Tag Archives: Writing Challenge

Family Fridays: Opposing Views

The older I get, the more distinct my views become on certain topics. These views changed over time and can be influenced by the life phase I am currently in: young adult just starting her career with a significant other or children. I’ve also noticed that my views, at times, conflict with what my family believes or has taught me. The next three Truth Challenge prompts address some of these views:
Marriage-Equality-Words
Day 18 → Your views on gay marriage.
Marriage is a commitment between two people in love, regardless of their gender, race or anything else.  No one has the right to dictate who you should love, marry or spend the rest of your life with. I have met plenty of gay couples who support one another, have completely healthy relationships and are raising children better than some heterosexual couples. I firmly believe in marriage equality for all.

Day 19 → What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics?
Have you heard of the phrase, “Religion and politics are the two things never to discuss at the dinner table?” Well, my family has broken that rule multiple times. Religion and politics are two very personal, sensitive topics. Again, no one has the right to judge your personal choice like how you practice your religion or who you vote for. I was raised Roman Catholic but have an issue with the man-made rules of the church, like annulments. However, I do believe in God, who has blessed me with all of the amazing things and people in my life. Because of this, I try to go to church as much as possible to say thank you.

My interest in politics has grown immensely over the last couple of years. I think this is partly becausevote I’ve been able to vote during the elections. I enjoy watching the debates, hearing the proposed plans of candidates and educating myself on our nation’s issues. My biggest issue with people and politics is that people will vote just based on opinions or appearances rather than facts. Please educate yourself before voting!


Day 20 → Your views on drugs and alcohol.
My views on drugs and alcohol has changed drastically in the last year since my family has been personally affected by addiction. I try not to judge people because addiction is a sickness that requires medical help just like any other disease. I do have a hard time with people who don’t take accountability for their sickness and do not fully grasp how their actions affect other people. That being said, it is your body so do with it what you’d like. Since alcohol is a legal substance once you are 21, I am all for enjoying a cocktail every now and then. Everything in moderation!
One challenge of growing up and forming my own opinions is that my family members don’t always agree with me. Some can still have intelligent conversations even though our views are different. Others are so militant and stubborn that it becomes a streaming match when any of the above are discussed. In the end, everyone, including family, needs to respect one another’s differing viewpoints.
How do you handle opposing viewpoints with your family? Is it a challenge?

Motivation Mondays: Eat, Pray, Love

“Stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone ought to be.”

Happy Monday! You’ve made it this far in the afternoon so you’re doing great! I apologize for the lack of Motivation Mondays post lately; my weekends have been super busy, leaving me little time to write. However, that isn’t an excuse. So that’s why I made sure this post got finished this weekend.

In the spirit of getting things done, today’s post is combined with a Truth Challenge prompt:

Day 17 → A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.

I’m sure someone will laugh at me when I say “Eat, Pray, Love” has changed my views on something. I read the book one summer during college and it really did change me. For those who don’t know, “Eat Pray Love” is a story about Elizabeth Gilbert (the author) who goes through a painful divorce and takes a trip around the world to find herself again. She voyages to Italy, India and Bali to find pleasure, devotion and balance. Along the way, she meets several people who teach her valuable lessons about herself and about the meaning of life. The book makes you contemplate how you define your life and will make you laugh at Gilbert’s antics while traveling.

eat pray loveNot everyone has the luxury of momentarily quitting life and traveling around the world in order to recover from a personal disaster. We all should be so lucky. But, the story does make you realize that is it perfectly normal to take a break when necessary. It taught me that often the only way to truly learn about yourself and life is through moments of utter chaos and maybe even pain. Everyone struggles and has moments of weakness; it is normal and occasionally even healthy for you. The personal insights you gain through these struggles are invaluable.

I would recommend reading “Eat Pray Love” when you have the opportunity. I found it especially helpful and still refer back to some of the quotes from the book. My favorite is below.

“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.”

To The Moon & Back

Today’s post has two purposes: celebrate my very first college friend’s birthday and continue on with the 30 Days of Truth Challenge. Let me first take you back five years ago to August 2008. I happened to get lucky and land the single room at the end of the 4th floor short side hallway in Peabody Residence Hall. The single was nice but the hall itself wasn’t. Yet, I created the absolute best memories there and made a lifelong friend in the process.

trishbdPoor Trish was the girl who lived next to me freshman year. I honestly think we became friends because I was so loud and she heard all of my conversations through the super thin Peabody walls. Thank God for those walls. She was my first real friend at Temple and five years later, she is one of my best friends and the most level-headed person I know. I often wonder how someone who is so calm and laid back could be a friend with someone as high-strung and insane as me. But she is and for that, I am very grateful. This leads me to the next Truth Challenge prompts:

Day 15 → Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.
Day 16 → Someone or something you definitely could live without.

