Day 30 – 30 Day Writing Challenge

It’s the final day of the 30 Day Writing Challenge and today’s topic is more than appropriate.

Topic: Your highs and lows for the month

The highs have been incredible. I’ve been so elated by everyone’s encouragement. I have spent a great deal of time in my life keeping my emotions in. I never revealed too much about myself.  Now, I am able to not just write about my thoughts and feelings, but I actually publish them on this blog.  People read and tell me that they enjoy my writing.

I’m so very grateful that people kept up with me throughout this month. It takes 30 days to develop a habit. This month, I started two habits: drinking one cup of decaffeinated coffee and writing every day.

This month I’ve written so much. I was excited to see the topic of the day. The blog gained a few new followers. I’ve been so inspired to keep going.

I felt challenged like my adult students do. They have to write every time we meet for class. Some days they have a hard time their writing short paragraphs. With my help, they expand and edit their work. I may start using some of their writing prompts on days I don’t know what to write. I don’t want to lose this newly found momentum

The lows were the days I couldn’t write due to a migraine and days where I fought through body pain to just get anything done. I have to see so many doctors in a week it can be a bit daunting and discouraging. I realize that this is my fight in life. How I react to all of it is what counts. I surrender on the days, I realize I won’t win a battle. But, in this war I am fighting with chronic illness, I will be victorious. It may take some time, but I’m sure I will win. My Buddhist faith helps me every day to gain courage, wisdom, and strength.

SGI President Daisaku Ikeda writes, “Life is best lived by being bold and daring. People tend to grow fearful when they taste failure, face a daunting challenge or fall ill. Yet that is precisely the time to become even bolder. Those who are victors at heart are the greatest of all champions.”

This month has made me very reflective and introspective. It has been an overall positive experience. I learned a few things about myself.

I’m so happy I was able to share this month with all of you. I’m determined to share more of my thoughts and musings. I suggest trying this challenge, you may learn a few things about yourself. I know I did.

Day 29 – 30 Day Writing Challenge

I can’t believe this 30 Day Challenge is almost over. The days really flew by.

Today’s topic- What are your goals for the next 30 days?

This challenge has shown me, I can be more consistent with my writing. I know I can write off the cuff and within an hour if I have to.  Writing more often is one of my goals. I will post as often as I can. Thanks to everyone who has offered encouragement and began following the blog during this month.

Since spring has decided to show up and stay around, I’ve gone back to tutoring adults twice a week. It’s fulfilling and gets me out the house for four hours every week. I really like my students and want to help them reach their personal goals of getting their high school equivalency diplomas, getting better jobs or just being able to read to their kids. I’ll do my best to assist them. Juggling multiple health conditions can be a challenge but my goal is to tutor everyday that I’m scheduled to be there.

I recently re- joined Weight Watchers to keep my weight under control. I’ve eaten healthy but I gained back some pounds I lost last year.  I’m not happy about it. Taking medications with side effects of weight gain and not moving enough has been an issue. Tracking what I eat allows me to see when I’m about to overindulge. I can also see when I can give myself a treat. Over the next 30 days, I plan to adhere to the program.

Winter was rough on my body and I didn’t physically feel good or pain free enough to exercise. Yesterday, I got myself back in the gym and rode on the incumbent bike for awhile. I’m taking it slowly. I hope to get there twice a week over the next 30 days. I also walk 9 city blocks each way when I tutor. That’s a bit more exercise. I rest half way there, drink water and then start again.

Another goal is to meet up with a few people and catch up. It’s been awhile. I have also lined up a few “out of my box “ adventures that I’ll do by myself. I’m trying to have some fun, with little expense.

I joined a women’s study group in SGI-USA where we will be studying the history of our lay Buddhist organization as written by our mentor and SGI President Daisaku Ikeda. There so much to learn and so much guidance on how to handle situations and life in general. I’ve been part of this group before and it’s always rewarding at the end to see how in-depth study can change your perspective and understanding. We meet once a month, in addition to the other monthly activities that we have in the SGI-USA.

My practice of Buddhism has helped me learn and understand how to make myself better and how to help others. President Ikeda writes, “Altruism is the most effective means of self-realization and self-perfection. Doing good for others is the best way to develop one’s own character and find greater happiness for oneself.”

