April 10, 2017

“Speech is silver,

but silence is golden!”

Do you feel that sometimes you cannot express your feelings, emotions, thoughts or ideas properly?  Do you feel people do not understand what you are trying to say?  Or, perhaps you feel people are just not interested in what you have to say!

“Speech is silver” is a good way of saying, what is said is important but it is how you say it that really matters.  Have you ever spoken to someone who continues to talk and talk, and explains what they have to say over and over, repeating themselves giving different examples to the same thing said many times over?  You need to learn how to speak clearly, simply, and get to the point!  To communicate properly and succinctly, you need to properly learn the tools (art of communication),

and the techniques how to use the tools.  One of the ways to do this is to join a Toastmasters Club in your area where you have a friendly, supportive environment, to practice the tools you learn and to improve your skills by experiencing proper evaluations in order you know what skills you do well and what skills you might improve on.

When speaking to someone it is important you share your thoughts and ideas clearly.  If an individual begins to argue with your thoughts or ideas, it is wise not to argue back!  By arguing back all it proves is an argument and then no one wins.  When speaking and sharing your thoughts and ideas, remember that it is not a competition.  The individuals you speak with either accept what you have to share or simply do not listen or simply disregard your thoughts and ideas and go on with life.  Those who argue are those who like the challenge of winning an argument just for the sake of a good debate.

“Silence is golden” is a good way of saying that it is sometimes a good idea not to say anything at all!  What you have to say is not as important as having to explaining it!  You do not have to defend how you feel or offer your ideas.  To be silent is a very wise choice to make as it is golden to feel confident in what you have said or shared and no explanation is necessary!  Your pride and self-confidence is worthy of not being drawn into an argument and no one can take that away from you.

Please comment on the theme topic of this week.  Let us know what you think the statement means to you.

Smile, have the courage to step out for success and always allow you passions and uniqueness to shine!”

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April 4, 2017

“You never miss the water until the water runs dry!” 

 

 

We need to appreciate the things in our life.  We need to be grateful for all of the good things in our life.  Being grateful for the things in our life, even the smallest of things, makes us feel happy and can lift up our spirits.  Take the time each day to be making a gratitude list.  This is called a “gratitude journal”.  In your gratitude journal write down each date, and write down five new things every day to be grateful for in your life.  The best time to sit and do this is to take a few minutes every night to go over the day you have had and see how you have spent your time!  Time is extremely valuable, it is precious, and when time runs out, there is no how, no way to get it back! 

I have received numerous e-mails from individuals who feel sad, a heaviness on them, and feel depressed.  Each of you have asked how do I change this or how do I make my life better?  This is the first step to living a happier and positive life.  If you focus on the negative things in life then that is what your brain is registering and feeds back to you in emotional feelings and fills your spirit with these negative emotions we call sadness, depression, lack of self-confidence, and poor self-esteem.  That is why it is so important to be very aware of what you are registering in your brain.  Just like a computer, it registers what you tell it, in your thoughts, words, and actions.  It is extremely important to focus on happy, positive things you have in your life.  As you begin to write down even the smallest of things you are grateful for, the more happier you begin to feel.  The more you keep this habit going, every day writing in your “gratitude journal” the more your brain registers happy, positive things and feeds happy, positive emotions back to you in uplifting emotional feelings and fills your spirit with joy and happiness.  This is true!  Give it a try for one week and discover how you feel?  I guarantee you should start to feel much better and your spirit will feel emotionally uplifting in joy and happiness.  When we put these positive vibrations out into the universe, the positive vibrations come back to us in good things happening in our lives. 

Remember, we all face troubles, dark times, sadness, sorrow, and obstacles in our journey in life.  If you face them with negative emotions then the result you will receive is negative results.  If you face these times in your life with positive emotions, then positive results will come back to you.  These difficult times and obstacles we face in life are our learning lessons of life!  What kind of lessons are you learning in life?  Are you learning negative or positive lessons.  It is your life and if you want to be successful then I hope you are learning positive lessons in your life, to share, use, and become the positive success you want to be!

Be grateful and thankful for everything in your life.  Begin a “gratitude journal and be successful!

“Smile, have the courage to step out for success and always allow your passions and uniqueness to shine!”  Lynn Fitzsimmons

Please send a comment:  Have a wonderful blessed day!

 

Week #25:

Sometimes to let go is to be happy!
Let go of relationships that do not serve you; that means negative people, dishonest people, people who do not respect you, people who are overly critical, and relationships that prevent you from growing. You can’t grow as a person if you don’t have people in your life who want to grow with you.
As you began to wake up and your body began to stir, your consciousness became more aware that you were waking up and a brand new day was laid before you. No expectations, no rules, and no one else to tell you how to live this brand new day that belongs totally to you.
Perhaps you have special plans, errands that need to be taken care of, or just the daily routines of the day confront you as your eyes open and ponder the day before you! This is a new blank page in your own personal story that you get to write yourself.
In the echoes of your mind do you feel guilty about something you did, did not do, or perhaps something you should have thought of to do? Somehow in life our struggles and emotions get all tied up and things happen and we are not sure why. Perhaps we are not to understand or know why?
I had a very good friend who I believed was a special friend. We had a lot of fun together, we did a lot together, and we supported each other in our time of need. That is what true friendship is; at least I thought it was! We met unexpectedly and did not become friends right away. But, as we got to know one another we drew closer to each other and it became a good friendship. I was a lot older, so perhaps I could be her mom, but she definitely did not need a mom. She became a friend and we shared a lot together. We began to share some of our deep dark secrets that we kept hidden from others. It was good to be able to have a special friend who you could really trust in, believe in, and feel close too! When sharing some of those hidden most secrets of our lives was precious moments spent in a moment of time and space that allowed both of us to express some of our regrets, sorrows, loss, happiness, joy, and love! We knew that we could uncover these precious secrets for just a brief moment and then put them safely away where no other individual could touch or disrupt them from their hiding place. The trust, passion of life, and laughter was safe in those precious moments.
Then, something happens to break that trust! Something you don’t believe would happen! But, there it is in black and white and it was clear to me that I had been taken advantage of! At least that is what I feel and believe from my own personal prospective. But, it does not undo the feeling of the bond that one shares so deeply with another individual and that is why the pain is so deep and hurts so much as it tears apart the fabric of the basis of your friendship. That tear is shocking and painful! The blood of caring so deeply for a friend is now pouring out, you feel it, you can’t stop it, it hurts, and still it continues until you finally realize what exactly has happened.
The exact moment was there in front of me when it happened! Subconsciously I knew right away. Consciously, I did not want to recognize it. Being disabled (legally blind) feeling ill from surgery, filled up with medication, trying to deal with extreme pain and frustration of wanting to do things on my own and having to surrender my mind, body and spirit over to others to take care of me was difficult for me to deal with. I so appreciated my husband’s deep care giving and attentiveness with me as I was recovering from my surgery. The deep bonds of friendship deepen when you bare your heart and soul to another with our sharing becomes a special bond between the two friends. But, when you bare yourself naked and defenseless to help yourself and you allow this friend to come into a very private place of your life this true bond of friendship really develops as the love of family. This is how I thought of this friend, as a part of my family. As she muttered something under her breath, I did not have to hear the exact words but I instinctively knew exactly what happened in that exact moment! I spoke to her and perhaps she did not hear as I believe she did not want to hear. She quickly left the bedroom where we both were in that quick instant of that moment! As she returned I asked if she had taken something with her not exactly mentioning the “thing” in my mind. She ignored me and became talkative on a different subject. I allowed it to go as I needed to process this moment in my mind. Somehow this moment was not clear to me but was in my mind. It is a difficult thing to explain to another person. Sometimes my true instincts pop up within my consciousness and I just know what has happened. Many times I realize I have had premonitions or actual signs of things happening or going to happen. In a quick flash or momentary removal of my body happens. How? Why? Or for how long is not determinable. My spirit rises above me and can see perfectly around the situation at hand or in the moments to come. When this happens and I return my spirit to my body, it feels very weird as if it did not just happen. Many times I have pushed it away not believing it. Perhaps it is not real! But, somehow in that unconscious state that pulls me up and holds me aware of things is like having a foggy memory of something that happened. Are these things real, day-dreams, or unconscious psychotic emotions?
Anyway, I knew exactly that my special friend had taken something of value of mine and put it in her bag at the front door. As she returned to the bedroom where she had been helping me organize something’s of mine in my closet. I asked her directly what did you take to the living room. She replied nothing! I knew in an instant something wasn’t right! My conscious brain and unconscious brain was alerting me to something and at that moment I decided to let it go! I was unsure and seemed confused. I clearly remember telling myself to “hold on to” this emotion and feeling that I was having in this moment. I had never done that before! I always let these moments fade away not really knowing if they were true or false feelings of premonitions or knowledge of what the future was holding in that moment. As I practiced this “holding on to” these premonitions I became better and better recognizing them and distinguishing them for what they were meaning in my life. They have become clearer and clearer to me.
As we continued I felt very uncomfortable and worried about this emotion and feelings that I was holding onto! My special friend’s attitude seemed to change as well. She seemed distant and not as focused talking to me as she was! Later after she left I wondered about the “thing” I knew was in a special box in the bottom of the closet. I knew it was there! No one else knew! It was a secret just for me and I kept it safe and hidden away as I wanted this to pass to my grandchildren as something special I did for them and would be left in that special envelope with a special letter just for them from me when I was gone. I was too afraid to look to see if it was really gone! I was exhausted at this moment and needed rest as I was not well. The next day I wanted to go and look in my special hiding place and find out if my treasure was still there! It wasn’t until late the next evening when I forced myself to look!!! It was gone! I knew exactly what had happened and what my premonition was true!
I had felt horrible that this special treasure was missing. But, I could not believe that my very special friend that shared such closeness with me would do such a thing! I denied it! For several weeks no matter how difficult it was for me because of my surgery and not feeling well, I search everywhere for my treasure. It was nowhere to be found. Did she steal it from me? Did someone discover it before this time and had taken it? I truly struggled with this situation for a very long time. It had been at least six weeks and one evening when talking to this friend over the telephone, she asked me if something was wrong? I asked her why she felt that way. She wasn’t sure but felt I was not myself. “What does that mean”? I asked her. She wasn’t sure but tried to get me into a discussion of feelings and it bothered me in her tone of voice and question! I finally told her I wanted to ask her something but it might come across mean or untrustworthy and wanted her to know that in advance. She told me whatever we discussed it would be okay as we could discuss anything and even if we had to agree to disagree, it still would be okay!
I did tell her my feeling and why I felt she took my treasure! I did not explain my fogginess or premonition in any way! I knew she would use that against me. I did not think of sharing having premonitions with anyone as they would think I am crazy for sure! But, since then, and with investigation, I do feel they are real and happening to me! I just simply told her it was hidden away and no one else knew it was there and it is now missing. She was very offended. Instead of talking to me and somehow convincing me it was not true! She began to be very angry. She sent me a nasty e-mail. She talked to other people about this incident between us. I think this bothered me more than the actual treasure taken! I had hoped that this would have been kept private between us! She again wrote me another e-mail and told me what others had said! This was embarrassing and felt horrible that she would discuss this situation with others and then proceed to tell me about it! Was she trying to get me to back down and say I was wrong? I know for a fact that she took it right in front of me and took advantage of my sight and not feeling well to cover up her stealing this treasure from me. What I felt at the time was hurt from her; what she and done to me and discussing it with others. I was desperately trying to let it go! For over the six weeks I never said a word about it and just pushed it away. Not completely forgetting about it but just refusing to think about it! I thought I was doing right! I did not want to lose a good friend. I felt it had to have been her to take it but maybe for some reason if it was not? I perhaps felt denial for thinking it was her but everything I felt pointed to her! The way she acted, the questions she asked, and the persistence for me to tell her she felt something wrong with me and she said she had a premonition. Why did she use that “word”?
I wanted to believe that because she took it perhaps it was better that she have it than just hiding it away for my grandchildren when I had passed away. I hoped in my heart that she needed it, would use it for good, and I had some kind of feeling that it was okay for it to have it. I know you may not understand, but, it is my true feeling. I had almost convinced myself it was okay that she had my treasure. I do not want to divulge the nature of this treasure and reveal any name at this time!
Anyway! My friend sent that nasty e-mail telling me she shared this situation with others and their opinions. I did not feel comfortable with this at all! I did not share this situation with anyone until now! I did not even share it with my husband! I wrote her one e-mail explaining my feelings very briefly, straight up, and asked if we could agree to disagree and put this behind us? She said “no” and wanted to get together to discuss this. I did not want to discuss this any further. I had a true feeling it was her that took my treasure and if it wasn’t her what happened to it? There was no logical explanation and my emotions, feelings, and her reaction and words played too close to my heart that made me feel uncomfortable and added to my belief that she did take my treasure! I did not want to argue! I sent her answer stating that I did not want to discuss this any further and if we could not get past this and agree to disagree our friendship was over. She continued wanting to get together to discuss this situation. I stopped answering her e-mails and the friendship ended.
How very sad this was! Not often do you get the opportunity to feel that close to someone and consider them your true, special friend. That was a loss I had to mourn for a while! Now, I have come to terms with it and have to move forward with my life, with no regrets, so sorrow, and no looking back. I must consider this a learning experience and learn something from it and move on with my life finding happiness because if I allow this to burden me or block me from moving forward, I will be held in an emotion of regret, failure, or sorrow. I do not want to stay in any of those states. My happiness is my choice and I choose to move on now and live happy each day trying to make that one day before me, my choice to live my life the way I want to live my life. I do not want regret, sorrow, or loss to block me or control my feelings or life choices. I am in control.
There is a quote that somehow says, “People come into our life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.” And, this is one of those times where I had a true, special friendship for a season and I am grateful for the love, assistance, support, and all of the things I received in that friendship. I am blessed for all of my learning experiences that help me grow, develop, and continue to express love, friendship, and support to others instead of holding on to bad thoughts or regrets to hold me down and depressed.
We do have a choice in our life. Each new day is there for us to write our own story. If you have any regrets, sorrows, or pain that you carry around with you from day to day, you must examine your emotions and feelings on this “problem” you have, try to understand it, and find out if this helps you in a positive way to carry it around from day to day or if it causes you negative feelings and is holding you back from moving forward. Examine it and decide for yourself that the hardest thing you may have to do is the right, positive thing to do for yourself and your future happiness.
Does something you carry from day to day make you feel sad or unhappy? Then, you and only you must do something to change the emotion you feel and look at it in a different way to find your happiness. That is what life is, finding your own happiness without hurting anyone else around you.
What makes you happy? What do you feel I should have done? Has something like this happened to you? What did you do about it?
Until we talk next time!
“Smile and have the courage to step out for your happiness and success and always allow your passion and uniqueness to shine!”

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Week #24:

When someone rejects you, abandons you, or judges you, it isn’t actually about you! It is actually all about them and their own insecurities, limitations, and their needs. You do not have to internalize that! Your worth isn’t contingent on other people’s acceptance of you. What other people think, share or accept is for them to decide. Just as it is for you to make your own decisions, choices, and acceptance of others in your life, you also must allow others the same respect and courtesy for them to do the same. If you choose to reject, abandon, or to judge someone else, that is your own choi8ce to make for yourself.

Your worth of what you feel about yourself is not up to someone else but it is your own state of mind and the thoughts, feelings, and acceptance of yourself in your integrity and values you believe in. It is something inherent! You exist and somehow matter! You are allowed to voice your own thoughts and ideas. You are allowed to assert your own needs and take up space. You are allowed to hold on to the truth of who you are. And you are allowed to remove anyone from your life who makes you feel otherwise!

Life is too short and time is too precious to waste! Grudges are a waste of perfectly good time! Don’t waste time with holding onto grudges, anger, regrets, or sorrows. Decide and choose to be happy! Laugh when you can, apologize when you should, and let go of what you cannot change. You, and only “you”, have the control over how you feel, think, and react. Love deeply and forgive quickly. Take chances and embrace opportunities. Live with gratitude and be happy with no regrets.
Life is too short to be unhappy. You have to take the good with the bad. I am not saying to avoid or get rid of all negative feelings. There are times in life where we have to feel negative feelings. Everyone in life has problems, struggles, and even sorrows to deal with. When those occasions arise, it is okay to have those normal negative feelings come into our lives. But, we do not have to hold on to them, dwell in them, and to suffer in these feelings for a long period of time. Feel what you have to feel and express the emotion you must experience! Then, decide when it is enough! Life needs to go on with the living and it is up to “you” to decide how long you will stay unhappy, angry, or grieving. That is the key element that most people do not realize is so important. The “time” length for you to feel negative emotions is a period of time that is the experience of the feeling and emotion of the actual event that is happening to you personally. You must allow yourself that time to experience what is necessary for you. If you allow yourself to stay in a negative emotion too long, you find yourself slipping into a depression that, if dwelling in too long, can cause you a great deal of difficulty of getting out of! You then may need help. You may be in denial and not realize that you have slipped into a deeper depression than you think. Then, there may come a time when you need professional help! There is no shame in asking for help. But, if you have the sense to pull yourself out of a depression then make the change and decision to be happy. I am not saying it is easy because it is not. But, choosing to be happy is a much better alternative than sitting and dwelling in a depression that will only drag you down.
Smile when you are sad, love what you have! Remember what you had. Always forgive but never forget.

Learn from your mistakes but never regret. People change and things go wrong. And always remember that life goes on.

Life is too short to waste it on negative things and emotions. Live your life as happy as you can and to the fullest!

Life is not a dress rehearsal but it is your story to direct and you are the main character of the story. Each chapter has its negatives and positives, laughter and tears, and also its surprises and twists. Because you are the director of your own story always remember “you do have a choice”!

Until we chat again next time.

“Smile and have the courage to step out for success and always allow your passion and uniqueness to shine!”
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Week #23:

How are you feeling right now? Do you have some emotions of sadness or grief? Our range of emotions can be as deep as the oceans and far beyond the depths of darkness! Perhaps you feel happy or an excited feeling of joy? But, we can also fly as high as the bright blue sky and far beyond the moon, the stars, and the heavens above! It is wonderful that we have these emotions and we live each day to experience our hearts beat, our emotions rise and fall, and to realize all of the wonderful blessings that surround us; seen and unseen!

We can forgive others who hurt us because you want to build a better relationship with ourselves and NOT with those who hurt us. If “you” allow cruelty of any kind, words, actions, or physical pain to push you down and hold you there, you are allowing your emotions to subdue your spirit. That personal spirit or ego that you have may be injured or bruised, but allowing yourself to keep your spirit down is your own way of avoiding what is necessary to face! You are afraid! Your emotions tell your inner spirit there is something to “fear”. What is that fear? Do you really know? Sometimes it is really important to sit down with pen and paper and write down a list of emotions you feel. Then, when you have a list of emotions you feel, beside each one describe why you feel that particular emotion! When we can discover the particular emotion, then why you are afraid of it? Then we know exactly what you fear and what you have to face, to rise up and to move past it to find your joy and happiness. Aren’t joy and happiness the emotions we all seek to have? When we learn this new process and follow it each time we feel down, we can figure out what we really fear and then we can face it, attack it, and move on to finding joy and happiness anytime we want to!

Learning this important process is fantastic because we can live our lives in joy and happiness each and every day we make the choice to be happy and finding our joy in life.
Some of our deep emotions of jealousy, greed, anger, hurt, embarrassment, pain, depression and others can really block us, prevent us, and keep us from enjoying life. If we “allow” these terrible emotions to control our life, then, we are “allowing” these emotions to steal our happiness and joy away from us! Do you have a choice in how you live your life? Yes, you do!

Our problems in life can cause us complexities. We often punish ourselves with helplessness, worry, blame, and guilt. The more we dwell in the past about these things the harder it is for us to move on with what is happening around us right now in today’s circumstances. When this occurs we do not see the promise of a wonderful tomorrow. Happiness is a gift that we owe to ourselves. Happiness can only be unwrapped from within us. Let go of your burdens!

Hanging onto these negative emotions are not good for your health, your mood, your outlook on life, how people regard and look at you, and how they treat you. Start the process of sitting down, with paper and pen, and list these negative emotions and try to figure out why you feel these negative emotions. When the process is completed look at your list and why you feel this way you do. Now, you know the reason why you feel this way! Now, it is very important that you find your courage to face whatever it is you need to face. Is it someone you hurt? Do you need to apologize to someone? Sometimes you need to do whatever it takes to try to make things right! If someone does not accept your apology then that is their choice and they do not have to accept your apology! But, what you need to do is to “smile graciously” and walk away knowing “you” did what “you” needed to do! Now, forgive yourself and move on putting this situation in the past and knowing it was a learning experience of life.

Perhaps the person you need to apologize to is no longer around. Then, you could stand in front of a mirror and say what you have to say to that particular person as if they were there in front of you. Sometimes this process may take you a couple of times to accept the apology to that person and to forgive yourself in order to put it in the past and move forward not to worry about it again. If you feel this process is not working or making you feel uncomfortable, sit down and writing a “love letter” to this particular person. What I mean by a “love letter” is the nicest letter you can write along with your apology. After writing the letter, which is probably hard, the next part of the process is to read the letter a loud. Now, clear your heart, forgive yourself, burn the letter in a metal container and dispose of it. Now, move on with positive good thoughts putting the past behind you.

We forgive our enemies in order to build a better relationship with ourselves and the kind of person we are developing into. We forgive our enemies NOT for their benefit but for our own benefit!
We are made of the strongest fabric in the universe. We need to create and develop the threads of hope, love, respect, courage, forgiveness, and perseverance within the character of who we are! These are the threads we need to use to mend our soul when misfortune tears at our life.

I welcome your comments and opinions to this blog. Until we talk again.

“Smile and have the courage to step out for success and always allow your passion and uniqueness to shine!”

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Week #22:

These last few weeks have been very stressful. I was at a business meeting and was an important speaker at this event. Unfortunately, something happened and I lost control of my emotional state. As a leader I did wrong. I did not handle this situation very well. I know that we are only human and that we all make mistakes. But, I was very upset and should have not reacted in the way I did.

There were so many frustrations and stressful situations that had me so upset and I thought I had handled them all right! But, all I did was handle the situations the best I thought I could do at that moment but all of the emotional stress had been building up inside of me. Then, suddenly and without warning, a situation arose and it pushed my buttons. I lost control of my emotional feelings and they came pouring out. It was wrong of me to let this happen. I am a better professional leader than that! But, yes, it is true! We all make mistakes. That is what being human is all about.

I felt terrible. Actually I felt horrible and was embarrassed at the outcome of the meeting. There arose a situation that occurred that was not timed appropriately. An individual got up during the time a vote was being taken and what he had to say was not appropriate for the time. What he had to say was important but not during a vote of a business section. This individual knows how to push my buttons and he seems to do it at the time! I lost control and spoke out in a manner of anger. It was not appropriate for me to do! I did not mean it personally to anyone specific person. But, this individual took it personally. What he had to say should have been told to someone prior to the meeting or during the break of the meeting. If this information had been shared there would have been no need for a vote to be taken and could have been postponed to the next meeting. Unfortunately, this individual took it personally upon himself. I offered him an apology but he rejected the apology! He stormed out of the meeting with a couple of people following him. Two other individuals left angrily. I have put out an apology and acknowledged that I was wrong in the situation. I allowed my emotional feelings to cloud my judgment of acting more professional. Have you ever done that? Have you ever had angry feelings that have caused you to react in a bad way and then feel horrible later?

I have since spoken to an important individual of the meeting and have communicated our feelings to one another. I am very grateful for those individuals who support me, understand why I did what I did, and support the apologies I have put out. I am blessed to be able to communicate my feelings and I listened to the gentleman who I spoke to regarding this unfortunate situation. This gentleman shared his opinion and we were able to communicate and understand the situation much better. He agreed to support me and to work through this difficult situation if I agreed not to back away from my decision.

How would you feel in this type of situation? How would you react?

I offered the individual who took it personally a sincere and heartfelt apology but this individual chose not to accept my apology. I understand that this is their choice to make! I feel terrible that this individual took it personally. I truly did not specifically point or make this unfortunate statement that I made toward anyone in particular.

I have apologized for my unfortunate emotional outburst in the middle of a business section. This has caused a number of individuals to be upset.

I again am very grateful for those who have forgiven me and understand the stress and frustration I have been under the last few weeks. I definitely appreciate the support and encouragement that they have given me. Now, what do I do?
Do I back down from my role and responsibilities as a leader? Or, do I somehow figure out how to handle this now from this point on!

I have meditated and have prayed over this situation. I do not want to back down from my responsibilities as a leader. I do not want this emotional hurt, pain, or embarrassment to hold me back from moving forward and doing my job and fulfilling my responsibilities. If I allow these hurts, pains, and embarrassments to hold me back then that means I am allowing false fears and barriers to block me from moving forward to continue my role as a leader and fulfilling my responsibilities. That is not a good thing! I will not allow my fears, pain, or embarrassment to hold me back from what I feel is right and responsible to do. I have to take care of myself in this situation.

If the individual I apologized to does not want to accept my apology that I have offered I have to realize that this is their choice, not mine! I have to decide that I will not use that to make me feel bad or embarrassed! I need to do what I have to take care of myself! I have apologized, talk to the proper people involved, and now I have to forgive myself for making a mistake in front of a lot of people.

