Coping with Devastation.

We live in an uncertain world, like our ancestors before us, but we are bombarded with devasting news more than ever. I mean, cavemen and cavewomen did not know what drama was happening with the Vikings, nor did the Vikings know what Native American’s were up to. (Yes, I know that is not historically accurate, play along please).

With the development of technology and new forms of media, something is always scrolling across the computer screen, interrupting a show, binging on smartwatches; ultimately creating a world of stressed humans. Some generations are becoming numb from tragic natural and manmade events. (For more on this, please read one of my favorite bloggers, Julie Sellers, and her thoughts on this subject).

Devastation

How do you define devastation? Is it the recent hurricanes that ravaged Texas, Flordia, and the Caribbean? A loved one suffering? Women and men coming forward about sexual harassment in the workplace? Deception from someone you thought you could trust? Terrorists? Hate crimes? The Opioid Crisis? Our government? Mass shootings? Disease? A fight with a lover? A country threatening nuclear war? Whatever YOUR devastation is, whatever complexity you need to overcome each day, here are some of my thoughts on how to conquer some of those demons.

Acknowledge It. Pain, frustration, sadness, anger. They are all real, raw emotions. Allow yourself to feel them, identify them, and ultimately remind yourself, they are just feelings. (And sometimes I need a stern suggestion to feel these and to not distract myself by making to-do lists or work…or be called on my mind over matter bullshit straight out over the phone) Cry. Run. Punch a pillow. Scream into the woods. Listen to sad music (might I suggest Linkin Park’s “One More Light?”). Then, tell yourself over and over, until you believe it, that frustration will not help, no matter what the situation.

Talk About It. That same technology that informs of every scary and terrible thing in the world – use it for good. Facetime your friends who cannot come and hug you. Text your loved ones. Call family and friends. Find a chat room related to the subject and let your hands rip on the keyboard. Call and see a therapist or psychiatrist (or both), if the event or situation has you feeling broken.  Talk about the situation and your feelings. Do not let them bottle up. I tend to use dry, sarcastic humor the most when I begin to open up about things, but as my tribe listens, I shed those tears and allow my vulnerabilities to be exposed, shared, and listened to. Talk to your support, your tribe, your squad!

Ask For Help. Do not be proud. It is amazing what humans can do for one another. It may be moving someone’s belongings, it could be raising money for a charity, or even just visits to check in on you. Think about what you need and never hesitate to ask.

Treat Yourself. It does feel good to indulge when you feel so down. Now, be careful to not allow this to become your new mantra —  but an ice cream sundae, buying a pair of new shoes, letting others set up meals for you, etc. can help temporarily.

 

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Please do yourself a favor and watch Parks and Rec. If you don’t feel like a Netflix and Bingeeeee week, check this out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsABTmT1_M0

 

Focus on What You Can Do. Just like the men and women who may be helping you, think about what you can do to stop, prevent, provide aid to whatever may be upsetting you. It is simple and helpful to donate money (no matter the amount) to a reputable non-profit during times a crisis. If someone you know is suffering, think about how to get them help. Can you start a drive to provide necessities to humans in need? Sit and think about your situation. Do you want to start a campaign for awareness about a disease that took your loved one? Can you join groups that support you and what you are going through? When you are ready, take the time to think and focus on what you can do. As you delve into that project, allow yourself to feel emotions, let yourself breathe deep, and be proud that you are helping not only yourself but others.

Learn. In recent years, when I worked for a non-profit that worked on radical transparency, many times we were asked what did we learn (after events, if we made a mistake, at the end of a meeting). Hands down, this is THE best lesson I have applied to my life, during great moments and during times of pain. As you travel down the path of devastation, you must ask yourself, “what is this moment teaching me?” “what did I take away from this experience?” “how did this help me grow?” It will NOT be the first day you feel ruined, it will not be during the first week as you grieve, be filled with anger, or shake in fear. When you are ready and further away from the moment, question yourself. Talk with other people involved if you can and ask them. Life is a journey and we learn many lessons along the way.  Taking away a lesson from something horrible is constructive and teaches you more about life.

Pain, anger, devastation, it cannot be stopped. But, the way you cope can change how you heal from agony.

