Letter to a Knucklehead

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Hey girl,

You think you know, but you have no idea. Your world will be rocked. Colors will transform. Feelings will transcend. They will evaporate. Trickle.

You will read. You will write. You will want to assimilate. You will want to rage. You will step ahead.

You will connect with brilliant people. Always appreciate them, but don’t lose yourself in them.

You will be right. You will be wrong. You will be anxious. You will be strong. You will outgrow your perceptions of yourself and people too bound to moments passed.

You will want to draw parallels between yourself and others, but they’re fruitless comparisons. A path walked a million times is only yours once your footsteps meet it. And as hard as it was for your cousin to teach you the one-two-step, you should know that other people’s strides are none of your business.

Speaking of walking, walk tall. Wear heels. And colors. And conversation piece accessories. And blue, shimmery eye shadow with rouge. And then only Chapstick for days, if you feel like it.

Walk with your shoulders back. Keep a grin on your face. Not the perfected smile of an adolescent who complied with the orthodontist’s requests. Do the real one.

The one where your top lip disappears and shows the pinkish purple gums you freaked out about. The one with your eyes all squinted and cheeks reaching for the sun’s rays.

Be eloquent. Be ratchet. Be rowdy. Be patient. Be effortlessly you because it is not about names. It is about truth. So do your thing. And know that that thing changes. And that’s ok.

Boys are weird. But, they always have been, so illuminate yourself because when you stop trippin’ they start falling.

Be good to your siblings. They’ll be your soldiers. Appreciate your parents. They made unfathomable sacrifices for you.

Embrace your southern roots and charm. Don’t worry if regionalism affects people’s perceptions of who belongs at the table—because you stay eating, regardless.

Flip phrases til your eyes glaze and conjure connections you believe are amazing. And then top that.

Oh yeah. You will see your social media comments from yesteryear and ridiculous Grinch-like photos. Laugh and delete. And then engage teenagers with patience. Because you were a glittery snow globe with hydraulics not too long ago.

Be grateful. Be great. Keep writing. Expand this letter.

Ciao.

Steps for Crohn’s & colitis + bravery lessons

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Some kids are braver than adults.

Insert 11-year-old Dyllan Lovero, who, along with his mom, Rachael, recently shared insight regarding Dyllan’s life as a champion.

While many pre-adolescents’ concerns include I-gadgets, locker combinations and hormonal imbalances, others face grown-up realities.

Dyllan, an honor student who enjoys watching wrestling and wants to be a doctor, has Crohn’s Disease, an inflammatory bowel disease. He also has colitis, which is inflammation of the large intestine. He was diagnosed four years ago.

Day-to-day life can be a struggle.

“I have more tough days than I would like,” he said.

Rachael shared that many of his health concerns trigger domino effects of pain.  He reports feeling like his bones are being crushed.

From January until early March of this year Dyllan was unable to walk or stand up because of his inflamed intestine.

Despite all of that, when asked about his goals, he replied without missing a beat: He doesn’t want to miss too much school.

And with As and Bs in his courses despite being unable to physically attend school last year, the self-proclaimed “smartypants” is a testament to a focused mind. Dyllan’s favorite subjects are mathematics and writing, personal narratives in particular.

The baby faced preteen spoke with the wisdom of someone who’s been here before.

He continuously referenced close friends and family who support him.

That support system extends beyond his familial and friendly relationships.

After being hospitalized twice (once in 2010 and once last year), he, his teachers and his family moved to a technological approach for his education.

His teachers Skyped him from school to keep him abreast of his studies.

“My teachers were amazing,” he said.

He and Rachael talked about how included Dyllan was. He was up to speed because of his teachers’ technological approach. Skype lessons not only kept him academically in the loop, but also socially. His classmates interacted with and frequently Skyped him during lunch.

He said that he appreciated the communication. Appreciation was central to his discussion as he said that his days can be pretty emotional, but he is grateful to have parents who care about him because not everyone has the same.

Of parental guidance, Dyllan continued.

“They love. They push you.”

His mother also pushed for him to participate in Take Steps for Crohn’s and Colitis, a walk/fundraiser for digestive diseases. This year’s walk will be held Sunday, October 14 in Prospect Park. The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) sponsors the walk.

When Dyllan first attended he was sad to see so many other people who go through what he goes through, but was glad to be around people who understood.

According to the Take Steps website, 1.4 million American adults and children are affected by digestive diseases. The site also reported that the walk supports patient programs, education, research for a cure and has raised nearly $32 million to further its mission.

CCFA has 40 local chapters.

Rachael said that when friends and family attended the walk with him, Dyllan realized he is not alone.

He said, “I never knew there were so many people that loved me.”

Check out Dyllan’s Take Steps page. http://online.ccfa.org/site/TR/2012TakeStepsWalk/Chapter-GreaterNewYork?team_id=110086&pg=team&fr_id=3242

Oh, boy. She chooses joy. ;-)

Full disclosure: In between my usual  fashion, national, global and marginalized community reads, I am also into self-help, Law of Attraction, Handel Method style goodies, and the occasional uplifting Bible verse.

With that being said, it is always something. A friend, a foe, a romantic interest, a bill, a familial issue, a misunderstanding.

There is always a reason to choose chaotic interpretations of life. There will always be something, and that fact is neither a negation nor an excuse.

Sometimes it is an opportunity to take more time for and with oneself. Other times it’s a wakeup call. Sometimes it seems like a quintessential sucky situation that only makes sense a few life markers later. Even with our troubles we can choose joy.

The alternative: philosophical plate tectonics. Mad shifty, yo.

Figure out what works for you. For some, conceptualizing the temporary experience of life in terms of a larger, collective body is helpful. Feeling kept by a power greater than our understanding provides solace for many. Others believe that such is scientifically unproven hogwash.

And that’s fine. Everyone should not believe in God, although doing so suits me. Humanity is not helped by advocates of monolithic understanding, worship and/or existence. Free will keeps our kind spicy.

I’m pretty proud that a series of recent occurrences reminded me that I control my happiness, destiny and decisions more than any other force, voice or noise.

People throw shade. Life reroutes ships. We question the waters. Still we sail.

Taking offense to ideological differences is not helpful because people bring their frame of reference, which includes experiential knowledge, privilege, biases, successes and shortcomings to everything that they encounter. It is far less about us and more about them.

Owning other people’s issues is inappropriate. And applying one’s own logic to a dissimilar individual rarely begets peace or understanding.

Baby steps. Sometimes backwards. Sometimes away from the chaos. Sometimes to the mirror. Sometimes three hops this time. Reverse!

Life will not always be  quality conversation, eel and avocado rolls, good wine, room for dessert and tan lines (or your version of happiness), but if we actively seek, appreciate and revel in joy, perhaps, it won’t seem so evasive.

It is an exciting time. Do things loom or bloom? Your choice.