Part one: While Trish and I have pretty much been friends for our entire college careers, there was a time when our relationship wasn’t as strong as it is today. This was due to a lot of things that have subsequently changed for a variety of reasons. That being said, I don’t ever want our friendship to go back to that place. I know I couldn’t live without Trish, her perspective on life that helps to keep me calm and grounded. In broader terms, I know I couldn’t live without my friends – maybe not the exact same people but an inner circle that I rely on for support and advice. My friends keep me going; without them, I don’t make sense.

Part two: There’s a laundry list of things (even people) I could live without. However, one thing I know I could live without is drama. That is one of the many things my friendship with Trish has taught me. The drama is just not worth it. Life is simply too short, as cliché as that sounds. Trish has the patience of a saint and is happy just being with people. She’s not high maintenance and reminds me that friendships (or any relationship really) shouldn’t be. There’s no need for drama; talk it and hug it out and things will be just fine.

moonMy life has changed more than ever since I started college. The one constant has been my friendship with Trish. She has consistently and happily shown up during the last five years. There’s no way I could ever express how grateful I am for that. I know I say that about all my friends but in reality, she has been the only there, on the ground with me at Temple for the entire time. The memories we have are priceless and hysterical. I know the future only holds more great things for us. Happy Birthday Trish!

Hero Material

I’m not giving up on this Truth Challenge! There’s just been so many other things I’ve wanted to discuss! That being said, let’s keep it moving on to Day 14.

Day 14 → A hero that has let you down. (letter)

I won’t give you a detailed list of all the people I consider heroes. Lucky for me, the list of people who inspire me is long and constantly changes. My parents, family members, friends, professors and colleagues can, at times, be considered my heroes. I admire my parents’ ability to raise their kids together despite getting divorced. My friends inspire me every day with their ability to overcome adversity and walk to the beat of their own drum. My current colleagues are truly heroes for how they’re mentoring me while working on multiple projects and raising their own kids.

I am a believer in everyday heroes, ordinary people who do the extraordinary. Sure, there are some celebrities that could be considered heroes. For me, it’s people like Ellen DeGeneres and Cory Booker, who stay true to themselves and are always looking for ways to help others. That’s how I define my heroes: people who stay true to themselves, who believe in paying it forward and who are passionate about what they do. I know it doesn’t sound too remarkable, but to me it is.

The one thing about heroes is that sometimes they have no idea how much other people value them and their opinions. When you consider someone your hero, you value their opinion and almost hang on every word they say. They have been placed on a pedestal without even knowing it. If you put someone that high up, they only way they can go is down. It sets everyone up for failure. With heroes, be transparent and talk to them about why you place them in such a category. Managing expectations is very important and will create a mutually beneficial relationship.

Who are your heroes? Why do you consider them heroes? Please share with me!

Girl Power Anthems

Music has always played a huge role in my life. So today’s Truth Challenge prompt is somewhat difficult because I don’t think I can narrow it down to one artist.

Day 13 → A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough days

I’ve selected a few empowering anthems that have absolutely gotten me through some rough days. I find successful females singing about empowerment to be especially inspiring and motivating. See my selections below.  

Alicia Key’s hit “Superwoman” reminds all women that there is an inner strength deep inside that when channeled can give each of us exceptional power.

“I’m Every Woman” often provides much-needed motivation and leaves me feeling like I can take on the world.

This selection is a bit of a silly one but is inspiring nonetheless. It comes from the movie The First Wives Club and highlights every woman’s struggle to be brave.

My song selection above shows how important female empowerment is to me. We are in charge of our own destiny and need to recognize the inequalities that are still present. Gini Dietrich from Spin Sucks discussed the idea of women’s equality in her post today. Her message is clear: we are our own worst enemies and if we want the C-suite, we must address the problem head on. I completely agree with her message. The songs above reflect the idea of women banding together and finding their inner strength and voice in order to overcome any problem. If we want it, we must go get it, period end of story.