With this in mind I’ll do by best this month to attain my own goals and do good for others at the same time.

Tomorrow is the end of the 30 Day Challenge, the start of new goals and the continuation of challenging myself everyday.

Day 27 of the 30 Day Writing Challenge

This is a follow up topic from yesterday’s which was write about an area in your life you would like to improve on.

Today’s topic is – Conversely write about something that is kicking ass right now.

So, what am I doing great in my life, right now? I’m living knowing who I am and understanding my worth.

I have never placed enough value on myself. I now honor myself, even when others don’t understand my thoughts and actions.

I truly believe that you become enlightened to different parts of yourself as you mature and grow. Your twenties are for discovery and learning what you like. By your fifties, you know what you like. You definitely know what you dislike. You are sure that you want to live true to yourself. You realize what makes you happy and what behaviors you will not tolerate from others.

I’m more confident to say no to things, no to people and yes to me and my feelings. Therapy has helped me become more respectful of my feelings.

Oprah always says, what do you know for sure? I know for sure that I’m much better at judging people and realizing who should be in my space.

There have been many times when I would compromise my feelings when I felt uncomfortable, hurt or disrespected.

I never wanted to upset anyone. I didn’t complain. I would accept my discomfort. That left me filled with self doubt and confusion. I would rationalize why people acted or treated me a certain way. I won’t do that to myself anymore. It’s not psychologically healthy.

My fifth decade has allowed me to finally free my mind, like that En Vogue song. At 52, I’m putting myself and my needs first. My happiness and comfort are important.

It took me a long time to come to these realizations. This may sound selfish to some. However, I’m no longer forcing relationships, situations or keeping what doesn’t give me joy in my life anymore.

I’ve won and I’ve lost. I’ve learned some things the hardest way possible. I’ve released people and negativity. I let go of unhappiness. I’m now turning the compassion I’ve extended to others, inward and loving me the way I deserve to be loved. Better days are ahead.

At one time, these are the things I sought to improve upon. I have learned many lessons. I know more will follow until the end of my days.

I feel that I am kicking ass, being true to myself. This is me. I’m living with confidence and I’m not second guessing myself anymore. I am happy with who I am and who I continue to grow into.

Day 23- 30 Day Writing Challenge

Today’s topic- Write a letter to someone, anyone.

This one is hard. I couldn’t  figure out who would be the receiver of this letter.

Dear Police Departments in America,

I have been watching over the past few years as more and more videos are revealing to everyone, what black people have known all along. We are disproportionately shot and killed by police, due to racial bias. We seem to fit the description, even if we are not guilty of doing anything. Our skin color appears to be a weapon to you. We cannot remove it.  You are being called to take us away for doing minor things that are not breaking the law. Is there one law for white people and another for people of color?

We cannot sit in a car, own a licensed gun, make an error on the road, sell DVD’s or loose cigarettes. We can’t wear hoodies or run in the rain. We can’t run for a bus, ring a doorbell and ask for directions. We can’t  hold a cell phone or a wallet.  We can’t ride a train to a wine vineyard and laugh too loudly. We cannot question paying for plastic utensils or question you as to why we are being arrested without being violently knocked to the ground to be handcuffed.

We can’t sit in Starbucks doing exactly what everyone is doing.  We can’t even go golfing without you being called because we are golfing too slowly in someone else’s eyes. We can’t live in our newly gentrified neighborhoods, doing what we’ve always done without you and your colleagues showing up in force.

Please tell me how you are training your people? White people can commit crimes, shoot people and known to be armed.  These people are taken away without a scratch on them.

A black person is holding a cellphone and is riddled with 10 bullets in the back. A black person reaching for their wallet is killed with 41 shots. The officers who are murdering innocent  black people are rarely convicted of any crime. They get to keep their lives, jobs and pensions. Sometimes, they get promoted. If they get fired, they find another position in different department.  The families of people murdered by the state are never the same and seek justice they rarely receive.

