Day 5 – 30 Day Writing Challenge

I did write yesterday, but it was just a brief paragraph as CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome) beat my behind. I’m a tad better today and this topic wasn’t difficult to write about.

List five places you want to visit

1. Smithsonian National Museum Of African American History and Culture located in Washington D.C

Museum Website

I’ve heard and read so much about this museum. It took a long time to get the project completed and I’ve heard from people who have made the trip that it is a must see and it’s emotional. I enjoy learning history in a museum setting. African American history is American history and it should be celebrated.

b. Hawaii

Hawaii Tourism

Since I was a kid and watched the 3-part episode of The Brady Bunch, this was on my travel list. The birthplace of our 44th President has sun, sand and surf.How could you go wrong?

2. The Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu located in Shinanomachi, Tokyo.

The Hall of The Great Vow

SGI Headquarters History Video

Similar in scope to visiting the Vatican for Catholics or Mecca for Muslims, this is the destination for SGI Nichiren Buddhists. It’s the headquarters where we can visit and renew our commitment to promoting world peace and individual happiness.

3. The Champs-Elysées and all the sites near it. Located in Paris France

Paris Tourism

It is Paris! It’s considered one of the greatest avenues in the world. There are museums, shops and other touristy things to do.

4. Grenada – The Spice Island

Grenada Tourism

The maternal side of my family history is in Grenada. I would love to visit the Isle of Spice and have an inside glimpse of my personal history. It’s warm too, which I realize is better for my health.

5. Turks and Caicos

Turks and Caicos Tourism

I like the beach. Every photo that I’ve seen of Turks and Caicos makes me want to see it up close.

a. Cuba

Cuba Travel

I’m adding this one because it’s been forbidden since the 1960’s. For the culture and for the experience, I think I would enjoy myself as I learn and observe a place only about 1400 miles from Florida.

I don’t have a clue when I going to any/all of these places, but when the time comes, I have a list to choose from.

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Wrapping Up and Going Forward

When I thought about starting a blog, late last year, I wasn’t sure what I would write about. I knew I wanted to write and use my gift, but I didn’t know how I would take the thoughts in my head and make them meaningful enough for readers. I have never been a poet or one who very consistently kept a journal, as much as I tried. However, I knew there were stories, ideas and great writing inside of me that I wanted to share.

I soon realized that I could best write about myself, my experiences and life events. I was about to journey into my last year of my forties. I was  determined to be more courageous so I  moved ahead. Privately, I dubbed this journey, my Year of  49. I would follow myself down this pathway and see where I ended up. I wanted this year to have meaning, be fun and have some adventures.

I wanted to go to Las Vegas to celebrate my actual 50th birthday, something completely out of the ordinary for me. I have always played safe and by the rules. I could celebrate in warm weather for only the second time in my life with some family members; maybe bring in the new year on the west coast. It was discussed and agreed upon. It would be happening and I didn’t have to plan  it. I would be taken care of. Yay!

So, I decided to do things this year I wanted to do, fibromyalgia be damned. The money would come from somewhere. I would just chant triple the amount of nam myoho renge kyo than usual, so that I could physically be up to it.

I had a ticket to see Diana Ross in concert and that started the ball rolling for me to also see Gladys Knight, Guy, Jill Scott, Stephanie Mills and The Whispers in concert. Music gets me though the toughest days. I wrote about all these musical experiences and how they made  me happy, even though I sat through most of them in pain. I fought through it and won.

I suffered tremendous physical pain this year and I spent much time indoors, resting and also dealing with chronic fatigue. I am no longer able to hold a job, as my illness and pain levels are completely unpredictable. Living with and living on disability is not easy. I’m doing my best to live a good life and have faith both situations will change for the better.

This year, I had a few in patient medical procedures done to help my migraines.  I had aqua therapy to help the sciatica like pain running down my leg like shock waves. I had trouble sitting, standing and walking. All this was happening while dealing with the house guest from hell who threw a big monkey wrench right in the middle of my weight loss plans. Medication side effects and frustrated stress eating made a girl gain weight. Sigh……  I wanted to be slimmer and healthier by my birthday, but I got frustrated; I restarted a couple weeks ago and this time I’m making a lifestyle change. Nothing or no one will interfere with my progress again.

I wrote about my life as a person dealing with fibromyalgia. It was my most read and shared post.I was very proud of that post. It was relate-able to anyone with a chronic pain condition.

I follow news events and many touched my heart. I was angered or saddened by them, so I wrote about them. I wrote about personal sorrows and losses. I became more open about myself, more than I have ever been.

I  wrote about the importance of my faith and how it helps me to grow into the person I am meant to be. I want to create value with and for my life. I volunteer once a month to record readings of  SGI-USA publications on tape, for members who are visually impaired or unable to read them for themselves. I’m happy to contribute in this way to my fellow Buddhists.

