A Student Again…

I have to admit that never did I envision myself going back to school. Then, in Nov. 2015, I was given a wonderful gift, an opportunity to work at a college. I had gone in originally to become a student and walked out with a job. Can I say how wonderful it is to be back among learners like myself as well as surrounded by amazing coworkers during the day?

I am an online learner and this term, I am taking an English Comp course. Chapter 1 went very well. Today I began Chapter 2 and though I have done a lot of writing, I feel like a fish out of water. My assignment is to complete a narrative essay…to tell a story from first person point of view that ultimately is about the lesson and not the story. When did a narrative become a lesson teacher? Aren’t narratives just a story? Did I miss something coming up through all the other colleges I attended? I feel like it’s a trick somehow, something that teaching toward those formalized tests threw in somewhere along the way to confuse writers like me!

Don’t get me wrong…I love being a student again, knowing that in the next year or so I will have a degree in my hand (Finally) to be framed and hung on my wall. I will have completed and relearned better writing skills, have strengthened my voice to where it can maybe have value outside the classroom or this blog – we all know I struggle with that issue. But when did the narrative essay become a method of delivering a bigger message, delivering an old adage? I’m floundering…and rambling…if anyone has any tips I am glad to hear them!

New beginnings…

I know, I have been out of the loop for a bit, determining my next steps while getting back to work, recovering, moving, and getting back to society’s definition of normal. Normal, yeah we can go with that for now. But for me, normal has a new definition and it is not dictated by anyone but me.

That may sound selfish, and on occasion, I can deal with that definition but before judging, let me explain. I spent my life always doing the right thing, being the right person, burying my needs and desires and dreams to accommodate many around me. My reward was breast cancer…hey thanks! Ironically, it was the best thing that has happened in recent history, truly a blessing in disguise. I was forced to take inventory of my little world, eliminate the clutter, and with my heart on my sleeve fight for my own survival, literally and metaphorically speaking.

What I discovered is that I am much stronger than I give myself credit for, that my world is full of love and kindness and encouragement, that my dreams and passion have as prominent a place as my family. I’ve learned I can have what I want, a balance, and that my life is full of new beginnings.

A year ago I was recovering from a bilateral mastectomy, awaiting chemotherapy and radiation. I was weak on all levels and tired of fighting the day to day battles. I felt discouraged and frustrated with my life…as though my momentum had come to a screeching halt and Stuck was my new address. This year I am cancer free with it all behind me. On Monday Nov. 30th I begin a new career as a college admissions counselor while pursuing my business degree with a focus on small business management. In 90 days my classes will be free as will degrees for my sons and husband should they choose to utilize my benefits. I have connected with women business owners who are also breast cancer survivors. I have spoken at breast cancer fundraisers. My ultimate goal is to utilize my business degree to assist women in starting their own businesses, especially other survivors. How amazing is it that becoming sick would be the most healing experience of my life!!!

Everyone reaches a point where dreams and goals and passion take hold to morph into new beginnings. I admire those who find and capture it early on. I respect those who take a circuitous route. I admire those who are baptized by fire and illness and find it, embrace it, and follow it through illness and survival. When it is finally discovered, regardless of the path, I admire the pilgrim and the journey. For me, I have seen my path off in the distance for years, always feeling it to be just out of reach, making excuses and putting others needs and wants and desires and demands ahead of my own. Those paths have all converged…my new motto is get onboard or get out of my way. Again, as someone who for years always made way, it feels selfish but wonderful and liberating. We can all walk our paths together but separately…

So there it is, my new beginning shining before me…new career, new schooling, new opportunities, continued connection with the pink cancer web and my sister survivors and fighters. My future is so bright,  so beautiful. I am moved by the experiences that brought me here, by the love and support and encouragement, by the family and friends that stand resolutely in my corner, by the pink web that embraces and inspires me. My new beginnings bring me such joy, such sunshine, such hope.

Did it bring her peace?

I had to comment today on FB in response to a rude comment…difficult as I don’t really respond to anything negative, EVER. I feel that my positive voice and energy represent who and where I am, how I want to be seen, what I want to be about.

The woman stated that she has to laugh, so much fake shit on FB, but that it’s better she keep her mouth closed. Normally, I would jump over that and keep going. Today however, it almost immediately followed my post about spending time with my family and feeling blessed for so much goodness in my life. She is an EX of my father’s and the comment related specifically to him. Whether the timing was coincidence or not, it hit me wrong and I responded with a post of my own.

“I usually say nothing…but today, if you can’t say something nice on FB leave it unsaid. Our lives are filled with enough challenges without hurtful words or innuendos or indirect insults. Words are forever.At the end of the day, will those words have achieved anything? And does saying those words really make a huge difference? In inflicting or hinting hurtful words, does your world level out and is your soul filled with peace and serenity? Just something to think about… Rant over!”