Some people will be upset with me. Some people will support me and understand my apology and allow me to move forward without criticism.

No one is perfect! Everyone will make mistakes a long their journey of life. It is important to recognize your mistakes, to take ownership of your mistakes, be responsible to apologize to those who you need to you, and to forgive yourself for making a mistake. It is also extremely important to learn from your mistake as you take the time to resolve the mistake, understand what happened, and take responsibility for it.

Who has never made a mistake in their life? If you have a regret or feeling of embarrassment or is there something you worry about and comes back to haunt you every so often? It is not too late to take care of it. If you do not take care of it, it will come back to haunt you over and over and over again. Why not face it and take care of it once and for all?

It is okay to make mistakes; but it is not okay to allow them to be pushed aside. You will regret it and it will prevent you from moving forward and achieving the things you would like to succeed at. This is a very important learning lesson of life. All experiences of life are learning experiences.

Make sure you learn from your mistakes. Until we chat again. I look forward to your comments and thoughts. Thanks

“Smile and have the courage to step out for success and always allow your passion and uniqueness to shine!” By Lynn Fitzsimmons
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Week #21:

Life becomes a lot easier when you learn to accept the apology that you never got! This is only one example of what can steal your peace away from you. If you worry, allow yourself to be upset about not receiving the apology you thought you should have received, and continue to fret over it, it will make you sick, become depressed and you will allow it to take away or steal the peace and happiness you should be feeling. When you are upset about something you cannot change, the only one who gets hurt, depressed, and sick over it is “you”. It is not worth it. The individual that did not give you the apology you needed to have is not worrying or fretting over it or you. They have gone on with their merry life and have left you to feel bad, upset, and causing yourself to be sick over something you cannot control. We can only control our own thoughts, words, and actions in life. We cannot control anything else in life. We cannot control someone else’s thoughts, words, or actions. If not getting an apology from an individual then understand they are not worth worrying over. Know and learn what kind of individual they are and move on leaving them behind. You do not need people in your life that make you feel bad about yourself. Get rid of the people in your life that are negative influences on you, that make you feel bad about yourself, and those who do not have good manners or values that you do not agree with.
If you want peace, happiness, and a good feeling about your wellness, you need good positive influences around you, people who have good manners and values you agree with, and those who support you and celebrate your successes with you.
It is not worth it or worth your time and energy on people who do not appreciate it and keep you or prevent you from finding peace and happiness. You do have a choice! Make sure you make the right choice. And, know that it is hard sometimes to let go of fami8ly members or close friends that you find hold you back and prevent you from achieving your true potential in life. You may not want to get rid of them altogether but you can hold them at a comfortable distance that allows you the freedom and choice to do what you want to do without someone talking negative, making you feel bad about yourself, or preventing you from making your own choice in your life.
It is your choice! Make the right one! Don’t allow anyone to steal away your happiness, your peace, your ability to achieve your goals and dreams. Until we talk again.
“Smile and have the courage to step out for success and always allow your passion and uniqueness to shine!” Lynn Fitzsimmons DTM

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Week #20:

Many blessings in life are disguised and that is why we do not recognize them. Hard times are blessings in disguise. Let go and let life strengthen you. No matter how much it hurts you, hold your head up, and keep going! This is an important lesson to learn and it is even more difficult to remember this lesson to hold your head up even if you feel you cannot do it, know that you can do it! This lesson should be called a “rule”. Even if you are having a bad day, a rough month, or having a terrible year, always hold your head up high, know that difficult times happen to everyone and you should not feel embarrassed about it. Positive thinking, positive actions, and positive talk will keep you on the right track and help turn things around. The truth be told the hardest lessons to learn in life are the ones your spirit need the most. Everyone struggles in life. There is no escape! It is easy to smile and stand up tall when things go wrong, but, it is more difficult to do it when you struggle and feel bad about the things happening in our life at the moment. But, if you can remember this lesson or rule to stand up straight and smile through the struggles, you will appear to others that you are doing great. This helps you keep on the right path and holds your focus on the goal you are trying to reach. That is very important to realize. When you lose your focus on your goal, it takes you off track, you feel bad and fail to keep your responsibilities going, and then you lose time, energy, and good ideas that withered away. Keeping positive allows your brain to keep focus on your goal and to allow ideas, energies, and positive thoughts to keep flowing through your brain and allows your to keep or get back on track faster to achieve the goal you have set out for yourself.
The yesterdays are gone but not lost. They are your learning experiences to learn your lessons from. Keeping an open positive mind, standing up straight, smiling through the struggles today, allows for a more positive day tomorrow.
Yes, you are right when you say sometimes you cannot feel positive all of the time! Sometimes you just have to allow yourself to rest, relax, and feel the hurt or disappointment. Yes, it hurts! Grieve it, feel bad for the pain, and remember it is how long you allow yourself to stay down. How long do you allow yourself to mourn the disappointment or sadness of the loss of your failure? That is the big question and is up to you to decide. Do not allow yourself too much time to grieve. Pick yourself up as soon as possible. You do not want to delay or postpone your focus on your goal for a long length of time. The more you delay yourself to be depressed the harder it is to get going again the longer you wait. You lose your energy, ambition, and the excitement of achieving the goal you set for yourself. The sooner you pick up yourself and get going again, the faster you regain the focus, excitement, and get back on the right track of positive thinking and achieving your goals.
Are you able to recognize blessings in times of struggle? It can be in the people you meet, what they may say to you, or what you may say to them that changes the focus or path you are traveling on!
Blessings come in all sizes, shapes and styles! If, you are not keeping a positive mind-set, you probably won’t be able to recognize them, even when they practically slap you in the face. When you are depressed, upset, or angry, you cannot keep your positive mind-set strong. So, you must remind yourself that keeping your positive mind-set will help you recognize the blessings in life as they pass by. Appreciating your blessings and celebrating them, big or small, will help you keep positive and focused on the things around you that are important. .
Are you a positive thinker? Do you allow yourself to be depressed a lot? Are you a self-motivator? If, you are not self-motivational, you really need a mentor or coach that keeps you focused and on the right track. Would you consider a mentor or coach to help you stay on track and actually achieve your goal on a fast track? Hard questions, but, simple answers but the right answer is when you take that opportunity to work with a mentor or coach to help you. Do you really want to succeed? Do you really want that goal to be achieved? When do you want to achieve that goal? Ask a mentor for advice; find out what it means to have a mentor or coach? You will be glad you did!

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Week #19:

Find someone that loves you true! Have you found that someone that loves you true? Find someone who openly communicates their true feelings with you. Communication is the true key and single most important thing in a good relationship. If you do not understand something your partner says do not feel uncomfortable in questioning them regarding the specific thing you do not understand. If they truly love you they will not be upset and will take the time to communicate with you their true feeling. If for some reason there is hesitation or irritable sense that they do not want to communicate their true feeling with you, then there could be something they are hiding or do not want to discuss with you. Why? In a relationship there should be open communication and there is no reason why someone cannot express their true feelings. If one of the partners feels uncomfortable with communication and not being able to reveal things in a comfortable way, you may need to take time to leisurely spend some quiet time together in talking about and expressing communication techniques to help open up the paths of being able to share things with one another. Knowing that communication is a key ingredient in a relationship, it is necessary to practice and learn how to best communicate with each other. Put on some soft music to allow the atmosphere to be calm and welcoming to sit and to be with one another. Do not lie down. This can prohibit one from easily communicating. Sit with each other facing toward each other. You may want to hold hands to comfort the other person. On the other hand, holding hands may be uncomfortable to one of the partners involved. Find a comfortable place and position for both people to feel comfortable with. Always talk in love letter style. This allows you to tell the other person how you feel about something without blaming the other individual. Remember, there is no blaming involved in this type of honest communication. Perhaps take fifteen minutes and write each other a love letter expressing how you feel about something.
Example: I feel like a little girl who cannot cross the street by herself without you holding my hand all of the time. I love the way you want to protect me and help me, but you have to let me do things on my own without you being there. I love being with you but sometimes I need to be just out with the girls in order to chat and have fun with just the girls. Then, I can come home and feel refreshed and happy to be with you.
In this conversation there is no blame but true feelings how one is using an example how they feel in order to help the other partner understand their true feelings. True communication is open, honest, and caring about the other person’s feelings. If you do not share your true, honest feelings about something or a situation in the relationship, it grows more irritable and stronger and then it becomes a real problem that may not be resolved as easy as it could have been if the two individuals in a relationship were practicing good, open, honest communication skills from the beginning of their relationship. If both parties in a relationship are open and wanting to have a better relationship in communication, it is necessary to sit down together at least once a week and write love letters to one another on a specific subject. The length you write your love letter should be timed, then allow the other person to read aloud and then to repeat what they have read so there is no misunderstanding in the communication. If this is practiced and continues to be an activity both partners participate in, then a good relationship can grow and blossom beautifully into true love for one another.
No one is perfect and you cannot expect to change a person to make them perfect. If two people realize that mistakes will be made and there is no perfect person in any relationship, then you can find that true love you are looking for! When two people really want to be with one another they should appreciate one another and tell the other person why they love them all of the time. Not just saying “I love you” but why they love you in a particular moment means that you appreciate what that person is saying or doing and that solidifies why they love you. When you understand the other person’s feelings, you know how to react to them and what they like and dislike about you. Now, you know what they mean when they say I love you. You now can repeat the things you know they love you for and repeat those things over and over to please your partner. You know it is true love when someone works hard and tells you that they do not want to lose you. They love and appreciate you for who you are! There comes a warm, comfortable feeling between the two partners. They enjoy being together and they also can feel comfortable with the other person doing something on their own at times.
When someone gives their heart completely to someone else it means that they are willing to accept and forgive easily. To give your whole heart to someone means that they are willing to sacrifice what they want for something else the other person wants. That true unconditional love means to be 100% committed to that other person and to no other individual. To pledge that their relationship means more to them than anything else with no excuses made! If something bad happens then they know they have each other to lean on no matter what! Their true love means more to them than making any other decision that might cause a break or cause pain to the other person. It takes two to make an agreement. It takes two to understand the rules of the relationship and what it means to both parties involved and that they agree to the rules of the relationship.
When each new day is a new adventure with one another, you know that you cannot live without them. Each new day brings new happiness to the relationship. When the future plans are beneficial to both and when both individuals are in love with each other unconditionally with no excuses for mistakes, hurt feelings, and pain unnecessarily caused are times when to hold onto each other and allows the true feeling of love just be, calm, quiet, and something privately shared.

Do you believe that true, unconditional love exists? Do you feel that relationship rules should be written out in full before one commits completely to another individual? Do you believe in love at first sight? How do you feel about love, feeling it from your own heart?

Let me know how you feel about this blog and its questions and content. Until we talk again.

“Smile and have the courage to step out for success and always allow your passion and uniqueness to shine!”
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Week #18:

When you take time to sit and ponder over all of the things that have happened to you in your life, it is very helpful, as success leaves clues. Think of all of the wonderful things that have happened to you. Think of your successes that you have had. Think about all of the things that make you the happiest and most joyful. These are things in life that you must celebrate and remember. When we are happy and something good happens in our life, it is so easy to let it go and pass by! We don’t attach much importance or emotional feeling with it and it goes in our memory banks and is recorded as a insignificant incident of life, which it is not; but, because you choose not to put a highly emotional celebration with it, it is just something that has happened in life and becomes harder to remember as time passes by. The many people that you see that are very happy, successful, and giving individuals are those people who have celebrated all of the good things in their life. They feel good, happy, proud, and have a positive outlook on life. These positive thoughts, ideas, moods, and actions of individuals have the ability to create happy and successful situations in their life.
Now, think back regarding the things that you have failed at, you have regrets about, or things that you did not do or finish in your life. Think about the things that have hurt or have upset you, or all of the things that have disappointed you. You may not realize it but all of these things are effecting your thoughts, your mood or the feeling toward things presently in your life. These things go into our memory banks and are recorded as emotional and are much more readily available to remember. These negative things that have happened to you, you have placed a high emotional value on them and being recorded in your brain as highly emotional and charged situations that make an impact in your remembering them. Although they are negative emotional values your brain does not register the difference between positive and negative but records the highly emotional charge of the situation. That is why we have to celebrate and make a highly emotional charge on the good things in life and not allow them to just simply fade away. The higher the emotion, negative or positive, the more impact on your memory banks it will cause. But, because of the highly emotional charged value your hurts, upsets, and disappointments cause these negative memories are more prominent, easier for you to remember and that is why some people struggle and fail more often than they succeed. These emotional charged memories of hurts, upsets and disappointments cause fear of the pain that was caused and they do not want to feel the pain again. So, the fear holds them back from trying new things, trying to achieve goals, or finding happiness. These hurtful emotions hold you back, block you, and prevent you from the life you really want to have but you cannot figure it out. You have to think back, remember the hurts, upsets, and disappointments, face them, understand them, and take action to get rid of them.
What kind of emotionally charged value do you want to have in your memory banks? I would rather have the strong, celebrated, happy things in life to remember and to allow these good emotions to affect the ideas, thoughts and actions I take in life, rather than the highly emotional feelings of hurts, upsets, and disappointments affecting my decisions in life. Definitely to be a happy, positive individual with good, happy, thoughts is much better to have in order to make decisions and direct your life to achieve your goals and dreams.
If we celebrate all the good things in our life, large and small, we can have a high emotion of happiness and joy with these good things in life that make the impact in our brain, then it would reverse the process and override the negative hurts, upsets, and disappointments that are kept in our brains. We would remember all of the positive good stuff instead of our negative stuff. Being able to remember the good positive stuff in our memories easier and faster than the bad stuff, individuals would be able to succeed more often in their life as they would like to have and keep the good positive feelings that you attach these feelings with.
When we look back to things that have happened in our life, it is good to see how far we have really come in life. It is good to see all of the successes and good things that have happened to us. This allows us to feel good, feel proud, and to motivate yourself to do more good things and move forward in life.
When we look back at the negative things in our life, we sometimes look at them as failures. But, they really are not failures but just things you have given up on, not finished, or just forgot about. When we can go back and look clearly at these things we find that we can do something to take care of them and get rid of these negative feelings that haunt us and hold us back from achieving our goals and dreams. It is very important that you discover what these hurts, upsets and disappointing feelings are inside of you rather than just dragging these empty negative feelings around with you. These negative, emotional feelings affect your decisions, what you say, what you do, and how you react to things that you are confronted with in life. If these negative emotional feelings are left unattended we feel anger with ourselves for not completing it, for saying something bad or negative to someone, or perhaps you regret not doing something you should have done! Now is the time to go back and take care of all of those negative things and get rid of them. If not taken care of and not gotten rid of they will nag at you in your unconscious mind and hold you back from moving forward and achieving the goals you want to do.
You have come a long way and you should be proud of and excited about all of the good things in life. If you are not, then, it is time to look back, take care of the negative things haunting you and get rid of them. It is like cleaning out an old closet or garage. It is good to get rid of the old crap and replace it with good, positive things to motivate, things to make you feel good and worthy of yourself.

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Week #17:

You and what you think and do are the most important things to you. Don’t judge yourself according to someone else’s measuring scale. Don’t worry about what others say and/or do! The grass is not greener on the other side of the fence. You have been given exactly what you need to have and to follow your inner most desires. You need to commit, take action, and then let it happen. Nothing happens if you don’t do anything! It is up to you!
1) Stop and acknowledge yourself: What successes have you had in the last year? The last five years? Acknowledge what has made you happy and feel joyful.
It is truly important to acknowledge your successes and celebrate them, no matter how small they are! Big and small successes are to be celebrated and remembered. If you do not celebrate successes all your brain does is record the failures and/or disappointments. That is not what you want to acknowledge or remember.
2) What is your purpose in life? Success leaves clues. What you are the happiest at and what you draw enjoyment from is where you need to be and where your path leads you to be in the future. What is it that you really want in life? What would you have to do in order to achieve it?
Sometimes the things in life take us on a real adventure. Through that adventure of life we may have to struggle, face fears, learn, and develop ourselves in order to find out where we are and where this adventure leads us to be in the future. When we set high goals (shoot for the stars) commit, take action, and follow your adventurous path, you will succeed and find yourself somewhere amongst the stars!
3) It is important to look back in our lives and celebrate the good and successes we have in order to put emotional attachment on them. But, it is also good to look back to see where our failures and regrets are, and what things we ignored. These are not failures, only things you have not committed to take care of! Make a list of these things that are holding you back and are making you feel bad and perhaps even depressed over. You may not even know it. Acknowledge these negative things. Now, go over your list one item at a time, and write down the things you need to do in order to get rid of them and not to worry or think of them again. Once you have finally taken care of them, then, and only then, can you move forward to learn from and achieve your goals in life.  Your regrets and worries are the things you struggle over and have to face and get rid of. They are the tools that will teach you something in life that is important for you to know. Take action now and move forward to face your future.
4) Toot Your Own Horn: This is really okay to do! Once you write down these successes, degrees, awards, special events, and all things that make you feel good about yourself. Once you see your list growing the more you will feel good about yourself. Once you start feeling good about yourself, then, you will be able to accept yourself for who you are! You are special and unique! Accept it, acknowledge it, and celebrate it! Everyone in this world struggles, has a problem with who they are and what is wrong with their life. Why should you be any different? The difference is the successful people realize that no one is perfect! WOW! Did you know that? Now that you know that, acknowledge yourself as a wonderful person who has done good things in life to be celebrated. These things that make you happy are giving you clues on how you need to live your life and where you should be and the path to follow in the future.
Every one of us is unique like a beautiful falling snowflake, a lovely floating cloud, and each special butterfly that flutters in your garden. And, so are you! God does not make mistakes! You are perfect just the way you are! All you have to do is accept yourself for who you are, know what makes you feel great and joyful, and take action, face your fears, and step out for success.
“Smile and have the courage to step out for success and always allow your passion and uniqueness to shine!”

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Week #16:

What is “love”? It is said to be a chemical reaction in the body that affects the nerves and cells of the body. The heart pumps faster. Your breathing becomes shallow and fast. Your skin cells tingle and the chemical in your brain is excited.
All of these things are physical and you can have the same love reaction when you see a new born puppy, a small child’s smile, and when you gaze upon a garden of fully blooming flowers with all of the gorgeous colours of the rainbow. So, is this love?
Some people would say “yes” because you can have the love feelings for almost anything! But, what is true love?
Take a moment and think about this.
I believe true love is not what you see or feel. It is in the actions that a person shows for another person. Yes, of course you can have the first physical sensation of love or attraction but it is not real love. When you get to know someone you find out what kinds of things you have in common and the enjoyment of “doing” these things together. The actions of the other person and how they react to you: how do they treat you? When someone treats you well, with respect, showing they care by what they do, and by what those reactions make you feel like. If, someone treats you with kindness, respect, honesty, reliability, responsibility and looks and says thing with loving caring admiration, would you say that this is true love? These are the actions you show someone when you love them. Yes, if it is returned in the same true love that it is given between two people. I believe this is true love! It is not the flowers, candy, and gifts that are given. I believe it is the gifts of these human qualities that count the most.
Would you agree that this is true love?
I would welcome your comments!
Now, here is another thought! If someone’s actions in what they say and do are so extremely important, why do individuals stay in relationships that are abusive? There are individuals who stay in relationships with people who yell, scream, and call them names. It doesn’t matter what they do or say the other person treats them badly all of the time. When an individual is abused physically, verbally, or emotionally and stays in a relationship with that person and says; “But, I love them!” Is this true love? I don’t think so! This is not a good relationship for either one of the individuals involved.
When someone does not know what true love is and if they do not believe they deserve true love, they will stay in a very bad relationship just so that they will not be alone. Many people stay in very bad relationships because out of fear of being alone. Perhaps they really do love the other person but does not know how to tell them that their abusive and negative ways of living are really hurtful to them and their relationship. Perhaps they fear being unworthy of love and no one else will want to be with them so they just stay. There are many thousands of reasons why people stay in bad or abusive relationships. They even become the person who just always allows the relationship to stay the same. They feel they have no choice.
Are you in a bad relationship that you cannot get out of? Do you feel stuck?
Let’s think about this!
What is it about the relationship you do not like?
Is there a way for this relationship to change? Remember, it takes two to get married and it takes two to work at a marriage to make it work! If, you are the only one wanting change and the other person does not want to work at the happiness of both parties then it is not a good relationship.
What is holding you back? Make a list of things that hold you back and unable to leave this relationship behind and move forward to find a happier way of life.
Now, that you have a made a list of reasons why you cannot leave this horrible relationship, take a good hard look at them, and decide if “you” are taking 100% responsibility of your own actions. That means no excuses at all! If you look back now at the reasons you wrote down on the reasons “why you cannot leave” this bad relationship, you will see a lot of excuses. Excuses that you blame others, things or other people for! Take 100% responsibility of your own actions and “know” that you do have a choice! All you have to do is make the choice! Leave or stay? That is the only choice you have to make.
Take 100% responsibility for yourself and what you say and do and make a decision!
No places to go you say? There are always places to go. Walk into any police station or call them and tell them you have made a choice to leave a bad relationship and they will give you places, numbers, and locations to go to. These places or homes will help you with support, suggestions, and guidance. You are never alone if you make the right decisions in life.
You do have a choice! All you have to do is make the right decision for what is good for “you”!
I hope I have answered your question. I am grateful you took the chance to share with me your situation, your frustration, and unhappiness. You and only you can control what you say and do. Life is really simple but people complicate it with all of the regrets, sorrows, what if’s, and the “fear” to make a decision for themselves. That is the answer I give to you. You do have a choice but you and only you can make the right decision for yourself.
What is “fear”? It is telling you something is wrong and you need to make a decision to face the fear and take action or to turn away from fear and let things remains the same. Are you a prisoner of your own “fear”? You do have a choice? What is your choice?
“Smile and have the courage to step out for your success and always allow your passion and uniqueness to shine!”

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Week #15:

Being home, after being away for so long, living in Toronto (although I visited home), it seemed funny in an odd sort of way! I had all of my luggage and boxes but did not want to unpack because in a short couple of weeks, I would be married and moving to a brand new place called Ottawa.

Phil and I talked on the phone and were both excited about the fast approaching wedding date. I had gone for lunch at Phil’s mom’s home and went over all of the invitations who replied “yes” to attending our wedding. My mom needed a count for dinner to tell the caterer how many people we were expecting. It seemed like a nice get-together but Phil’s mom didn’t understand by the way she acted that we were rushing into this marriage. But, it was okay! As long as Phil and I knew the reason why we wanted to be together, then that was okay!

Meeting and dating in Windsor was great. We were getting to know one another and having lots of fun doing things together. When I moved to Toronto it was difficult to manage a long distance relationship even though we traveled back and forth to visit one another, it seemed like an adventure each time we got together. Now, with Phil’s new job so far away in Ottawa we felt we needed to be together and start a new life as a couple. Our love for one another was very strong. We were able to communicate well, make each other laugh, and we knew marriage wasn’t easy but we had discussed it and made plans that we would both like to adventure our future together. As Phil had started this new job, he was not able to get a lot of time off. A few days and that was it!

Then, the day before our wedding arrived. Phil had driven all night to get home. He was exhausted but seemed excited as well. I remember him knocking on my door, seeing him for the first time in a very long time, and rushed into his arms. It was great to have him close again. He took me to pick up my wedding gown. It was completely covered and he was not able to see it at all! My mom moved the dining room table and hung the wedding gown up on the chandelier not to get wrinkled or dirty. My two brothers were home from school as well. Peter had not changed a bit. He still was the menace and tease he always was! He was driving me crazy about touching the wedding gown. It was covered and protected in plastic but I was overly protective of this gown. Phil and I had not much time together to discuss anything or to be together. So much was going on! Phil went to his mom’s house. Mom and I were trying to go over all of the last minute plans. I was surprised that my mom had organized so much and had done so much for me for this wedding. My bridesmaids started to arrive. All five of us in one room! Wow! That was pretty cool! There was Lorna, Donna, Anita, Judy and of course my Matron of Honour, Diane. We were having a sleep-over so we could be all together for the morning preparations. The house seemed so full, noisy, and just plain full of chaos!
We all arranged to meet at the University chapel. It was like a fairy tale. The Chapel was upstairs in part of the University and was beautiful. It was small, intimate, romantic, and when the sun flowed through the stained glass windows, it was like God himself was there visiting. The beautiful stained glass colours flowed over the pews, the isle way, and right up onto the chapel alter. I remember just freezing for a quick moment. I never had seen this place before and Phil told me that it was the perfect place and that I would love it! Phil was right! I did love it. Do you remember the song; “Chapel of Love”. Both of our moms had wanted us to choose our own churches of choice. I know my mom was disappointed that I hadn’t chosen our own church and religion. Phil and I discussed this issue over and over. Phil was Roman Catholic and in his religion he felt he was a sinner if he left the catholic faith. I was strong in my spiritual faith but not in my church going religious beliefs. From Sunday school years, I felt uncomfortable starting to go to church on my own. I had always gone with grandma and she wasn’t here now. I had the opportunity to teach Sunday school and I loved that! I had a manual for grades two and three and it was not only fun but very rewarding for me to be a Sunday school teacher at that time. I had felt a little embarrassed about my church and Bible understandings. When I had met Father Faught, Phil’s University Math professor, I really liked him and thought this was the right decision. Father Faught arranged for me to take communion with Phil as my new husband if I had promised to take my catholic studies when we moved to Ottawa. This sounded good to me! Phil and I agreed that being married in the University Chapel was perfect for us. The rehearsal at the church was great. There were no problems and it seemed like I was walking in a fairy tale. Here I was getting married! Everything seemed to have gone by very quickly.

