Monday Memoir: Unforgettable


At the age of ten, I discovered there was another way of intermingling with my imaginary friends, and that was through writing.  A new world was suddenly opened to me where I can create and bring things to life on paper. Because of my hearing impairment, my overall understanding of grammar was a bit lacking to say the least, and I knew this.  And because of this, I kept whatever I wrote hidden away.  I wasn’t ready to share with the world.

Not yet.

In the meantime, I struggled with insecurities, and with the belief that I was inferior to the other kids. I felt I wasn’t good enough in anything.   As a result, I stayed pretty much a loner with perhaps one or two good friends.

Later on in the same school year, one of the school’s teachers, Mr. Hathaway, announced that the school was going to compete in its first (and only) track meet with other private schools in the area. I signed up for three events: 100 yard dash, 200 yard dash, and 400 yard relay.

I’ll need to clarify that my school’s sport program when compared to the area public schools was more intramural at best; especially given the fact that my entire school population had only seventy students in all (grades Kindergarten through 12th)! And because of the small size, most of our sports were played with co-ed teams.

You get the idea.

Photo Credit: Acclaim Images


I was excited, and I was also nervous. I’ve never done track before. We had no coach, or any training. I wondered just how bad I was going to be.

The track meet was held on a warm spring day at another private school (almost as small as my school); the school’s parking lot was converted into a track.  For my first event, the 100 yard dash, I found myself competing against girls who were two and three years older than me, but age or size didn’t matter as I flew past them and finished in 1st place.  The same thing happened in the next event, the 200 yard dash, where I again finished in 1st place. In my last event, 400 yard relay, I was put in as the last runner, and as a team, we placed 2nd.

I never thought that running and competing could be so much fun.

Summer came and my parents placed me in a summer day camp which was sponsored by one of the local public schools. None of the kids from my school were there, but that really didn’t bother me. The kids that were there were from other public schools, ages that ranged from five all the way up to sixteen. I kept to myself as always while occasionally conversing with a few who were close to my age. One whom I do remember was Kari Lynn Nixon. She was a few months younger than me, but I was amazed by her. She was pretty, outgoing, and popular. I can remember one particular day when she involved me in one of the activities she led: how to put on makeups.

Here I was, eleven years old at the time, a tomboy learning how to apply lipstick and blush to my sweaty and dirty face. I must have been a comical sight when I got home later that day.

I remember one specific day over any others though.  It was late morning when one of the camp leaders announced that there was going to be a race.  Anyone who was interested was to come to the baseball field and stand in a line next to the home base. I didn’t think.  I just went. As soon as I stood in that line with at least twenty other kids, doubts filled my mind and butterflies jumped in my stomach.

What was I doing?

Most of these kids were athletes.  A few of whom I actually knew were  star baseball and softball athletes.  What kind of chance would I have against them?  A girl like me who went to a small private school against these other kids who went to schools that were at least ten times larger.

I must be insane.

I seriously considered stepping out and away from the line, but that would mean the entire camp would see me chickening out.  There had to have been about one hundred kids sitting in the bleachers behind me.

I had no choice, but to compete.

Must of the race was a blur to me.  I remember running as fast as I could.  I remember this one boy athlete racing right along beside me.  Then I remember seeing the home base ahead of me as we rounded the last section of the field.  I could hear the kids cheering in the bleachers. I can remember my legs feeling like rubbery leads.  You know what was amazing about that race?

I finished first.

I finally found something that I was good at. Something that apparently I was better than many of the kids from the local public schools.

It all felt quite surreal.  I never had so many people cheering for me.  Congratulating me.

It felt good.

I almost felt…normal.


Run With the Wind

Cool breeze sweeping by

the landscape all but a blur

my feet take me home


Dreams Don’t Die


Life without dreaming is a life without meaning.” -Ritu Ghatourey
Dreams begin in the mind and heart of a person. They include one’s passions and desires and intense interests. They give one a glimmer of hope. As from above quote, they tend to give one meaning in life. Something worthwhile to pursue, and hopefully one day achieve.