There has to be a way to weed out biased and easily  terrified people out of your ranks before they get a gun and badge. People who “fear for their lives” and always shoot to kill should not be on the job. Maybe you should have more police of color working in neighborhoods of color. Do you get psychological counseling before you are hired? Is there a question asking if you were bullied in school? Are you asked if you fear people of color? Why do you want to be a police officer? Your job is dangerous, but if you are afraid of danger, this is not the career for you.

There must be a way for black people and the police to co-exist without deadly force. What are your  suggestions? Surely you know that our lives are valuable. Surely you know, that we feel, live and breathe just like you. We do not deserve to be killed by those sworn to protect and serve us.

We don’t hate the police, but we are increasingly becoming afraid of you.  We may want to run when we see you. That doesn’t mean we are guilty of anything. We are afraid to be another hashtag and statistic.  We don’t want to be another life taken too soon. A visit to the dentist is more welcome than an encounter with the police. We have to have special discussions with our children on how to survive police encounters and make it home alive. This should not be our relationship.

We want to find a way to work together for the good of everyone. We want to live long, healthy and productive lives. We want to be with our families. How can we make effective change?

Signed,

A Representative for Black America

 

Day 22- 30 Day Writing Challenge

The challenge continues… Today’s topic called for 10 songs but, I added a few more. Why not? You will discover my tastes run the gamut of everything.

Put your music on shuffle and post the first 10 songs 

1. Simply Beautiful-  Leela James  https://youtu.be/BxTn1om6sWE
2. Versace on the Floor-Bruno Mars
3. Cry Me A River- Justin Timberlake and Timberland
4. Under the Moon and Over the Sky-
Angela Bofill
5. If Only For One Night-  Luther Vandross
6. Juicy Fruit-  Mtume
7. Be Ever Wonderful-  Earth Wind and Fire
8. I Want Candy-  Bow Wow Wow
9. Method of Modern Love- Daryl Hall and John Oates
10. Far Away- Kindred the Family Soul
11.All At Once- Jeffery Osborne
12. As You Like It- Euge Groove
13. Misled- Kool and the Gang
14. Since I Lost My Baby-  Michael McDonald
15.Blue Bayou – Linda Ronstandt
16. Love Takes Time- Mariah Carey
17. You Mean More to Me- Lionel Richie
18. Rock With You-  Michael Jackson
19. Home-  Stephanie Mills
20. Firework-  Katy Perry
21. Diamonds-  Rihanna
Listen and enjoy. I should have posted this about 30 minutes ago but, I listened in full to all of the songs. I couldn’t help myself  😉

Day 18- 30 Day Writing Challenge

I’ve been writing, but haven’t posted for awhile during the challenge. Today’s topic is making me think a lot about myself.

 Post 30 Facts About Yourself

1. Books and music are my first loves. I can read and listen to music at the same time, ever since I was a kid.

2. I can read 2 or 3 books at a time and not confuse the plots. I read fiction and non-fiction books simultaneously.

3. Writing compositions in elementary school helped me to see I was a good, creative writer.

4. I don’t think I have ever written a poem.

5. I could write my name before I started school at age 3.

6. I stayed in the house a majority of the time when I was as a child. I always had homework, it came first and I always did it. I guess it prepared me well for all the days that I now have to stay inside due to chronic pain and illnesses.

7. I don’t remember ever having a set bedtime.

8. I’ve always had insomnia.

9. I watched The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, The Honeymooners and I Love Lucy reruns very often as a kid. I enjoyed the conversations Johnny had with all his guests. I noticed that they chain smoked the entire show which they couldn’t do today. I  know the dialogue to the Original 39 Honeymooners episodes by heart and which Lucy episode is coming on within a few minutes.

10. Every Saturday night, I watched The Carol Burnett Show. To this day, I love anything Carol Burnett related.

11. Michael Jackson played a big part in my life. He was my first celebrity crush as a girl. I loved every stage of his illustrious career.  I wish I had seen him perform live in concert.

12. Prince and Michael’s sudden passings really hit me hard. It felt like a part of my childhood was gone. I did see Prince live in concert. It was incredible.

13. I love to cook. The aromas and flavors make me happy. For many years, I had so many digestive issues, I didn’t eat much. The issues have improved. I have lots of cookbooks that I haven’t used yet.