Have you ever been married and had to struggle over a religious decision how to decide on the proper religious arrangements? Do you feel it is okay for one of the individuals to change for the other one? Do you feel that our parent’s should have had a decision in our marriage preparation? Perhaps you have never been married and never thought of what kind of religious service should you have if one at all? I would appreciate your thoughts!
We traveled to the Roseland Golf and Country Club where Phil’s mom arranged our rehearsal dinner party. This was very nice. I don’t remember too much about this part of the wedding but I do remember being very happy to sit beside Phil, hold his hand, and to be reassured that everything was going to be alright! Being together with our parents, both my brothers and Phil’s brother, and our attendants who are our special friends who would stand up for us made everything come to a very conscious understanding that this marriage for me was going to happen. Sitting holding Phil’s hand and having him stand and make a toast to me and our marriage was the most single thing that I think I loved the most. The speeches were done, the dinner was done, and the excitement in the room was high.

After eating our dinner, the girls and fellows in our wedding party went back to Phil’s home and his Aunt Margaret lived right next door and she allowed us to have all of the wedding party gather there. We had music on and everyone was very excited. No one seemed to want to dance and we were all just hanging out really doing nothing much of anything! Phil’s brother, Paul, had a motorcycle and the girls all seemed to be interested in the motorcycle rather than they were staying in Phil’s aunt’s home to party. Paul asked if any of the girls wanted a ride on his motorcycle and of course the answer was “YES”. Dwayne, one of Phil’s best friends in the wedding party, had a motorcycle as well. He drove home to get it and when he got back he asked me to go for a ride on his motorcycle. Where was Phil? I believe he was in talking to his mom. Of course, I said, “yes” to the motorcycle ride. All of the other girls seemed giggly and excited in taking turns so Dwayne told them we would be right back and someone else could take their turn.

With everything happening so quickly and it seeming like a huge blur, and the wedding right the next day, I felt odd. I am not sure I really can explain it. My thoughts were scrambled and I wanted to spend some time with Phil. But somehow things did not turn out that way! I got on Dwayne’s motorcycle and we went down the driveway and turned onto the street and were gone! Unfortunately, with all of the streets twisting, turning, and not knowing how to get back to Phil’s home, we realized that we had a problem! For me everything was pitch black dark and not knowing the neighbourhood either, I was no help to get back to Phil’s home. It seemed like a while but I do remember trying to stay calm. But, Dwayne kept telling me he was so sorry that he was lost. Unfortunately, there were no cell phones at that time. I had thought about going up to ring someone’s doorbell but Dwayne felt embarrassed and felt he could not do that. Unable to see anything I just sat and hung on to Dwayne. Finally, somehow, we found our way back to Phil’s home. I was really happy to get off of that motorcycle. It was supposed to be a nice ride and to be a fun night before the wedding but it did not feel fun or I did not feel happy.

As I went to go up the back stairs of Phil’s home, a person’s very strong and tight grip grabbed my arm! It was Phil’s mom who came out when she heard the motorcycle turn into the driveway. She was very angry we took off together and were gone over an hour! It couldn’t have been that long of a ride? Could it? I did not know what to say! She told me in no certain terms how upset she was with me. I remember starting to cry and I was told that wasn’t going to help anything! It is time for you and your girl friends to go home and she was very serious about it! I begged to speak to Phil and I was told “no” as he already had gone to bed. Paul, I believe drove his dad’s car and I do believe someone, maybe Dwayne, drove Phil’s car and got all of the girls and the guys needing rides back home.
My mom was waiting and was not upset about the time at all. It was supposed to be a fun and memorable evening and I cried because it wasn’t at all. I was so worried that Phil was angry with me! Mom wanted to call the house and speak to Phil but we decided that was not a great idea. Phil had driven all night to get here after work approximately a ten hour drive from Ottawa. He probably was exhausted and needed his sleep. Mom and the girls tried to calm me down and assured me that it would be all right.

Have you ever had an incident where you were so worried about something it made you sick? Worrying about something you cannot change is a waste of time because you cannot change it and the outcome will soon be known whatever it might be! Do you allow yourself to worry a lot? Or, have you allowed yourself to control the worry in your life?

All of the girls got blankets, sleeping bags, and pillows and we all slept on the living room floor. Dad did not seem to be very bad that evening, except at the rehearsal dinner. I don’t think he had anything to drink that evening. He seemed to have a lot of fun teasing the girls. I had made it very clear to him if he got drunk and embarrassed me, I would make sure he would NOT walk me down the aisle. I told him I had asked my Uncle Pete to walk me down the aisle if he got drunk. I really did not ask Uncle Pete but if dad had got drunk, this is what I had intended to do! I hoped that this threat would help keep him from getting drunk. So far, so good!
Well, we seemed to get all settled in and it was pretty late. It probably was somewhere around 2:00am in the morning. I was upset and calling my mother to come down stairs. There was my brother, Peter, right in the middle of all of the girls. My mom told me to shut up and just enjoy the rest of the night. This was also Peter’s home and he wanted to just be part of the excitement. The girls told me it was alright. Peter teased the girls for quite a while before falling asleep.
Mom began to call our names and get us stirred as we had to get up as we all had a hair dresser appointment. I don’t think I slept very much. I had a lot on my mind. Sleeping on the floor wasn’t very comfortable. Having Peter in the middle of us certainly wasn’t making me happy. Mom had arranged a table of fruit, donuts, juice and coffee for everyone. No one wanted to get up. I laid there for quite some time thinking. Here it was July 17, 1971. This was my wedding day! Does every bride on her wedding day seem a little odd! Well, I guess, I was extremely tired, a little confused about what happened last night, and just could not believe I was getting married. Yes, it was true! I was getting married. Soon, Peter began hitting me with a pillow and teasing me. Time to get up!

Mom gave us all bus fare and traveled with us down town to a fairly new salon. They were all very excited to have us there. I remember this one lady grabbing me and telling me that she won the coin toss and was lucky to be doing the bride’s hair. We also had our nails done bright pink.

Finally getting home from all of this pampering with our hair and nails, I was feeling extremely hungry. Then, the phone rang. It was Phil. I was really glad to hear from him. He wasn’t upset with me and had talked to Dwayne and understood what had happened. When I asked about his mom, Phil laughed. Yes, she was upset but does not understand. Phil told me not to worry about it that we were getting married and moving far away to start our own life together. It made sense. Phil laughed and told me the guys were all there and decorating the cars. Phil seemed really excited. After getting off of the phone, getting something to eat in my stomach, I finally was getting excited. The girls were starting to get ready. Diane, my matron of honour, told mom and me after she got ready and helped some of the girls; she would help mom and the bride. I finished eating, started to brush my teeth, looked in the mirror, and started to laugh. I laughed and giggled so hard I had tears coming down my cheeks. I finally relaxed and felt good. It had finally sunk in that this was my wedding day and I was the bride. The girls looked great. Mom had helped my dad and two brothers get ready. We were all down stairs and it was time for mom and me to get ready. I believe Emily and Doug (Diane’s mom and dad) and Diane’s husband, John, were arranging how to get everyone to the chapel on time. They were arranging the cars and who would travel in which car. Diane took mom and me upstairs with the wedding gown in toe! This was exciting. I now was feeling excited and really was feeling like a bride. Mom looked great! Diane looked beautiful. Now, with my dress on, I felt beautiful. Mom told me she loved me and was very happy for me. This was a special moment. I don’t hear those words very often and needed to hear them. The photographer arrived and he was down stairs. We all went down stairs. Everyone else had gone to the chapel to prepare for the ceremony. The photographer started to take pictures. Diane ran back upstairs to get my vail. Oh, no! Diane cried out loud! Where isLynn’s wedding vail? It was nowhere to be found!
No one had touched the wedding gown. It had been hanging from the dining room chandelier completely covered. Diane explained that it was completely covered until she took the dress out and there was no vail to be found! Mom called the store upset! Unfortunately, the girl told mom there was no vail there for me. Mom was upset! I was upset! Dad needed a drink and I got worried that this was going to be a big problem if he started to drink. I made it very clear to him if he started to drink I would not walk down the aisle with him. I made it clear and I was very serious about this and he knew it! Doug and John were both there as they had come back from driving all of the others to the Chapel. They took dad aside and kept him occupied as other things were going on. Diane decided to call the store. She seemed calmer than mom talking to the girl. Diane demanded to talk to the manager of the store. She was not there and was not available. Diane made it clear that this was an emergency and she better get in touch with the manager right now! Quite a while passed by and I was sitting in the corner of the living room not saying anything but looking pretty depressed. I could not get married without a wedding vail especially in this kind of gown. I began to pray! I knew God was listening to me. I believe my beloved grandmother was with me as well! I thought I could smell the type of Avon powder my grandmother use to wear. I felt her presence so clearly. I prayed that this day would be very special for both Phil and I. We had waited, struggled, and been apart, and our love was strong.

The phone finally rang and it was the manager of the store. Yes, my vail was hanging on a hook in the back room covered and ready for me to pick it up. Diane told the manager that I was blind, extremely upset, and that everyone had left for the church. Diane suggested as it was their fault that the vail was not included in the package with the dress, she suggested that the manager under the circumstances better drive the vail to my home personally as soon as possible.
Diane got off the phone and announced the vail was on its way here. “Yes”, I was a believer and knew prayers would work. I also believed that my beloved grandmother was with me by my side. I told my mom how I felt and she said she could feel her mom with her too! So, it must be true! Prayers do work! I had started to pray and ask God to please make this day a good day for Phil and me. I said the Lord’s Prayer about three times. Then, Diane announced the vail was on its way. Wow!!! That was an answer to my prayer and I knew my grandmother was with me in spirit. The photographer took a few pictures of mom and Diane and my dad with me.

As we stepped outside to take a few more pictures in front of the house, I heard my dad say hello to a very familiar voice! It was George! He said hello to everyone and came up to me. He said hello and told me how beautiful I was! I didn’t know what to say! But, it turned out to be a very pleasant conversation. The vail arrived by cab and with a special note to me. The note was very apologetic and wished me well on my wedding day. Along with this note was a package wrapped up in white tissue paper. It was a gorgeous white beaded purse that matched my dress perfectly and a little pair of gloves with a beaded band around the wrist. I gave the gift to Diane and she took it inside and put the gift on top of the TV and Diane and my mom helped me with my beautiful vail. There I was all ready to leave. With one or two more pictures I was stuffed into a car with this huge skirt of the dress and I was on my way.

I didn’t think of it at first but I did not even say goodbye to George. I was so delighted to have my vail on and I needed to get to the Chapel as I knew I was very late and that is all that was on my mind at that moment.
I was an hour or more late for my own wedding. Poor Phil was out back smoking his brains out as he was getting more nervous and nervous. Everyone was told I was arriving outside. Phil was told that I was finally here! As I arrived inside of the doors I was met by Phil’s mom. She was extremely upset and told me so. I did not have time to explain and asked to be taken to the chapel immediately. I definitely could understand her concerns and mood for waiting so long. I gave her hug and told her I would explain later. Please forgive me and I have to get upstairs immediately. She seemed to be happy that I arrived and helped me upstairs. The two moms were seated. Dad stood with me. The chapel feels quiet. The music began. The little flower girl and ring barrier started down the aisle. The little flower girl was tired of waiting and was not in the best of moods. But, she made it down the aisle to meet her dad. The ring barrier was great. He was a little older and walked down the aisle slowly and carried the pillow with rings on it perfectly. Then, the matron of honour, Diane, stepped forward and started down the aisle escorted by the best man, Paul. Then, one by one my bridal party started down the aisle escorted by a handsome gentleman. I looked at dad and he said to me: “You will always be my little girl.”. I was shocked by his words. By his drinking and abuse I didn’t think he really cared. But, as I looked at him I felt a little different about him. He was all dressed up, carnation in his lapel, and smiled at me and his words sounded so sincere. He looked like a stranger to me. But, all dressed up by my side was always my fairy tale wedding was underway!

Then, there it was! The wedding march song began. We waited a few moments, dad took one step forward, and there I was going down the aisle with a gorgeous wedding dress on. It was my wedding day and I took my time breathing in slowly and remembering every step I took. Then, dad stopped! He lifted up my wedding vail, kissed me on the cheek, and reached for my hand. As he lifted my hand, he squeezed it softly and put my hand into Phil’s hand. I looked at dad surprisingly, smiled, he told he me he loved me, and then I looked directly at Phil. Phil also squeezed my hand and I knew that this was the most important moment of my life. I took a deep breath, let it out slowly, and as someone told me, take just a moment to breathe it in, and take a little photograph picture in my mind to remember this moment in time of your life. As I did this, I became calm. Holding Phil’s hand, I passed my flowers to Diane and I was ready to get married. Phil seemed a little nervous but I knew it was alright.

Do you remember a moment in your life that it was the turning point in your life? After this moment nothing would be the same! Were you nervous or so excited that the moment passed by so quickly that it was a total blur! I had dreamed about this moment since I was a little girl. I was not going to let this moment slip by without taking a second or two, to breathe, take a mental photograph, and remember how I felt. I do remember that exact moment over forty-three years ago.
The ceremony began, we said our vows. And we sealed it with a kiss. It was over! We were announced man and wife. We walked out through the Chapel doors, down the stairs, to the main entrance and hugged one another. Then, the crowd emerged on us and we were in the middle of love and congratulations from everyone.

We traveled to Jackson Park where we took gorgeous pictures. The beautiful flowers were in full bloom. The wonderful tapestry of bright colours and the soft scent of the flowers filled the air. It was the most awesome day! We could not have asked for a better day; warm, sunny, and full of love.

Our little flower-girl, Michelle, was grumpy and not willing to have her picture taken. Phil picked her up from the dusty path around the fantastic fountain and walked over to an ice-cream truck and bought her an ice-cream cone. She had smiles from ear to ear. He crouched down beside her I saw the most wonderful gentleman in the world standing beside me. I also crouched down and we both helped Michelle lick the ice-cream from her cone as to not get it on her lovely dress. But, as children are around the world, the sticky, delicious ice-cream was all over her. Diane, at first, was not impressed but she told us she had a change of clothes. Our little ring-bearer got an ice-cream as well. He was older and with a little help and with a lot of napkins and love, we managed to keep him clean in his little gentleman suit that looked so amazing on him. The day at the park was better than I ever could have planned it. The pictures tell the true story of how amazing it really was!

There was time to linger before the banquet dinner. Everyone scattered to somewhere. Phil and I went with Dwayne in his car. Paul disappeared and we did not know where he went. Later, we learned that Paul had been called into work to take the garage tow-truck to go to pick up a car that had been in a very severe accident that had been totaled and to take it to the garage to keep for further investigation. Paul was at the sight of a horrible accident where a person had died and he was there before they took the victims away. He was shook up and very upset from this situation. David, another one of the bridal party friends, took over as best-man. He was able to take over as MC for the evening. The speeches, the dinner, and everything seemed to be a fairy tale of decorations and tiny lights.
The music started and we had our first dance together. A magical moment with a fairy tale wedding; I was the princess and Phil was my knight in shining armour.

For some of the exciting moments of the night were as Anita danced with Peter, he tramped on her foot with his big cowboy boots and broke her toe. My Aunt Corrine had broken her leg and was now out on the dance floor in a cast covering her foot right up to her hip. She was dancing and feeling no pain. Lorna was dancing with one of the fellows and broke a heel off her shoe but she was alright. Donna got a little drunk and was throwing up in the ladies’ room. Judy was a little lost as she really didn’t know anyone as she was my roommate from Toronto when I lived in the dorm. But, mom and dad took good care of her and she made it to the train station and arrived home safely a couple of days later. She stayed to help mom clean up. What a fabulous friend Judy really was. David, being my youngest brother and totally blind, mom invited David’s best friend Danny to come along and be with David throughout the evening. As these two young men were not really of drinking age, they somehow had a bit to drink that evening as well. They seemed to be both pretty drunk as everyone had been bringing them drinks all night long. They were taken back home to mom’s house and were on the back porch leaning over the railing, vomiting their brains out and suddenly the railing broke and they fell. Danny broke his arm and David broke his leg. Anita fell the next day getting out of the car with her mom and knocked out her three front teeth.

As Phil and I danced the evening away with our guests and trying to sneak a dance or two with each other, we were oblivious to what else was happening to after the wedding and then we heard about all the great excitement that went on around our wedding. Yes, dad got drunk but he was celebrating and I guess I can’t get upset for that. Mom seemed very happy that in spite of the other accidents that were happening around the wedding, the wedding itself was a huge success. Not considering all of the other accidents that happened we agreed that Phil and I had an amazing wedding to remember.

Do you believe in prayer? Do you believe fairy tales can come true? Life is worth living if you plan a future to laugh, accept the unexpected, and remember the love that brought you both together.

“Smile and have the courage to step out for success and always allow your passion and uniqueness to shine!”

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Week #14:

It is a very busy time in my life. Perhaps I am making it more complicated that it needed to be! But, I have all of these questions welling up in me and I fear if I don’t face these questions and fears, I will make a mistake I will never be able to undo! Once a decision is made, sometimes, it cannot be redone. Sometimes we can go back and try to take care of the mistake we made but we cannot change what has already taken place. We can only learn from our experiences.

Have you ever faced this type of feeling or emotion before? I know now, looking back, it is only my insecurities that have me all flustered and full of questions. As a young child I was very fearful of everything. The loud shouting and fighting between my mother and father, the horrible rampages my father would go on when he was drunk, and his abuse of all of us at his hands, physically, emotionally, and sexually, and being blind caused me this fear of running away when anything frightened me. We learn the ability to run away or stay and face the fear. This is called “flight or fight” response. I am now learning to not run away and stay and face the fears in order I may understand them, accept them, to deal and react to them. As I have demonstrated throughout my story, my fear of running away and pushing my fearful thoughts down back into my gut has not done any good for me except to make this a natural habit for me to repeat over and over again. Now that I am stronger, more confident, and facing my fears, I can understand them, accept them, and react to them and not push them away. I am changing my attitude to a more positive attitude in thought, words, and in action.

What I am realizing as I do face my fears is that I have a lot of insecurities that I have to face. These insecurities that I did not know about or understand stayed buried under the fears I pushed down into my gut never to face them.

Being blind meant that I had a disability that I had to live with every day of my life. Having a disability meant that I could not change it. It was there and it was mine. How does one deal with the acceptance, the embarrassment, and the burden of carrying around this disability every day?  I tried to hide from it.  I tried to bury it.  I tried to be sighted and live in a sighted world but that only caused me embarrassment, hurt feelings, and lack of self-confidence.  By not running away and facing my fears these are insecurities that I have to deal with now.

Embarrassment: Will I ever be able to live in a sighted world and not be judged because of my disability?

Hurt feelings: The emotional pain of the embarrassment of my disability cases me to become depressed. How does one live with a disability and feel valued for the person they are?
Lack of self-confidence: The lack of self-confidence prevents me from stepping forward and challenging opportunities that I only wish I could do. How does a disabled individual gain self-confidence if every time you try to do something for yourself, there is always someone there to remind you that disabled means unable.

That week thinking of my time with George and remembering all of the kind, and loving things he said to me, was filling my head with questions of the value of his promises. It did feel good to be with George. I enjoyed being with his family and I would imagine how it be if we were to get married.

Speaking to Phil and him so excited about the new apartment and the things he was buying without me made me feel sad. I suggested that I would like to come to Ottawa and visit with him and see all of the wonderful things he was telling me about. Phil seemed excited about the prospect of me visiting him in Ottawa. He had been there now almost two months and it was too far and too expensive for him to travel home to see his family or even me. So, we planned that next Friday I would travel to Ottawa to visit him. I told my mom about deciding to do this! She did not seem happy about this at all. When my dad found out he screamed at me over the phone. He made some very nasty comments about the reason why I was going to Ottawa. I cried! I tried to tell my mom that I was getting married and was moving to a strange place with a strange French language that I didn’t even know about. I told her I was feeling frightened and needed to go and visit. Phil had moved into our new apartment that I had not seen. He was making purchases for the both of us. I truly thought it was important that I make this trip to visit Phil. Phil and I had not seen each other in almost two months and that is a long time for us both. Having an engaged courtship long distance from Windsor to Toronto was hard enough to deal with, but, not being able to actually see one another and making wedding plans was almost impossible. Instead of mom arguing with me she finally agreed that maybe this visit was the right thing to do. We agreed not to tell my dad. She told him that I would not be able to go as I had to work. Then, the next weekend I would be home as exams were over and the end of the program was done.

As I made plans to travel to Ottawa I became very nervous. The train trip was about the same distance in the opposite direction, and perhaps just a little further. Traveling by train did not bother me at all anymore. I had become second nature to me.

Getting to know Phil was fun, enjoyable, and I felt comfortable with Phil. But, did he realize how my disability would affect our lives as a married couple? What would it mean to have children together? A lot of my insecurities began to flood my head with negative thoughts. Perhaps he will see me differently this trip to Ottawa.

Nervously I stepped off the train in Ottawa. Stood for a few seconds and there it was! That calm reassuring voice that I had missed! “Lynn, here I am!” It was really good to hear his voice. I waited and then he was reaching out and taking my arm and giving me a huge hug and kiss. It was nice not to wait and see what my reaction would be! Phil seemed to take charge and I felt good about this welcome hug and kiss. It was warm, welcoming and full of love.

Phil took me to our apartment, which sounded so funny! He showed me all around. Wow! It was just like he described it. The entrance hall, straight ahead into the bedroom, turn right to the small bathroom, and then make a left turn right into the kitchen. It was not a big kitchen but it did have a pass-through window into the dining area. Between going straight ahead to the bedroom and turning right to the kitchen there was the area in the middle where you walked into the dining area and the living area all-in-one. At the end of the living area was a lovely balcony that we could sit on and watch over the beautiful area across the street of huge government buildings where Phil worked. The apartment was designed in a Spanish décor and I loved it immediately. How fantastic was this; our own apartment! I was speechless! Phil could tell I was nervous and he suggested we go out and he would show me around Ottawa.

We went out and Phil was so excited to show me around. We had something to eat and drove around for a short while. Phil suggested we should get some sleep and we would have the whole day tomorrow to see everything. Returning to the apartment I felt exhausted and so did Phil. It was actually funny as he had no bed to sleep in. We laughed and figured out we could sleep on the floor. We gathered together some sheets and a blanket and cuddled up on the floor. It did not take long for the cuddle to take on its own form of love making. I felt warm and safe. It was good to be back in Phil’s arms. Clothes started to come off. Embracing Phil and realizing it had gone a lot further than I had intended, I pushed away and hesitated. Phil seemed calm and understanding. We cuddled closer and began to talk. I told Phil I had visited Windsor last weekend and seen George. I could feel Phil tense up. I asked him if we could speak openly and honestly. His answer was, “sure”! I began with a shaky, nervous voice pulling a blanket closer to me. I reached for his hand and told him that I know I should have told you but I did not want to worry you or have you become upset with the situation. The time I spent with George was figuring out my true feelings and how George would react to me. I needed that time for myself and I owed it to you, to be honest with myself with my feelings out in the open. Phil laid back and told me to continue. I was surprised as I thought he would have a million questions. It was how Phil reacted to me and what I was telling him. He did not get angry or upset but I knew he needed further information. I wanted to let him know, how he greeted me at the train station was important because he made me feel valued in his reaction. He immediately kissed me and held me in a warm hug. It was what Phil did and reacted that made me feel loved and important to him. This was imported to me. It is not in the loving words, special promises, or in the in-law-family situation that creates love feelings for me; it is in the physical reactions that I now realize was valuable to me. WOW! That was a stunning moment. As I explained me feelings to Phil and how I felt toward him, I felt Phil’s body shift and turn to look at me. I was realizing for the very first time in my life that I could be honest and open with my true feelings. I needed the physical touches, emotions, and reactions to my feelings to understand and know how I really felt about something.

We all have modalities which are our five senses. They are sight, sound, smell, touch and taste. The one for me is the physical touch which really truly surprised me. I have been so fearful of sex I pushed any type of physical relations away. I blamed it on the sexual abuse I had at the hands of my father. Having sex was so frightening to me that I wasn’t sure if I could have sex. Phil embraced me and held me close. I cried for a long time. Phil truly understood. He listened and never interrupted me even through my tears, he allowed me to finish everything I had to say. I was fearful I would never get the words out, but, once I got started, all of my emotions and thoughts came rolling out like a river that’s damn just burst. As Phil held me he told me that he understood. I relaxed and cuddled closer. Phil opened up and shared a lot of his feelings with me. This was a true bonding of love between two people that seldom is shared. We fell asleep in each other’s arms awakening to the beautiful morning sun streaming in through the patio doors.

