“People Say…”

“No one continuously wins at chess by only moving forward. Sometimes you have to move backward to put yourself in a position to win. And this is a perfect metaphor for life. A step back can be a step in the right direction.”

Marcandangel, (Marc and Angel Chernoff)

It’s been 4 weeks since my spinal surgery, and I am healing well. The sutures are almost completely dissolved, all bandages have been removed, and there have been no signs of infection. My body is functioning better now than it has since before the accident. My pain level has been reduced so significantly, since having this surgery to repair the fractures, that I am now able to manage most days without even considering the thought of taking ibuprofen. My post-op followup went well and my neurosurgeon is pleased with my progress.

I am currently entering Phase #2 of this recovery plan – or, as I call it, “the middle”, where physical therapy has been prescribed and disc regeneration therapy is about to begin. These two treatment regimens will be time consuming and expensive, but very important key factors in my return to running.

It’s hard not to feel discouraged, for all the time that I have lost, and overwhelmed at the time I must now invest in order to continue moving forward. The added expense to rebuild a broken body is, also, nothing short of astounding – as is the realization that I am literally starting back at square one, focusing on the most basic of physical movements, in order to rebuild all of the strength, stability, flexibility and mobility which I have lost over the course of these past 15 months.

People say: “It could always be worse.”, and they are not wrong – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard or that it wasn’t bad.

People say: “You’ll get there.”, and it’s true, I most certainly will – but that doesn’t make the road to “there” any less difficult to travel.

People say: “You’ll get used to it.” or that perhaps this is just your “new normal” – but settling for less than what I am capable of has never sat well with me, nor is this mediocre middle ground something that I will just blindly accept.

People say: “It’s important to know your limits.” – but, I believe, it’s more important to realize that you have none!

People say a lot of things – but, the beauty of it all, is that you don’t have to listen.


“I’d Do It All Again.”

“How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.”

George Washington Carver

Nearly five years of consistent therapy sessions has finally taught me that I am not a problem to be solved, nor am I broken, requiring to be fixed.

I am a spiritual being, constantly evolving. As such, I continue to change and grow, and am constantly transforming. This process takes time. It can not be rushed.

All of the things I’ve experienced along the way, the good and the bad, I had to go through them in order to find myself – because all of this didn’t just happen by chance. And, if I had the choice, I’d do it all again.

I know that growth requires pain and sometimes light demands the darkness in order to be seen. I realize now that I had to go through my darkest of moments in order to find, and be able to actually appreciate, my light.

It didn’t happen over night, but today I woke up and realized that my “someday” is finally here. I made the decision, a long time ago, to take the first small step towards becoming my best self. And, today, I am in awe of how far I have actually come.

It occurred to me this morning that what once plagued my mental health, no longer holds power over me. I’ve made it out of that fiery hell that I used to burn in. I took a look back over the time it took to get me here, and all the things I’ve worked to overcome along the way; things I once doubted if I could even do. I realize now how, while going through it, there were so many little steps I took that seemed so insignificant at the time. But now that they have been added together, I can clearly see how they have accumulated to significantly change my life.

I am thankful that I have been consistent – that I was persistent in my desire to develop a healthy well being. I take full responsibility for myself, as well as the many times that I have added unnecessary weight to my own burdens. I forgive myself for the times I fell back into the slums of my own misery… because, every time I did, I needed it less and less. Every time I wanted to give up, and every time I thought I might give in, I stayed true to my course instead.

The measures I took to enrich my life, haven’t always been easy – it is, at times, a literal destruction of the old and reconstruction of the new. It is a diligent, intricate, and beautiful combination of work to obtain (and maintain) exponential growth – but I’m doing it!

It’s most certainly not always “sunshine and rainbows” and cultivating a positive attitude is a must! Not every day will be a “good” day. The trick is to never let the “bad” days win. Even if they show up in weeks or months at a time, don’t ever let the bad days make you believe that this is a bad life. Instead, be an energy converter. Whatever comes your way, convert it into what you want it to become. Not everything is always as it seems. So many things actually depend upon how you choose to respond, rather than how it “has to be”.

So stop waiting until you feel 100% ready because, the truth is, you’ll never feel completely ready.

Stop waiting for the “perfect” moment, because the perfect moment simply doesn’t exist.

The moment is NOW, so take that leap of faith.

Be scared – but do it anyway. Be under-qualified – but apply for it anyway. Be messy, imperfect, and unsure – but show up and do your best anyway.

