Here I write a blog about change and yet I have been seemingly avoiding writing in the most critical time of my numerous changes. Ironic. I know. You see first it started with finals, taking my last exams proving I was worth a college degree. A B.S. in Mechanical Engineering even. That still boggles my mind and my gratitude is immense towards G-d for carrying me through such a challenging major. Then came farewells, see you laters and good byes to my classmates, peers, colleagues, friends and crushes. It is a devastating way to leave and yet there is much grace and beauty to knowing the strength in those strong bonds and the fact that I so often like to say; if we are meant to see that person again, we will. The wonder of technology these days makes this statement more real than ever. So maybe it’ll just be a sweet text or like on facebook but you’ll know they are still there. Doing what they’re doing and as my high school coach always preached they will, “keep on keepin on”. Those first weeks I was still in shock and very much enjoying the break from university stress. I immediately discovered this openness in my heart to love and be loved be those I am surrounded by. I found an ability to see the good. I was no longer blinded by the weight of stress, school and a degree waiting to be achieved. Its like all of a sudden my mind was cleared and I am allowed to see things for how they really are and to truly set and work towards an even healthier lifestyle that I had been wanting. Amazing isn’t it. However those weeks I felt too much. I was beyond elated by the love and light in the world and simultaneously distraught and sad that those relationships had suffered so much. Time had not waited for me to be done with school. Lives marched on. But I am grateful for what I had and what I have. I still feel like the richest woman in the world and my whole life, today, clearly packs into 48 different sized boxes. (I know it sounds like a lot…but it isn’t). The beginning weeks of being a university grad I nearly fell asleep in tears every night because of the overwhelmingness of everything. Of goodbyes and farewells and of “I don’t know when I will see this person again” or worse “or if I will see this person again” (G-d forbid, but I am just being real blunt about the reality I face. Amidst these intense emotions I found myself with tickets abroad heading on a trip that sounded amazing. I didn’t go. For the first time, I had found that for whatever reason their was not a clearly defined purpose to this trip. My friends and family supported me but all I heard was hesitation in their backing. I suppose I was listening for that. As I was not ready for this trip. My heart was not all in, as it should be. I’ve realized that is ok, and I am glad I listened to my heart as a compass. It often leads where I wish to go. Since then I haven’t done anything too crazy or out of the ordinary but being able to spend more time eating lunches with my dad, coffee dates with friends, random tea parties, macaron baking, museum trips and little hikes have been more than enough. Even just sitting in my room and making phone calls trying to set up things for my move have felt like a blessing. Enjoying sabbath dinners and walks with friends or conversations with my mom have felt worthwhile. I have even been battling a throat and nose phenom and yet it feels ok. I feel content and happy. I feel like as my world and my life was packed into boxes today it was “alles ok” or “hacol beseder”. My brother graduated high school and we celebrated as a family and just simply sitting in the living room all together and being all there was and is more than enough. It seems this time and this season is filled with new changes and much uncertainty but I am beginning to realize that it is part of taking a leap of faith and asking for G-d to provide each of the members of my family with the guidance, wisdom, discernment, decisions and preparations for the changes ahead. I am grateful for the 48 boxes of my life but I realize that those crates are simply things and stuff. They are not me nor do they define me. I look in the mirror and see a beautiful woman learning it is more than ok to just be me and do what works for me. To not worry about what others think or care if someone likes my posts or not. I am beginning to feel the comfort of the skin I have been blessed with and am learning that I see my soul in my smile more and more. I am grateful and happy because as Matthew McConaughey said, “Life’s not fair. It never was, isn’t now and won’t ever be. Do not fall into the entitled trap of feeling like you’re a victim. You are not,”.
And there I was. Simply standing in the middle of my half packed apartment opening, with a slight bit of anxiety, the blackboard app on my phone to find out my final grade on the only class I was still waiting on. As I opened the app and scrolled to the bottom I was happy to see a C grade on the final. After turning in 20+ hours of work and close to 50 pages for this final, I just wanted to know I did enough to pass. Then I checked what my total grade was and its like I couldn’t believe it! I began to laugh and cry simultaneously. It meant I got a good grade. It meant I passed! It meant I am graduating. Dispite all odds and all my doubts, I will be graduating. I can try to explain this feeling that still fills me up when I say that I am going to be graduating from college with a degree in Mechanical Engineering! That G-d carried me and has carried me from the beginning! There was music playing in the background and I couldn’t help but be amazed in the moment.