Phil had allowed me to share my intimate fears with him. This gave me the self-confidence I needed to show him how much I really loved him. Phil shared with me that he knew that my hurt-emotional status would take time to heal and that he was going to be there for me to support me. Throughout our adventure that day, when I stumbled over a curb in an awkward way, we just laughed and my embarrassment over my disability disappeared. This weekend was a true valuable weekend for me especially wanting questions answered, my feelings understood, and accepting responsibility for my own true feelings. It took me many years to overcome these insecurities that haunted me but this particular weekend Phil showed me his love, understanding, and his commitment to me that getting married was the right thing for us to do. The questions I wanted were answered. The fears I had vanished. The nervousness and the unsure feelings were calmed and validated by finally knowing what I really wanted in life. What I really wanted in life was to marry Phil and share our life together.

“Smile and have the courage to step out for success and always allow your passion and uniqueness to shine!”

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Week #13:

Living in Toronto seemed like home.  I was starting to put my fears about the big city behind me.  I was starting for the first time to look forward to moving to Ottawa.  This was like a brand new country with a strange language of French.  I told myself that if a little country bumpkin like me could move to Toronto and actually get around and learn to enjoy living in a huge city like Toronto, I could be brave enough snd strong enough to move to Ottawa.

It was wonderful to talk to Phil.  I told him all about the wedding shower surprise.  He’d laugh and I truly loved his laugh.  He was moving into the new apartment.  The way he described it, I could actually picture it in my mind.  It sounded lovely and caused me to get more excited.  Phil had no furniture but he was still very excited and happy.  I had told Sunnybrook hospital that I was giving up my part-time job.  I wrote a letter to CNIB (Canadian National Institute for the Blind) that had helped me obtain my job, to thank them for all of their help, support and guidance because I knew that I could not have done it on my own.  School was almost finished and now I studied for my exams.  I felt confident about my upcoming exams.  Unlike regular school I made sure that I took special note of each program that I was working on.  I made sure that all of my notes and projects were complete and up-to-date.  Wow!  This made it much easier to understand and review now that exams were at hand.  Especially, being able to tape everything, I could delete what was not important and keep what was necessary.  Many times I was able to listen to these tapes while I was coming and going between Toronto and Windsor.  I was extremely grateful for that small, part-time job as I would not have had any money to travel on the train.  I knew my parents could not have afforded it.  I knew my mom was saving money to bring both of my younger brothers home from Brantford for the summer.

I think it was a Wednesday evening when Judy and I were studying in our room when the phone in the hall rang; there came a knock at our door, and I was told that it was for me.  I ran to the phone, hoping that it was Phil.  But, it was not Phil!  It was George.  We had a nice phone conversation.  It was very clear how much I loved Phil.  He was not forceful, rough or judgmental, not like I thought he would be!  He seemed like he really, truthfully wanted just to talk to me as friends.  I told him that I would be home Friday night on the train.  Sure enough, when I stepped off the train in Windsor that night, I began to walk back to the station from where I stepped off the train.  I heard a very familiar voice: “Hi, Lynn!”.  It was George.  He gave me a big hug, took some of my things that I was carrying, told me he was happy to see me and we walked to his parked car.  We sat for a long time just talking.  I told him that he could not take me home as I had told my mother that I was not coming home this weekend.  Phil and I had always been truthful with one another and I wanted to be the one to tell Phil that I went home to see George.  I really and truly needed to know for both of our sakes if I was doing the right thing regarding getting married.  If my mother knew about this, she liked to stir up trouble, I thought.  She gossiped a lot with my Aunt Emily and her next door neighbour Noreen.  If she didn’t tell Phil, she would tell one of my friends and then Phil would find out before I could tell him.  George laughed his very deep, strange voice: “What are you going to do now?”  Not what I was going to do but what was George going to do?  I told him before I came home that I needed to keep it a secret from my mom, knowing that we were getting together to talk.  It was getting on quite late now.  We had gone to a restaurant to eat.  I had thought because I knew his family so well that I could stay at his place.  Perhaps I didn’t think it through very well.  His sister, Helen, and his family would have been in bed by now.  George’s only option was to get me a motel room.  I’m not sure why, but I was laughing, teasing and enjoying the fact that I felt truly comfortable being with him as a good friend.  I did say, no problem, just take me home.  I had a key and I knew it would be okay.  My mom was extremely disappointed when I told her that I wasn’t coming home this weekend.  In the beginning I was only coming home once a month.  That meant that Phil and I saw each other twice a month with him coming to Toronto two weeks after my visit home.  But lately, with me trying to travel home every weekend, it was exhausting.

George finally decided to find a nice motel and he rented a room for me.  He helped me get in and settled.  I kissed him goodbye but we ended up talking some more.  I was very tired and I told George that he had to go as I was falling asleep.  I lay on the bed and George did lie beside me.  Although it was about 4:00 in the morning, he called his mom, pretended to be very drunk and said he could not drive.  I heard how angry his mom was on the phone.  I turned over and curled up as I was exhausted and probably fell asleep fairly quickly.  George pulled the upper bedspread over me, turned off the lights curled up behind me and we both fell asleep, fully clothed.  We slept until almost noon.  When we got up I told George that I was happy that we were able to talk and have time together but I really wanted to go home.  We went to a restaurant to eat.  George started to ask more personal questions.  I was very honest with him.  I told him I felt like I was under a lot of pressure.  Everything seemed to be happening so fast.  Leaving home, living in Toronto, working part-time, going to school, getting married and then moving further away from home.  One of the main things we talked about was my grandparents, especially my grandma’s death.  George knew how close we were and he would take me to visit her.  She liked George and he knew it.  My Aunt Corrine also liked George and she always teased him.  George was right; I never really mourned her death.  I did because I cried in his arms a lot.  Grandma’s death had a real impact on me.  I loved her more than anyone and she left a huge hole in my heart.  George took me to the grave site and we walked around for a while.  Then, we went back to the motel.  I told George that I really loved Phil and the reasons why.  I knew that George got together with his guy friends, drank beer, and got totally blitzed.  I hated that because of my dad.  George promised not to drink any more but I heard that a million times from my dad, making a promise to my mom that he could never keep.  As George pulled me close in a strong, loving embrace, he began to whisper those sweet words of love into my ear and began to kiss me.  I did not push him away right away but I did push him back.  I told him that I did really need to spend time with him to try to figure out my feelings but I know I really did have love for Phil and was going to honour my commitment to Phil and made it clear that I did not want to go any further than a few hugs and kisses with him.  George seemed to be really upset with me and really pushed me away and walked across the room.  I sat in one of the chairs and waited for him to speak.  I did not want to say anything and I felt it was important for him to speak first.  As he began to speak I listened very quietly.  I could hear the love in his voice.  George was not one to be a talker so I said very little.  I think maybe, looking back, I became afraid.  All of a sudden, this was no game!  This was not figuring out who loved me.  This was not about who I loved more.  It became clear that some of those fears pushing back down in my gut were surfacing again.  I had to now face some of those fears.  As my eyes filled with tears, he turned, knelt by the chair and wanted to hug me.  Normally I would have allowed the hug and the conversation would have been lost.  Although we did love each other, embraced each other intimately I assured him that I was not here for those reasons.  I was not going to have intercourse with him.  He knew that was something I was saving for the man I was going to marry.  I became angry and spoke about the abuse from my father; emotionally, physically and sexually, and I stood up crying, screaming at him and not really remembering what I said.  Yes, I loved George, but why did he never listen when I needed him to listen?  When he would try to force me to have sex I would cry, become upset and push him away.  It wasn’t because of him; it was the hurt, the pain and the ugliness of how I felt.  He would push me away, get angry and say he was sorry.  I told him that Phil and I did have an intimate relationship that I felt comfortable with.  Phil never forced me and he listens and understands my relationship with my dad.  Phil does not seem angry because of my feelings, my fears and my hesitation towards sex.  He has listened to me, he understands and he really loves me.  I can tell because of his kisses and his embrace and the way he shows me love.  It is in the way I feel.  George listened very quietly, then replied.  I guess he know how I felt but never really understood how it upset me.  He really wanted to have sex with me and make love to me.  I don’t think George ever thought about things like how it would feel to be married to a blind person.  How about possibly having blind children?  Being married to a blind wife: what would it mean for our future together?  Does your family really understand how little I see?  I was getting all worked up and began to cry aloud.  Then, the room fell silent.  George began to speak but I could tell through the cracks in his voice that he had been crying.  I felt awful!  I began to apologize as I should have stopped exploding with all of these feelings, emotions and questions.  The room fell eerily quiet.  As I stared off at a blank wall I could hear George’s body rise up from the bed and come over to me.  He embraced me and also apologized for not listening.  All of those things are very important things to talk about.  We were very much in love for almost five years and we just thought everything would work out.  I told George that I needed some time alone.  I wanted a shower and wanted to go home to speak with my mom.  George left as he needed a shower and also to change his clothes.  He told me to rest and to do what I needed to do and he would be back.

I showered, changed my clothes and fell asleep on the bed for a while.  I heard a knock at the door and George used his key to enter.  I got up and sat at the edge of the bed.  He brought coffee and donuts.  As we ate we really had a very lovely conversation about our relationship.  I remembered his love and kind words to me and why I felt I was so special to him.  I also told George that I loved him and would probably love him forever.  I also told him about my love for Phil and why I felt he was special to me.  As I packed up and we were driving to mom’s house, I realized that he was taking me to his house.  His mom had prepared a nice dinner that we ate around 8:00 p.m.  We talked, played cards with his sister Helen and his mom.  Later, George and I took a short drive.  I shared a room that night with his sister Helen.  We all went to church in the morning and went out for brunch.  You may think that being with George’s whole family would feel odd for me but it didn’t at all.  George and Helen and I drove to Point Pelee.  We had a very nice day.  The water was still a little cold for swimming.  We had ice cream and went back to his place.  We had something to eat.  Helen packed me a snack for the train.  Although she was four years younger, we had a good relationship.  She wanted to come with us when George drove me to the train to return to Toronto, but George said: “No!”.  As we drove to the train station from Harrow, we talked some more.  It was friendly and comfortable.  George asked me if I was going to tell Phil about this weekend.  I told him absolutely, yes.  I could not lie and then marry the man.  George asked if he could call me again.  I told him: “No!”.  I did not want him to call me.  If Phil and I argued and if there was a big upset between us and the marriage was cancelled, I told him that I would call him.  George boarded the train with me, made sure I was fine and we kissed goodbye.  I had no plans to call George again.  I had gotten a lot of things out that really frightened me.  I got a lot of anger out.  I was able to express my true feelings about George and he with me.  Our warm embrace and goodbye kiss was a moment in time that really meant goodbye.

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Week #12:

Life seems to have a way of creeping up on you.  So many thoughts in your head, so many things to take care of, and so many images and ideas that get all jammed up in your mind.  I would talk to Phil on the phone several times a week.  He sounded very happy and was keeping himself very busy.  He told me all about his new job, his boss Mr. Lyon, and the things that he was doing.  He sounded like he was really enjoying his new job.  He talked on and on about it and his voice was high, excitable and he had lots of enthusiasm.  He also explained that he had been apartment hunting.  We laughed and teased one another.  I had told him that I was afraid of heights so not to get an apartment higher than three stories.  He thought I was being silly and teased me about it.  At that moment I felt afraid of everything.  Walking up five steps on a strange porch made me nervous.  Being blind caused me to fear a lot of things.  Working, going to university and living in Toronto allowed me to grow, develop and become more confident in myself.  Why, then, did these old thoughts and memories come flowing to the forefront of my brain?  My brain was full of thoughts, images and flashbacks that all seemed to be happening all at once.

I re-adjusted my position in the train seat.  I was sitting by the window, thank goodness, so I was able to lean against the wall of the train.  It was a Friday night and I was back on the 6:15 train going home to Windsor.  The train was full and very noisy.  A lady sat beside me and she opened a book to read.  I was exhausted from the very busy week that had just been completed.  I shifted again, uncomfortable in my seat.  I was going to get married to Phil in one month.  Was this just a fantasy?  The stories that Phil told me of his living at the YMCA sounded very creepy.  Moving so far away to Ottawa seemed like moving to a far off country with a foreign language.  I was slowly drifting in and out of consciousness and I hoped that I would fall asleep.  The train chugged back and forth and jerked once in awhile as it went around a bend.  Thoughts, images and flashbacks continued to give me a huge headache and prevented me from sleeping.  I straightened my body, shifted my butt and put my feet flat on the floor and put the seat back as far as it would go in order to simulate lying down.  Thinking of Phil, imagining our fabulous fairy tale wedding, I was able to fall asleep.  Having been born blind I learned that having a disability was something to be embarrassed about; so, I had feelings of being unworthy.  There were times when I had to face my disability and challenge it!  I had to challenge myself to figure it out, what it really meant to have a disability and to accept it.  Well, I have gone through those phases but I guess that every time I begin to feel embarrassed and unworthy because of my disability I don’t face it, but instead stuff it back down, burying it in my gut.  Am I worthy of marrying Phil?  Does he really know me and accept me with my disability?  I do feel a lot of love for Phil and when I am not with him I truly do miss him.  He has a lot of wonderful values and qualities that I want to have in my marriage and in a life partner.

I was born and lived in poverty.  My mom was a strong Christian woman and I wondered why she puts up with such a horrible, abusive alcoholic husband?  Once I get married for better or worse does that mean that I am stuck for the rest of my life with the same man?  I began to think of Phil’s family and how I might fit into that family.  I thought about George and how much love I had had for him!  In a lot of ways George was still a child.  He loved attention, was stubborn and wanted things his way!  I guess I really didn’t care as I had such low self-esteem of myself.  We did laugh a lot, loved the water and swimming and he did make me feel loved by him.  What else did I know about George?  I thought about marrying George and had good feelings about fitting into his family.  Maybe it was time to face my true questions of my embarrassment, my unworthiness and how I truly felt about love.  But because of the exhaustion I felt I had to put these thoughts out of my mind.  Finally I fell into a deep sleep, probably exhausted more emotionally and spiritually than physically.  Why now all of these questions?

We finally arrived in Windsor.  I was tired, grabbed my things and climbed down the train steps with the aid of the conductor.  There I was in Windsor and this weekend there was no one there to meet me.  It was a lonely feeling, but somehow it felt okay.  When Phil was not able to meet me I usually arranged a ride from a friend.  I was deathly afraid to get into the car with my father, especially if he had been drinking.  I had called my mom to let her know that I had arrived.  She sounded happy and wanted to send a neighbour to get me.  I told her “no” that I had planned to take a bus but because I was feeling exhausted I would just take a cab, and that I would see her shortly.  Mom and I talked briefly when I got home, and then I went straight to bed.  Saturday morning was great as mom let me sleep in until noon.  I heard a lot of voices downstairs and, of course, I had to go to investigate.  A couple of my friends, Donna and Laura, were there.   They had been helping my mom with a lot of the wedding planning.  As we sat in the dining room, going over wedding plans and finalizing some of the small details Donna casually mentioned that George had called her numerous times and had even stopped by.  Donna had said she went out once with him for ice cream but that he was definitely not her type.  As we were laughing and talking Anita, another friend of mine, stopped by and joined in the conversation.  Anita had said that George stopped by her house and she sat in the car to talk to him.  It was clear from the conversations that I had left him with a broken heart.  I really didn’t want to hear that I had hurt the poor guy but I have to admit that it made me feel more self-confident about myself and I was thinking and talking about Phil in good, positive and loving ways.  Then, my mother re-joined the conversation by stating that George had called her numerous times to talk to me and he left messages.  I turned to my mother and asked why she had not told me.  Her answer was that I did not need to know and I told him that you were getting married.  And then, there it was again!  The anger filled up in me again.  It wasn’t what she had said.  Everyone was telling him the same thing.  I was tired of the lies that I found out that mom had told me.  We argued and I thought that she understood!  I was angry about the lies and the promises that she was making to other people and then telling me something different.  She had changed the flowers and the table centerpieces.  I had lost a special friend (Pam) because she had already asked Diane to be my matron-of-honor and her daughter to be my flower-girl.  She had also picked out who was going to be my ring bearer.  My mom chose the cake and not the one that I wanted and now she was keeping things from me.  I believe that she should have told me that George had called.  My girl friends agreed that she should have told me.  They did not lie to me; they talked about George and what they had said to him.  Mom was very upset.  I then went upstairs very frustrated and asked the three girls to talk to my mom and get her to understand.  After awhile, one at a time, the girls came up to my room.  Donna was the last one and she brought my mom with her.  I listened to what my mother had said.  She apologized and so did I for getting angry again.   My mother complained that when I come home on weekends she never sees me.  I tried to explain that I was an adult trying to live my life and be out with my friends.  Then there was a loud noise from downstairs and my father came stumbling in drunk, as usual.  I told my mom that was the biggest reason of all why I hated being home.  I wasn’t as sensitive as I should have been as I know now how much crap, garbage and abuse she had to put up with him.  Mom convinced everyone to stay and have pizza.  My dad was as annoying as hell but the girls just laughed it off.  Anita’s parents came to get her and she left with them to go home.  The three of us: Donna, Laura and myself, decided to go out and have some fun.  It was nice to be out with the girls.  I hadn’t done that in awhile.  It gave me a good chance to talk to them, relax and just have some fun.

Later that evening we returned home to my place.  Dad had gone to bed to sleep it off and mom was waiting up for us.  Mom had invited the girls to stay the night.  That was nice.  Somehow giggling, talking and being very tired we all curled up and in my double bed.  Sunday morning arrived all too soon.  Sleepily, we somehow all made it downstairs.  As we were relaxing and eating, Donna insisted that we go to church together.  Lorna thought it was a great idea.  Me, I wasn’t so much in the mood for church but thought it was the right thing to do.  I really, really wanted my mother to come with us, but she refused.  I begged her to come but she had to stay home with dad.  My father seemed rather quiet, soothing his hangover.  So, I stopped begging and asking.  Lorna said to let my mom be for she was stressed enough, as I was.  Okay!  We went to church, which was right around the block from my house.  After church Lorna drove us to Donna’s house.  We were there for awhile.  The telephone rang and I heard Donna speaking to someone regarding Sunday School classes.  Afterwards, Donna told me that the Minister from Church wanted to see us.  That was odd; I had stopped teaching Sunday School classes almost one year ago.  Donna was still teaching.  We had spoken to the minister after church.  Why did he have to speak to us again?  That was odd!  I did enjoy seeing Donna’s mom and having a chat with her.  Donna had gone to get the car and before I could question her, we were already out the door and in the car heading for the church.  When we arrived the church parking lot was full of cars.  Lorna told us she wasn’t going to stay and headed home.  What?  Was something going on?  Donna hugged Lorna through the open car window and I did the same.  Donna said there were three different meetings going on in the church and the minister told her just to come downstairs to his office.  We went downstairs and Donna had to go to the bathroom.  She seemed to be taking a long time.  I combed my hair and we chit-chatted and soon she was ready.  We went to the minister’s office, but his door was closed.  We knocked.  We knocked again.  And, matter of fact, we knocked several times!  Getting frustrated and feeling tired, Donna suggested that we should go upstairs as he is probably talking to someone at one of the meetings.  There was a bench outside of the office and Donna asked me if I wanted to sit and wait as she went upstairs to find him.  No, I thought!  Let’s go together as I am really tired and I needed to get home myself to rest as I had to take the train back to Toronto that night.  We both went back down the hall, up the flight of stairs, down a smaller hallway and entered the huge hall.  Just as i went to take another step, everyone shouted: “SURPRISE!!”.  My mother and the girls had planned a surprise wedding shower for me.  Was i surprised?  Yes, I WAS!!!  I stood in shock.  I couldn’t think; I couldn’t speak nor could I move.  I was in shock and stood dumbfounded.  I couldn’t believe it!  Someone brought my mom over to me.  I was crying.  My mother was crying.  There was a lot of clapping and laughter in the big hall.  There was Lorna, her mom and Donna’s mom.  Phil’s mom was there with a couple of Phil’s aunts.  So many wonderful people that I knew were there!  To my surprise, Diane from Toronto was there and she had brought Judy, my roommate, with her.  All of the bridal party girls were there.  It truly was an amazing surprise and they had pulled it off.  I did not receive big, fancy gifts like brides today receive but I was totally overwhelmed, surprised and full of joy.  If I received a couple of tea towels and dish rags I was truly happy.  It was an extremely lovely afternoon.

Then, quickly Judy and I had to scramble as we needed to catch the 6:10 train back to Toronto.  Diane was going to stay in Windsor for a few days to visit her family.  Filled with joy and love I embraced my mother to show her how much I cared and how much I loved her.  I was very thankful for all of the support, love and energy it took to pull all of this together.  Mom told me she would gather all of the cards and that Diane had written on each one the gift(s) that the specific person had brought.  She would pile everything in my room on my bed so I could go through it next weekend when I returned home for a visit.  Diane stuffed all of the cards into a small bag and put them in my carry-on bag for the train.  That way, I would be able to write Thank You cards to everyone over the next week or so.

As Judy and I traveled back to Toronto we chatted, laughed and I had no problem falling asleep.  I was thankful for my mom’s love and everything she did for me to make me happy.  I was finally learning the true meaning of gratitude.  We should live a life of gratitude every day, not just once in a while.  Today is what counts.  Tomorrow may never arrive.  If we are thankful and grateful then life begins to have much more meaning.

Have the courage to Step Out For Success and always allow your passion and uniqueness to shine.

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Week #11:

Well, continuing on with my story: Phil’s mom was not only upset but she was furious.  If she didn’t like me before, she surely did not like me now.  She believed that I was a bad influence on him.  But, Phil was an adult!  He was a grown man and I thought that staying on the train with me he was romantic.

Have you ever had someone special in your life and you felt truly loved?  Phil was that kind of person.  He had a special way of making me feel special and very much loved.  It was all of the little things that Phil did for me that made him special.  Phil really wasn’t a big romantic, but he did have his special moments when he would do these very unique things that were out of the ordinary and made me feel loved.

February and March were very busy months.  The wedding plans for September were under way.  We would both be done school.  Phil would have his Masters’ degree and I had plans to continue University, but not right away.  My mom took over making the plans.  We had looked at a small, very romantic venue with a beautiful waterfall.  For some reason my mom asked my cousin Diane to be my matron-of-honor; she also asked whether her daughter (four years old) could be my flower girl.  I was quite upset by this!  Phil and I had already asked my best friend Pam and Phil’s long time friend Dave to stand up for us.  Pam was very upset when I told her.  Apparently, my mom had called her mom already and explained that it was very important for my cousin to stand up for me.  Knowing my mom and my aunt, I can guarantee that my Aunt Emily placed a lot of pressure on my mom and she was not able to say “no”.  I was furious because of these arrangements that she had made without discussing it with me.  Not only taking it upon herself but also to call Pam’s mother to try to explain.  Pam was very upset.  Phil and I tried to visit with her one weekend that I was down, but she refused to talk to us.  Her whole family was upset with me!  What was i to do?  What would you have done in my place?  I knew what Pam felt like and I couldn’t blame her.  She had every right to be angry with me.  I felt devastated and cried a lot that weekend.  When Phil and I spoke to Dave, he seemed to understand.  Phil had not told me that his mom was upset because Phil had not asked his brother Paul to stand up for him.  As we discussed things with Dave he seemed disappointed and had been friends with Phil for some time and knew Phil’s family very well.  I told Dave that not only had Pam become upset with me but she also had backed completely out of being in my wedding party.  This really hurt my heart.  Dave and Pam were still dating at this time so he said that he would try to talk to her.  I needed to apologize and to make things right.  I told my mother that she had to undo this horrible mess that she had put me in.  But, she didn’t listen.  She was praying for this wedding and I knew she didn’t have much money.  I felt that weekend being very upset and had argued with my mom.  Coming home in a few weeks I had thought that my mom would have re-considered and called my Aunt Emily.  Living with Diane and her daughter in an apartment made our relationship strained.  I had hoped that by explaining this very unfortunate situation to Diane that she would somehow understand.  But, she didn’t!  She became upset and irritated with me, causing friction in our relationship.  Phil was very busy working on completing his Masters’ degree.  This gave me time to spend some time with some old friends of mine.  I ended up asking some of them who had supported me through some very troubling times to be in my wedding party (Lorna, Donna, Anita and Judy).