So, in a nutshell, how can having a dream help a person?
Provides hope
A reason to get out of bed each and every day
Gives meaning to one’s life

But, what happens when a person gives up on those dreams? Or deems them unreachable because an unthinkable event occurred?

What then?
Dreams never truly die; they just change their appearances.”
This was something I penned not so long ago as I tried to convince myself that my dreams were NOT dead. When I was twenty-one years old, as I was in the middle of pursuing one of my dreams, I was diagnosed with Usher Syndrome (a degenerative eye disease that also included moderate to profound hearing loss). I felt that my life had ended; that there were no hope in heck that I would be able to continue pursuing my dreams. So, I gave up on all of them.
For the next several years, emptiness and misery became my closest friends.
So, what changed me?
Honestly, it wasn’t just one thing. It was a growing awareness of others with worse circumstances than me, but instead of wallowing in their own despairs, they marched through their challenges and met them head-on. They didn’t completely give up on their own dreams and hopes; instead they improvised and eventually realized their dreams.
Who are some of these people?
Michaela Bushey Devins-a young girl with dreams of being a singer then suffered a life changing injury that left her a quadriplegic and part of vocal chords paralyzed. She went on to graduate with a degree in music education, and is now working with others as a literacy specialist while encouraging them to never give up when life gets tough.

Joni Eareckson Tada-suffered a similar injury as Michaela and became a quadriplegic. She went on to record several music albums, penned books, and became an advocate for the those in the disability community.

Haley Moss-a contemporary American artist and author with High-Functioning Autism.

Brad Scott-even though he has Cerebral Palsy this didn’t stop him from becoming a Paralympian (middle distance runner).

Evelyn Glennie-a hearing impaired individual who became a successful classical music musician (virtuoso percussionist).

Carme Garcia-is visually impaired who went to be a para-alpine skier, blind sailor and journalist.

Brad Snyder-A Navy veteran who was wounded in the eyes due to an attack while on tour in Afghanistan and lost his sight turned Paralympian.

Rebekah Gregory-a runner who lost her leg in the 2014 Boston Marathon bombing only to return to the same race a year later and finished with a prosthetic leg.

Jack Marchetti-a software engineer, screenwriter, and film maker who has Cone-Rod Dystrophy (similar to RP).

Knowing all this gave me hope. If they could accomplish what they did even with their disabilities and diseases, then I no longer have any excuse!
This also means you no longer have any excuse to go for your dreams regardless of your disability whether they’re mental, physical or emotional. If these people above can do it, so can you!
One of the dreams I’m working on reclaiming is getting back into running and eventually racing. I’ve recently started by getting outside and walking two miles each and every day. Soon, I will pull on a pair of running shoes, and attempt a short jog and see where that leads me.

Those first steps you take are so crucial but also quite scary. What if I fail? If you do, then pick yourself back up and try again. If the way you’re doing things aren’t working out, then find another way. Remember, you no longer have any excuse to not at least try.

Also remember this: You’re not alone so find others and build your support group. I’ve been told that it can be one of the most important parts of achieving success.
So, here are my challenges to you:
1. Recognize the dreams and hopes you lost/gave up, and the reason you did.
2. Admit to yourself that you need these dreams.
3. Pick one of your dreams, and find a way to achieve it.
4. Share it with at least one person what you intend to do.
5. Put it in to action!
*There is a community where you can also look for this support group: The Lost Dreamers 

So Many Choices

day sixteen

Since my goals for both challenges (sixteen and seventeen) go hand-in-hand, I have combined them. day seventeen

I’ve contemplated on several ideas to run as a series, and then publish them in an ebook, for a long time.   Jeff Goins and his Intentional Blogging challenges have been instrumental in helping narrow down those multiple ideas to just two.  Now, I’m turning to my readers to help me decide which idea to take on.