Your potential is endless. Don’t let fear or laziness stand in the way of you starting a new chapter.

Comfort is the enemy of growth. If you truly want your life to change, it’s time to get uncomfortable. Life is full of undeniable blessings… many of which emerge through challenges and change.

You might lose people. You might lose friends. You might lose pieces of yourself that you never imagined would be gone – but then, without warning, these pieces will slowly begin to come back to you. New people will enter. Better friends will come along. Bigger opportunities will present themselves. Pretty soon you’ll wake up in the morning to find a stronger, wiser YOU is staring back in the mirror and, in this moment, you’ll look back on your journey and be thankful that you didn’t give up on yourself.

Even on my worst days, I’m grateful for the passions that are innately imbedded in my soul because, no matter how steep my challenges may be, they motivate me to show up and try again tomorrow. And, if I had the choice, I’d do it all over again. Because I know now exactly where this path will lead – to this very moment, right here, right now. Because my whole life began to change, when I finally decided to change my own life.



I withdraw from people and places from time to time, I need space from a world that is filled with millions of mouths that talk too much, but never have anything to say.”

Kaitlin Foster
I disappear from time to time. I do that sometimes.

Growing up, I often enjoyed playing by myself. As a teenager, I required a lot of time alone or I would become agitated and moody, overstimulated and unable to control my emotions.

My dad used to say that I was anti-social. He addressed this particular behavior frequently, as if it was a character flaw. He portrayed my desire for solitude in a very negative light, calling it unnatural, as if there was something wrong with it – or with me, for enjoying it so much.

As a young, impressionable personality, experiencing a very vulnerable and influential period of my life, it was practically impossible for me not to believe him.

As an adult, however, I now realize that the thoughts and feelings my father expressed towards me at that time were actually, in fact, a projection of his own inner turmoil.

Could it have been because he witnessed the same “anti-social” behaviors in his younger brother, who ultimately murdered a man and is now serving a life sentence in a maximum security prison?


Could the pressure he placed upon me to get out of my room and to constantly be engaged with other people actually be his projection of fear and guilt regarding his own inability to help his brother before it was all too late?


The truth is, we’ll never truly know. What I do know now though is that there is absolutely nothing “wrong” with me and I am not, in any sense of the word, “anti-social”.

It’s true, though, I do withdraw from people and places from time to time – sometimes, for quite a long time. As an adult who has become well-versed in the workings of my soul, I realize that I frequently need to detach myself from all the energies and emotions in this world that are not mine. I am not responsible for the opinions or beliefs of others and I no longer hold myself accountable for how someone chooses to perceive things, or me, because of it. I refuse to address negativity that is not mine and uncovering the root cause of this in others is not my responsibility. I am, by nature, an empathetic being – maintaining my balance requires a certain level of detachment. I am now very conscious of this, therefore, I choose to protect my energy, and doing so requires time alone – away from all the “noise”.

It’s true, there are times when I feel a bit “disconnected”- but it helps to realize that, in these particular moments, I’m actually more connected than I ever have been.


“Pieces of Her, Left Behind.”

My Mama & her “Midnight”

Someone just told me that today, August 17th, is #NationalBlackCatAppreciationDay .

Never did I ever know this was a “thing” but, as it echoes in mind, creating thoughts and stirring up memories, I have decided to indulge this day with a story.

On October 26th 2017, after being notified of the fatal crash that took both my parents lives, we traveled to the scene and then on to my parents home in the hills of Ohio, attempting to make some sense out of the chaos.

All alone inside their house, we discovered this bright eyed beauty, cowering beneath a bed – confused about who we were and what we were doing in his home.

“Where’s my Mama?”, he seemed to cry out; and my heart ached with the same confusion, broken open by the knowledge of the truth.

We coaxed him out, cuddled him, and brought him back home with us that night.

I’ll admit it right now, I did not want him. I immediately asked my husband to find someone to take him, somewhere else that he could go.

I was repulsed by the thought of a constant being in our house, every single day, reminding me of all that I have lost. But, as the days went on and the difficult funeral & burial decisions were made, his gentle spirit comforted me… and I could no longer let him go. I needed him here just as much as he needed me to let him stay.

Now, here we are, nearly 5 years later, and I find myself wondering if he was ever this happy all by himself in my parents home?

He has a dog to disturb and 3 cats to harass. He cuddles my husband every night and refuses to be ignored – he will make you love him, whether you want to or not, and I admire his tenacity!