The news events of 2015: mass shootings, domestic and foreign terror, police brutality, innocent Black Lives not mattering, slack gun control laws, presidential candidates spouting bigotry and spreading fear; it all became too much for my senses.

My faith and my humanity tells me and shows me all of this is wrong. Should I be packing my bags and leaving my homeland before it all goes awry? The hate filled tones may be coming towards me and my kind next. History shows this is possible.  My writing desires waned and I got stuck somehow. I haven’t made a blog post since September.

My year of 49 has two weeks left. I had a 50th birthday celebration in August, with women I have known since elementary school on an evening cruise with our teachers. We all turned 50 this year.  It was a great time and there was cake, 🙂  I really feel a kinship with them even though we don’t see other regularly.

My trip to Las Vegas never took off, I don’t even know what happened to it. I’m disappointed. So, the idea remains on my vision board.Next time, I’ll take control of my own plans.

Since the plans were altered,I didn’t know how I would bring in this milestone birthday. I wanted to do something I never did before. I refused to stay at home. I could do that any night of the year.

I was gifted a ticket to see a show, by the same Uncle who bought me a new bed this year (I’m so grateful to him); so that’s how I’ll spend my special day. I’ll see a production I’ve wanted to see for years. I have mused my way towards 50. I will continue writing this blog . I will be more consistent with it.

I want my 50’s to be incredible. I want better health. I want romance with real commitment. I want to walk without a cane. I want to travel to an SGI-USA conference. I want to meet my uncle and cousin. I want to stick to my healthier eating plans and get my sexy back. I want better finances and become debt free. I want to volunteer to help others to the best of my capacity. Helping others, helps me to grow.  I strive to be the person Buddhism,teaches me, I can become. I want my life to matter when people see me. I want the world to be safe, free from the worst humans can do to humans. I want supreme happiness for myself and for everyone.

I wish myself a Happy Fiftieth Birthday!!!!

The Christmas season is upon us and a new year is about to start. Let’s see what wonders will come in 2016. I’m taking control of my life and being true to myself. I will create a greater life for myself in my 50’s . Thank you all for reading and I wish you all a happy and healthy holiday season filled with joy!

 

 

Catching Up

It’s been awhile since I wrote a new post. I just decided to do a bit of a followup on some of my posts.

My mind has been a bit cloudy of late and i have been having trouble putting my words together. Insomnia, back pain, shooting leg pains from sciatica  and a compressed nerve in my back have kept me awake at night. I also had new health diagnoses which I emotionally had to deal with. I like to make sense when I write, so I took a hiatus.


I have a few updates:  I love the new bed I received from my Uncle. It vibrates. The head and bottom raise up and down by wireless remote control. The first night I vibrated, wave massaged and raised it up and down, hundreds of times.  I’ve calmed down. I raise up and down only once or twice a day. The first week the bed was on wheels, but since I have hardwood floors, I was rolling every time the bed moved or I tried to sit on it, LOL. I called the company and they came to put on rubber casters to save me from rolling out of my bedroom door.

Last weekend, I fulfilled a life long dream as I returned to the Kings Theatre. I saw The Empress of Soul, Gladys Knight in concert. She was magnificent and I was on a Gladys high for days. She sang all about love, sang all her greatest hits, including Neither One of Us. I teared up a bit when she sang, The Way We Were. She put all of her voice into every note and I detected a catch in her voice at the end. She then talked about friends who had passed away, including the late Marvin Gaye. Former Pip and Gladys’ big brother Bubba came on and had his own little portion of the show, including singing Happy by Pharell Williams. She had a hard time getting the show back from him, LOL. Gladys’ voice has always done something to me because it’s filled with richness. Diana Ross has the flash, Gladys has the voice. I was really happy that I made it to the show. I was recovering from a 2 day migraine, but Gladys was not to be missed. If I ever fall into a coma, please play Gladys at my bedside, I will surely awaken.


I was awed and amazed at the response I received from my last post about Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. I spoke for many in my description of living with fibro. It is not an easy road that we travel and sometimes the road is filled with many bumps and detours.

Many people who deal with chronic illness deal with some level of depression. Let’s face it, if you were hurting all the time, your life and very being had changed overnight, depression may chase you too. There is confusion and feelings of loss of your former self. I have fought with depression and was brought to the very brink of despair.

I felt so lost, pained and alone thinking that this was all that was left for me. I couldn’t chant and felt no one understood what I was going through. I was unhappy for a myriad of reasons. I didn’t care anymore and thought that was okay. One night I took some prescribed sleeping pills, because that MF insomnia had me up for five days straight. I took a few extra pills, not caring if I woke up the next day. I wanted to rest and have peace and not pain in my body. I cried because I woke up. (Damn, I can’t even do this suicide thing right. That is what my brain told me, SMH)


After a serious crying jag for hours and talking with someone, I sought medical help and was diagnosed at the hospital with major depression and anxiety. I was put on medications to help me and also started going to therapy to finally talk about issues from my childhood to adulthood. Therapy and also learning how to use my faith to uplift me in dark moments were the greatest gifts I received from that life moment.