Which series would you prefer to see?



Great vs. Mediocre Writers

peytonmanningWhat separate great writers from the rest?    Is talent alone enough?

I used to think that one needs to be incredibly talented to be considered “great” or to reach your dream (whether it be to get your book published or see that novel included in the coveted New York Times Best Seller’s List).

Over time I learned that this wasn’t really true.

Once more I see similarities between athletes and writers.  How can a “regular” person achieve that ultimate level of success?

1. Dedication.    How do you think athletes like Peyton Manning or Tom Brady* became the elite athletes they’ve become, huh?  It wasn’t just by talent alone.  They’re driven, dedicated, in their endeavors to be the best.   They get up every day and train; are highly motivated to perfect each throw, learn every aspect of the game (in the case of these quarterbacks, reading the defense and anticipating their next move).  The result?  They make what they do seemed easy, seamless.  It’s that old saying, Practice makes perfect.  The same goes for writers.  The only way you can become better at what you do is to learn as much as you can about your craft, and then practice what you learn.  Every day, or as often as you can.

2. Perseverance.  Peyton had a measurable success while in college but came short of winning the National Championship and the Heisman Trophy.  He didn’t start off too hot in the NFL either (setting a record for the most interceptions thrown in a season).  Did he become frustrated?  Sure he did, but he didn’t give up.  He just worked harder; studied longer.  In the end, it paid off when he led the Colts to a Super Bowl win, and he’s now considered one of the greatest NFL quarterbacks ever.  Rejections and revisions are the staple of any writer’s life.  Success is difficult, but not impossible.  The key?  Never give up.  Keep writing, keep revising, and keep submitting.  Some of the greatest authors (King and Rowling to name only a few) were rejected as many as one hundred times before seeing one of their books accepted for publication.  If your work keeps being rejected, you really are in great company so hang in there.

3. Make your own path.  Peyton was expected to attend the same college, Ole Miss, as his father and older brother.  He, instead, chose Tennessee and caught hell for it.  Not so much from his family, but from his hometown and especially from the Ole Miss community.  Peyton didn’t want to trek down the same road as his father or older brother.  He didn’t want to be constantly under their shadows; he’d rather have his own.  And what a huge shadow he created.  There is nothing wrong with adopting another writer’s style, but over time, learn to create your own  and from that you will find your true voice which will in turn set you apart from other writers.

4. Stop settling for less.  Don’t allow critics (both internal and external) hold you back.  You shelved a particular story idea because it was too controversial or shocking.   Write it!  Maybe it’s exactly what the world needs to hear.  Or, maybe it could be something that could change a person’s life.  Writers have the ability to change events or the course of history; but, none of these would have happened if they chose to listen to the naysayers.  Don’t settle for what others want to hear or read; write what your heart wants.  Be true to your calling, to yourself.

Okay, so that last point didn’t include an athlete so bite me 🙂   Bottom line, talent alone won’t bring you success or help you achieve your dream.  It’s the heart, the passion for the craft that can lead a writer to greatness along with perseverance and always pushing forward no matter what the critics say.

(*Roads To Greatness)

**Part of the Writers are like athletes series

Writers Are Like Athletes

athletesWhat can we learn from athletes that would enable us to become better writers?  You’d be surprised.

1. Athletes train consistently to become better, faster, more proficient competitors.  For writers, we need to write daily, often in order to improve the craft, our skills.

2. Athletes test themselves by competing.  Writers submit to see their work published.

3. Athletes occasionally suffer from injuries.  Writers name your poison (aka writer’s block for instance).

4. Believe it or not, athletes need down time in order to allow their bodies to rejuvenate; writers need to do the same.  Take a break and pursue another creative outlet.  Have fun. Be spontaneous.

5. Athletes need coaches in order to achieve the next level.  Writers are no different.  They need mentors, other peers to help push them beyond their comfort zones.

Care to add your thoughts and input to this?