Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Dream Yet to Come

So, I was going through some of my old papers, looking for something and I came across a poem I wrote back around September 1999 when I was 16. It's nothing spectacular or note-worthy, but I thought I would share it here anyway.

"A Dream Yet to Come"
Questions unanswered,
Memories fading into a distant past,
A past that cannot be reborn.

A yesterday,
That seems never to have existed,
Even though only a few short years have gone by.

A longing stronger than oneself,
To have the impossible,
To go back...
To return to a time and place that no longer exist.

Pain and sorrow are now daily companions,
And the heart sheds the tears,
That the eyes have long ago wasted.

And yet...there is hope,
A dream for tomorrow,
Full of the memories of yesterday.

For the reunion is yet to come,
And the most important of all,
Will never be forgotten.

For death...
Is not dying,
But being reborn,
And going home,
To the dream that has finally come.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Do you have 2 minutes?

As some of you may have read if you have been following NY State news, some of the Empire Games have been canceled. At the moment, the Games for the Physically Challenged have not and we want to keep it that way. If you have a moment, please sign the petition here:

Why is this so important to me?

When I was younger, my mom took my twin and me to the Games for the Physically Challenged every year. It was such an incredible weekend and we looked forward to it every year. The significance of these Games is something very personal and, in some ways, difficult to share, but this issue is too important for my self-consciousness.

As most of you know, I have cerebral palsy. It's nothing I talk about and it's so mild that there is very little I can't do as a result. I've always had amazing support in friends and family to help me up when I fall and laugh at my uncanny ability to trip over my own two feet. I'm very lucky and I know this.

All of this said, when I was younger (particularly in elementary school), this self-acceptance eluded me. I was "different" and I knew it. And while I had a wonderful circle of friends (Lisa, as my kindergarten buddy, you were the very best!), I was made fun of in school and as a child, it was incredibly difficult to be "different" to my peers. It was not always so easy to ignore the stares, tune out the laughs, and shrug off the cruel taunting some children feel the need to inflict.

I have this one distinct memory of the Games, I'm not sure exactly the year or what I was doing, but I remember walking around and feeling so incredibly happy because I realized that on this one weekend the roles had been reversed and I was in a world that was designed specifically to serve me, my twin and the other children with physical limitations. What the Games gave to me was one weekend where I was finally NOT different; it was everyone else who was. (In an ENCR sense, it was a bit like B. Anderson's Imagined Community, if you will.) I ran in track and swam races and and, sometimes, I even won. Everyone smiled and laughed and cheered and no one ever stopped clapping until the last athlete had crossed the line. I've rarely felt such a sense of love and community. It was at the Games where I first realized that I would never have wanted to be anyone else than who I was, and that given the opportunity, I wouldn't change anything about myself. As strange as this may sound, I was proud of my CP.

The Games showed us that we were all winners. Yes, the Games gave me medals and certificates, but they gave me so much more. They gave me self-confidence and self-acceptance. Today's children deserve that same experience.

Please take a moment to sign the petition.

Thank you!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

It's Time

So, I decided that I am going to retract something I said in a previous post and share with you my New Year's Resolutions. It's not that I think you'll find them interesting or unique (let's be honest, they're the same ones I have every year!), but I am hoping that by writing them down, I will remember them and that by sharing them openly, I will have some accountability for completing them.

1. I am going to try new things & take more risks.
My sisters, one of my cousins, and I have decided that this year we're going to take turns every month coming up with something new for us to do. In January, we didn't really have a new activity, but we did go out and have an birthday bash for my father's 60th birthday (The restaurant closed at 11pm and we didn't leave until 4am. In our defense, the owner kept inviting us to more drinks.) We also went out and had a great time for my cousin's birthday last Friday. I am scheduled to pick March's activity and have already decided on a comedy night in Manhattan. Proceeds go to the Homeless Coalition. Laughs, fun and drinks, all for a great cause. You really can't go wrong.

2. I am going to be healthy.
Ok, when I said I recycled resolutions, this was the big one. (Literally.) But, I really need to get in shape because at the end of the day, it's my life we're talking about. Sometimes, I have no idea what I am waiting for. And I want to try to run another half-marathon for Christi this fall. If I'm not in better shape, it's not going to happen.

3. I need to keep up with the news more. And, read more in general.
Ever since I graduated, I have really not been keeping up with the news much. It's just not ok. I need to find at least an hour a day to read up (or listen to) world news. I miss the days when I had time to read the BBC, El Pais, and the Irish Times. At least I can read The Economist and The New Yorker on my way to work. And I do love listening to the BBC and NPR.
I also need to read more. As an incentive, I've registered on I just finished The Audacity of Hope by, you guessed it, Barack Obama. I have a good book by Fergal Keane (an AMAZING human rights journalist and one of my very favorite writers. Ever.) next on the list. My goal is 2 books a month. We'll see if I can manage it.
I'm also taking a class at NYU's School of Continuing Education starting next week. It's on the Obama Administration and Foreign Policy. I know it's super nerdy to admit I am psyched, but I am!

That's it. I set no more than 3 resolutions a year. And, trust me, that's more than enough. Now, all I have to do is remember them over the next 11 months...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Randoms. Just Because.

* Music is best when listened to LOUD.

* Walking in the rain is beaten only by walking in the snow.

* A good run makes me feel great.

* Birthdays rock almost as much as celebrating them.

* I'm a complete neat freak, except when I decide to be a lazy slob.

* I have no patience for puzzles but I can spend hours with a book.

* A good laugh is the best ab workout. Ever.

* Shopping is boring.

* Jon Stewart is my favorite American news source.

* My family is insane. I love them for it. And, I need to make sure they know it.

* School is my first love.

* If I don't write it down, chances is are I'll forget about it within 30 seconds.

* I love spending time with my sisters.

* I like to make people happy. I just need to remember not to sacrifice who I am in the process.

* Easter is my favorite holiday. It's all about hope, right, Shayla?

* When I was younger, I hated New Years Eve; time passing scared me. I was afraid that people would die.

* Ever since my brother died I've struggled with understanding why. And sometimes, I feel horribly guilty that it wasn't me.

* Rollercoasters scare me.

* Belfast is my favorite place in the world.

* I need to learn that it really doesn't matter what people think.

* My favorite color is blue.

* Magazines: the Economist. National Geographic, the New Yorker.

* Movies: Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers.

* Music: My ipod has the most eclectic mix ever. I love Snow Patrol. OTH has some great music.

* Greatest fear: I'm terrified that I'll never find my purpose in life.

* The people you love leave so many empty spaces when they fly away. It's impossible to fill them.

* I need to take more risks.

*Life is too short. I've learned that you can't wait for it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

It's been a while

Apologies for the delay in posting. I was in Spain for the holidays and then came home to loads of catch up at work and a surgery last Monday to remove what ended up being a 10cm cyst. Not. Fun. But the inability to sit over the last few days did give me a great excuse to sleep in a lot and catch up on almost all of One Tree Hill. (Now all I have left are Season 5 and the first few episodes of Season 6). Thank goodness for that, eh?

It's weird to think it's a new year. This last week of house arrest and percocet has almost had me forget that there's a world outside my room. I'd share my New Years resolutions, but I'm not brave enough for that yet. I'm too afraid that if I did that now, I'd end up failing on them, so I'll just promise to think about them and to make this year a really good one.

Before I sign off for the night, please keep my very special friend, Ylaria, in your thoughts. Her parents are afraid she may have relapsed NB (again) and they need as many prayers and good thoughts as possible right now. We love you, Ylaria!