It was late March or the first of April when Phil next came to Toronto to visit me.  He needed to talk to me in person.  Something very significant had happened in Phil’s life that would cause us to re-examine our proposed wedding date.  Phil was very excited about having one of his professors from the university recommend him for a job.  Phil and I had talked about this over the phone and I was really excited for him.  They were flying him to Ottawa for an interview.  It was with the Food and Drug Directorate.  In later years this was to be split into two departments: one for Food and one for Drugs.  I was so excited to hear how the interview went.  He was all excited to tell me all of the details of the flight, the interview, what Ottawa was like and the flight back home.  He was offered the job!  Delighted, happy and full of love, I knew this would be fantastic, but it also meant a huge move for both of us.  I told him that I was up for the adventure.  Apparently, he had already spoken to my mom as she knew before I did that he was accepted for the job.  Phil explained that my mom had to move the wedding date from September to October or November.  Phil and I really needed to discuss this.  Phil would be starting his new job in May.  I would be soon returning home to Windsor.  This meant that instead of being only four hours apart, we would be more than double that!  Phil and I had a lot of discussion, what it would mean for him to move, live in Ottawa, start his new job and be there alone for maybe five or six months before getting married.  What would be wrong with getting married on our original September date?  Well, Phil and I finally made a decision and chose the date.  We knew that neither set of parents would be happy with us.  So, here I am in Toronto sending Phil back to Windsor to tell my family and his family our decision and the new date we chose.  We were very happy with our decision.  Phil knew that with starting his new job that his return train trip to Windsor would be his last train trip between the Toronto and Windsor corridor.  Phil had come to Toronto to convince me to postpone our wedding date further into the winter months; but, what really happened was that we moved our date up, to July 17th!  Our families both could not believe that we moved the date up to July 17th.  We thought that this was the “perfect” solution.  Phil could move to Ottawa, start his new job, and find us the perfect place to live.  We could get married and start our life together in Ottawa.  Everyone could not believe that I was getting married so fast and was going to move so far away.  Well, that’s life!  You never know what tomorrow is going to bring.  Be happy today, make plans for the future and the rest is in God’s hands.  We thought that it was the perfect date not only so that Phil wouldn’t be alone in Ottawa, but we could start our married life together right away, and because if you turn 17 around, the date becomes July 17, 1971.  How could we ever forget our anniversary date?

We got our parents together on a couple of occasions.  The fathers got along but the mothers did not like each other.  Phil’s mom took more of a dislike to me than before.  Phil was marrying a blind woman and was going to have a blind mother-in-law.  Phil’s brother Paul didn’t seem to care one way or another about me or my family.  Everyone in my family loved Phil.  My two younger brothers thought he was cool.  Phil encouraged my youngest brother, David, to get into computers, which proved to be a very valuable decision for him and his family in the future.

Now, with the wedding date set at July 17, 1971 we had to work fast to get everything completed.  Dave and Pam unfortunately, broke up.  Phil asked his brother Paul to be his best man.  He also asked Dave and a few friends to be in the wedding party.  We had twelve people total in the wedding party.  Phil and I visited my grandfather, who wasn’t doing so well.  I was very sad and hurt that my grandmother could not be at my wedding.  Although it had been almost three years since her death, I was still mourning her passing.  My granddad got in touch with my mom and helped her out with the cost of the wedding; this was a blessing!  My mom arranged through an uncle to have the wedding at the Knights of Columbus Hall, which was almost right near the Tunnel exit from Detroit, as i would be having a number of relatives coming from the United States.  I had decided to turn Catholic for Phil so that we could be married in a Catholic Church by a priest.  My mom was upset big time over that!  Phil arranged for us to be married at the Assumption University Chapel at the University.  This was also a good location as it was very close to where you come off of the Ambassador Bridge from Detroit.  I had put a wedding gown on layaway two years previously so I wondered if it would still be available.  Several of my bridesmaids traveled downtown to a small wedding shop on Pelissier Street.  They didn’t like the dress and it was not at all what I remembered.  I lost my deposit but didn’t really care.  Someone had said that there was a brand new mall just opened up and that it contained a bridal store.  Very excited, we all packed into, I believe, Lorna’s car, and headed for the mall.  I wanted to purchase my own dress.  I had saved some money and I was worried whether I would have enough.  But, granddad said he would help me out if I needed him to.  WOW!!  How exciting this was, trying on wedding dresses and everyone had an opinion.  They were all beautiful and expensive.  I was looking for something old-fashioned but traditional.  The lady in the store was very nice and she was being very patient with me.  She had been listening to what I had been saying while trying on some of the gorgeous gowns.  My friends had picked out a couple of beautiful gowns but I did not realize that I was sabatoging myself.  I had allowed my old stinking thinking of me being a victim and of being abused by my father to cloud my decision.    I didn’t want low-cut in front or in back.  At that time in my life I had a great figure and I should have appreciated some of those wonderful gowns to show off my great figure.  But, my fearful attitude would not allow me to have fun, laugh and to try on certain gowns.  The lady told me that if I was looking for a great sale on a wedding gown that she had some gorgeous winter-style dresses.  A sale and big discounts sounded good to me.  My friends helped me to pick out three that seemed perfect and that they all liked.  The lady also picked out two that she liked.  The girls said “Yes” to one of them and “No” to the other.  The excitement began again with trying the gowns on and coming out to show everyone.  I was happy, excited and probably feeling on cloud nine.  A day every girl dreams about: trying on gorgeous bridal dresses.  It came down to two and I knew even before the girls chose it as one of their favourites.  I knew that they knew I loved this particular dress.  I chose this one to try on again.  Yes, it was the one!  I was so thrilled.  I cried tears of joy.  The girls just thought it was all of the emotion and excitement, and they were right!  But, it was much more than that.  Each time I tried the dress on I could see my grandmother beside me.  I could smell her body powder that she used to wear.  I could feel a gentle hug and a pull at the back.  She was so close to me I could almost hear her breathing.  I cried as I felt beautiful and I knew this was the perfect dress.  I cried tears of joy.  I never said anything because I didn’t want anyone to say it wasn’t true!  It was my imagination!  Even if it were my imagination, I didn’t care.  I believe that my grandma was with me.  The gown was old-fashioned with traditional trimming.  It had a higher neckline, some puffiness at the shoulders and down to the elbow.  From the elbow to the wrist it was tight with a tight wristband of lace.  From the wrist a piece of lace covered the back of my hand as a thin loop slipped over the middle finger.  The breast area was tight and form-fitted to my small waist.  It had thin, pink ribbon running through the lace to highlight the beautiful top of the gown with some tiny pearl drop beads.  The waist was pulled in tight and the bottom flowed out into the most gorgeous ball gown skirt, with lace and tear drop beads.  The veil was an actual crown done in white satin and lace and tear drop beads to match the dress.  The veil was three-tiered that flowed down my back, with a magnificent long train attached at my waist and flowing down and behind me.  It definitely was the old-fashioned look that I wanted with the modern tradition of pink ribbon and tear drop beads.  What a perfect dress!  What a perfect moment!

Donna’s aunt said that she could make the bridemaids’ dresses in order to keep the cost down for the girls.  The matron-of-honour Diane chose pink and the other ladies were in dark mauve, or purple.  They were gorgeous, perfect dresses.  The girls could wear them again after the wedding or cut them down for a fancy dress.  The little flower girl wore pink like her mom.  Very special friends of my mom had a grandson who was almost seven so he was the ring bearer.  The heart-shaped satin and lace pillow was adorable with pink and purple ribbons holding the rings onto the pillow.  My colours became pink, purple and silver.

My mom always seemed to be upset with me.  Here, I thought she would be happy and even proud of me.  I was taking classes at York University, living out on my own sharing a place with my cousin Diane, having a part-time job, being able to save quite a bit of money and paying for my own wedding dress.  But, she was very upset with me for not inviting her along to share in the fun and excitement of trying on and choosing a bridal dress.  I didn’t mean for this to happen.  Coming home for a weekend didn’t allow me much time to do a lot of stuff.  Phil was now in Ottawa, living at the “old” YMCA and working.  Have you ever felt really happy but somehow everything around you seemed wrong?  I remember saying a hundred times: “I’m sorry!” “I’m sorry!” to my mom.  I never meant to hurt her.

I tried numerous times to contact my best friend, Pam, without success.  She was really upset with me.  I never meant for her to be hurt, too.  I was saying: “I’m sorry!” a lot to everyone, it seemed.  The girls, although they liked my bridal dress, complained that it was a winter style.  It was my choice and the price was right (discounted way down) and it was the old-fashioned style that I wanted.  It was a beautiful Cinderella style!  Why was I feeling so sad?  I think I cried all the way back to Toronto, a whole four hour trip.  When I arrived I was feeling so sad and miserable.

A lot of times feelings from our early years as a young child well up within us.  The shy, frightened, abused little girl was back.  I wanted to just run away and hide.  I was feeling unworthy, damaged and that perhaps all of this love and happiness I was feeling was all in my imagination.  I couldn’t fight all of the negative thoughts and feelings that I was having.  At this time in my life I did not understand positive or negative thoughts.  All I knew was that I felt all alone and ashamed of myself.  I started to think how disappointed Phil was going to be with me.  At my age, being so naive and really not understanding sex, but feeling so much love for Phil and feeling good and joyful being in his warm embrace.  Have you ever felt you might be going a little crazy?  I thought of his family and how afraid I felt about his mother; how his brother ignored me and didn’t even try to get to know me.  And, oh God!  I did not know how to cook!  My grandmother was gone!  How many times I prayed to her in heaven.  My fairytale story was falling apart.  Should I call the wedding off?  Other people deserve to be happy, not me!

A lesson to be learned: You have a choice and only you can make the right choice for yourself.  The huge problem I faced was that I did not know I had a choice.  I allowed fear, guilt and grief to shadow my thoughts and emotional state-of-being.

Have the courage to Step Out For Success and always allow your passion and uniqueness to shine.

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Week #10:

I arrived home that particular weekend and was excited to tell my mom about my engagement.  Somehow I think she knew.  Mom had said that Phil stops in once in a while to see how she is and helps her out.  The weekend, although snowy and very cold, turned out to be a very nice weekend.  Saturday I spent calling friends and visiting with my girl friend Pam.  I truly wanted Pam to be my maid-of-honour.  We had a double date with Pam and Dave.  Phil had asked Dave to be his best man.

On Sunday I was invited to Phil’s home for dinner.  I was really nervous.  I had been in his home a few times before.  I liked his dad.  His dad was a quiet man but he was actually very funny and seemed like a very kind-hearted man.  He recognized me from my work at City Hall.  There was a Tuck Shop there on the main floor where I worked.  He used to come by and chat and sometimes purchase a coffee.  When Phil first took me home to his house I recall his dad’s sweet laugh.  His laugh was a low, true laugh that made you feel good to be around him.  He recognized me right away.  I think trying to go back in memory files that I believe I even got a welcoming hug from him.  Phil’s mom was a different story.  She gave off a vibration I was not certain about.  Phil sort of gave me a warning that his mom was not as friendly as his dad and she needed time to get to know someone.  When Phil introduced me to his mom sitting on the couch, she gave me a “hello” but that was about it.  She did not even stand up.  His brother Paul came in just in time to eat.  He was quiet and didn’t say much.  I was trying to be polite and I asked his brother a couple of questions, hoping to start up a conversation, to get to know him, and perhaps gain a friendly point or two with the family.  But, he gave quick answers and did not seem to want to engage in conversation.  When we sat down for dinner I hoped that things would be better.  Phil asked if I could show everyone my ring and I was delighted to do so!  But, instead of engaging in some kind of conversation, it was met with a kind of quiet murmuring of “nice”.  My nervousness grew that Sunday dinner at Phil’s house.

Phil’s mom made it clear that she didn’t think we should be engaged or thinking of marriage at this time.  Perhaps she had some valid concerns.  Phil and I hadn’t set any dates for our wedding but we both were in love and were sure we had found the right person.  Phil’s mom stated that Phil was in his last year of university and that I shouldn’t be distracting him from that process and his graduation.  Phil had no prospects of was even thinking of a job and would not be able to support a wife, let alone himself.  His mom felt that Phil should not be engaged at this time because he was such a good student, working on his studies and he should have time, perhaps a couple of years after graduating, to meet people, to socialize and to find himself a good job and to experience other things in life.  Phil and I were pretty quiet through dinner.  Phil’s dad asked something about Kennedy Collegiate High School, as that is where I was enrolled, as he had also attended there.  He also asked, I believe, about living in Toronto.  I answered his questions with a smile hoping to begin a new conversation with him.  Phil’s mom quickly jumped into the conversation telling of the time she took the train to the east coast (Halifax) to visit Phil’s dad, who was stationed there in the Navy during the Second World War.  He was a stationary engineer who was responsible for the boilers on the ship, but he had to stay below deck because he was colour blind.  I asked him a few questions and it became clear that he liked to talk about the Navy.  I listened intently, smiling and trying to appear as interested as I could be.  Phil’s mom (Esther) would jump in again with her story.  Paul (Phil’s brother) quickly finished eating, announced that he did not want dessert and left, as he had other plans.  After dinner, as the table was being cleared, Phil knew how nervous I was and gave me a gentle hug for support.  But, instead of accepting his supportive hug I pushed him away as I was very nervous of Esther’s watchful eye.  This hurt Phil’s feelings and I did not mean for that to happen and he asked me what was wrong.  I felt uncomfortable and nervous to answer him.  Phil’s attitude changed, not understanding my reason for cutting the hug short and pushing him away.  As coffee and dessert was being served Esther asked Phil how I take my coffee.  He took the cup of coffee and said he would help me.  Then, again, she asked Phil if I wanted dessert.  As I gave a deep sign and dropped my head, I was very surprised at Phil’s answer: “Why don’t you ask her yourself?”.  Esther seemed as stunned as I was!  She did ask if I wanted dessert and I answered as politely as I could with a “Yes, please!”.

When dinner was finally over, I wanted to help clean up, but I was told clearly to sit down.  I sat in the living room with Phil’s dad, Fred.  Both of us were pretty quiet.  Phil helped his mom and there was a bit of conversation going on in the kitchen.  Phil’s voice did not sound quiet or comforting.  He sounded upset.  I did not think through dinner that Phil realized that Esther continually asked Phil to ask me if I wanted anything.  But, apparently he did and was not happy about it.  Phil sat beside me on the couch, held my hand and with a couple of whispers we decided that it was time for us to leave.

Phil drove the car somewhere and parked so we could talk.  All I remember doing was crying.  For the first time I felt like my disability really mattered to Phil’s mom.  I knew then that there was a whole lot more about my disability that needed to be discussed.  I recall crying a lot.  Phil wanted to comfort and love me but I needed to talk.  I felt so unhappy that Esther was not happy about our engagement.  She couldn’t even pretend to be happy at least for her son.  She avoided the subject except to say all of the reasons that Phil needed to be free from distractions and a girl friend.  Phil’s mom and I never really communicated or talked easily.  We used to go out every Friday evening to the old Roseland Golf Club for dinner.  I always ordered the Clubhouse Chicken sandwich because I felt that I wouldn’t make too much of a mess with it, as it was a lot easier to eat than most other types of dinners, and I liked it.  I did not order any french fries because i did not want to embarrass myself by dropping some, using ketchup, or by having a long one dangling out of my mouth.  I don’t really remember Esther ever asking me any questions or trying to start a conversation with me.  Phil always knew that I was nervous.  He was always kind, supportive and loving.  He would put his hand under the table to pat my upper leg to let me know that he knew how I felt and was there to support me.  We couldn’t stay parked very long as I needed to get home and get my things and head for the Train Station to return to Toronto.  Returning home late that afternoon we talked more with my mom and dad.  My dad didn’t really say much but he seemed really happy.  Phil seemed to get along very well with my dad.  My mom asked a lot of questions and it was clear that she really liked Phil.  Prior to coming home that weekend I had gone to get my passport picture taken, which my mom told me was necessary for my engagement announcement to be put into our local newspaper, the Windsor Star.  I gave mom the photo but wasn’t sure we should put it in the paper yet.  I was very worried about Phil’s family and not really having discussed anything with them over Sunday dinner.  I was especially worried about Phil’s mom and her attitude.  I was sure that it was my disability that she did not like nor was I good enough for her son.  My mom assured me that she felt that Phil really loved me and the only one that I had to please was Phil.  Phil assured me of his love and convinced me that I just needed to get to know his mom better.  She wasn’t used to or comfortable with anyone with a disability.  Now that her son was engaged to a blind woman, it would just take time for her to get to know me and to find out how loving, kind and independent a person that I was.  Unfortunately, some people think that disabled means unable.  She did not want her son to have to take care of and be tied down to a blind person for the rest of his life.  I can understand a mother’s love.

Before leaving for the Train Station we decided on the month of September that year for the wedding.  Why, how, when I can’t recall.  But, I was back happily in love with Phil again.  I said my good-byes to my mom and dad and Phil drove me to the Train Station.  I’m not sure but I think I remember being very emotional and crying a lot that weekend.  The weekend passed so quickly and it seemed as if we had no time for ourselves.  I truly did not want to say good-bye to Phil and I got the same feeling from Phil.  It was time to board the train and, as usual, Phil boarded the train with me to make sure that I was seated and was comfortable and to give us a little extra time to say good-bye.  We were warned several times that it was time for Phil to leave the train.  We both giggled, kissed and hugged some more.  Phil teased me about going to Toronto with me.  I giggled that little girlish laugh.  I think Phil wanted me to tell him “Yes, take the train to Toronto with me”, but I couldn’t.  All I could think of was how much his mom was going to be hugely upset.  If she didn’t like me now, she would definitely hate me for allowing Phil to stay on the train.  We kissed, hugged and both laughed just as there was a jolt of the train.  We sat there silently, looking at each other in a deep trance!  The train jolted again!  It jolted again as it now pulled out of the station!  Oh my God, the train was moving.  For a moment I felt a monumental fear take over Phil’s body and then he laughed “I will get off at the next station, Chatham.”.  I became worried how he would get back to Windsor and get his car.  Now, both relaxing in a loving embrace, we both were very happy to be together and that seemed right at that moment.  We had a lot to talk about.  We began to talk and really listen to each other.  Phil seemed pleased with himself, challenging his mother’s authority.  As I was finding, discovering and understanding my own independence, I feel, so was Phil.  After all, he was an adult and not a child and he felt proud about staying with me.  When the conductor finally came around to collect our tickets, Phil paid for his fare all the way to Toronto.  I was shocked that he did not pay just to the next stop but decided to go the whole trip with me.  This felt right!  We really needed to talk and discuss many things.  I truly felt happy and content with our conversation.  I believed in our love for one another.  I believed in our caring for one another.  I truly wanted to be with Phil.  I wanted to experience things with Phil, I wanted to be with him, I wanted to marry him, start a family  and I believed in a good, happy future with Phil.  We talked a lot, ate all of the lunch my mom had packed for me and felt totally in love and exhausted.  We snuggled up together and slept most of the way to Toronto.

Having left Windsor on the 6:00 p.m. train we arrived in Toronto at about 10:15 p.m.  We discussed then what we should do.  First, Phil called his mother so she would not worry.  It was Sunday evening and I believe Phil took the midnight bus back to Windsor.  Since the late (overnight) bus takes a lot longer because it stops in every little town, Phil did not arrive home in Windsor until after 6:00 a.m. Monday morning to face an angry mother.  He then had to shower, shave and get to the university.

Well, this is a good ending point.  Stay tuned for more exciting adventures.

Smile, and have the courage to step out for success and always allow your passion and uniqueness to shine!

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Week #9:

Well, let’s see!  To recap, Phil proposed to me on Friday evening, February 14, 1970.  Wow!  13 has become a lucky number for me!  That date sounds not only funny to say but feels funny as it is so far in the past.  It was a great weekend and I felt so wonderful.  I felt like a fairy princess and Phil was my knight in shining armour!  I was far from home and family, living in the big city of Toronto.  I loved York University.  Through the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) they provided all visually-impaired and blind students with all kinds of support, including technical devices, and mentors to help us with all of our classes.  How great was that for me?  I would not have been able to afford any of this stuff.

I remember as a young child my dad had cut up thick cardboard boxes and traced our feet to put this cardboard in the bottom of our shoes and boots when they got holes in the bottom.  One thing that has not changed in all of these years: my mom bought three-packs of milk inside of a thicker plastic bag and she saved the outer bags to re-use.  We used these outer plastic bags to put our feet into to wear in our boots to keep our feet dry.  Sounds funny but it worked.  Mom told us if we kept our shoes wiped and looking clean nobody would know that they were old shoes and wouldn’t say anything to tease us.  Mom was warm, loving and caring.  She never made us feel poor.  She told us this was a smart way to save money and to take good care of our things so that they would last.  This way we did not have to keep buying the same things over and over again.  Taking good care of our things and putting things away in their own specific spot was a smart thing to do.  Also by putting things away in their proper place meant that we did not have a mess to clean up.  I also did not have to feel around to find things that i was looking for.  Everything had a place and everything in it’s place.  My mom was very smart and now that I think of it she reminds me of Forrest Gump’s mom.  My mom seemed to have a special saying for everything and all of the things she told us made sense.  If we did not understand she would always have a loving way of explaining it to us.  So, that is why I always was very careful with everything. I was given to use.  The lesson my mom taught me was to be very organized and this made it very easy to find things that I needed.

My disability was fading away and did not seem like that huge burden to carry.  I didn’t feel as embarrassed when I stumbled or when I was asked about my eyes.  I always wore sunglasses to hide my drooping eyelids and squinty eyes.  I was holding my head up higher and feeling a little more self-confident than I had.  When Phil asked me about my disability, my eyes and/or my family it felt good to finally have someone listen to me, and when I cried or felt insecure and embarrassed, Phil would always kiss me, hold me close and would tell me that he understood.  I had never felt this way before.  My heart beat fast, my breathing became easier; deep relaxing breaths.  My body became relaxed, my muscles softened and became limp and my skin felt soft.  My mind became blank and all I could think of was how comfortable and relaxed in Phil’s loving arms I felt.  As I would snuggle in closer, Phil’s arms embraced me a little tighter.  I would close my eyes and truly felt like a fairy princess, just like the ones I played with and dreamed about when I was a child.  I guess you could say that I am a dreamer and I do believe dreams can come true!  Like all weekends when I was with Phil they went by so quickly.  It was a very special weekend and I felt that Phil and I did bond at a higher level.  I was opening up, talking to Phil and allowing him into my private closeness.  I didn’t realize it then, but having been sexually abused by my father at a very young age had affected me when any male tried to get too close to me.  In high school I had become part of the gang.  This was one of my dreams.  Just to feel normal and not teased as the ugly, blind girl.  I laughed, went to the football games, the dances, and held hands and got some gentle hugs; but that is all that I wanted.  Meeting George gave me the self-esteem on the inside that I was able to show on the outside as being self-confident.  George was fun.  We laughed a lot and he was playful.  I somehow allowed George to penetrate my private, secured circle around me that I had guarded so well.  I did enjoy putting my head on his shoulder and snuggling in closer.  But, George kept forcing me further which I was not comfortable with.  I’d push George away, start crying and upsetting him.  George did feel bad when I cried and perhaps even felt guilty.  I tried to tell him that I wasn’t comfortable with going further.  When I tried to explain he really didn’t want to hear it.  He’d shush me, just like everyone else did when I would try to tell them the big secret between me and my dad.  My mom shushed me as if I was lying and did not want to hear it.  I felt rejected by my mother.  Grandma shushed me, cuddled me, as perhaps she knew, and told me that she loved me, and things would turn out fine for me.  Perhaps that is the way George felt when I pushed him away: rejected?  But, did he feel rejected, or was it that he really just did not want to hear my story or my excuse?  George did hold me close with hugs, kisses, cuddles and he told me how much he loved me and that things would be all right.  I truly wanted to believe him.  I was in love with him.  But, did I believe him?

Phil was getting close and I truly felt love, comfort and support and I did not feel rejected.  Phil allowed me to shyly stumble through my words to try to explain my feelings.  When he asked questions it made it easier to talk to him rather than feeling judged.  Phil and I truly bonded in love that weekend and Phil never pushed beyond what I was comfortable with.  That Sunday, saying good-bye at the Train station really touched my heart.  I truly did not want him to leave.  I held it together when I said good-bye, then hid quietly in a corner to cry before pulling myself together and finding the subway to take me home.

The next two weeks went extremely fast, especially at my little part-time job at Sunnybrook Veterans’ hospital.  I was excited to show off my beautiful, sparkling ring.  I felt truly loved and proud.  Everyone at work said I was different.  I was happy, glowing and instead of the shy, nervous young girl they knew I seemed more outgoing and extremely happy; and I was!  I had decided to move out of the dormitory rooms and moved into an apartment with my cousin Diane.  My whole life was changing!  I was changing as I grew more confident.  My attitudes and beliefs were changing.  I was a lot more positive and happy.  I did not have to fake being positive and happy.  I did not have to keep reminding myself to stop the negatives; to stop thinking, being and talking negative.  It had worked!  All of the self-help books, tapes and practicing and faking to be positive and happy had worked.  I was thinking, being and talking in positive and happy ways.

The two weeks had passed and I left on Friday right after my last class to go to the Train station to go to Windsor.  I probably slept the full four hours on the train that it took to get there as I was exhausted.  When I arrived in Windsor there was Phil, faithfully as ever, waiting for me with a gift.  Phil was always surprising me.  I was very happy to see him and I could definitely see that he was happy to see me!

Well, it is time to end it there for this episode.  Please stay tuned for the next episode.  Always keep smiling and think, act and speak in positive ways, as your positive energy goes out to the universe, positive energy and good things will return to you.  “Smile and have the courage to step out for your success and always allow your passion and uniqueness to shine.”

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Week #8:

I very much appreciate all of the positive comments on my blog.  There are some things I see now, very important things, looking back that I have overlooked.  I will have to back track and complete those at another time.  But, continuing on, I hope the experiences I have had in my life can help someone else know that they are not alone and that struggling through life is just part of the journey and that there is nothing wrong with them.

Continuing on, I would like to talk about the word LOVE.   What does that word really mean?  In the dictionary the definition reads:  “love – A strong, complex emotion or feeling causing one to appreciate, delight in, and crave the presence or possession of another and to please and promote the welfare of the other person; devoted affection or attachment.  Specifically, such feeling between husband and wife or lover and sweetheart; sexual passion or the gratification of it.”