Why Is This SO Hard?

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! I thought about writing a post all about love but that would be one giant cliché. Instead, let’s keep moving on this Truth Challenge. Today’s prompts were especially hard for me.

Day 11 → Something people seem to compliment you the most on.
Day 12 → Something you never get compliments on.

I started the search for these answers by asking my 8 and 9-year-old siblings. Samantha’s response was she likes how I watch her dance. Antonio said I make the best pancakes. Clearly, these kids are the best and always make me feel like a rockstar. They did start the wheels in my head turning.

I’d venture to say the one trait people compliment me most on is my loyalty. I am beyond loyal; I will do anything for the people I love. I will work extra hard on a project I’m passionate about. The one I thing I know I’m good at is being there and showing up for the people I care about. I think my friends and family will agree when I say, if I love you, I will give you everything I have.

Something I never get compliments on is probably my ability to listen. Well, that’s not entirely true. If you need to vent, I will absolutely listen to you and give you my honest feedback. But, I am much more a talker than a listener. Once I start talking, it is usually very hard to get me to stop. One of my personal and professional goals is to be a better active listener and to curve my talking enthusiasm.

Do you agree with my compliment assessment? Share your thoughts with me!

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day and loving thy self, have a listen to Jennifer Hudson’s jam from Sex and the City.

Family Fridays: Just Let Go

At the beginning of my sophomore year of college, one of my best friends got me a mug that read “Just Let Go.” I used to stand by my window staring at the Philadelphia skyline and repeat the phrase over and over again. It has become my mantra over the last few years, though at times it is exceptionally hard to do. That leads me to today’s post featuring no one specifically:

Day 09 → Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted.
Day 10 → Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn’t know.

I find letting go of people, places or experiences an art form. It takes careful review of the situation, usually a pro/con list and then an uncomfortable conversation. It is also very much a process; there’s no way you can just let go of something or someone in five minutes. For me, it is always an excruciating process where I waiver and over think (shocking!) my decision. At the current moment, there’s a lot of letting go I’ve been thinking about.

just_let_go_thumb[2]I have mentioned in previous posts that there is a lot of drama with my family. Additionally, I’ve talked about how most of my friends aren’t in the same locations or have conflicting schedules. All of these circumstances have made me think about who to keep or who to let go of in my life. Family is especially hard because there will always be occasions when we are in the same room. Similarly with friends, there are lots of people who run around in the same circles as me. So I might want to let go of one friendship while my other friend might stay friends with that person. Right now, my letting go definition is not to go the extra mile and to only make an effort when it will be reciprocated.

Since letting go is so hard for me, I’ve come up with a few questions to answer before initiating the process:

1. How frequently does this person impact your life? Is their impact something that positively enhances your existence?

2. When you interact with this person, is the conversation balanced or does it shift one way? Does the person spew toxic comments about others?

3. Do you feel your efforts towards the relationship would be/are reciprocated by this person? Is there a mutual effort to keep up a healthy relationship?

These are just some of the thoughts floating around in my head. Sometimes, you absolutely should fight for certain people, especially if your history with them is a mostly positive one. I’ll admit that I’ve let go of people too soon or let others ruin a relationship for me. I often wonder what that relationship would be like today. But, we all make mistakes and thankfully, I’ve learned from mine.

The choice to let go is ultimately a very personal one. With family and close friends,  it is very hard but sometimes necessary in order to preserve your own insanity. Just remember, you’re human, you’re allowed to feel whatever you want.

Let-It-Go-SPin

Just Give Me A Reason

It looks like Thursdays are quickly becoming Truth Challenge days. I can promise you it is totally by accident! So let’s get to it, here is the eighth prompt of the challenge:
 

Day 08 → Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit.

I don’t like calling people out, especially on a public forum like a blog. But, this is a truth challenge so I’ll answer the question without using any names. My family has gone through hell in the last year because of addiction. It’s one of those situations that you think will never happen to your family until it does. Until the day when your 7 and 8-year-old siblings are put at risk, when the police show up to your house and when you realize that person you love so much is gone forever. No matter what happens, that person is changed by their addiction.

The stress and anguish my family has gone through in the last year is insane. The tension in some instances is palpable and some of the people I love the most won’t even sit in the same room together. It’s a hard pill to swallow: you want to be so angry with the addict but also must somehow understand that this person is sick. Their brain is controlled by drugs and the ramifications can be felt long after the user becomes clean. In the last year, there were moments that felt like hell on Earth. Thankfully, things have improved but so much damage has been done that some relationships will be forever tarnished.