I feel this joy that is bringing me to such a beautiful laughter and tears which I had not yet experienced before. I can’t believe it. Its unexpected the way I am reacting as I just wanted to graduate. Its been a dream of mine since as long as I can remember. Maybe its the “dropping out of school” I had to do my first semester. Or the fact that I was in an accident and lost all my math. It could be all the days sitting in my apartment where I felt like a failure. I was lost and felt there was no way out. As if I would not pass the test or class. And time and time again, G-d carried me, lifted me up and helped me to do my best. And it has been good enough. More than good enough!
I am elated and grateful! Everything I have worked for the past 5 years and here I am. I am going to graduate college! Dreams can and do come true! Especially with G-d on my side. Or rather I am on His! This is an experience I feel I am embracing and hope to not long forget. Its a good, true and beautiful feeling that is real. It is the sum of an a college roller coaster. The closing of a chapter and the beginning of a new one. It is letting go and allowing myself to move forward. I am thankful!
Well hello there!
It has been quite a crazy week. Waking up Valentine’s day with a cold so bad all I felt like doing was laying in bed and reading periodically getting up for food. Thank G-d, the cold seems to be gone now. Regardless, it has been such a crazy week. I really have no clue how I took like two more difficult classes than I am taking currently last semester. I have had much running around to do as graduation gets closer and closer and a billion and one things to do in between haha.
I have a test today, which I have tried studiying for and yet still feel unsure if I am or am not prepared. I guess I will just worry about it when I get the test. At least I have been able to find some focus and time to study in the past day and a half. I have a big exam that I must pass in order to graduate and that is coming up just as quickly. Then next week another class is having an exam. Meanwhile, I have a project and assignment for yet, another class that is also due around the same time. Talk about life. Happening!! I am grateful though!
In terms of love, for this week I have pondered many different areas of love and which to choose to write about. As of right now I am choosing to write on the subject of self love. See I think you must love yourself first before you can love anyone else. You must know your worth and value and sometimes taking a step and seeing yourself as others see you. If someone has ever told you, you are beautiful, you are smart, you are strong…etc… maybe even though you have yet to discover, maybe by some chance its true! I have been on this journey of self-love for quite some time. Especially after my accident, I struggled to love my new face or my new life. Not that everything is grand, but I have learned to accept and love who I am today, not who I was yesterday and not who I will be tomorrow. But for who I am today!
There is something beautiful in that. It helps you to realize you are a work in progress. Its makes you grateful for who you are and to accept it. I think there is nothing more truly breathtaking and beautiful than to come in contact with someone so vulnerable to be willing to be true to themselves. They are not trying to gain friends, popularity or anything of the sort. Genuinely just being who they are. Its wonderful!
I have been working on this. I have been progressing towards being a more beautiful person on the inside and letting it shine forth on the outside. Maybe I wear silly outfits according to some people’s fashion sense. Maybe I am innocent and kind and compassionate, because that is who I am. Maybe I sometimes fail, and can be critical, harsh, and frustrated. At least I am accepting who I am and not trying to hide it. I am being me because there is no one I would rather be. G-d made me exactly the way I am supposed to be and He continues to help me grow.
Therefore loving and caring for yourself is just as important, if not more important than loving another. You must first be selfish in order to be selfless. AND there is nothing wrong or sinful about it. In addition, be true to you. There’s the phrase “you do you” and I think that it was what we all need to remember sometimes. BE YOU!
I know this area of love, is not one of the first that pops into my mind when I think of love. However as I write this, I am reminded just how essential loving myself is in order to allow myself to have healthy relationships/friendships/encounters with others. So here’s to me and here’s to you!
Originally, today I wanted to write about another beautiful element of my day, which I think would have to be friends and good conversations. Being content and happy and grateful for both. Not to take away from that beautiful element of my life, I also want to face the other reality in my life: tired. I am exhausted mentally, physically and spiritually. I’ve gone into valleys such as this before. I don’t want to though. I want to change. I want to not be tired. I want to find that joy that I know is within me and within reach. And, sometimes I do. I am tired of ending up in the doctors office only to learn that I need to get more bloodwork. That most likely my body just needs to readjust and reset itself. Or that some pains I have, I will probably always have. I’m tired of weak hands. I’m tired of strange tingling in my legs when I sit for too long. I am tired of having to work hard to try to understand enough to get through my classes. I’m tired of “faking it till I make it”. I want so badly to be done with school. To feel “normal” whatever normal is and to not have these weird pains. What have I learned. My circumstances are no different than others. Other people have weird pains just as much as I do. Other people are “faking it till they make it too”. There are some people that work even harder than me to understand. I guess I’ve always felt like life is unfair. AND guess what? It IS!
