Archive for the ‘Hardship’ Category

Sometimes, and let me be clear, only sometimes, I don’t think I’m bitchy enough to be a writer. (That alone should be enough to spark more interest in my blog than usual)

I was on a plane to New York last week. My daughter and I pre-booked our seats and got to the airport (absurdly) early for check-in. Long story short, we were well prepared and took every measure to insure we were sitting together and that my girl got the window seat she’d been dreaming of.

As we approached our seats, we were met with a stare of frigid disappointment. A mother sat with her tot on her lap and said;

Oh, we were hoping you wouldn’t be together.”

“Sorry?” I asked, confused.

“My son and I are seated apart, so we were hoping you were going to be able to switch with us.”

“Ah,” I said in an understanding tone. I looked at the little boy, no more than three. I could feel her pain.

I turned to my daughter, only a child herself, and was met with her pleading eyes, but before I could say anything, she relented; “It’s okay, the little boy can sit with his mom.”

I could see she was troubled, only being eleven, but sensing the gravity of the situation, she knew he needed his mommy just a little more than she did.

“Are you sure honey? I asked. “You don’t have to switch if you’re worried. The seat’s yours after all.”

As we were having this conversation, a mere formality, the outcome of which we already knew, we were interrupted by the woman; “’She is just that much older. My boy really needs to sit with me.”

As I absorbed what she was saying, the flight attendant piped in; “Yes, she is older. I’m sure she’ll be fine.”

Amidst the blink of an eye, and some unnecessary tongue flapping, what had started as empathy for the woman and her child was now bordering on resentment and flirting at the edge of anger within me. I was being bullied.

“It’s alright,” I answered, slightly exasperated. “We’ll change seats.”

We settled into our new digs and I leaned back, glad to be out of the limelight. An aisle separated my girl and I. We looked at each other and smiled. No big deal.

Two hours in, she reclined her seat, startling, but not (even close to) disrupting a woman behind her. The woman’s wild curls bounced and her eyes widened behind her very round, thick-rimmed glasses.

With a cluck of her tongue, she looked down her nose and over her specs at the person next to her.

“This is why I wouldn’t switch with them in the first place. I’m a writer”, she claimed with an exasperated tone while stroking the keys of her laptop. “And you see”, her voice all high and mighty, “I still can’t get any peace!”

So, maybe Ava and I couldn’t cuddle, whisper or giggle and perhaps she couldn’t rest her head on my shoulder while she was sleeping and she obviously didn’t get her much anticipated window seat, but we were going to New York, we did hold hands during take off and landing, we had the comfort that came from doing what was right and I would still be a writer…bitch or not.

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“Fall down seven times, stand up eight”

My post today was going to depict dog-eared folks who have beaten the odds. They’ve achieved success on bountiful levels despite battered introductions and experiences in this world.

It was going to be about those who have essentially clawed themselves free from what would be seen as unsalvageable ruin and rubble and found their way to a breathing hole. People who have taken ownership of the debris and repurposed it into a life of their own; a life to be proud of.

I was going to write about Kevin (The Kid) Lewis who persevered his sadistic, abusive parents and the debacle they called a ‘home’. He struggled with right and wrong, suicide and self-deprivation long past his escape from outside influences and went on to follow his dreams of acceptance, family, writing and movie production.

I would’ve written about Nick Vujicic; born with a rare disease called Tetra-Amelia Syndrome. Yup, no arms, no legs. Contemplating suicide at the tender age of eight, love for his family carried him through the tough times. Nick went on to achieve vast successes, large and small. He is a University Graduate with a double major,  a preacher, an inspirational and motivational speaker, the founder (at seventeen) of Life Without Limbs, a non-profit organization and an author. In February 2012, he married his sweetheart. Talk about getting up when you’re down.

I could’ve told you about Randy Pausch; Husband, Father of three, Science Professor and Childhood Dream Achiever. He trusted in optimism prior to his Pancreatic Cancer and it served him well throughout his life. His ‘glass half full’ outlook carried him, respected and accomplished, to his death. It also scored him three years as opposed to the original three-month prognosis.

When told he had three months to live due to his tumor-riddled liver, he simply continued on with his lifelong legacy; positivity, video logs for his wife and children, one last book and one Last Lecture.

I’d ‘ve brought to your attention, Elizabeth (Liz) Murray. She came into the world through poor, drug-addicted, eventually HIV positive parents.  When her Mother died of AIDS, Elizabeth, fifteen, was homeless and left to fend for herself. She graduated high school in just two years while supporting herself and her sister. Snagging the New York Times Scholarship for needy students, Elizabeth was accepted into Harvard U in 2000. She left in 2003 to care for her ailing Father, continuing her schooling at Columbia to remain close to him.

He succumbed to AIDS in 2006, permitting her to return to Harvard to complete her Psychology degree. Today she is a motivational speaker and founder of the company Manifest Living.

My post would’ve included Aron Ralston. Somewhat of a pro climber, Ralston took an ‘easy’ hike and became imprisoned Between a Rock and a Hard Place. After five days of hallucinating and sipping his own urine, he had little choice but to amputate his trapped right arm with the dull blade of a multi-tool. His fortitude and fight for life carried him up and out of the canyon to eventual safety.

Aron is now an expert rock climber, using various extensions for his prosthetic arm, one of them being an ice pick for glaciers. He’s a motivational speaker, an author, a husband and a father. If you haven’t read his book, I strongly urge you to do so. Not only is it can’t put it down riveting, it’s fantastically written. This guy had the moxie to survive and the writing chops to prove he was meant to tell the story.

I was going to write about these people who are brimming with negatives turned positives, who ooze strength, courage and determination, who have taken their pain and unfairities and spun them into the stuff dreams are made of…the material of Superman’s suit…hero producing, goal achieving champions of challenge.

I was going to sing their praises and draw your attention to their utter and absolute amazingness.  I was excited to write about all of them…and then I realized they don’t want me to speak for them. They insist on speaking for themselves.

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