14. I’ve never met a piece of cake or bread I didn’t like.

15. The first time my writing was published was in high school in our school newspaper.

16. There are  places in my own state I keep saying I want to see and haven’t made it there yet.

17. I hate the cold.

18. I love the sun and the beach

19. I can’t recall the last time I went to the beach.

20. If I had the money, I would see as many  Broadway musicals as I could, when they opened.

21. I think I am addicted to social media. I know I suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out)

22. I’m really fine being by myself.  (I’m a natural introvert)  but, sometimes I like being around other people, laughing, eating and catching up.

23. I have never played spades.

24. I’m sick of being sick. Illness has changed my entire life.

25. I want to travel but my bank account says I could only make it to my front door and no further.

26. I chant a lot for the world to be at peace. I  want us all to live long lives without threats of  a nuclear war that would destroy the planet and mankind.

27. I’m still hopeful that I will have one great reciprocal love in my life before I die. As I get older, it’s harder to hold on to that feeling. Something tells me I shouldn’t give up.

28. I’m naturally nosy. I think that’s why librarianship suited me. We are detectives of facts.

29. I love makeup. I seldom leave home with a bare face. I like color.

30. I like to watch wedding planning shows and weddings on televison.  I woke up early in the 80’s for Princess Diana’s wedding. I did it for William and Kate and will be doing the same for Prince Harry and Megan Markle.

It is harder than you think to come up with 30 facts about yourself. See if you can do it.

Day 8- 30 Day Writing Challenge

Today’s topic was challenging for me.  I debated even blogging today.  I don’t walk around feeling, woe is me all the time. Writing means I am in touch with my feelings and should write them down. This is my reality. People don’t or won’t understand it. Most days, I’m a pillar of strength. Some days, I’m just human and want my old life back.

Share Something You Struggle With.

Living with chronic pain is my struggle and all that comes along with that.

Day after day living in distress inside your body is very difficult and often discouraging.

Not one day goes by without something aching. My largest struggle is that I never know which body parts the pain will strike that day.  Doctors will ask on a scale of 1-10, how severe is your pain? The numbers can be skewed because each body part has its own pain scale. Some days, it’s at a 50 everywhere!

With the pain, usually comes fatigue. It can get so bad, I can’t even get out of bed. I struggle to stand, sometimes feeling like I could crumple in a heap on the floor. I will wait until I can’t wait any longer to go to the bathroom. The smallest task can seem gargantuan on those days.

I have also struggled with physically feeling so much older than my actual age. I don’t look 52 in the face, but I feel like 80 years old in my body. I’m not able to do many things I used to.  I’ve lost some of my independence.

Riding a bus or train was a simple task. I haven’t done either for 5 years. I can’t shop or walk all day and explore as I’ve done in the past. I can’t make a last minute decision to go somewhere unless I have money for an Uber or car service.  I have to book trips a day or two in advance if I have appointments. I get picked up by a service and have no control if they are late picking me up or dropping me off.

I’ve definitely struggled with only getting money one time a month and making it s-t-r-e-t-c-h, in a city that is quickly being gentrified and the price of everything is on the uprise.

I’m still trying to get used to all the ways I’ve had to adapt and change my life.  I have aspirations and dreams that I’ve had to put on hold. I don’t know for how long or if they will ever come to fruition. I try to live every day with short-term, reachable goals. That way I feel I’m accomplishing something.

Struggles are a part of life and I have to believe my struggles won’t always take center stage in my life. I know some victories are coming. If I utilize my faith, the victories will be immeasurable. I can’t wait!

Day 6- 30 Day Writing Challenge

It’s Day 6 and I’m pushing on. This is truly a challenge.  I’m being inspired to get those creative juices flowing once again.

Today’s topic is:

5 ways to win your heart

1. Entertain me. Choose a play, movie, concert or comedy show. My senses of sight and hearing will be thankful. My emotions will be heightened.

2. Feed me. I mean a full plate of food and dessert with beautiful presentation. My senses of smell, taste, touch, and sight will be fulfilled.

3. Make me laugh. Life can be so difficult and complex. Its great to just be loose and laugh really hard. The kind of laugh that makes you cry at the same time. You don’t have to be a professional clown. Having a good sense of humor is essential.