If anything, I should have known this, long ago. My dad has always preached that life isn’t fair. He also taught my siblings and myself that just because life isn’t fair, means you just have to work hard. And from what I’ve learned he is right. My dad is right that you have to work hard. Sometimes harder than you even think possible. I don’t regret or take any of this for granted. However, I’m just tired. I want a break. I’m tired of the uphill climb. I just want to be healthy and well. I want to be able to move forward and to be leading a healthy life.
I realize I should be grateful for the health that I do have. I know it could be much worse. I also should be grateful to be able to work hard because it has been G-d blessing me to get through living each day with a TBI (traumatic brain injury).
I realize I sometimes use my brain injury as an excuse. But, it is! I don’t fully understand it, even with as much as do. Especially at the end of the semester my brain has so much information and emotions from the good and bad throughout the semester that it’s like I struggle to think about more engineering work and I just want to take my finals and be done. Then break, when its a true vacation gives good opportunity for rest, enjoyment and ability to savor and be in the moment.
So I guess it all goes back to me being in denial. In this case, regarding stress. It all goes back to freshmen year, fall semester and I was really stressed! Yet, I didn’t want anyone to know. So instead with my friend B asked if I was stressed. I exclaimed that I wasn’t. He continued, ” who are you trying to convince” and I said “no one” and this went on back and forth for quite some time. Since then, B and I go back and forth on how I was so stressed that I denied it because I didn’t want to accept or allow myself to be. So I guess I’m just stressed. I’ve worked hard all semester for this. To be done with all my homework and just waiting to take finals. For that I am grateful. I’m grateful I’m even in this spot, as a senior in college. I still remember the day, my doctor told me to “drop out” of college because my brain wouldn’t be able to handle it just yet and that I would be overloaded with doctors appointments. I now realize that I am blessed and maybe being tired is ok. Maybe it’s ok that I’m stressed and ready to be done with the semester. Maybe I am normal with abnormal pain periodically. Maybe I am blessed and beautiful to be able to be in university, to be a senior and to be studying mechanical engineering. Life isn’t always rosey not am looking through rose-colored glasses. Life is ok. And it’s going to be ok. And if I choose to hope, it’ll be more than ok one day. And hopefully that day I will no longer feel this “fog” of tiredness.
I awoke to this beautiful song sent from a good friend and its calming melody brought joy to me throughout the day as I kept finding myself humming it. It reminds me how and what beauty is. It’s interesting because I feel like its a topic of conversation that has come up alot in the past couple months, I just somehow seemed to be missing the message. Or like the message was more hidden until today.
There was a conversation a few weeks ago where my cousin was telling me a story about my grandma, my bubie, and how she would and still does say, “oh its just so beautiful. you are so beautiful. this is beautiful. beautiful. beautiful…” you get the point. The funny thing, is the way he imitates her voice, it just cracks me up and makes me smile. It makes me smile because my bubie, is an artist and has traveled much of the world. She has been through incredible pain and she has loved. She loves so much. She sees so much beauty in all that is around her. I like to think that I’m like her. She is strong, sensitive, positive, filled with energy and joy. And she goes out of her way for you and treats you like you are the most important person in the world. At least she does that for me and I’ve seen it when I’ve brought friends to her house to try her famous crepes or shnitzel or anything of her. To see her house filled with pictures of her family and her paintings. Oh my her paintings. She is quite talented! The thing that stands out most to me about my bubie, is not anything she has or gives me, its who she is. I have always seen so much light and joy in her. I’ve also always seen so much beauty and blessing in her. I think its because of who she is and it just shines through. Don’t get me wrong, I know she is not perfect. She is very human and I’ve seen that side of her too. Maybe its the way she is even while being human that makes me love her and want to tell her just how beautiful she is!
Next conversation that pops into my head was with my friend KA and she mentioned how she is trying to be a more beautiful person. Not by what she is wearing but by just being a more beautiful person. To live a life that is beautiful. I am inspired by her desires. She is honest, open, and real. She is also a true friend and will be there in your time of need. I feel blessed to have met her and grateful to call her a friend. I recall over summer when I got sick and like family, she took me to the nearest Urgent Care just to make sure that I was ok. The next couple days she came over just to watch tv with me as I rested. It was sweet. It was beautiful.