How do you help yourself in times of devastation?

#yellowitsme #positivity #progress #mindset #growthmindset #blog #wordpress #devastation #anger #cope #coping #family #focus #grit #indulge #learn #lesson #lifelesson #numb #demons #problems #recovery #sadness #sad #stressed #stress #support #supportsystem #treatyourself #treatyoself

 

 

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Why Me?

A lackadaisical summer car ride brought about the interesting question.

My Jeep weaved up and down hills, from point to A to B, as I hovered my foot above the gas and twisted the wheel with each turn; iced coffees jostling between our hands and the cupholder.

23deb1d6001296f8df417453423d5e05--monty-python-yellow-quotesWe were talking about some of my medical conditions and the impending eight level cervical spine fusion that was charging our way.

She asked, “have you ever thought, ‘why me’?”

Without a beat, I replied, “No.”

Yes, I have acknowledged painful moments in my 32 years. I have allowed myself to feel those moments with the raw emotions that tackle one’s system; devastation, fear, loneliness,  anger, and frustration. However, I never throw myself pity party, I never play the victim card. What a waste of energy.

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I have hope. I am grateful. I have faith. I have love. I have laughter.

I know the strength to remain positive in adversity is not something I was born with. My life experiences created it. It was (and is) modeled by my family, mentors, and friends.  My faith constantly reminds me that I must trust the universe.  I continue practicing the growth mindset, an idea about the brain presented by Psychologist Carol Dweck. Everyday incredible opportunities present themselves, far more than anything horrible. I chose to focus on the good.

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As Monty Python sings,

“Always look on the bright side of life/If life seems jolly rotten,/There’s something you’ve forgotten!/And that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing.”

#yellowitsme  #positivity #progress #mindset  #lifesjourney #blog #wordpress #grateful #mentalhealth #family #disability #inspiration #panicdisorder #ehlerdanlossyndrome #cervicalspinefusion #hypermobolity #scared #thanks #gratitude #mentalillness #growthmindset #emotions #montypython #caroldweck

 

25 Things You Don’t Know About Me!

Summer 2017 was pretty tough, but with a growth mindset, positivity, and some hard work, I am ready for some fun. Scroll below to get to know me a little bit better!