For so long, I was searching for a reason as to why all of this happened. Fingers could be pointed at a lot of people. We could all play the blame game for hours. But, the one person responsible won’t admit to their shortcomings or problems. Everyone else doesn’t hold this individual accountable so fight after fight ensues and more damage is done.

As always, I managed to find a song that I can relate to. In this case, P!nk’s Just Give Me A Reason speaks volumes. While my situation doesn’t involve a romantic relationship, the song searches for a reason as to why things changed and the love went away. I pray every night that we are not broken just bent. Have a listen to get a better understanding of what I’m saying.

Family Fridays: These Are My People

“There are some people in life that make you laugh a little louder, smile a little bigger and live just a little bit better. These are the people who lift you higher”

I think by now you’ve come to see that people play a big role in my life. But not just any people, my people. These are the family and friends who motivate me, console me and make my life worth living. People have asked me if I live for these people because sometimes it seems like I do. That’s not the case at all.

In the spirit of catching up on the 30 Days of Truth Challenge, in this Family Fridays post, I am going to answer the seventh prompt of the challenge:

Day 07 → Someone who has made your life worth living for.

My people make my life worth living. I don’t live for them, they just enhance my existence and support me in all the decisions I make. I was asked the other day where I draw my energy from. I thought it was an odd question but immediately knew the answer. I gain energy from being around my people. Anything from intelligent conversations or jam sessions rejuvenates me and at times, has brought me back to life. These people remind me how fortunate I am to have such an amazing circle of trust that surrounds me through the good and the bad times.

As with all relationships, there will be arguments and moments where you just want to walk away. It’s hard in those moments to think clearly and remember why you value these people. I’ve learned that in some cases it’s necessary to let go (expect a post about this soon) and in others, you have to fight fearlessly for those you love. Only you will know what to do and it will never be easy. The group known as my people has changed over time for the better and because of it, I’ve learned to embrace change in all its forms.

The Rodney Atkins song “These Are My People” truly embraces the concept of having your go-to group who are there no matter what. I will warn you that it is a super country song so if that’s not your thing, you may want to just look up the lyrics. While it’s not always sunshine and rainbows, no one compares to my people!

 

I Want It All

As promised, this 30 Days of Truth Challenge will absolutely end up taking more than 30 days. But, I made a deal with myself and with my friend Amber that I would write about all 30 prompts. That being said, let me introduce you to prompts 5 and 6.

Day 05 → Something you hope to do in your life.
Day 06 → Something you hope you never have to do.

There is a lot I’d like to do during my lifetime. As usual, it is hard for me to narrow it down to one goal. When I say I want it all,  I am not lying. For me, that is defined by having a successful career and having a family. Being a working mom, in my opinion, is the hardest combination of jobs out there and feels like a lofty goal. Since I was tiny, my mom has balanced this combination. She has excelled in her career and still managed to coach my softball team and have dinner on the table almost every night. I think she did a fantastic job and am glad I had an example of a woman who was career oriented and family oriented at the same time. I know she struggled with it, as many women do. I see it everywhere: women who are passionate about their careers and adore their families. It becomes quite the balancing act.

careermomsSuccess has a different definition for each individual. When I think about what I hope to accomplish in my lifetime, about what success means to me, I think about striking that balance between professional and mom. I want to be able to want to go to work everyday, feeling passionate about what I do and making an impact in some way. At some point, I absolutely want my own PR firm and maybe even a charity organization. I want a family, to raise my kids and help mold them into happy, responsible adults. I already know the balance will have to shift and I won’t get it right everyday. But when I see my future, this is the vision I have for myself.

I’ve always thought about what I want to do in life, but never about something I don’t want to do. Sure, there are jobs I won’t ever want or foods I’ll never eat. But those are small things when you think about your life. After thinking long and hard, I realized I don’t want to ever see someone die. I know this is probably going to happen regardless of my opinion. I don’t want to see someone take their last breath and I especially don’t want to make the life or death decision for someone else. I’m sure one day I will have to make that painful decision for a loved one, to choose their destiny for them. But, if I could escape life without witnessing death, I would.

What do you hope to do during your life? Anything you absolutely wish you won’t have to do? Please share with me!

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