The following conversation was with my good friend JP who I serve homeless people with. We also have been trying to get groups together to go swing dancing and its been a blast. JP is like a brother and we can have open conversations. We’ve had conversations about how girls think and how guys think. Its always interesting. I guess the thing that surprises me the most about him, is that his personality shines through beautifully. JP is not a student currently, yet works just as hard if not harder to save money and figure out when to go back to school. JP’s heart for the homeless is inspiring. However his compassion extends past the homeless and fills into the individuals who he chooses to spend his time with. He is a friend who is willing to invest in time with you. JP goes far out of his way for people he cares about. I know his circumstances are not the best but I am inspired by the way he does not allow his brokenness to consume him. Instead, he has a heart of service and is compassion example which I try to follow especially when dealing with the homeless. He has a beautiful personality and friendship with anyone he knows. AND, he knows a lot of people and has introduced me to even more of his friends who are just as awesome and beautiful.
I now find myself thinking of a billion and one things that are beautiful and the conversations which I have been having that have been reminding me just how beautiful life is and how beautiful the people I am surrounded by are. I feel inspired and my heart feels as though it is gaining droplets of love through the compassionate and beautiful souls which I am allowing myself to see with clearer eyes now.
I am thankful for GTB: good, true and beautiful philosophy.I’ll have to go into Mr.C’s GTB conversations back in high school another time. As for tonight, I am ending on the note by adding in that today the most beautiful thing I experienced was realizing that my peer was also my friend.
Today I am reminded of an awesome inspiring speech I heard sometime last year. I still remember it. It impacted me that much. This woman, Christine Caine, spoke about how we as individuals are made in the image of G-d. With that being said she compared individuals growth and development with G-d and life to be analogous to old cameras and how when you wanted to develop your film it had to be processed through a dark room only to come out as the beautiful portrait which you framed through your focus. This concept of dark rooms being the place for processing and developing into a beautiful picture is great!
Now to my story of photography. Ever since I can remember I loved being in photos and getting to take pictures even with those disposable cameras that I used to take to camp. Taking pictures and capturing memories was always special. When I was thirteen and had my Bat Mitzvah, my uncle gave me my first digital camera. I took so many pictures up until the time that it broke at the end of my freshmen year of high school. Then I saved up in order to buy a better digital camera and had done a little research to learn more. I always wanted an even better camera but didn’t have enough money for it.
Then after the accident, I found myself taking lots of pictures especially on my phone. I found myself really wanting a better camera. I think part of it was that, our driver who had died in the accident had loved to take pictures. She was really talented with photography too. I guess I wanted to be able to carry on what she couldn’t. Or something like that. So for my first birthday after the accident, my parents got me a better camera, more sleek, cool features and lots for me to explore and learn how to use. I began to go on photo adventures with friends so that I could learn to use my camera and see the world differently. Then last year I had saved up enough to invest in a DSLR camera, a step up and with many features I am still learning to use. I have gone on even more photo adventures and taken even more pics!
Photography for me is an opportunity to see the world from a different angle, view, perspective and focus. When I apply this understanding and application of photography to other areas of my life, I can approach problems from a new way and solve problems in a unique way. Photography is one of my many hobbies and I am grateful for what I learn and see through the lens. It gives me vision. For this, I am thankful.
Today I am about to say things that 17 year old me would have laughed at. Back then I wasn’t a fan of writing and I hated reading. I disliked reading since I was little. It was a struggle for my parents as they would constantly try to push me to read for class and to read for pleasure. I refused. It may have had to do with the fact that when I was younger my eyes jumped around alot and so it made it difficult for me to read. As for writing, I just didn’t like it. I actually became rather quick at it and semi-decent. Then senior year things started to change within me. All of a sudden I found myself wanting and choosing to read. It was mainly Nicholas Sparks books but still, I was at least reading. *Spoiler alert: I began to actually like reading. As for writing I still wasn’t a huge fan.
Then the accident happened which sparked significant change in my lifestyle and my abilities. While going through cognitive therapy and trying to prepare for college courses, my speech and cognitive therapist challenged me to start reading, pretty much anything and she would give me silly little situations that I had to write about (according to the prompt). The first book I read I think was Beauty & the Beast (the kids editions). Then Junie B. Jones. Before I knew it I was laying around all day reading Tuesdays with Morri, Percy Jackson, Divergent and well the list goes on… As for the writing I found myself enjoying the creative aspect and the ability to imagine what I would do if the situation applied in my life. And lets just say some of these topics were rediculous: write about an experience going to the grocery store. Stuff like that. Yet, here I am writing for myself and to those who stumble upon this blog.
I am grateful for the fact that I love reading and writing now. Reading has allowed me the opportunity to learn, imagine and explore new ideas or opportunities a bit further. Writing has provided an opportunity for me to express myself, to think (outloud) and to reflect on my current or past situations and to aspire for a brighter and healthier future. Both reading and writing have and continue to help me discover the balance I have within me and to use that to better myself. Today I have much gratitude for reading and writing.