It was a dark and tragic moment that brought us both together… but he has bounced back with ferocious resiliency and reminds me every single day that, while your whole world can come crashing down around you, it can not keep you down unless you let it.

Happiness is a CHOICE… and the choice is always yours!


“The Comeback Will Be Huge.”

“The size of your dreams must always exceed your current capacity to achieve them. If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.”

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

For as long as I can remember, I have always loved a good comeback story.

“Nadia” was my childhood icon. I watched her story unfold, on replay, again and again and again – until the tape on the VHS literally broke!

I followed the story of Muhammad Ali through the eyes of my father. We watched the fights, replayed from the 1970’s, using a rabbit ears antenna on a staticky tv screen with frequent interruptions, in the 1980’s.

On April 21st 2014, just one year after the horrific bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, I watched in awe and absolute ecstasy as Meb Keflezighi made that left onto Hereford and right onto Boylston. With his chin and chest up, eyes focused forward, he ran with every ounce of strength he had left, crossing that finish line as the first american male to win the Boston Marathon in over 30 years! The “experts” had already counted him out, saying that he was too old, too slow, and had suffered too many injuries to even be considered a possible prospect for this win – but he was not deterred. He knew he was healthy. He knew he was strong. He knew he had trained well. But, most of all, he was humbled and grateful for the opportunity. He laced up his shoes, wrote the names of the deceased victims from the 2013 bombings on the corners of his bib: Martin, Lingzi, Krystle, and Sean – and he ran.

On May 6th, 2017, I held my breath as Eliud Kipchoge came so close, yet ultimately failed, to break the 2-hour barrier in running a full marathon. He crossed the finish line at 2:00:25 and I was deflated. How crushed he must be to have tried so hard, come so close, yet ultimately fail! His post-race response blew my mind. With a smile upon his face he looked at the camera and said, “Today I have learned that the impossible is possible. Now we are only 25 seconds away.”!

October 12th, 2019, Eliud returned to this attempt on the streets of Vienna. As the world watched, myself included, he not only succeeded in breaking through this previously perceived human barrier, he shattered it into a million pieces with a blazing fast time of 1:59:40! He proved to himself and the rest of the world that, no matter what Doctors and Scientists and disbelieving mortals may say or think, “NO HUMAN IS LIMITED!”.

Needless to say, I am a firm believer in this concept as well. So, there I was, just 36 hours after having undergone spinal surgery, making a decision and completing my registration. I committed myself to a goal – one which, in my current physical state and at this early stage of the recovery process, may seem completely absurd… but it is far from “impossible”.

I know this. I believe this. I intend to prove this.

Not for you, but for me. Not for the ones call me “crazy”, nor the ones who just can not seem to believe. I intend to prove this to myself – because I want to, because I feel the need to and, when I think about the future and envision the day when my chance finally comes, simply because I can!

I shared this goal with a friend of mine – a friend who loves a good comeback story just as much (if not more) than I! His response contained the most encouraging words ever bestowed upon me:

“In Muhammad Ali’s book “The Greatest: My Own Story”, Ali tells the story of when he returned home after he got his jaw broken and lost the Norton fight. Ali relates that every old friend he saw congratulated him on a great career, expressed sadness that it was over and that Ali would never be the champion again. Ali said that his jaw was wired shut and he could not talk but he kept telling himself “the comeback will be huge”. Later that year, 1973, he beat Norton in their rematch and, in 1974, he beat Frazier and, a year later, knocked out Foreman to regain the heavyweight championship of the world. The comeback will be huge!”

Joe Guilyard, August 4th, 2022.


“Emotional Magic!”

“Thoughts generate emotions, emotions influence the way we experience the world around us. How we handle our emotions
determines the lives we live.”

Nansia Movidi

Most people have no idea how to identify, let alone work with, their emotions.

Emotions are signals, kind of like the indicator lights on your car. You can use emotions that come up as tools and instruments that enable you to learn something about your body and your mind. To learn where something is scraping or scruffing, like sandpaper. The emotional signal is an indicator of an imbalance, pulling at you here.

Stop for a moment.



It always starts with WHY.

WHY do I feel this way about this? Or that? Or them? Or this whole situation?