4. Be kind and generous. What is in your heart? Let me see how you treat people. From the smallest child to an elder, how do you relate and communicate with the people around you? Are you genuine or trying too hard to look good in someone else’s eyes? Over time, I have discovered how to spot insincerity.

5. Have an open mind. How do you think? We are all different. We all like various things or carry ourselves in the world differently. Can you be accepting of people being true to themselves? Can you watch them be free to create their happiness and not be negative or judging.? Can you give constructive criticism and not be a soul or dream crusher? Can you see the value in other people and in yourself?

The prompt only asked for 5. There’s more, however, I can’t give all my secrets away.

heart-cord-suspended-love-160836.jpeg

Day 5 – 30 Day Writing Challenge

I did write yesterday, but it was just a brief paragraph as CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome) beat my behind. I’m a tad better today and this topic wasn’t difficult to write about.

List five places you want to visit

1. Smithsonian National Museum Of African American History and Culture located in Washington D.C

Museum Website

I’ve heard and read so much about this museum. It took a long time to get the project completed and I’ve heard from people who have made the trip that it is a must see and it’s emotional. I enjoy learning history in a museum setting. African American history is American history and it should be celebrated.

b. Hawaii

Hawaii Tourism

Since I was a kid and watched the 3-part episode of The Brady Bunch, this was on my travel list. The birthplace of our 44th President has sun, sand and surf.How could you go wrong?

2. The Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu located in Shinanomachi, Tokyo.

The Hall of The Great Vow

SGI Headquarters History Video

Similar in scope to visiting the Vatican for Catholics or Mecca for Muslims, this is the destination for SGI Nichiren Buddhists. It’s the headquarters where we can visit and renew our commitment to promoting world peace and individual happiness.

3. The Champs-Elysées and all the sites near it. Located in Paris France

Paris Tourism

It is Paris! It’s considered one of the greatest avenues in the world. There are museums, shops and other touristy things to do.

4. Grenada – The Spice Island

Grenada Tourism

The maternal side of my family history is in Grenada. I would love to visit the Isle of Spice and have an inside glimpse of my personal history. It’s warm too, which I realize is better for my health.

5. Turks and Caicos

Turks and Caicos Tourism

I like the beach. Every photo that I’ve seen of Turks and Caicos makes me want to see it up close.

a. Cuba

Cuba Travel

I’m adding this one because it’s been forbidden since the 1960’s. For the culture and for the experience, I think I would enjoy myself as I learn and observe a place only about 1400 miles from Florida.

I don’t have a clue when I going to any/all of these places, but when the time comes, I have a list to choose from.

30 Day Writing Challenge- Day 2

It’s Day 2 and I’m keeping my commitment to write for the next 30 days.

Day 2 – Write something someone told you about yourself that you never forgot.

Many years ago, I had a younger man whom I was friendly with,tell me I was intimidating to men. At the time, I was very perplexed by what he said. I did not know how to take his comment. We knew each other from our mutual workplace and had casual conversations.

So,I asked him what he meant. He replied that I had myself so together. I was very educated, had a good job,was attractive and smart. I could make a man feel very intimidated to approach me. I don’t remember what I said, but the conversation quickly ended.

So, I looked up the word intimidate.

The definition says: to frighten or overawe (someone), especially in order to make them do what one wants.”intimidate his rivals” Synonyms: frighten, menace, terrify, cow, dragoon, subdue.

I had to laugh at the definition because I’m the antonym of intimidating. I quickly came to the realization that I can only intimidate someone very insecure. I cannot or would not change myself to soothe or pamper someone else’s ego.

Perhaps, he or anyone “frightened” by me needed to work on themselves. I was still working on building my self confidence at the time, but savvy enough to know I didn’t have a problem.

Looking back, I see how that comment could have made me change myself to suit the needs of others. I didn’t allow that. I’ve seen women change to fit someone else’s narrative. It never turned out well.

Today,I wouldn’t even have to look it up and question myself. I would have told that guy some well thought out words that would have made him question himself. I would have him look it up and straighten out his thought process.

You don’t have to believe everything people say about you. That comment became food for thought. I didn’t allow it to change me.