Me

  1. I pissed off Jack Nicholson. JNicMy brother and I heckled Jack at a Yankee game when we were young. He was wearing leopard loafers, sitting in front of us, minding his own business, but we were riled by the crowd taunting him for “killing animals.” He took it in stride in the beginning, but as we continued to annoy him, he methodically turned to the right and shot us his signature evil glare. YIKES! We learned not to mess with Jack again. On the plus side, his friends Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick, and Chris Rock got a chuckle out of it and were very nice to us.
  2. Christmas Eve is my FAVORITE night of the year. It is still as magical as it was when I waited for Santa. ChristmasEve
  3. I eat two pieces of dark chocolate a day. Except for one week, when I tried the #Whole30.
  4. My family and I discovered I was allergic to bees on my sixth birthday (my “golden birthday”) when I was stung running around the yard. The best gift that year was my EpiPen!
  5. I have six tattoos and will probably get more. 18423_3412005374019_3466843665173679104_n
  6. My dad used to tell me, “never say never.” I would roll my eyes. Some things I have to say never to: that I would never live in Ridgefield, that I would never work at Pamby Motors, and that I would never go to SJU… OHHHH the irony! (I moved back to Ridgefield after grad school, I attended SJU for my BA and MA, and I currently work at Pamby’s. Admittedly, I have tried the opposite; “I will NEVER win the lottery…I am still waiting!)
  7. I am a compulsive organizer with everything. I won’t even let someone else wash or fold my laundry. That is Emily time!
  8. I pray, meditate, and believe in a higher spiritual power.
  9. It has been said that I have incredible handwriting. I think it’s nice.
  10. In regards to handwriting, two things: my favorite things to write are exquisite thank you notes and the only pen that is an acceptable writing instrument is a Pilot Precise V5 in black. The other colors are for doodling, obviously.
  11. I can make an awesome elephant sound. Just ask my friend’s kids.
  12. My Dad ran me over with a snow plow. He was plowing my Nana’s driveway and I was shoveling. The snow was almost up to my thighs. I moved when he wasn’t looking and the next thing I knew, I was being plowed with the snow into the snow bank. It didn’t hurt all that much, I was just very stunned.
  13. Socks. I love socks. I have a sock for every moment, every graphic, every attitude. My sock collection is hilarious, colorful, and fun. Thank you to all who gift me awesome socks and keep these feet happy!
  14. I wear sunscreen every day. SPF 15 or higher!
  15. I am ambidextrous. I prefer using my left hand for driving, coloring, brushing my teeth, and eating. My right for writing, throwing. Sometimes I rotate based on comfort. This really helps when my Ehler Danlos flares up and I dislocate hands, fingers, or arms!
  16. I have never seen The Game of Thrones.
  17. Yellow Starbursts are my favorite flavor. Not because of the color. They taste delicious!
  18. I have a reoccurring nightmare in which I am back at college and can not graduate because I have not finished my math requirements.
  19. I refuse to watch scary movies.
  20. I read a lot and I read fast. I love learning new ideas and imagining the world an author has created. I typically am reading two books at once, one is a piece of fiction and the other is a self-help, teach me something type of book. Currently, I am finishing Radical Forgiveness by Colin Tipping and The Lake House by Kate Morton.
  21.  I had dinner with Nobel Prize Winner Desmond Tutu. When I was a child, my parents often hosted dinner parties. They were friendly with our churches priests and the men would come on weekends for fun. One night, the Pastor brought a visiting priest from South Africa, Desmond Tutu. He was gracious, thoughtful, and I loved his accent. He even played with my American Girl Dolls!
  22. I can pick up objects with my toes, like a monkey.
  23. I love playing Poker. 1780735_241893689315247_466245469_n
  24. I (try to) watch Jeopardy every night. It was something I would watch with my Noni and Aunt Jess while trying to earn .25$ per correct answer. I love trivia! My family and I will often watch it together and compete.
  25. I LOVE my family.  They are everything to me. Ups, downs, challenges, fun, ridiculousness – we have been through it all and we support and love one another. My parents were strict as we grew up but showed us the ways of the world, which we navigated together. #FamilyFirst

    #yellowitsme #positivity #progress #mindset #growthmindset #blog #wordpress #trivia #ehlerdanlos  #grateful #gratitiude #positivethinking #fun #jacknicholson #yankees #newyorkyankees #christmaseve #darkchocolate #allergies #tattoos #epipen #goldenbirthday #neversaynever #organized #laundry #prayer #mediation #higherpower #spiritual #handwriting #handwrittennotes #thankyounotes #elephants #snowplowed #snowplow #sock #sockcollection #sunscreen #ambidextrous #gameofthrones #starbursts #yellow #yellowstarbursts #nightmare #scarymovies #read #books #fiction #nonfiction #nobelprize #desmondtutu #southafrica #poker #texasholdem #jeopardy #trivia #family #love #support

10 Things I Learned about Colorado

“We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend.” -Robert Louis Stevenson

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Mountains. Weed. Coors Light. Skiing. Adventure. Those were some of my preconceived thoughts about Colorado before I headed on an adventure to the beautiful state. I may not have been wrong, but found myself admiring the splendor and the people of Colorado, as I traveled through Denver, Boulder, Vail, Beaver Creek, and the little towns in between. Here are some of my Top 10 observations from The Centennial State. 

  1. Layers. Layers are essential when living or visiting Colorado. Coloradans (yes, I made sure I nailed this) know about the layer system. It is in their blood. They begin with a tee-shirt or tank and layer on shirts, sweaters, jackets, etc. Just as fast as they can add layers, they can take them off. In Denver, it went from a mild, rainy day to a hot sunny day in a matter of minutes. Boulder and the Mountains were no different. Sun, clouds, drizzle, sun. The locals don’t seem to notice how the weather changes rapidly, or they do and don’t mention it. They just add or subtract a layer and mosey on with their day.

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    So many layers! Lightweight blouse, t-shirt, and tank top! That hat (attached to my backpack) and backpack make the outfit!