When you check out the dictionary you will find infinite information and definitions on this word, love.  When I started to date George, I was naive and just starting to understand the complex person who I was and that there were great possibilities in front of me.  George was probably my first true love.  One of passion, feeling of true love, and one of being very special to one person.  George was the single most important thing in my life next to my grandparents.  He was my stable rock and was able to get me through high school without quitting.  George had quit high school and was out working in a Tool & Die apprentice position which paid well and promised him a good future in this business.   He seemed to really love me and to accept me with a disability and all of my good and bad qualities.  For the first few years it was fun, passionate and I was learning more and more about myself and about the realities of life.  My grandmother died when I was in grade eleven (11) and it was devastating for me.  That I knew was true love, unconditional and deep caring love for my grandma.

We do not realize how much we love someone, sometimes until they are not there.  My grandma was my world and I am so sorry I did not tell her more often how much I loved her.   I hated her drinking, too.  Grandma and grandpa, after grandpa’s retirement, began to drink more and more.  I hated it when they drank.  Thank goodness they were sleepy drunks.  They just got sleepy and went to bed and I was left alone to watch TV or play on my own.  I felt a huge hole in my heart when grandma died.  My mom was nasty to me at the funeral and was telling a cousin that George was not a good guy and she did not like him.  This was horrible as we walked in and heard her.  It hurt me and hurt George as well as he tried to be nice to my family, especially my mom.  He never really forgot what she said and was very hurt by her words.

If there are people in your life that are important to you in your life  make sure you make the time to tell them you love them.  Make the time to spend time with them.  When someone dies it is forever and we must make the time now to love those around us but most importantly make them feel loved before there is no more time and you can’t tell them any more.  Don’t wait to tell someone you care.  If you have had an argument with someone and you would like to make up with them,  DO IT!  It does not matter who’s fault it was, the most important thing is that you mend that relationship and make good, happy, positive memories with them.  Don’t ignore them just because you don’t know what to say or what to do.  You can always find the words or the way to mend a relationship and the good part is if you give the other person an opportunity to make up with you, you both win.  Don’t live with regrets, unhappy memories, or guilt; do something about it.  It is the right thing to do!

It was good that George was in my life at that time as it really was a hard thing for me to deal with as it was the first time death really impacted me.  It was at this time I began to get to know George’s family better.  He had a wonderful mom who really liked me.  His sister was funny, four years younger and we really got along together.  His dad was a quiet man who made homemade wine and drank, became sleepy, and fell asleep, just like my grandparents.  George also had another younger sister who had died.  George touched upon this but really never wanted to discuss it.  And, that was my problem as well.  There were things in my life that I should have been able to share with George, but just did not.  I guess you could say we lived in the moment and should have discussed things to better understand each other.  We would become irritated with one another and left it and just would call it a night.  George gave me an engagement ring and, of course, thought I was truly in love.  My mom was worried about the relationship as she tried to tell me it seemed like he was always making me cry.  He wanted things his way and I was willing to just accept it.  He liked to work on cars and drink.  That seemed to be his number one love: working on cars.  It really bothered me when he drank beer so he knew I did not want to see him when he was drunk or even if he had a little.  Things that I was interested in: going to dances, parties, and being with other people, he was not interested in those things.  When we met George had long side burns and everyone told me he looked like Elvis Presley when he was at his heaviest size.  Was it his good looks, the passion of the hugs and kisses and feeling loved and feeling special that held me attracted to him?   We talked about being married and the children we would have.  His family was nice and I knew I would be happy joining in this family.  Was it the dream of love and marriage that I was in love with?  Or was it really George?

When I met Phil it was fun, carefree, and felt like I was not having to like everything he did.  It was not love at first sight.  Matter of fact I really did not care one way or the other about Phil.  He was just a really nice person who I felt was a great guy.  Phil was different in the fact that he wanted to get to know me and asked me questions.  Of course I was not willing to disclose all of my true feelings or true emotions to him.  But, somehow I felt at ease with Phil and it wasn’t long before I was disclosing personal feelings and things about myself that I felt would push him away.  But, it didn’t.  It seemed to pull me closer to him.  He began to share things about himself and his family that I felt was important that he trusted me with his personal thoughts and ideas.  Phil and I grew closer.  It wasn’t the passionate relationship George and I had but a more personal friendship and bond that felt genuine and caring.  Can one person be in love with two different people?  Yes, I believe they can.  Phil and I were more active in our relationship.  We danced, bowled, and took long walks.  This really meant a lot to me and made me feel more normal as he looked at me and accepted me as normal even if my disability was still part of me.  Phil seemed to overlook the disability altogether.  I also began to overlook my own disability and accept it.  I was always protecting myself against the bullying and teasing and was very sensitive about being blind.  But, now accepting my disability, it allowed me to relax and to be free of the disability as a roadblock and as a ball and chain around my neck.  It was part of who I was and not something God had punished me with, which I had thought.  Finally accepting my disability freed me from the embarrassments and guilt that I carried.  I now was able to allow myself to act freely and feel accepted as just me.  I wanted people to see me first and not my disability.  I learned that it was my choice how I reacted to things in life and to react without the guilt to things and now I knew how to do that.

The last year of high school was difficult as both George and Phil were both in my life.  While I began to see Phil, George was also calling and was talking to him on the telephone as well.  Unfortunately, or maybe for the good, George began to push me into drawing me in closer to him and I felt he was asking me to embrace a sexual relationship that I was not ready for.  Again, the abuse at my father’s hands when I was younger made it very difficult for me to allow myself to be put in that kind of relationship.  George did not understand.  I did not understand myself.  I did not realize that relationship with my father would affect my relationships in the future.  I became more and more irritated at George’s demands on me.  I felt that I did love him but he became someone I did not know.  That was not the truth but at the time that is how it seemed someone who I did not know very well.  I had been invited to his home for Sunday dinners and his mom wanted me to marry George and the pressure was on!    We never really talked about certain things that we really should have and therefore not understanding the true feeling of the other one.  I believed George did love me and his family was great.  I was being invited more and more to dinner on Sundays at George’s home.  I liked it there.  I felt comfortable and at ease.  But, I knew inside that our relationship and my feelings were changing.  I found out it was hard to break up with George or was it hard to break up with his family that made it so hard for me?

Phil and I were becoming closer and closer as we began to trust one another and talk and share our personal feelings.  My love for Phil was feeling much stronger.  I finally told George I did not want to see him any more.  I found that very difficult.  He tried in many ways with flowers, candy, and with his mom calling and talking to my mom and myself on occasion.  My mom really liked Phil and kept telling me that she felt he would make me feel happy.  George was always making me cry as he missed dates, forgot about important things and started to drink a lot of beer and being with the guys working on cars.  You may think this decision was an easy one but it was not.  I had true feelings for both individuals and cared for each of them both in different ways.  But, really taking the time to figure out what I wanted and the type of relationship I wanted was very clear.  Phil was the one who was making me feel loved, cared for and never pressured me into a type of relationship I wasn’t comfortable with.  We had discussed my feelings, fears, and apprehension and Phil understood.  He accepted and understood the feelings and emotions and never pushed me into a situation I felt uncomfortable with.  The biggest thing was that I believe I was able to allow myself to trust Phil and to talk and share things with him which I felt I could not do with George.  That is the type of relationship and marriage I wanted.  One with open communication, sharing of our love, and to learn and grow together as a couple.

I had invited Phil to take me to my high school graduation.  I was so proud and happy he was there.  This was supposed to be a big deal in someone’s life but unfortunately it did not feel like that for me.  I was so sad about my grandmother’s death a year prior and I missed her so much.  But, I knew she was with me in spirit.  I did not talk very much about graduation with my mom.  We really did not talk or communicate much with one another.  I knew my dad would be drinking and come and embarrass me at graduation so I just did not say anything.  The night of graduation my mom was crying and very upset that I had not invited her to my graduation.  I was very upset because of grandma not being there and really wanted my mom to be there.  I couldn’t believe she was upset with me for not asking her.  Unfortunately, this is the type of relationship I had with my mom.  I did love my mom but at the same time I was holding her away from me because of things she said to me, she had done, and blamed me for which I felt she should not blame me for.  Dad’s drinking and being drunk half the time made it difficult for everyone.  Well, guess what, dad had been drinking and there he was drunk!  She was not able to go with me and Phil to my graduation now!  She couldn’t because of my drunken father.  I told her if she wanted to go with Phil and I she could and we would wait for her to get dressed but all she would do was cry.  She also knew she could not leave because he would try to follow us and getting behind the wheel of his car in his condition would not have been a good idea.  When Phil arrived I was not feeling very happy.  I told him I missed my grandma and wanted to have my mom with me but couldn’t because of my dad.  Phil seemed very supportive and understanding of my situation.  I really did not want to attend my graduation but Phil told me how beautiful I looked and said that if I did not attend I would regret it the rest of my life.  So, off we went to my graduation.  I was down on the graduation floor and Phil was up in the balcony with the spectators.  Here I was feeling all alone except for Phil.  I was so appreciative he was there and felt if he was able to support me in my time of despair, he was someone special I could count on.  After graduation I remember in Phil’s car crying and Phil holding me as I felt so alone and disappointed that I had no family at my graduation.  I believe Phil took me out to dinner and the night must have been a good one.

When you are confronted with a big decision or feeling very depressed, the most important thing to remember at that moment is your own feelings.  We tend to react to others for different reasons.  My mom’s crying made me feel bad about myself that “I” did not invite her.  I was hurt and felt it was my fault.  My dad was drunk.  Again I felt it was my fault and felt he did not care or love me enough to stay sober for one special night for me.  These feelings I had and reacted to were not my fault but I made the choice in my own mind that they were.  By doing this I reacted and took on feelings of hurt, embarrassment, unloved, unwanted, and had no purpose for me to go to my graduation.  If only I had been a little more mature.  I could have reacted in a totally different way.  My mom didn’t mean for me to feel it was my fault but she had hurt feelings herself.  My dad was a drunk and had no idea it was my graduation.  Did he care?  Probably if he had been sober.  I look back now and I wish I had reacted differently but I cannot turn the clock back, only learn from my experiences.  Sometimes we must be very selfish for ourselves and really think how we want a particular situation to turn out.  If we take the time, think things through, and try to understand things as they are, we can react in a better, positive way.  Sometimes it is not how we react but how we think about a particular situation.  We must stop, calm ourselves down, take the time to see the situation, and how we truly want to feel about this situation.

I could elaborate more on particular situations in life but I think I have made my point.  Sometimes we allow our emotions to control us.  Also, we allow the emotions of others to control us.  We do have choices in life and only we can make those choices.  We are going to make good decisions and at other times we are going to make bad decisions.  Don’t allow yourself to put blame on yourself.  Learn from your experiences and move on.  Keep telling yourself there are no right or wrong decisions in life just learning experiences we can learn from and hopefully that will lead us to make the choices that are good for us.

I almost made a huge mistake.  Falling in love with George was a true feeling and I also loved his family.  But, getting to know Phil and developing a relationship first with Phil made falling in love with him the smartest choice I ever made.  But, if I had followed my heart with just the love I had, I believe it would have been a very big mistake.  But, who knew?  Maybe it would not have been a big mistake?  What would have happened would have been I would have missed out on all of the wonderful things that have happened in life because of Phil.  Those things, memories, and life’s experiences are not worth me wondering or pondering over.  The choices I make are my choices and I must take responsibility for them.  I am in love with Phil, our family, our experiences, and our future.  Don’t ruin your life with “what if’s”?  Don’t allow regrets to block you from your true happiness.  Have the courage to see things clearly and to feel the things that are necessary for you to feel, no matter how scary, how painful, or how disappointing they may be.  Face the fear and feel the fear and do it anyway and believe in yourself to find the truth in your own heart.  Life is complicated but you are the author of your own story.  Focus clearly on what you want.  If you don’t know, don’t do anything until you are sure of what you want.  Decide on what you want out of life, follow your dreams and heart and make it happen.

Wishing you love in all the right places.  Don’t settle for something that does not feel right because you don’t have to.  Love is extremely important in your life.  I believe I can’t live without love.  Be true to yourself and to everyone around you.  You were created special in God’s love.  Know that He loves you and that there is a special person for you in this world.  Know that when you give your love that is a huge gift and you want to feel the same in return.  Wishing you all the love in the world and the love you deserve.

” Have the courage to step out for success and always allow your passion and uniqueness to shine.”- Lynn Fitzsimmons

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Week #7:

Well, here I am, back entering my blog story to share my learning experiences with you in order I may help someone with coping in life.  Life really is a struggle.  No one gets a free ride or has an easy time.  If we had an easy time in life, our day-to-day lives would become boring and mundane, or there would be no motivation to do anything.  What would the meaning of life be?  Our learning experiences are very important as they teach us coping skills, teach us how to do things and how not to do things, and most of all create the person we come to be in life.  It is not where you were born, in a poor or wealthy family, or what kind of parents you have, or what kind of disabilities or talents you have received at birth: it is everything put together that is our path to live in life.  How we react to things is what really matters.  I have definitely learned that if we seek the positives and look for the good outcomes in any struggle of life, that is exactly what we will find: good positive outcomes in every situation.  We may not realize it right away, but in time it proves itself over and over again.  That is why individuals, when they cry, whine, and negatively look at things they receive the same old negative outcomes every time and find that they are going nowhere in life.  They become stuck in a holding pattern that prevents them from seeing any good happening in their life and it allows their negative attitude to hold them back in old patterns of grief, sorrow, and pain.  Being born poor is something we can overcome.  Having alcoholic parents or parents with poor organizational skills is something that does not have to hold us back.  We can break through the old negative patterns to help develop ourselves in better ways and we can learn to live a happier and more productive life.  Feelings of not being loved or unwanted can devastate a young child or even an older individual, but it does not mean we have to feel that way forever.  We can learn to love ourselves for who we are even with a disability.  Having a disability is not great at all but it can be one of the most important traits you have if you learn to understand and cope properly within your limitations.  I have definitely learned by understanding my disability, accepting my disability, and learning how to function as a person with a special need; I have been able to overcome my disability and live a happy, normal life and not allow anything to stop me or prevent me from the things I want in life or to achieve the goals and I desire.  My disability was once my burden and my cross to bear in life; it has now become the uniqueness of who I am motivates me to challenge myself to be the best person I can be.  Life is worth living.  You are born perfectly with exactly the right gifts from God to follow the path He wants you to follow.  God has a purpose for me in life and there are certain things I must learn to fulfill that purpose.  In order to learn certain things necessary for me, God has given me the disability of blindness.  That does sound funny and perhaps even mean.  But, if I had been born with perfect sight I would not have felt the things I have felt, I would not have learned the things in life the way I had to learn them, and I would be a totally different person all together.  The person I am today is very complicated but has brought me to be the person I am truly today.  Sure there are decisions in life I was allowed to make and if I had made different decisions than I did, I would not be the person I am today.  How I have reacted to certain situations has all contributed to the woman I am today.  I want to be the very best me I can be.  I do believe God has a purpose for me in life and that is why I must be spiritually grounded in order to live a divine purposeful life having faith in God that He leads me in the right directions of life.

Here I am a graduate of high school in the big city of Toronto.  The small town of Tecumseh, Ontario and Windsor, Ontario seem so far away.  There are sights, sounds, smells, and so many different things here waiting for me to discover them.

As I settle into my new life and into my new room here in the dorm at the C.N.I.B. I was introduced to my new roommate Judy.  She seemed like a great person and seemed fun and easy to talk to.  She was also blind with visual impairments as I did.  All of the students here were all legally blind, meaning that they had 10% of their vision, or less.  I was excited.  Somehow I was not frightened of these students.  Perhaps it was because we all had our own disability in common.  This truly was a great period of learning in my life.  I may not have known it then, but later I realized how this really shaped my life.  We were all able to share our stories of struggles, bullying and situations of fear, awkwardness and embarrassment.

There on this campus I took a dictaphone training program which they felt all blind people would be good at.  I also was able to take some classes at York University.  I was interested in Social Work and so I took some classes and was given the opportunity to explore other options at the university.  Later, after a few months I was accepted and I took on a small part-time job at Sunnybrook Hospital for Veterans, which today is a thriving hospital but still remains a teaching facility.  WOW!  All of this happened so fast.  I had no chance to think about it.  I felt that I was thrown right in and I had to sink or swim.  Well, I chose to swim!

I made friends very quickly and, as a group, out and about we went.  Some leading the way, others following, and the rest just tagging along, having a bit more difficult time of it.  The most exciting thing of all was learning how to take the subways.  WOW!  This was scary but ever so exciting all at the same time.  Phil and I agreed to keep in touch.  I wasn’t really sure how much Phil really liked me but somehow, I think, my over enthusiasm and excitement for the simple things seemed to amuse him.  He agreed to come to Toronto to visit for the weekend.  I was so excited to see him.  I was nervous as he stepped off the train and down the stairs to meet me in Union Station.  I anxiously awaited, I heard my name called, I turned around and there he was!  How to greet him?  What do I say?  Nervous and excited and before I could decide on what to say, Phil grabbed me and gave me a huge hug and I knew then he really was happy to see me.  This was a wonderful moment and will probably remember this moment as long as I live.  It was at this moment I believe I fell in true love with Phil.  He was smiling, happy, and we both were both giddy with excitement to see each other.

The weekend was fun, exciting, and full of love.  Yes, of course one of the first things I wanted to show him was my skill and knowledge of the subway system.  For Phil this may not have been as exciting for him as it was for me as being visually impaired and being able to maneuver and show him the subway system for me was exciting.  I believe my niavety and girlish excitement may have intrigued him and he laughed and held my hand, and allowed me to be his guide.  Introducing him to all of my new friends was great.  Phil was very sociable, friendly, and charming.  Everyone seemed to like him, which pleased me.  In the evening we all sat in the downstairs lounge area singing, talking, and having a wonderful time.  I had arranged for him to stay in one of the rooms on the male dorm floor which was all in the same building.

After everyone had left, sitting silently, cuddling for a while, we were interrupted by the security guard who informed us that it was after midnight and we had to leave and go to our rooms.  Phil kissed me gently a few times and agreed we should go instead of causing any trouble.  After passing by the security guard quietly, slipping silently into one of the downstairs women’s bathrooms, leaving the lights out, I guided Phil into a stall, urged him to stand up on the toilet seat, reminded him he had to crouch down so his head would not be seen, and sure enough in came the security guard. He swung the bathroom door open, switched on the lights, and was surprised, I believe, not to find us there.  I could feel and sense he looked under the stall doors to see if he could find our feet.  I could hear a sigh of breath and a slight groan as the security guard bent over to look under the doors of the bathroom stalls.  No feet!   Hugging Phil tightly I could feel his breath on the back of my neck as we snuggled together standing on that stupid toilet seat out of sight of the security guard.  The security guard not finding us, switched off the light and allowed the bathroom door to slam behind him.  Waiting a few minutes he began to giggle, stepped down from the toilet seat, hugged and kissed some more and then slid quietly out, down the hall, up the staircase to the upper floor where my room was and cuddling a few more times, we agreed we had a fun evening and that it was all for tonight.  I slid into the door putting me on my floor, I crossed the hall to my room, unlocked the door and entered my room alone.  Phil went down to the male floor of the dorm and found his room.   A romantic night for me.  We engaged in a game of hide and seek with the security guard and found our laughter to be intoxicating.  Yes, that night I had very pleasant dreams.  The weekend went and came so quickly. Before I knew it Phil was back on the train and gone!

I tried to pull some money together and was able to come home every few weeks.  Phil had given me his university school ring which I wore around my neck on a gold chain. One Sunday evening when Phil drove me to the train station to return back to Toronto, he stepped onto the train to get me seated and to say goodbye.  Before you knew it as he was saying goodbye for the twentieth time maybe, the train began to pull out of the station.  Well, there we were laughing and I did not understand what he was going to do?  But, Phil handled it charmingly of course, paid the conductor when he collected our tickets and traveled all the way to Toronto on the train with me.  I’m not really sure what happened when we arrived in Toronto but I believe he stayed the night and returned to Windsor the next morning.  This truly was so romantic and added to Phil’s spur of the moment, take charge, humourous person he was!  I have to be honest: I thought Phil’s mother was not amused by Phil’s actions and believed I was this terrible temptrist, luring Phil on this wild, uncharacteristic escapade of adventure.  Not to mention I was a blind girl who was not good enough for her son.  Now, that is a whole story in itself.

Here is to wild adventures and love.  Take a chance and allow yourself to feel things you have never felt before.  Have some safe fun and trust in your intuition.  Until next time have the courage to step out for success and always allow your passion and uniqueness shine.

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Week #6:

The transition from grade school to high school was extremely difficult.  The self-esteem that I had built up inside of me showing the self-confidence on the outside was gone.  I didn’t know any of these high school kids and why would they be nice to me; they didn’t know me either.  The reason that the students in grade school liked me was because they knew how smart I was and wanted to borrow my books and wanted me to help them with projects.  In turn doing these things they got to know me for themselves and I developed friendships.

All of the fears of being disliked, unwanted, and being embarrassed of being blind ALL came back to me.  I had stuffed all of those feelings deep down inside of me.  I thought I had dealt with all of those things but in reality I had not dealt with anything or figured anything out.  I just pushed all of the bad, negative feelings down into my gut and buried them there, hoping never to feel or discover any of these horrible feelings again.  But, that is not what happened.  ALL of those feelings we do not deal with and just stuff down, always come back up and surface again.  Each time we think we bury them we find out that they come back up and we feel them just as badly or the truth of the matter is they hurt even more.  Not dealing with your negative feelings or not dealing with the negative things that occur in your life is just postponing and hiding the negative feelings until they crop up again and again.  They keep coming back and hurting worse than before and preventing you from being able to be happy, reaching goals, or achieving anything in life.  They become your roadblocks and barriers preventing you from moving forward.

Once you finally decide to face your negative feelings, then and only then that you can figure out how to handle the negative feelings you want to hide.  Facing your negative feelings is finally like understanding them and knowing what they finally are in your life.  First you have to figure out what your negative feelings and negative fears are.  Then, once you have figured out what they are, you have to understand them.  By understanding what they are,  then you can figure out what to do about them.  The struggles, challenges, and learning experiences are all part of this process.  It is a process.  Peeling back the layers like an onion.  Finding the core of the problem.  Well, the core of my problems was my blindness that I was never able to accept.  It made me feel embarrassed.  It made me feel unworthy and unwanted.  It made me feel ugly and miserable.  Having being physically and sexually abused by my father was something I could not deal with and shoved deep down inside of me.  These fearful and anxious feelings I had were very confusing and when anyone came too close or asking too many questions, I pushed them away and put up barriers to guard myself from letting anyone to close to me.  These were deep dark secrets to be hidden forever.  I had agreed to go back to high school.  I figured if they were going to tease me and not accept me as a friend, then I would put all of my energies and efforts into my studies and get great marks and graduate high school and then would be able to get away from all of the stupid kids in high school.  I thought being an adult would be a lot better and a lot easier.  Little did I know!

At the end of August a group that I had belonged to, the Rainbow Girls, were having a beach party out at one of the girl’s grandmother’s cottage and beach for the end of summer and the mark of going back to school.  I really did not want to go but my mother encouraged me to go as she felt it had been a long summer for me.  I had been seeing a counsellor, had a tutor helping me with some extra studies so I would be ready to continue on in high school.  The tutor was a retired teacher who helped me through the C.N.I.B.  She was a volunteer from the C.N.I.B  and seemed genuinely happy to help me out.   She was a retired high school teacher and was eager to help.  Sometimes too eager!  She seemed tough and made me not only do the work but made me understand what I was doing and why.  The learning process wasn’t too hard as I was able to use my mind and memorize a lot of things.  I wasn’t convinced that high school could be a great thing for me.  But, I had decided to give it a second chance.  I had quit part way through a year ago and now it was time to go back.

At the beach party everyone was enjoying the water.  I loved the water.  I could swim before I could walk as they tell me!  Splashing around and having fun the day proved to be not a bad day after all.  The girl whose grandparents owned the cottage had her boyfriend and a few of his friends there.  I met a young man by the name of George.  He seemed to love the water as well.  I was enjoying myself and just splashed and pushed back just like everyone else.  This George fellow began picking me up and throwing me back in the water.  I guess you could sa yI was showing off my swimming talents and skills.  When it was time to go home, he asked if I needed a ride and of course I did, so he drove me home.  He started to visit me regularly.  I really wasn’t interested in having a boyfriend but he was nice and funny.

