59. ‘Cause it makes me that much stronger, makes me work a little bit harder

59. ‘Cause it makes me that much stronger, makes me work a little bit harder

I finally understand the anxiety behind releasing a second album or a movie sequel. Expectations soar and you’re left wondering how you’re going to compete with your initial success, not that my last blog post was “initial.” I posted 57 essays prior to that one game-changing post. The others were meaningless compared to the brutal honesty I shared a couple weeks ago, and since I wrote that, I don’t want to return to writing fluff. I enjoyed baring my soul, but I wonder how much soul is left to bare? How can I top it?

There’s my issue: I’m entirely too competitive for my own good. I always search for ways to improve. I can’t face that life isn’t a steady climb upwards. It’s a rollercoaster with enormous hills and valleys. I won’t always win. (Blasphemy!) I won’t always land the job. (Gasp!) Each essay won’t be better than the last. (Say it ain’t so!) That competitive nature stems from my very core, and for better or worse, it’s who I am. Read more

58. Caught in the in-between, a Beautiful Disaster

58. Caught in the in-between, a Beautiful Disaster

This will be the most raw and vulnerable you’ll ever find me. It is also one of the hardest truths I will ever write. I don’t speak of it often but it controls my life more than I care to admit. I’ve tried many times to express this but I guess I wasn’t quite ready to let the world know the deepest part of me. It only makes me a sliver of who I am yet sometimes I feel it controls the reins.

Many would call me hard or stoic. I would concur. I’ve worked tirelessly over the years to learn how not to cry, to build a wall around my emotions, and to never expose my heart. It comes with the territory. I’m my own worst enemy. I’m the sole reason for my own emotional sculpture.

Growing up I believed that everything happened for a reason. God only gave people what He knew they could handle. The strong were thrown curveballs because they would be more apt to hit homeruns than strike out. I clung to those beliefs for as long as I could; I had to in order to stay sane through years of hospital visits. Eventually I came to determine that life consisted of moments of chance, coincidence, and pure luck. A cynical, more realistic approach to life said there was no such thing as fate or destiny. My Treacher Collins Syndrome came from a random genetic mutation: plain and simple. It wasn’t written in the stars. It wasn’t because God knew I’d value my strength above all else. It was random. It could’ve been you instead of me who was dealt this burden. Maybe you would’ve handled life differently. Who knows? Read more

57. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

57. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

This may make me seem naive and innocent, foolish even, but I admit I still believe in Santa. Maybe not the tangible fat man in a red suit, but Santa isn’t just a man; he is magic. Specifically, Christmas magic.

A moment of nausea followed the time I found the wrapping paper that Santa used to wrap my gifts, but then it subsided and I continued to believe in the big man.  In my house, if you didn’t believe, you didn’t wake up to presents on Christmas morning.  Santa still gets cookies and the reindeer, carrots.

Tangible or not, I choose to believe in Santa because if you can’t believe in magic at Christmas, when can you?  If you’re religious, you’re going to say it’s God, or Jesus, or angels and miracles, but Santa’s magic knows no religion, no discrimination, no denomination.  Santa’s magic is the feeling of warm fuzzies once Christmas decorations are displayed.  You know what I’m talking about.  It’s an undeniable change in the air. It’s when people are kinder to one another.  We find more reasons to give to the needy and help the helpless.  We may leave a large tip for our restaurant server because “’tis the season.”  We may choose a child or elder from the angel tree at church or work.  We may decorate our homes so that others can find happiness in the outlandish display.  We play Santa and leave gifts on the doorsteps of those who’ve fallen on hard times. Our actions speak volumes at Christmas. Read more

56. Love’s in our hearts on Christmas

56. Love’s in our hearts on Christmas

The spirit of Christmas- it’s such a beautiful thing, isn’t it?  People change this time of year.  They give a little more freely, feel a little more deeply, and love a little more willingly.  The magic of the season can really affect you if you let it.

I have been blessed to have celebrated Christmas the way every child deserves.  There was never a doubt that Santa wouldn’t come to our house.  I always had my generous share of gifts waiting for me under the tree.  Maybe that’s why I have so much Christmas spirit these days.  There was no reason for me not to want to spread good cheer.  I was never let down; I never thought I’d been bad enough for Santa not to show.

Aside from the glutenous indulgences, sparkly wrapped presents, and festive tunes filling the airways (check out Sons of Serendip’s new single O Holy Night), all of which I love to no end, my newest favorite seasonal tradition is volunteering with Toys For Tots. Read more

55. I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free.

55. I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free.

The Fourth of July has always been one of my favorite holidays.  Houses adorned with American flags, citizens unabashed of wearing their nation’s colors, cookouts and fireworks.  There’s no better holiday to celebrate in the dead of summer.

But the Fourth of July is about more than just burgers, sparklers, and dressing like Uncle Sam; It’s a way to recognize the independence of our great country.  It’s a holiday centered around Patriotism and honor.  In 1776, our Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence thus granting the 13 British colonies the freedom from the British reign.  With this freedom, came unimaginable firghts still appreciated today.

I’m proud to be an American.  I don’t only support my country one day a year.  I thank our service men and women for their duties.  I cheer for my country during World Cups and Olympic Games.  And I find no shame in knowing the words to our national anthem and glaring at those who do not remove their ball caps in respect.  At the start of the Royal Family 10K race (at Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend 2014), I teared up during the national anthem because, though it was an instrumental recording, the entire crowd of runners began singing the words. Read more