannot carry more than a full course load at a time, then I wonder how exactly they plan on living as a mature adult. I just heard about employees for a company who have been complaining about staying late, going in after hours for meetings and not being scheduled in ways that work with their lives – and then I heard about the fact they sit around and watch television while on the clock. Are you kidding? They’re complaining about a list of things and yet they don’t realize how easy they have it.

What happened to a decent days work? What happened to the work ethics of all people? What happened to the minds of people making them believe that they deserve to be waited on hand and foot – even in their place of employment?

I don’t have a lot of free time on my hands. I do take on many more things than I should. I do my utmost best in all aspects of my life. Neither my work nor my school is lacking. In fact I will brag about myself for a moment – I’ve been on the Dean’s List every semester and have over a 3.8 cumulative GPA. I am a hard worker. Something that seems to be an idea of the past.
I’ve made it through a lot of very difficult times in my life because I have continued to strive.

Babe Ruth said, “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up”. Great advice, especially to those who fail to see how much they have to be thankful for.

Childhood Fears

Lying in bed a couple of minutes ago I was suddenly hit with a memory from my childhood. Barely any recollection was possible, however I could clearly recall that in the midst of an elementary school weekend church retreat, surrounded by my classmates and leaders that I saw 2-3 times a week: I was terrified. Terrified of being alone, forgotten, rejected, and that no one understood me. As I tried to follow the memory deeper; remember more of what I experienced or what happened, I came up empty. My memories of my childhood are very slight and 80% of the time are sad/depressing. It’s challenging to remember the good things I experienced, the carefree times that all children should have. Instead when I search my childhood for memories – I’m greeted with an overwhelming amount of fear.

How our childhood, and what we are capable of retaining from our childhood, affect our “grown up” lives is a bit unnerving. Those fears we experienced when we were 4? Yeah, they still show up in our lives when we are 24, 34, 44,etc…  In my own personal life, I tend to push people away – exert my independence as far as I possibly can, which sometimes causes me to injure myself. Teamwork? More like “how much can Danielle do without anyone else’s help-work”. At least I am able to recognize my lacking ability to rely on others. I’m afraid to ask too much of others only to be denied and rejected.

Even though I know that I will never be rejected by certain ones in my life… And even though I know that I will always have outstretched arms to run to for support… I still have these nights where all I can recount from my childhood is the fear of being rejected. My heart is and always has been very sensitive; that’s one thing that I don’t think will ever change, but maybe someday when I look back to my childhood I’ll remember the better times.

Temporary

Not even going to lie, in the midst of the chaos my life handed me the last couple of weeks, I missed a few things occurring in my friends’ lives. Finding a few minutes for Facebook (the major social networking site used by too many) the other day I was greeted with engagements, pregnancy and birth announcements, as well as a head tilt. Why was there a head tilt? Because I noticed my list of friends was not the same as before. While others may wish to remove themselves from my life all I can say is, that’s fine with me. I have never lied about my emotions or feelings. If you are or were at one time lucky enough to have been considered a confidant in my life than I would hope that you would recognize that even though life sucks sometimes and I don’t know what I want half of the time, I still care.

My heart jumped into my throat, my skin was covered with goosebumps, confusion rattled around my mind… Now, a few days later I’ve moved on. When someone makes it obvious they no longer want me in their life, it helps me remove them from mine. I don’t struggle with worry over whether or not they will understand. I don’t wonder if they will hate me. I don’t fear the next time I see them.

Like so many times before a person entered my life and served their purpose, helped me, understood me through confusion, supported my hopes… And then when it was time, they moved on. Sometimes the process is long, ugly and undesirable and other times it’s swift, without pain and obvious.

Everyone has their walls, issues, struggles, challenges and when help is necessary someone enters your life just to support you. As much as you want to hold on to those people, keep them in your life and continually rely on their support – you can’t.

Follow Your Inner Moonlight…

Don’t mind my random ramblings…

Things are going well, in the full scheme of things. Yes, there are challenges – but that is how life goes. Tonight I am stuck. I have quite a few things to do for school, as well as personally, but it seems as though my mind is on vacation. At the least, it is preoccupied with trying not to dwell on the facts. The facts? The facts are things that are and cannot be altered. There are those which are good. And then there are those which are not. There are the facts which push you to grow. And then there are the facts which seem to stunt you where you are. Any and every part of life has its facts. With school, work, home, relationships, personal and other – everything can be broken down into one of these categories.

Finding the time to sit down and do my school work is challenging. Being motivated to write essays on topics I do not even begin to have any sort of passion for is practically impossible. Putting a project together on a country which I have already visited and didn’t necessarily enjoy is low on the list of interesting things to do. I know what I want to do, but I do not know how to get to that point. Without a doubt, I want to work with children in orphanages. Show them some sort of love and kindness – prove to them that there are people out in the world who truly do care and they are not alone. My heart twists every time I see parents who yell at their children calling them names or demeaning them in any sense. Sadly, I feel like I see that every day.

I’ve always been a great actress, and I feel as though that should be a requirement for my job. So many days I walk in and do not want to smile, talk, or be peppy and warm. All the things which are required to be a great employee in a major retail store. Work isn’t a place to bring your personal life in to, so I leave it at the door. I try to at least. Every once in a while when I’m not helping a customer I find myself feeling entirely overwhelmed and struggling to maintain my composure. I do though, every time. Because I am capable of handling anything that is thrown my way.

My baby puppy, Ava, will be turning two years old soon. It is easy to see she has not had the attention she deserves. It is difficult to give her the attention when I barely have any time when I’m at the house with her. I have found that losing two hours a day driving to and from the house has been detrimental to my ability to raise her properly, and also to accomplish essentially anything when I am at the house. It is “the house” and not “home” because it isn’t my home. I don’t have a home. I don’t have a place where I truly feel comfortable enough to relax, cook dinner, have “me” time. Since moving out of my apartment in Mechanicsburg in August 2010, I haven’t ever felt home. I’m not a person who can survive without a home – I need it. I require it. Otherwise there’s a lot of unrest.

On the outside everything looks great. Everything looks perfect at times. It isn’t until you get into the meat of things do you realize how many things are not even close to perfection. There’s a constant striving – striving to be the best daughter, friend, confidant, equal that anyone ever could be. I’m afraid to disappoint anyone. Every move I make I wonder who it will affect and how. Through this I’ve put myself through more stress than I ever should. This stress has truly taken its toll on me the last couple of months. Since the beginning of the year I have dropped a couple of pounds because I lost my appetite, and when I would force myself to eat I would get sick after only a couple of bites. On my tiny frame, a couple of pounds is impossible to miss. Especially when it’s closer to ten. Attempting to resolve and push my body back into something more normal is no fun, but it’s where I’m at.

It’s times like these that make it so apparent as to how desperately I need to dance, write or paint. Express myself in one form or another. After 25 years I still prefer to dance even though my body revolts as soon as I stop moving. It’s always been, and maybe always will be, the truest form of freedom I know.

And yes, I still say that things are going well in the midst of this. I have some challenges to overcome, some issues to accept, recognize and ultimately grow from and a lot of fear to deal with.
In some sense or another though that is all of us.

“Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.” – Allen Ginsberg