That’s when you find the next part, like a magician pulling a handkerchief out of a magic hat, and then another, and another, and another… until you finally come to realize a core belief that you’ve adopted. Or you realize that you’ve been trying to control things outside of you. Or you discover a thought that’s not aligning with your spirit. And by uncovering the root cause of these emotions, finding clarity for what was formerly unknown, you can now begin to adress it, calling it by its name, and finally begin to heal it.

VOILÀ! …issue resolved!

This process provides space between you and your emotions. Discovering the actual issue brings clarity and, by actually addressing the issue, confidence and strength.

You don’t have to suffer beneath heavy emotions.
You can use them to optimize your body and your mind to serve you, for the betterment of yourself and, in turn, all whom you love.

The more you practice this, the more it becomes like second nature.


“Space to Grow.”

“Just about anything will grow inside – fear, hate, indifference, love – and it all comes down to what you’re comfortable giving space to.”


We don’t always think of it that way, but it really does come down to what we give space to grow.

In a world that’s always rushing around, I choose to take my time. No one ever gets anywhere worthy of going, by putting everyone else behind.

In a world that stresses “all or nothing”, I choose to give my best. It varies day by day – sometimes it’s more, sometimes it’s less.

In a world that challenges everyone to keep up – the newest this, the latest that, constantly seeking to compare, I stopped stressing and stopped struggling, trying to establish myself there.

Instead of dwelling on the things I can not do, I choose to focus on that which I can. In deciding what’s worthy of investing my time, I search my soul, then formulate a plan.

I stopped engaging with the voice of my innermost critic, and made the conscious decision to believe. In circles festering with negativity, I simply choose to leave.

In a world where “misery loves company”, I’d rather walk alone. The only ones who walk beside me are the friends who feel like home.

I stopped going where I wasn’t invited, stopped spending time where there’s never any love. In a world where it’s “common” to dim someone’s shine, I hope you, too, can rise above.

In a world that tries to dictate what’s important, I decide what’s important to me. In a world where people are enslaved to their jobs, I insist on being free.

In a world that expects you to fit inside their box, I refuse to make myself small. The interests of a few “higher ups” should never trump the well being of all.

A world that finds pleasure in taking offense, subsequently harbors hate. I choose to process through my emotions, seek to understand, and then to relate. Sometimes the walls we build to “protect” ourselves become like prisons in our own minds. If we work hard to break down these barriers, it’s often peace that we shall find.

In a world that tries to control so much – from what you do, to what you say, the best thing I ever did for myself was choose to go my own way.

We are all unfolding stories. We are under no obligation to remain the same. In a world that seeks to validate everything, the best thing I ever did was decide to change.


“You’re Allowed.”

You’re allowed to leave any story you don’t find yourself in. You’re allowed to lose your self, to lose your faith, to temporarily lose your way. Sometimes, in the losing, we discover the ultimate truths that lead us to an even bigger win.

You’re allowed to leave any story you don’t love yourself in, any friendship you’re not appreciated in, any situation that has dimmed your light instead of helping to brighten your shine.

You’re allowed to pack your bags, literally or figuratively, and start over somewhere new. Sometimes, it’s in the deciding to close this chapter that we find the courage to turn the page.

You’re allowed to quit the job that you hate, even if the world tells you not to. You’re allowed to search for something you love to do, no matter how simple or small – something that makes you look forward to tomorrow, and the rest of your life. Sometimes it’s the smallest of things that end up making the biggest difference.

You’re allowed to leave someone you love if they’re treating you poorly. You’re allowed to put yourself first if you find that you’ve been settling, and you’re allowed to walk away when you’ve tried, again and again, but nothing has changed.

You’re allowed to let toxic friends go, no matter how long your history has been. You’re allowed to choose the kind of energy you will accept into your life. “One rotten apple spoils the whole bunch” is not merely a stealthy proverb, but an accurate depiction of how negativity can (and will) impact those who choose to permit it to breed. Surround yourself with love, with hope, with positivity and grace – with people who encourage you and nurture your growth. The ones with whom you find beautiful depth because, once you’ve experienced the deep, shallow will no longer ever be good enough.

You’re allowed to forgive yourself for your biggest and smallest mistakes. You’re allowed to be kind to yourself, as well as to others. In forgiving the sins of those who have hurt you, grace will embrace you, and set your heart free.

You’re allowed to look in the mirror and actually like the person that you see. You’re allowed to release yourself of your own expectations and to turn a deaf ear to the murmurings of the world.