Shortly after the beach party, I started back at high school.   Repeating grade nine was hard but I just decided to push through.  Again, because my marks were good and I got good praise from the teachers, I was asked if I would help individuals with homework and projects and I said yes.  I went to their homes as I did not want them to know my father was an alcoholic and drunk most of the time.  I began to make friends and started to feel good about myself once again.  Feeling and once again developing self-esteem on the inside was allowing me to show self-confidence on the outside.  Which a lot of times I faked.  they say fake it until you make it; and that is what I did.  I pretended to be happy, self-confident, and well-adjusted which i wasn’t but no one had to know that!  George started to come around a lot and we did become friends.  He had quit high school and was in an apprentice program for tool and die.  As we dated, talked and began to get to know one another we became closer and I started to share a lot more things about me and my feelings that once were deeply buried and hidden away deep inside.  I had asked if we could go to some of the high school dances and we did.  Again, I was fitting into the friend zone and had a lot of friends and loved to dance.  I think George became jealous at this time and I received a going steady ring.  A beautiful emerald ring, my birthstone.  I fell in love with George and thought I was very happy.  I was being a teenager and because had a steady boyfriend I felt like being part of the in-crowd.  I could go on double dates and because the boys knew I wasn’t chasing them or hanging around them waiting for something, I really did become part of the group.  When I knew that one of the girls liked a certain boy, I would ask that particular fellow to walk with me and to do the stairs with me to go to other classes.  None of the boys minded at all and carried my books at times as well for me.  Some of the girls would get angry and jealous of my ability to approach the boys and talk to them.   They did not take it as me just teasing!  I guess you could say, I was a real big tease but I did not look at it that way.  The boys seemed to accept me as just one of the gang.  When we were jumping in the cars to go to the football games, or to eat or anything else, I would hear “grab Lynn!  She can come with me!  I will take her in my car!”  They had accepted my disability as normal and did not question it.  I was feeling pretty proud of myself and the self-esteem inside felt pretty great.  I showed the self-confidence on the outside which empowered me to succeed in high school grades and friendships.  I belonged to several groups which kept me pretty busy.  I also enjoyed the swim team and had qualified for second string.  Unfortunately, because of my low vision they kept me on second string as I had a problem of banging my head on the finishing wall.  I knocked myself out a couple of times and the gym teacher and coach of the swim team did not want to take responsibility for me knocking myself out and having permanent damage done.  There was probably some way to help me compete on first string but in those days disabled was something people shunned away from.  Usually, disabled meant unable!

George and I were dating mostly on weekends as I needed to do homework and on several programs at school, as I said, kept me pretty busy.  George became more and more jealous of my time.  He began to accuse me of dating and seeing other boys.  He couldn’t understand the boys I hung around with were truly friends and not what you would call real boy friends.  After all, I was wearing George’s ring and I was pretty proud of that.  Time passes on and I was passing from one grade to the next.  In grade eleven George decided to ask me  to marry him and gave me a beautiful diamond ring for my birthday.  I was very excited and had to tell everyone.  But, unfortunately, because of his jealousy I broke up with him on many occasions.  I dated a couple of fellows from school.  This made George even more angrier and jealous.  He bought me a bigger ring and started to bring me presents.  And, of course, I went back with him.  I was very naive and perhaps not really in love with George but in love with the feelings and the security the relationship brought to me.    I still had not faced all of my negative fears.  I had started to, but needed to work harder on developing myself as a young girl becoming a woman.

High school was not as difficult as once thought it was.  I wore masks of being happy, being funny, being a people pleaser, and being a follower, not really knowing what I really wanted.  I had worked hard at my studies which were important and I knew that.  I was smart enough to know I needed an education in order to have a better life for myself.  Education was important and my grandparents told me that constantly.

As I had always had the need for the “flight” response, I always remained traveling back and forth to my grandparent’s home.  I was at this time staying on my uncle’s farm.  I was very happy there and loved to spend time there.  My uncle was strict and George could only visit when it was appropriate and when my uncle consented.  Again, grade twelve was difficult.  My grandmother had died of pneumonia.  This hit me harder than I ever thought it would.  I was terribly upset.  Grandma was my friend, and I loved her so much.  George tried to console me but I pushed him and everyone away.  George did not understand and began to see other girls.  A special friend of mine from school told me George was going over to some of the girls’ homes where we had visited and was hanging around.  They wanted me to know as not to hurt me or lose my friendship.  I thought this should have hurt me but it did not hurt as much as I thought it should.  I was still grieving over my grandmother and that was so hard for me.  My studies started to slack.  George and I got back together.  He wanted more from me than I was willing to give in a relationship.  We had been together for four years and most relationships after that time would have progressed further than ours had.  But, because of the physical abuse from my father as a young girl, I could not tell George, or could not commit to a deeper relationship that he wanted me to.  Grade twelve was a difficult year for many reasons.  I finally broke up with George and it really hurt.  I started to feel very deep love for him and felt we needed to talk further about things I was so frightened about.  But, he really did not listen.  He felt what was in the past was in the past and that is where it should stay.  For me it wasn’t that simple but felt he was right and I was wrong for feeling the way I did.  I had to forget about the things in the past and move on.  In February my mom and dad were invited to supper at George’s home.  His mom was a wonderful, kind woman and I really loved her.  Getting to know her and George’s sister was a blessing in my life and I started to think this was the right thing to do.  George wanted to get married right away.  Wedding plans were underway.  My mom was not sure about George and was worried about all of the times he had hurt me and about all the times I cried over him.  George was selfish and wanted things his way and I started to realize that more and more.  My wedding gown was purchased and a down payment was placed on it.  We were to be married in September.

George was supposed to come over this one weekend as my aunt and uncle had planned my twentieth birthday party.  My mom , grandpa, and my special Aunt Corrine were there.  George never showed.  He had gone out with his buddies and got drunk and forgot about my birthday altogether.  How could he do that?   How could he embarrass me that way?

After a week George showed up with a huge gift for me.  He was of course very sorry and wanted me to forgive him.  Just because we were engaged, plans for our wedding were underway, and he thought he had done nothing wrong except got drunk and forgot!  Why should I not forgive him.  My mom was really angry.  She told me if I continued this relationship I was making the biggest mistake of my life.

Exams were upon me and I was not prepared.  I still was grieving over my grandma, my granddad was ill, and I was really hurting about what he had done to me and not coming to my special birthday party.  I am not sure if we broke up or not but I knew I did not want to see him at all.  I cried for a couple of weeks.  My mom ran into one of my old boyfriends she knew from the first time in grade nine.  His uncle was a good friend of my mom’s and he took me to my very first prom.  She invited Dave over for dinner.  We talked a long time.  He visited me a couple times and I told him I was wrapped up in studying for my exams.  One evening when he was visiting me, one of my girlfriends, Pam, was over and we were studying for our exams.  I was failing in math and had been staying late after school to get extra help from a young student teacher who was filling in for our old math teacher who had had a heart attack and he was filling in as his replacement.  As we had moved on the other side of town in the west end and because I was doing so well at school and they did not want to disturb that with changing to a new school and with my low vision, my fears, and the teasing and getting to know new students all over again, the V.P. who had become my special confident who I ran to every time I had a problem supported me and I was able to stay at the same school for my education.  Sometimes staying late at school for extra work in math, I got to know the student teacher and he was very nice.   He was young, good looking and became just a friend.  He drove me home as I had to take the bus across town.  Because he lived somewhere in that direction, he would drive by where I was waiting for a bus to go to school and I even was able to get rides to school from him.  This was only for a few weeks as exams now started.

The one evening when Dave visited and my friend, Pam was studying with me, Dave asked her to go out with him.  She was very nervous and had not really done any dating.  She had explained about George and my birthday party and the passing of my grandmother.  Dave called a couple of times on the phone and I told him I was still engaged to George.  But, somehow between George and Pam I was set up on a blind-date.

Exams were over and school was finished.  WOW!  No more school.  I had applied for several Universities but had not really paid any attention to the mail.  I just really did not care.  When George called and wanted to come and discuss the wedding I told him that I did not think I could go through with the wedding.  Things were very upset and I really was mixed up.  Somehow I had this blind date that evening and was extremely confused.  Pam had come over for dinner and we had fun getting ready.  I was feeling excited but feeling very scared and of course my first reaction was to run and hide.  Pam would have none of that!  Mom seemed very pleased for me and I couldn’t help feel a little happy because I wanted to please my mom.  I rarely saw my mom happy and perhaps never laugh.  This was nice to see mom laugh and actually want to be part of this confusing date we had going on.  Pam and I giggled and had a big plan.  My mom sort of arranged the plan.  If my blind date arrived and I did not feel comfortable with him, I would pick up a pink sweater lying on a chair.  That meant I would be going out with Dave and felt pretty comfortable with that.  Pam would go out and sit with the new fellow.    If I picked up a blue sweater from the chair meant that I would go out with the blind-date arranged for me.  Pam and I laughed but we knew we were playing a very dangerous game.  Because if we switched dates, how would they feel?  How would Dave feel?  Pam really thought somehow Dave was still in love with me and really wanted the date with me but Dave asked Pam for a date as I had said that I wasn’t dating and turned Dave down.  Dave asked Pam and she agreed to the date with Dave.  Somehow Pam thought it would be a fabulous idea to get Lynn a date as to get me away from George as they thought (Pam and my mom) George was not the right person for me.  Pam and I had talked over the phone a couple of times and Pam liked Dave but hadn’t gotten to know him very well.  I knew Pam wanted to go with Dave but what the heck we were young giggling girls and wanted to have some fun.  Would the boys really be mad and leave before the date even began if we switched?

My dad had been drinking beer, of course.  Mom said to ignore him as he was quiet and not causing any harm at the moment.  A car drove up outside and the two fellows walked up to the front door.  They rang the door bell and dad answered the door.  Dad thought this was great fun and the beer was starting to make him a little crazy.  I had a couple of dates from high school or just some guy friends come over and he would tease them mercilessly about having twin girls.  One was Lynn and the other was Sharon.  So he started up again about the twin thing again.  He was for the most part gentlemanly and asked the boys to come in.  As the beers started to work on dad he became funny and teasing.  Mom went downstairs and placed the two sweaters in the arm chair at the front door.  One sweater was pink and one sweater was blue.  What a plan!  Mom was introduced to Phil the blind date and talked to both Phil and Dave.  As Pam and I strolled slowly down the stairs and met the two fellows I grabbed the pink sweater meaning I would be comfortable going with Dave.   Oh, my, what would happen?

As the four of us strolled out to the car parked at the front of the house at the curb, Dave opened the door for Pam to get in the back seat but I got in the back seat and so did Pam.   Both of us were giggling.  Phil and Dave did not think this was funny at all.  Unfortunately, dad needed cigarettes and ran out to the car and handed Dave some money and asked if he could grab him some cigarettes from the store just around the corner.  Dad had been drinking and mom had the keys and would not allow him to drive.  I am not sure what was happening but the looks Dave and Phil gave each other were meant to kill I believe.  Dad often did this with George and I and we always went and got his cigarettes so he would not fight with my mom.  Dave said to my dad give the money to your daughter in the back seat to get your cigarettes.  He passed the money to Pam who passed the money to me.  I asked Phil politely if I could go and get cigarettes for dad and that I would appreciate his kindness.  Phil drove around the corner and stopped beside the corner store.  No one wanted to get out so I got out and purchased the cigarettes for my dad.  When I got back in the car Dave was in the back seat with his arm around Pam with the biggest grin on his face.  I got into the front seat with Phil and thanked him.  Phil drove back to my house where dad was waiting on the front porch with mom.  I passed the cigarettes out the front window to dad and said good night.  He then made sure I knew what time to come home at!

For a moment Phil sat there not sure to pull away from the curb or not, but he did.  We were off to a drive -in show, Dr. Zhivago.  As I began nervously to speak to Phil I realized Dave had not told him of my blindness.  I was very nervous at this point and wondered how Phil would react.  Little did the poor man know he was getting a real blind date!  As it turned out, Phil was a very nice guy.  He seemed very kind and understanding about my vision.  Dave and Phil had some funny stories to share with us and because Dave and I were so comfortable with each other, our blindness never entered our minds.  Pam did know about Dave’s low vision and because we had a great friendship accepted Dave without question.  I guess you could say Phil just accepted my low vision as okay as he had experience with Dave’s low vision.  The evening was fun and a great success.  Phil and I were able to talk comfortably.  There were even some kissing going on not only in the back seat but the front seat as well.  I liked Phil but I believe neither one of us expected our relationship to go any further than maybe a date or maybe two.

The next day Phil called and had said I had left my comb in the car.  I had very long hair down the middle of my back.  He said he would stop by and drop my comb off to me.  When Phil arrived with my comb I invited him in.  We visited a while and then he asked if I wanted to go for ice cream.  So, for our next impromptu dates, we went to the Dairy Queen for ice cream.  After our ice cream we went for a drive and had a good time talking together.  It was mid July and hot and Phil had stopped by several times since then.  One evening while I was getting into Phil’s car, George saw me and went inside the house to talk to my mom.  Mom did not tell me about this visit and had convinced George that our relationship was over and the wedding was off.  Several days later George’s mom called and wanted to speak to me.  She invited me to dinner so we could talk things out.  I did not understand this as George and I were no longer dating.  Then, mom told me about George’s visit.  I agreed for dinner and George picked me up the next Sunday.  It was nice to see George’s family as I liked them all and they liked me.  George’s dad was also a drinker but he was a sleepy drunk.  When he drank he went to sleep . When my dad drank he often became angry and violent.  You never knew how he would react.  It was a difficult afternoon.

Thinking no one would love me or want this little shy, misfit of a girl, I had two young men wanting me.  I knew how George felt about me but what about Phil?  Phil was so different from George and I really liked him too.  This was now the beginning of August and I had received a letter from York University.  I wanted to explain things to George and thought because I was turned down from Windsor University that I could go to York University and we could postpone our wedding to see how things went at University for me.  I was confused again and did not know how to handle the situation.  His sister was a few years younger than me but we had become good friends although the age difference was there.  George was being his pleasant sweet self when he wanted to be and knew that he was nervous too.  When he took me home I cried most of the way home.  We agreed to see each other again next weekend.

When George came over the next weekend, I told him for sure I had accepted to go the York University and that we could not get married until I found out what I was going to do at school.  I told Phil I was going to go to school as well.  I was more honest with Phil.  By this time I had stronger feelings for Phil.  I felt stronger feelings like I had never felt before.  Phil gave me a ring and felt that he really cared, too.  We told each other we loved one another and I knew this was the man for me.  Phil was honest, caring, and I could trust in what he said.  I had made my mind up and felt strong enough to tell George and stick to it.  September came and I did go to York University.  I had a special program through the CNIB and had living arrangements in place and everything set up.  What a shock when Phil offered to drive me to Toronto and get me settled.  Phil, Dave, and Pam drove me to Toronto.

This was a brand new beginning for me.  A brand new start and a brand new chapter I could write.  I knew immediately being on my own would definitely help me develop who I was and what I wanted in life.  I was feeling confident, feeling grown up for the very first time.  It was a wonderful feeling.  I felt true love from Phil and dreamed and fantasized how life would be.  A new beginning for me.

Until we talk again.  Smile and follow your heart.  I believe there are no mistakes in life just learning experiences.

“Have the courage to step out for success and always allow your passion and uniqueness to shine.”

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Week #5:

We now come to the summer of 1962 and it was a summer of loneliness, anxiety, and fear!  I thought I had conquered my demons and moved past the obstacles that held me back.  When I started at the Sight Saving Class, I was angry, frightened, and unaware of what going to school was really all about.  It took me some time to actually settle into this one-class with all eight grades in one class.  But, it didn’t take too long before I was realizing that I enjoyed learning.  My brain was awaken with things that interested me and that I started to understand.  I became a SPONGE soaking up everything I could.  As I learned and filled my brain with this interesting stuff, I began to receive praise from the teacher.  I liked this good feeling.  I longed for that feeling and at first I was frightened by it because I kept waiting for something bad to happen.  But nothing bad happened!  I gave it my all.  I wanted not only to do good work but I wanted everything I did to be great!  The harder I worked the more attention and praise I received.  This was wonderful.  This was feeding into my self-esteem and how I felt on the inside of myself.  This really was a wonderful feeling.

As the self-esteem inside of me grew something on the outside was happening that I was not aware of!  I began to show the self-esteem of the inside on the outside of myself.  I was walking taller.  I was holding my head up straight.  I was not backing down from the bullies that confronted me.  This was my self-confidence showing on the outside.  I really did start to feel so much better.  The anger seemed to disappear.  I was smiling probably for the first time being me.  So, why was the anger rearing up it’s ugly head again.  I was feeling anger, fear, and very frustrated at the thought of leaving grade eight and the school where I felt secure, safe, and happy.  I did not want to go to the high school and to be involved with all of the noisy, know-it-all, bully of a group of teenagers.  I remember my mom taking me to a man’s office and as my mom sat outside, I went into the man’s office and I was supposed to speak to him and he was to help me.  What!  Where these people crazy!  I hated my father for the horrible feeling that he was sexually abusing me.  Although I was not really aware of it, it was really happening to me.  I hated the name calling and the fighting.  All of the terrifying swearing and running and hiding under beds and in closets and corners.  I stayed away from all men.  The teacher at grade school was a female.  And, any teacher outside of the Sight Saving Class was a female, except one, the Science teacher.  Although I sat in his class with the other students, I did not have to be in the same room alone with him or really have to talk to him.  He seemed to be very nice but held him at arms length.  Now, they wanted me to talk to a strange man about personal, private thoughts.  I don’t think so!  I listened mostly and finally started to give him some conversation but I do not believe I shared anything personal or private.

That summer I hid out at my grandparents’ home only going home on rare occasions.  My two younger brothers were home from the Ontario School for the Blind in Brantford, Ontario.  Peter seemed loud and very much in control of himself and his surroundings and he definitely let me know it.  He was always after me, teasing me, making me scream, and annoying me.  Then, of course, I was the one in trouble for screaming and always blaming things on Peter.  My younger brother David was very quiet, shy, and didn’t talk very much.  But, somehow I got the feeling and understanding that he was happy and content with the situation around him.  I tried to get closer to David and did find at times I felt closer but others times I felt that he just ignored me.  My mother really spoiled David as he was the youngest child and because he had lost all of his sight and perhaps she felt guilty.  Back and forth between grandma’s house and what was supposed to be my home, was very confusing and I really felt that I didn’t fit anywhere.  I don’t really remember having a girlfriend or someone I could talk to.  I had a few girls that I wondered over to their homes and stayed a while with them but somehow the self-esteem inside that I wanted back just wasn’t there.

I remember the first day at high school, I sat in the Vice Principal’s office for a very long time.  They knew I was coming as I had a couple of interviews in the principals’ office over the last couple of weeks of August.  Did they forget about me?  Did they not have a place for me?  I wanted to run away.  That old feeling of fear and running overwhelmed me!  Several times I jerked and told myself to run!  But, somehow I was glued to the seat.  I couldn’t get up.  Why?  Was I that frightened?  Okay, on the count of three, I would jump up and run!  One, two, and ???  What was wrong with me.  I was arguing with myself!  Something was wrong with me.  Then, there it was!  The Vice Principal in his deep commanding voice called my name!  Follow me and we will go to your home room class.

Entering the home room class I was introduced to the class just as a new student as all of the rest were.  There was a seat right in front, right in the middle of the front row.  Yeap!  They were ready for me!  Being in the front meant this female teacher must know that I have limited vision.  Did the rest of the class know?

We got all of our information.  We were told that we would have to rotate from class to class to each subject.  We would have to go to find the next classroom.  Great!  That was going to be fun!  Ya, right!  After being given many papers to read and told to go the gym and to line up in the grade nine line to receive all of the books we were going to need for the grade nine year program.

I got up and went out into the hall and just followed the flow of everyone else heading to the gym for our books.  When inside of the gym, it was extremely crowded.  It was noisy and I had no idea where to go.  Somehow I got the courage to ask some girls where the grade nine line was.  After a few instructions that confused me, I did end up in the right line.  I got my books and along with an arm full of books I received a piece of paper with my locker number on it.  I asked where do I find this locker?  The individual looked at me and said just follow everyone else and your locker is on the first floor.  I told this student which I suppose was a grade 13 student, I had a vision problem and was not able to find my locker.  Well, I am unable to help you right now but if you want to wait I will help you out and then I was asked to step aside.  I stepped aside and knew right then, this was not going to be like grade school.  I waited a few minutes and gathered my thoughts. Seeing no end at all for students trying to get their own books, I decided to go the the Vice Principal’s Office again.  He told me to come to him if I had any questions or problems.  Little did he know that I was going to have questions and problems every day for him.  Struggling down the halls, trying to stay right against the left hand wall, I managed to find the Vice Principal’s Office and sat down.  He wasn’t there and had to wait for a very long time.  When he saw me sitting there he seemed very surprised.  I told him I had a problem and couldn’t find my locker.  He took the paper form my hand and said follow me.  He left me fumbling with all of the text books and trying to put them all back into my arms.  Returning he said let me help you and grabbed a couple of books.

Reaching my locker and helping me put my books into the locker and he asked if I would be able to find the locker when I returned.  I started to feel the wall and the lockers and started to count the lockers in the direction of my locker.  Stop, he told me, I think we may have a problem.  As I smiled I replied that is why I came to find you.  Then, we both laughed and I knew I had found a friend.  For at least a while!

Returning me to the Office, he told me he would be right back, but, again it seemed like a very long time.  He returned with a young girl which I found out was another grade nine student that he had looked up her locker number to find her and asked if she would be willing to exchange lockers with me as I needed a locker I could find easily.  She, of course, agreed.  The three of us traveled to my locker and took out all of the text books that had been placed in that locker and went down a short ways to an end locker at the beginning of a row.  We placed the books back into the locker and he explained the location of the locker in the hall to me which was right outside of my home room class.  It was the first locker right in the line of lockers right at the corner.  It was perfect.  I agreed that this was perfect and that I would have no problem with finding this locker.  I thanked them both very much and followed the Vice Principal back to the home room right across from the lockers.  He politely interrupted the class and said that he was returning a lost student.  Everyone laughed.  Ha, ha!  As if that didn’t feel embarrassing!  But, it was okay as it was sort of funny.  By this time the morning was almost up and it was lunch time.  Because I had a chance in August to have walked around the school to have some kind of feel for it, I remembered where the lunch room was.  At least I hoped I remembered.  I again got up and followed the other students out of the classroom.  I tried to stay against the wall and follow it all the way to the end.  I knew I had to turn right and had to find three steps down.  I went slowly and found the steps and traveled along the wall to the lunch room.  It was extremely loud. I stood for a while and went along the wall slowly until I found female voices and asked if I could sit with them.  It did not seem to be a problem so I found my seat and started to have my lunch.  When they were finished they left and I stayed and finished my lunch.  I did not want to go outside so I just sat slowly eating and probably  day-dreaming as I was extremely tired and overwhelmed from the morning escapade.

I then realized I had no idea what to do or where to go if the bell rang?  I went to the Vice Principal’s Office again and sat.  Then, I thought I had a brilliant idea.  I went to the main office and had them put a note in his mail box not to interrupt his lunch.  Finally he arrived and I asked him for help again.  We went to my locker, looked at my schedule, and took me to the next classroom where I was supposed to be and just as I arrived, the bell rang.  I took my seat in the front row and soon the room began to fill.  Thankfully there was a girl sitting across from me and I asked her if I could walk with her to the next class but she was not taking the same class as I was!  She asked a couple of people and someone offered to help.  This was wonderful and I was grateful.  The end of the day arrived and I was able to walk home.  I did not realize I was supposed to read a couple of chapters from the very first class and to fill out some kind of paper for another.  The next day proved to be just as exhausting and confusing as the first.

The Vice Principal’s Office proved to be my safety zone and sanctuary when I needed help, which seemed to be all of the time.  Then, it started!  The teasing, the pushing, and the rude comments.  A couple of times in class when I had something wet sprayed on me or was being teased, I stood up and got angry.  But, I was the one sent down to the Vice Principal’s Office.  Instead of finding that comfortable feeling inside, I felt angry, embarrassed, and unable to cope.  Living at home with mom at work until nine every night, I had to fight my father.  It was stressful, running home, blocking the bedroom door with my dresser and desk, I trapped myself in my bedroom.  I felt safe in the solitude of my own bedroom.  Some nights I was so hungry I could not even think.  I would watch out the bedroom window for my mother to come home, wait for her to come in, and then, proceed downstairs to get something to eat.  The anger, frustration, and exhaustion was catching up to me.  I was not getting home work done.  I was becoming angrier, more frustrated, and felt I could not cope any longer.  I knew if I ran to my grandparent’s home they would just being me back.  Then, the idea hit me!

I packed a small bag, left a note for my mom with a neighbour, who was happy to help, and told her to give the note to my mom and if she could read it as I did not want my dad to read it, and that I would be late and needed my mom to know.  The neighbour was glad to help and I left that morning on a greyhound bus bound for Toronto.

I had enough.  I was stressed and emotionally drained.  I did not care where I went as long as it was as far away from Windsor that I could get.

This was a horrifying experience.  I found a shelter and at least did not sleep on the street and at least had food at the shelter as well. There were all kinds of people there and many young people.  I met a couple of girls that seemed to be friendly.  All I wanted to do was to sleep.  After a couple of weeks, I started to wander outside with these so-called friends.  The world is an extremely scary place and for someone with minimal sight that can barely see beyond her own nose, I really don’t know how I survived.

I truly wanted to end my life.  I was suicidal and felt so lonely I really did not care.  This was a sincere turning point for me.  I could have turned to drugs, prostitute, or any other thing.  Afraid of everyone, confused with everything around me, and wanting to die, I tried cutting my wrists ending me up in a hospital.  Before I knew it the police were there and I was transported back home.