I worried that this voice would attract a bad response, and almost didn’t post it. My words had just the opposite effect. So in the end, I still wonder if her comment brought her peace and did it achieve its desired goal? Did it make someone feel bad or stupid, or did it just reflect badly on her that she would take the time to post something mean? And why post it at all…what’s the goal? Was her Buddha in the corner with his arm raised in solidarity? Did serenity and peace and calm overtake her spirit?

I’m not sure just why it is that this stupid comment bothered me so much today. It’s been quite a year for me, and I was always able to stay positive and upbeat. I had a couple moments of frustration but never anything of that I would have posted or shared. I feel like social media just isn’t the place for any of that…I caution my own sons about words and their eternal and piercing power once sent out to the universe.  I wonder if maybe it was me overreacting … and then I think no I did not. Did my rant bring me peace? I think it did in so much as my words were approved of by several of my friends, that they were taken as wisdom or strength vs just being mean. And the message here is simple, like our mother’s taught us…if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

Definition Defined

Definition Defined.

The Wonders of Wandering

As I begin the next chapter of my life, in an effort to resume a sense of normality, I find the need to create something fresh and new. I can say it is selfishly just for myself, just a place to locate and situate and direct what I hope becomes a travel journal of some kind. My last post involved admitting that returning to work has various purposes, the biggest being the buy myself an RV of some kind …. a new camera … maybe even a new laptop though I admit, I love the one I am using right now. There are so many approaches to how I can complete the journal … writing, photos, utilizing new gadgets and speaking to/ tagging the product company or website or online advertisements. Or, it can be just another page for myself with a handful of followers. Clearly, there is still much planning to do and details to be defined and implemented.

That being said, my head reels as I think of the potential wonders of wandering. The Wonders of Wandering will be the home of my new site, assuming the title/site has not already been claimed here on WordPress. I can hope only that some of you will come with me…share my stories, share your own, and enjoy what is being shared.

Back on the horse… back in the saddle

Having roped up the old pony and saddle a few months ago, I’m excited that it’s time to get back on the horse and get back to normal life. With just a few radiation treatments remaining, I’ve spent the last two evenings sending out my resume like a maniac/Maine-iac! Just imagine, a phone call of interest…arranging the meeting…starting another new chapter in my life…daunting in a sense yet totally exciting to me.

I have a plan this time, goals and savings and all … yes, I should have done this sooner and been more adult but my bills are always paid even if my refrigerator isn’t always full. Goal … an RV of some size… within the next five years bought and paid for in full in order to take my aging father on one last wild adventure in the RV to anywhere he wants to go. I keep reviewing all these cool places and cool ideas…the thought of this trip with Dad and my sister makes me totally excited, reminds me just how alive my heart and spirit are and have been, and how shocked my father will be when I kidnap him out of the blue!

Maybe I’m crazy…maybe wandering will become my new way of life…maybe I’ve always wandered in a sense and am just realizing it. Either way, my perspective has changed throughout this whole ordeal and the only reason I’m jumping back into the rat race, getting back in the saddle, rejoining the grown up world, is to ultimately satisfy my need to roam in an RV, take pictures, write about it, and give Dad the shock of his life with this unlimited adventure on my dime. It’s realistic right? I’m not totally mental! LOL

For too long, I have been away from the adult world of stop and go, work and play. It’s not who I am. Before, I worked because it was the right thing to do, the grown up thing to…bills have to be paid. That was it … no other goals… no hopes or dreams that it would result in anything more. It’s sad when I think about it … I rarely even shopped. My kids had the necessities and it always seemed enough but it wasn’t, ISN’T! I need this adventure as much as my father does … maybe more I am starting to think as I put it into writing. And my kids and my life deserve more … we haven’t had a family vacation in a long time … how wrong is that. So let’s throw that in there too… an awesome family escape to somewhere, camping even if close by or preferably somewhere like Yellowstone or Big Bear or Stone Mountain.

It’s symbolic I guess as I’m reading through/along … to be the wandering cowgirl/mama/daughter I have to do the grown up thing and get back on the pony and out onto the range and in the field. It’s the only way not only to host the adventure my heart and spirit needs but to fulfill some missed adventures and experiences for my family. Close by, far away doesnt matter so long as it is concentrated time together that we can afford. Giddy up!

Flip-Flops for my kids

I had to share the work of my talented friend! Her cards make me smile as do her personal messages. Please give Ms. Honeybeelane a visit!

honeybeelane

Today I have a couple of fun cards to share with you.

IMG_6223editedI made a pair of flip-flips for each one of my 4 children. 🙂 I’m playing this over at CASology’s Week 15: Kids.

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I used some free digi stamps from Little Tangles.

I made another card with a pair of flip-flops for my husband and I.

IMG_6206editedWe’ve been together since we were kids, 16 years old.

IMG_6207edited     I’m playing this second card over at Curtain Call Inspiration Challenge – Flip Flops.

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Thanks for stopping by!
XO
Melissa

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