We sometimes look at “leaving” as a bad thing, like giving up or quitting is only ever a derogatory thing – but sometimes leaving is actually the best possible thing. Sometimes it’s the leaving that allows you to change your direction, to start over, to rediscover yourself and regard the world in a whole new light.

And you’re allowed.

You’re allowed to leave. You’re allowed to quit. You’re allowed to change. You’re allowed to grow. You’re allowed to forgive. You’re allowed to let go.

Sometimes it’s the leaving that releases you – from remaining stuck in the wrong place with the wrong people. Sometimes it’s the leaving that opens new doors – for redemption, for change, for opportunity and for growth.

So go ahead and leave – any person, place, situation or circumstance that no longer serves your soul.


*this piece was inspired by, adapted from and redacted in a creative writing assignment. The core basis for this piece was originally created by, Rania Naim.


“Anything you cannot relinquish when it has outlived its usefulness possesses you, and in this materialistic age a great many of us are possessed by our possessions.”

Mildres Lisette Norman

In a culture addicted to “Bigger, Better, Faster, More”, you must define what “enough” means to you, or you will never have it.

We make our own choices, and each one comes with a price; but it’s not just the dollar amount – the price is often much higher.

When you say you want a bigger house, more kids, fancy car, etc., you’re also saying that you’re okay with working full-time for pretty much the rest of your life to pay for them.

Some circumstances and health challenges pop up and derail us, absolutely – but that’s not what I’m talking about. This is about knowing the difference between needs and wants, and the ripple effect of each decision.

No one lives forever. Time and unforeseen occurrence befall us all. What good is obtaining “all the things” if you’re too busy working to afford them, that you no longer have any of the time left in your life to actually enjoy them?

You were born to do more than just work. There are books to write, art to create, photographs to capture. There are people to meet, laughter to be shared, and adventures to experience. Extraordinary moments can be found in every, ordinary day… if you are free and clear, mindful enough to be here.


“Broken & Blessed”

I’ve been broken, but I am blessed.

I injured myself while pursuing a passion, my dream since childhood – the ability to FLY!

I got to run the 2021 Boston Marathon, despite my injuries – probably not the smartest thing I’ve ever done, but rewarding nonetheless.

I persisted, in spite of my injuries, running a 5K in November and a half marathon in January.

I continued to run and lift, as if in complete denial… until, with tears in my eyes, I laid on the floor of the gym and admitted: “I can’t anymore.”

…yet, on May 1st, I laced up my shoes, wrapped my spine in a binder, and ran “just one more!”

There’s a fine line between optimism and delusion – when it comes to running, I tend to cross it quite often.

Admitting the extent of my injuries has been the hardest reality to face. When my parachute collapsed and my body struck the ground, I knew that I was hurt… but I was in denial about how badly I was hurt.

When the incident occurred, I refused an Ambulance. I refused assistance. I refused to wait for my family. I refused to wait for a friend. I wrapped my own fractured arm, trying to ignore the fact that my hand was “falling off” and I slid myself inside my Jeep. I used “SIRI” to call my husband, hands-free, and made contact with my favorite Doctor/friend. Against their best medical advice, I refused to take myself to a Trauma Center – instead, opting for a small facility where I knew the current, on duty, E.R. staff. Despite my experience as a Paramedic, my skills in the role of the patient are obviously quite poor – from the initial decisions made, to the actual assessment and cooperation with recommendations for care.

We immediately addressed the most obvious injury, my severely fractured wrist… but, when it came to my spine, I withheld pertinent information, symptoms and complaints. I refused the additionally recommended evaluations and tests out of fear for what ultimately needed to be done.

This aversion to reality over the course of the past year has impeded my progress, delayed my recovery, and even worsened the extent of my injuries.

Luckily for me, I get another chance!

Today was the day of my surgery. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared. We ate out last night because, as I was about to prepare our usual meal of fish and veggies, I told my husband; “If this just so happens to be my final meal, I’m gonna be pissed that I wasted it on THIS!”. (He told me not to be stupid, but took me out for pizza, nonetheless.)

More than the risk of bleeding or death though, is the very real possibility of paralysis when undergoing surgery on the spine. This, to me, is a fate much worse than death. This is the risk that kept me dabbling in all of my dishonest ignorance for so very long… refusing to consider the pursuit of a skilled neurosurgeon.

Tonight though, with this surgery now behind me (albeit just 15 hours), I am already feeling hopeful about the future, and the prospect of my return to running. I’m looking forward to the next step in our, now revised, two-part recovery plan!