Everyone was devastated in looking for me for over five weeks.  I was exhausted, crying and not making sense.  My grandmother took me home and I stayed there for several months.  I quit school and would not consider going back.  The C.N.I.B. (the Canadian National Institute for the Blind) stepped in to help.  I got consulting with a woman, was actively able to volunteer in the community, and stayed with my grandparents.  This was definitely a true turning point in my life.  I could have died;  but, here I was again.  And, again, I started to find that feeling of self-esteem inside of me.  This was a feeling of being happy.  It was a feeling of being me in the moment doing what I was doing.  Self-esteem, trying to rebuild that feeling I had once before, learning, achieving, and allowing the self-esteem to show on the outside.  It slowly was happening again.  I was gaining self-confidence and was trying to allow myself the opportunity to show others I could do things for myself.

One whole year can make a difference.  Now, a brand new summer was here.  I wanted to venture out and begin again.  I had found my self-esteem and it was showing on the outside.  Everyone around me was TELLING ME how much I had changed.  I finally realized that I had become aware of my disability and had to go through hell to accept it.  I think after peeling away at it and through all of my pain and struggling I was finally able to be aware of my disability, understand and now accept my disability for what it was.  This is amazing!  This was an awakening and discovery that CHANGED MY LIFE.

A new Lynn emerges coming up in the next chapter of this blog.  See you next week.  Smile and try to make your week a good one!

“Have the courage to step out for success and always allow your passion and uniqueness to shine.”

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Week #4:

Good Morning Friends:

I hope everyone has had a fantastic week.  The sun is starting to come up and the days are now getting a little warmer.  Hopefully now that we have officially had the first day of spring, the actual weather of spring is not far behind.

As I look back to my years in the Sight Saving Class at Victoria Public School,  I found these years very valuable, although I wanted to block a lot of the experiences that had happened to me.  With the teasing and taunting I just developed a tough skin and decided not to run away.  My courage, as I explained before, started to grown and strengthen.  I liked learning but in the beginning it was hard.  I started to excel and change my attitude about learning as I worked harder the teacher would acknowledge the work that I was doing.  This was helping the self -esteem that occurs on the inside of us.  I began to get good marks and with the praise and encouragement from the teachers I realized I enjoyed this praise and attention I was receiving.  We had our regular or what you call basic school program (math, spelling, grammar, and reading in the Sight Saving Room) and traveled outside of this classroom into regular classes for other subjects (history, geography, home economics and gym).  This was extremely difficult and fearful at first.   I believe it was the real interest that others were showing in me that I felt is what allowed me to somehow become alive and aware of the things going on around me.  That must sound funny but I believe I was in a state of denial or some kind of subconscious world that I did not want to feel the pain, sorrow or understand being this blind misfit child that I was.  I had shut down, allowing my grandparents to do everything for me, preventing me from learning to be independent and doing things on my own.  Also, not verbalizing my thoughts and expressing myself I had developed a non-verbal attitude which in turn shut my true feelings down and I began to live in this subconscious world where I allowed everything to go on around me, unaware of really what was happening.  Perhaps you may say I did not care any more.  It was easier to hide within than to face the fears, anger, and pain of the real world.  At this time it was as if I was waking up from a bad nightmare and started to live my life in a more conscious state of mind.  More self-esteem that I was feeling on the inside from the good emotions of praise, kindness, encouragement and support from the teacher allowed me to feel better about myself.  Feeling good or proud of myself was a brand new experience.  I was going through things I should have felt at age three or four.  By now, I believe I was about nine.  This would have put me in about a grade five class.  This was about the time I was discovering for the first time that I really had a disability and trying to struggle to find out how to handle it emotionally.

With this strength of self-esteem inside I began to show some of that self-esteem on the outside which is called self-confidence.  Through that self-confidence on the outside, the other students, teachers, my mom and grandma saw a marked improvement in my attitude and growth.  This new self-confidence on the outside allowed me to stand in front of the bullies and face them, as I face my fears of the negative words, pushing and taunting.  Although many times I was still frightened I was not going to show that fear to them.  Today, what I tell my students and to the people I council, “FAKE IT UNTIL YOU MAKE IT”.   Yes, as your self-esteem starts to grow on the inside you want to show it on the outside, too.  But, perhaps you are having a difficult time showing it on the outside right away, so, fake it.  No one knows how you really feel, only you do.  So, don’t show your fear which will get you teased, taunted and called names!  You start to stand up and fake it!   Start to stand up and face your bullies which can be fears of other types in your life, your self-confidence on the outside begins to show and it gets stronger and stronger so that one day you do not have to fake it anymore.  That fake, uncomfortable feeling starts to dwindle and the real self-confidence starts to appear.  You may not even realize when it happens.  When you have the real self-confidence on the outside everyone will see it and start to see you differently; they will no longer tease or taunt you and will begin to respect you for the new person you are revealing to the world.  The other children no longer want to tease and taunt you but will respond in a much different way towards you.  This allowed me to make some friends.  At first it was just borrowing school notes but as they talked to me and got to know me our friendships began to grow.  Although this is a real good feeling on the inside and my self-esteem on the inside helped me to acknowledge and understand my disability, I was still unwilling to trust anyone for a very long time.  I had not yet truly accepted the disability as of yet.  It was like peeling back layers and layers of negative feelings and emotions I hid buried below the surface, hidden in the far reaches of my soul.

The last two years of grade school gave me the opportunity to really discover who I was.  Not really allowing anyone too close, I became a people person and just agreed to like and wanted the same things everyone else wanted and liked so I would be liked and accepted as part of the friendship group.  I wanted to please everyone and sometimes that got me in trouble as I could not please everyone all of the time.  Sometimes having to pick sides was really hard for me.  These struggles and challenges in my life became extremely important.  I really did not know what I really wanted or liked nor did I care at that time.

Unfortunately, my two younger brothers tried the Sight Saving Class but could not continue to stay there as their sight deteriorated and unfortunately my youngest brother David was very ill and had to be rushed in and out of hospital a lot with his glaucoma.  Unfortunately, he lost all of his sight and was in a great deal of pain with his problem of glaucoma.  This is where the pressure behind the eye builds up and becomes extremely and excruciatingly painful and bursts the eye.  I remember waking up and finding my mom and dad had taken my brother David in the middle of the night to the hospital and a neighbour was there to take care of Peter and myself.  He was transported many times down to Toronto (which was four hours away) to the sick children’s hospital and we did not see my mom or David for weeks.  Sometimes my mom had to leave him in the hospital and come home and leave her baby there.   My two brothers ended up going to the Ontario School for the Blind in Brantford, Ontario.  I remember my mother crying and being upset on several occasions but somehow because of the yelling, screaming, and rapes on my mother at the hands of my father somehow I turned my feelings off and used to run and hide as I was not able to handle her emotional upsets.  I never realized how difficult it was on my mother until I had my own children.  WOW!  Now, having more knowledge and understanding about the emotional upsets of my mother, I truly do not understand how she dealt with all of it and handling my alcoholic father who seemed to be drunk all of the time.  He got a job and then before you knew it, he had lost it again.  Although it seemed that I was doing well in school, I still ran away to my grandparent’s home on the weekends.  I really believed my mother did not love me or cared about what I did, so, I had this routine where I would pack my little suitcase and go to school on a Friday morning and when I got out of school, I would take a Greyhound bus all the way out to St. Clair Beach which is about an hour away by bus.  Being young it seemed like it was so very far away but it fact it was just outside of Windsor.  But, by having to take the big Greyhound bus, it gave me the feeling it was very far away, which I guess I put in my mind as I really wanted to run far away from my home.

My mother was being helped by a lot of people.  The CNIB was a huge help then,  but which now has dwindled down to hardly having any extra help or assistance for assisting individuals today.  The economy has changed and no non-profit agency has any money to help their clients properly.  Anyway, my mom was able to get employment through Cater Plan Services, which is an extension of CNIB to aid blind/visually impaired individuals get employment.  My mom was trying to get away from my dad but that was very difficult.  She would feel sorry for him and through his crying and pleading and telling her how much he loved her, she always took him back.  In those days, you married and stayed together.  That is what you were supposed to do at that time in life.  She began a little part-time job in a small Tuck Shop at the front of the old Metropolitan Hospital, selling candy, cigarettes, pop, snacks, newspapers, magazines and other items.  She began to really like the job.  The people really liked my mom.  She began to feel better about herself, too.

I held onto my secret for years.  I tried to talk to my grandma on several occasions, but I don’t know if she understood or not.  Somehow I do believe she did but still shushed me to be quiet and not speak.  She either knew what I was going to say and because of the time in generations they did not speak about such things aloud or because she really did not understand the situation and did not want to discuss it with me.   Sexual abuse is highly profiled now and out in the news, but back in those days it definitely was taboo, something that was not spolen about.

When you live with an alcoholic it is horrible.  Not all alcoholics are physically, emotionally or sexually abusive.  My grandparents were sleepy drunks.  When they drank they became very sleepy and fell asleep, which was a pleasant experience which was so much better that I  experienced at the hands of my father.  This is the biggest reason why I started to run away at such an early age.  I loved getting on the big Greyhound bus and traveling to my grandparents’ house.  So, I left for school on a Friday with my little suitcase and traveled  to my grandparent’s home and stayed for the weekend.  Getting up on a Monday morning with my little suitcase and traveling back to Windsor and getting off the bus just around the corner to go to school that Monday morning.  As my mom had started this part-time job at the little “Tuck Shop” I never knew if she would be home after school or not.  If I knew she would not be home, I would not go home after school.  But, there would be times when I went home and thought that my mom would be home and I found my father waiting for me.  He would tease and taunt me and even if I screamed he still would attack me, leaving me in a pool of tears and sorrow.  This abuse started at a very early age so I was now somehow learning to fight back and sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t and I was beaten to get me to submit to him.  If I could run upstairs to my bedroom I would pull my dresser in front of the door and push my bed against the dresser to make sure he could not get in.  This made him angry and would he would run off to the nearest bar and get drunk and then unfortunately take it out on my mom when she came home.  He would show up at my mother’s job and embarrass her.

Then it came the time.  They came to me and told me that I would graduate from grade school and would be eligible to go to high school in the fall.  What!!!  No way!  I was not going to go to high school with all of those teenagers teasing and taunting me.  I was extremely upset.  I remember all of the old fears coming back to haunt me.  I was that little blind misfit girl that was shy, frightened and scared of everything.  I thought I had conquered and overcome my fears.  But, here I was with high school looming at me.  I remember having to go to a house and taken into a room where this gentleman would talk to me.  Men, all men, frightened me and how they thought I would talk to this man, was not well planned.  But, he must have made some kind of progress with me because through the encouragement of mom and my grandmother I did attend high school that fall.

Until next time, my friends, we get together, build your self-esteem inside of yourself and show people on the outside your self-confidence (which is your courage) of a strong, independent person you want them to see.  Fake it until you make it.  Remember fears are not real.   Face them , understand what they are and then react in a positive way to overcome them.

“Smile and have the courage to always allow your passion and uniqueness to shine.” 

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Week #3:

WOW!  Hello to all who have sent comments in.  There you are!  We sometimes take our relationships with people for granted.  People are very important and should be giving, sharing, and supporting one another.  But, a lot of times individuals do not realize this.  How do you learn?  How do you know what an individual is like and if they have some value to bring to your life?  We all have our own talents and skills (OUR UNIQUENESS) and that is what makes us an individual and unique.  In order to learn we have this unique opportunity to hear what others have to say and offer.  By listening to others we can hear and understand others’ opinions, ideas, and thoughts giving us another point of view to think about.  You have heard that there are two sides to a coin; haven’t you?  Well, if you are sharing and listening sometimes you will find out that, just like there are two sides to a coin, there are two sides of opinions or thoughts and actually you may find that there are several points of view to one question or thought.  Would you agree to this?  We make a choice to listen and learn or to block out what others say;  your choice!  I have an old time favourite song that I heard as a kid and still love it today.  It is “People Who Need People” and it is by Barbara Streisand.  There is a line that is what the song is based on “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world”.  People are important in our life.  We have the choice to have the right people in our lives: love us, support us, encourage us, and are honest when we need the truth.  And, we have the choice to get rid of the negative or wrong people in our lives; lie to us, sabbottage our projects and life endeavours, and are never there for us when we really need them.

When I was born unfortunately I inherited a disability and was born blind.  At first just coping and learning to be mobile was a huge thing.  As I grew and started to realize that I was different this caused me great stress and difficulty.  Unfortunately my home life was not a good one.  Not so different of that time period there was a lot of drinking going on and my father was a very bad alcoholic.  I hated my dad.  As a young child we do not understand why people do what they do.  We see what we see from our own prospective and see no other point of view.  What we see is what we believe.  The same thing with all of our other senses.  We see, hear, feel, smell, and then we begin to verbalize what we have picked up from our surroundings.  Environment does have a great impact on our lives through all of our senses.

As that young blind child I was very frightened from what I heard around me.  The yelling, arguing, and a lot of swearing.  Do you think these things had an effect on my life?  You bet they did.  My dad was physically, emotionally, and sexually abusive.  The more he drank the more violent he became.  This was horrifying to me and to my siblings.

Being extremely frightened and shy prevented me from voicing any of my fears to anyone.  I learned from a very early age that I had to run away to protect myself.  I hid under beds, in closets, and behind toilets in order to feel safe.  But unfortunately how far can you run and hide in one’s own home?  If my dad wanted to find one of us, he did!  My mom was a loving, kind woman who tried to protect her children.  My mom was also blind.  She loved her children very much.  As a young child, my mom wasn’t able to go to school.  She was schooled by a special teacher up until grade five, I believe.  Back in those days there were no rules about children going to school.  My grandma who was also a very kind loving Christian woman took my mom and said that she did not have to go to school and that she would teach her to be a woman.  And, that she did!  My mom was the best cook next to my grandma.  They were both excellent cooks.  My mom learned how to clean house.  Everything had a place and everything in its place.  This way if she was looking for something she was able to put her hands on it immediately.  Later in life I learned that this was a very valuable tool to learn.

As time passed I had to go to school.  When I went to register I was told, because everyone had done everything for me as I was this poor little blind child, and because I used to run away and hide, developed a non-verbal attitude.  I was unable to a lot of things for myself.  They diagnosed me at that time as “uneducatably retarded” and had to be sent to a special school.  How do you think this felt to a young, already frighted and fearful child?  Perhaps a lot of you have a lot of fears, anxiety, and phobias and you don’t know why or what to do about them.  Somewhere in your background you must have experienced situations or traumas that have been implanted in your brain and now have come out in other ways that you don’t understand where they came from.  Does that make sense?

Well, with this unhappy and dysfunctional background already implanted into my subconscious part of my brain, now, with living in another dysfunctional surrounding, I just went with the flow.  The other children screamed, rolled on the floor, and did whatever their dysfunctional, emotional brain waves felt like.  I did not feel fearful, frightened or overpowered here,  I can’t say that it was not scary at times which enforced my run-away response when something scared me.  We have this built in radar system that kicks in and gives us the “flight or fight response” which is part of our inner survival human instinct just like the other animals have.  I chose “flight” and would run away and hide wherever I could.  Later in years through many learning experiences I started to learn and figure out all of these things that made me who I was.  When you begin to unravel what makes you the person you are, then you can start putting things back together and fixing all the negative things and replacing them with positive things.  What you put out in life is what you reflect back to yourself in life.

One day as one of the very nice house mothers was brushing my hair she always talked to me.  She was not like the other caregivers we had.  The others pushed and pulled us to get us to do what they wanted.  No wonder a lot of children never were able to function properly.  You can’t learn if you are pushed and pulled around like a rag doll!  Well, this one morning as she was talking to me about things I began to answer her.  WOW!  Was she shocked!  Then they realized that it was not my brain that had a problem it was definitely just because I was blind.  This wonderful woman and my mother fought on my behalf,  to have me attend the “Sight Saving Class” at a nearby school.  At that time there were rules that children had to attend school.  This was a special classroom designed for children with very limited sight.  As I was legally registered blind with 10% vision or less, then I qualified to attend this special classroom.  This definitely changed my life forever!  The environment that I was now in was positive, encouraging, and empowered me to want to learn and to open up a little.

Change of any kind does not just happen or magically turn your life around.  I wish!  It does take time and patience.  If something comes too easy then it is easily forgotten and easily lost.  If you have to put strong effort into something, put your energies into, and are willing to put in the work that is necessary to create the change, then the process begins and over time the change becomes stronger and stronger and before you know it, you and the life you are living is completely changed for the better.  The good, positive change that you have just taught your brain has now been implanted into your subconscious part of your brain and will occur automatically, like breathing, instead of having to think about what you are doing and how to do it consciously.  You are changing a bad habit or you are overcoming a negative part of your life.  For me my negative portion of my life was having a disability and realizing I have to live with it every moment of every day.  That was devastating to me.  But, by accepting the process I was able to overcome my disability.  It was a huge ball and chain that I dragged around for years and lived in a state of anger and frustration which I did not realize that I was doing until certain situations and opportunities occurred to allow me the “CHOICE”  to accept the process to begin.

( 1.)   The layers of change are first acknowledging that there is a problem or something is wrong.  For example:  I did not realize that I was blind – had extremely low vision.  I just thought I was like everyone else.  When someone asked to see something I just went over and put it in their hand to feel it.  That is how I discovered what something was by feeling and touching it.

( 2.)   The next layer is understand:  When we realize that there is a problem or something is wrong, you must explore it to understand it.  Use your senses to find out and learn about the problem.  I had to learn about my vision. That is why other children could run a lot faster than me.  They could see the obstacles in front of them and I couldn’t.  As I walked or tried to run I had to hold my arms and hands out in front of me so that I would not smash my face right into whatever was in front of me, which I did many times.  I will tell you about some of my experiences and adventures in further episodes of this blog.

( 3.)   The layer of acceptance:     Now, that we have ““REALIZED” the problem and “UNDERSTAND” the problem we now have to go through the layer of “ACCEPTANCE”.  This for me was the hardest and most difficult part of the process.  I was feeling embarrassed and ugly, like a blind misfit, and felt very awkward around people.  The old habit of “flight” still existed.  I was still running away from everyone and everything that hurt my heart.  The teasing and the taunting became very difficult to take.  Finally after a long learning experience, frustration and anger, I realized that there was nothing I could do about changing my disability.  It was part of me and part of who I was.  Thank goodness at this point in my life I had good support and encouragement on my side.  I had been sent to counseling.  My disability was who I was and that was that!

As I began to develop a thick shin around me of an “I don’t care attitude”, things in my life started to change for the better.  I started to find my self-confidence and self-esteem which gave me the courage in my life that I was lacking.

COURAGE:  Courage is not something that is just given to you or you just have hidden inside of you.  You must develop that courage and use it.  I began to have the courage to start talking to people.   I ignored the teasing and taunting and just stood there sometimes.  I began to confront the bullies and asked why they said the things they did.  I kept asking why they wanted to hurt me.  Others around me began to support me.  My courage strengthened.   I began to take my own first steps out of my comfort zone, where I felt safe, and began to venture out and to do some things I thought I never would do.  Again my courage strengthened.  You must be careful not to become too cocky which means over courageous which can get you into a lot of trouble where you do not want to be.  My “flight” response and my shyness, which was still part of my subconscious where they hide, automatically appears and prevents me from stepping out too far and kept my courage under control or what I felt was in balance.

Well, we have covered a lot of information for now.  Until next time as I continue to share with you more about shyness, negative thoughts and behaviours and how to become successful and to find your full potential you have.  Dreams do come true.  Follow those dreams to wherever they may lead you.  Smile and have a wonderful day.

“Have the courage to step out for your success and always allow your uniqueness and passion to shine!”     Lynn Fitzsimmons  DTM 

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Week #2

The year 2013 was a difficult year for me.  Not necessarily a bad or unlucky year, but a year of stepping back and really taking a good look where I am and how I feel in this present moment.  I also reviewed the past year of my life.  I had surgery, had complications, and was unable to do a lot of things I wanted to do.  I felt a lack of connection with friends, work, networking, gatherings, and truly with the outside world.  Being house-bound really can affect your state of mind.  I fell into a depression.  Have you ever felt this way?  The number one thing that I knew I had to do is to reach out to close friends and family, which I did!  The many phone calls I received helped me a lot.  I then began getting back to my e-mails and connecting with a lot of wonderful individuals in my life.  I am a people-person and this confirms my reactions in my life.

People are very important to me and how they connect with me.  This new year 2014 has started to be a great year.  I am dealing with medical issues that I cannot change but I can deal with them in a positive way as not to allow them to prevent me from taking action to live a positive and happy lifestyle.  A brand new year, a brand new website, working, and being active in taking control of my own decisions in my life.

Are you feeling house-bound?  Are you feeling stuck and not sure what to do about being active in what you want to have, to do, or go in your life?  Take control of your own life and let me know what you are planning for 2014.

I am waiting to hear from you.  Please share this with your family and friends so that they can share, too.

Lynn 🙂

“Have the courage to step out for success and always allow your passion and uniqueness to shine.”

 

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Week #1:

Hustle, Bustle, and Busy Busy!!!  Do You Control Your Own Life?

Where is everyone going in such a big hurry?  Life just seems to be coming at us so fast just like living in a 3D movie.  Sometimes we have to just slow down and force ourselves to take the time for us.  Do you curl up with a good book?  Do you take time to meditate or just lay down, relax, and just to allow yourself to dream and fantasize about what would you like your life to be like?  What does the future hold for you?  I dare you to take the time to lie down, relax, and dream and fantasize about your life right now and what the future holds for you?

It is relaxing and stress relieving just to be relaxed, dream and fantasize, just to allow your mind to wander and wonder about wonderful possibilities that become possible!  Has anyone told you that “YOU” can control your own life and your future destiny?  Well, believe it or not, it is absolutely true!  I did not believe it myself either back in the day.  But, through my learning experiences of life, I have discovered that it is absolutely true that we CAN control our own lives now in the present day and in the future.

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to have all of the luck and others seem to never succeed at anything?  Just think about this for a moment:  if your subconscious mind is thinking in negative thought, then how do you think you are reacting?  You are reacting in negative ways because it has become automatic with you, like a very bad habit that you cannot get rid of.  So, if your subconscious mind is controlling your reactions, then it is also controlling your actions, the way you speak, the way you react to other people, the way you react to unexpected situations and to friends, family and to new people you me.  Then, isn’t possible because “your” subconscious mind is controlling everything you do, then, it also can attract all the negativity that comes at you in life.  As negative things come at you in life, you react to them in a negative way, you always get a negative result.  WOW!  Isn’t that an eye-opener!

Now, that we understand how some people always react and attract negative things to them in life, then think, is that the way “you” want to live your life?  You do not have to live that way!  You can change your negative attitude and change it to a positive attitude with positive things in your life.  You have to make a “conscious” decision to change your life and it will not be easy.  Nothing free or easy in life is good.  There is always a catch.  So, instead of struggling, worrying, stressing yourself out, and crying all of the time, then step out of your comfort zone, FEEL THE FEAR AND DO IT ANYWAY, and decide you are going to be one of the successful people in life.  Would you call that easy?  Do you have the determination in you to challenge yourself to be a positive person for one month?  Yes, just one month and at the end of one month, if you do not like the change in you, then you can go back to being miserable and negative again.  Do we have a deal?

Here are some helpful hints to keep you on track for one month.

( 1)   First you must get yourself a journal and promise yourself to write in it every day, preferably at night.

( 2)   Get yourself “two” different coloured markers.  One for positive thoughts and one for negative thoughts.

( 3)   Every day start with ten pennies in your right pocket.  Now, that the government has taken our pennies away, put ten something else in your right pocket.  Through out the day every time you are negative put one of your pennies or whatever you are using in the other pocket, the left.  Now, if you do something positive take a penny out of your left pocket and put it back into the right pocket.  At the end of the day, see how many pennies are in your left pocket, the negative side?  OR count how many pennies are in the right pocket, the positive side?  The pennies are in your pocket only to encourage and help you “CONTROL” your life and make the positive decisions you want to make in life for yourself.

( 4)     It is very IMPORTANT that you journal every night.  Write down the positive things and highlight them in a bright pretty colour.  Write down the negative things you did today and mark them with a different colour.  OR simply have a positive page and a negative page.  Don’t be frustrated or upset if the negatives out weigh the positives.  It is because “you” are in the process of transformation and that you will find is not easy.

Soon, it will be clear that the positives will start to grow larger than the negatives you have.  Taking control of your own life and making the choices “you” want to make for yourself are a very valuable skill to learn.  When “you” take CONTROL of your own life, you will see that you can be the person you want to be and the person that can succeed in life finding happiness and prosperity.

Are you ready to take my challenge for 30 days, one month, to transform your life into controlling your own life, making your own decisions to reach the life you want, to have the people in your life you want, and to make your dreams and fantasies come true!  START NOW!

Start now and share this blog post with family, friends, and to others who wish to take the challenge tool.  Having someone take the challenge along with you makes the challenge seem a little more easier than alone.  Please share this blog and let me know your thoughts and ideas on “controlling your own life”  In this hustle, bustle, fast paced lifestyle we all live in, what kind of life do “you” want to have?

“Have the courage to step out for success and always allow your passion and uniqueness to shine.” by Lynn Fitzsimmons

Smile and have a wonderfully blessed day.  🙂