  2. Microbreweries. I figured this one out a little late to the game, but, the land of Coors Light: Born in the Rockies, is home to the craft brewery hotbed of the United States. Every town and city boast a Brewery, a local craft beer that you must try, tastings, festivals…beer is everywhere! If you are a beer enthusiast, this state is for you!

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    Coors truck sighting in Glendale Springs!

  3. Backpacks. No need for a purse or tote out West. Men, women, children; everyone wears a backpack, filled with their daily needs.  They’re durable, they can fit your layers, and they can double as a travel bag, baby bag, suitcase, briefcase, grocery bag – whatever is needed. I have never experienced such backpack envy until I got to Glenwood Springs. I was super excited with myself that I already used a backpack before I got to Colorado, or else I would feel like a total poser! Some awesome backpack companies, made locally in Colorado, are Topo DesignsKifaruMHM Gear, and MountainSmith. Your obsession will begin…NOW!
  4. Starbucks. As the North East is known for their “Dunks,” Colorado is seemingly obsessed with Starbucks. They are on every block, built into the high mountains of Vail, Beaver Creek (and yes, your signature drink will cost you more there), in Targets and grocery stores! Gorgeous views and terrific coffee – wow!
  5. Diet. “What are your eating preferences?” the waitress asked. “Umm, food,” I thought. There is a Vegan menu, Vegetarian menu, Gluten Free menu at the restaurants I hit up in Boulder. I was in a diner’s paradise! How thoughtful of the restaurants and what a great lifestyle, being able to go out and not worry that you will have to create your own meal to meet your dietary restrictions! By the way, wow, Boulder has some incredible restaurants!
  6. IMG_3401Weed. Did you know pot is legal in CO? 😉 Beautiful shops, dedicated to the green plant, are in every town, city, and along the highway, welcoming locals and visitors to try edibles, lotions, pens, pipes, bongs – whatever may be their preference. As someone who suffers from chronic pain, I figured why the hell not, and checked out the scene. Verdict: THC helps the pain. 

  7. Bicycles. It is quite evident people go to Colorado to be outside. Trails, mountains, rivers, canyons – there are endless resources for fun and adventure. Whether we are in the cities or up on Vail Mountain, bikes were everywhere! I loved getting on a cruiser and flying through Vail Village and the family had some intense Mountain Bike rides during the week. Seeing people bike commute to work in Denver and Boulder too, or just cruise around the city was fun too! And look how BEAUTIFUL those yellow bikes are 🙂
  8. Water.  Hydration is VERY important to Colorado.

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    Water for two during our drive from Boulder to Vail!

    At every old or present water fountain, there is an additional water bottle fill up station. (Seriously, how simple and easy – what an idea). I took advantage of this everywhere – my personal favorite station being at the swanky St. Julien in Boulder.  We all know water is crucial for humans, but especially in higher altitude, it is needed to fight off altitude sickness and in order to be successful in whatever Colorado adventure one chooses. Storefronts even have water out for the citizen’s animals!!!

  9. Sky. The sky is huge; larger than life. It goes on for miles and is stunning. The puffy clouds that float by reminded me of my Lava Lamp from my Middle School days. The clouds, fat and bouncy, hang high and low in the blue sky, creating a moving visual worthy of distraction.

    The sunbeams that come through are spiritual and at night, I saw some stars for the first time. Beautiful seems too small of a word to describe how open and vast the Colorado sky is.

  10. The people. Coloradans are the nicest people I have met when traveling. They don’t just smile or wave, they say “Hello,” and are genuinely interested in how are you, where are you from, how your days is, etc.  They do not just ask to be pleasant. Maybe it is their amazing quality of life, not being in a hustle to get somewhere, the fresh Mountain Air,  but they make the time to connect with you, welcome you, and learn about you. Thank you to all the new friends I met 🙂

    #yellowitsme #positivity #progress #mindset #growthmindset #lifesjourney #blog #wordpress #travel #colorado #boulder #vailmountain #beavercreek #avon #denver #microbrew #beer #mountains #bikes #weed #adventure #tenthings #observations #lifestyle #bicycle #hikes #hiking #water