A few of my Buddhist sisters were the first people to visit me in the hospital. For the first time in months, I chanted. It’s a memory I will always treasure. The compassion that they showed me made me feel very loved at a time when I felt empty. At that time I had not really, reached out to people who could and would have helped me on the path. They could have shown me how to utilize my faith and still get medical help. Buddhism is reason and I wasn’t using it.

Many years later, I’m no longer taking medications, but I still go to therapy, because there are many bumps and detours on the road of life. Depression can be a long battle for most people who have experienced it. I have fought and won over the major hurdles.  I plan to live, live well and live the greatest life possible, filled with happiness no matter the circumstances that I am facing.


I reveal myself so transparently because June is Mental Health Awareness month.

We don’t know what other people are going through. They may appear fine, but be in a dark place. Your health is important, Your mental health is also important. You are not “crazy to take medication for your mental health. Don’t refuse to see a “head shrinker” because no one in your family ever did it. In order to open our lives and change it, we have to do something different from what we are accustomed to.  There are many people trained to help us get out of the darkness. If you see someone who seems down, be kind to them. Kind words without judgement is what they need. Everyone could use a helpful and compassionate ear. Compassion is sorely lacking in our world.


I chant Nam myoho renge kyo to uplift me and I read encouraging guidance and books from SGI President Daisaku  Ikeda. He reminds me, I have a mission for my life and it is to help others and show them through my life that they can be happy. We call this actual proof. I know I went through the hardest struggle so I can encourage other people, as I am now on the other side of depression.


My faith keeps me on the right path through this journey of life. No matter what, I will continue to chant everyday, morning and evening prayers to stay the course and never give up. That is what my Buddhist faith has taught me.

Fibromyalgia Awareness Day- May 12

Today, May 12th is Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. I know many people don’t know much about it. The commercials for the drug Lyrica, that I see on television from time to time, say fibromyalgia  is overactive muscle pain, but that doesn’t give it justice. Fibromyalgia is a life changer. It’s a fun taker, It’s a relentless pain giver. Taking one pill, 99% of the time, doesn’t help. I’ve tried Lyrica and my result was 70 pounds of weight gain. Needless to say, I couldn’t stay on it. I have a bag filled with medications, and I still have pain.

These are some of my symptoms: headaches, nerve pain, back pain, chronic fatigue, neuropathy,  irritable bowel syndrome, rib cage pain, carpal tunnel in both hands. I’m in pain when it’s too cold. I’m in pain when it’s too hot. I have dull pain, sharp pain, persistent pain and aching in my shoulders, I have burning, numbness, tingling in various stages, different times of the day in different parts of my body.

For more years than I can recall, I have had Doctor’s tell me the pain was in my head, it couldn’t be that bad. I had one doctor tell me if I just got married and had some kids, I wouldn’t have time to think about pain. I should do it soon, because I didn’t want to be alone when I turned seventy.  He was almost a dead man walking!!!! Seriously, I was about to jump off the table and slap the hell out of him, but my better judgement prevented me from having an assault charge on my permanent record. I have a wonderful pain management doctor now and I’m so very grateful for all he does and how he treats me as a patient and a person.


Some people in my life  just stopped calling after I’ve turned down invitations or had to cancel things, one time too many because I was too sick to attend. When I say sick, imagine not being able to move because your whole body hurts. Then imagine, if you can move, you are so tired that if you try to move around, you might fall down. I’ve had falls in the street in the last few years, for absolutely no reason. I use a cane now when I’m going out, because I don’t want to go splat again. One minute I was up, the next down. One analogy to what we fibromyalgia sufferers face is, imagine having the flu 24/7 all day, every single day. If you know how bad the flu can be, then you have a slight clue. I’m speaking about my own situation here but I’m speaking for thousands who have to face the sting of fibromyalgia everyday.

You never know when a flare will strike or how long it will last. I believe i have truly been in a flared state for the past 2 and a half years. I was let go from my employer, when I went out sick ( an injury I received at work started the flare.) and my fibromyalgia specialist wasn’t able to provide a return to work day. I had to file for disability and now live off that money. The majority of my savings is gone. I had to pay  doctor’s out of pocket when my health insurance was cancelled by my employer.  I went from a manager to waiting on my monthly check. I fought my body, for seven years, so I could get my graduate degree. It was one of the hardest accomplishments, I have completed. I even graduated with honors, thanks to a good friend and a professor who helped me my last two semesters. I can’t work any longer. Bending, squatting, sitting, typing,stretching and standing all hurt me tremendously and were part of my job as a librarian.


It’s difficult to walk up and down the bus and train steps so I now use a service that picks me up and drops me off. They are notoriously late and I spend so much time waiting to be picked up from appointments, I have to pack snacks in my purse or risk passing out from hunger.  I used to love going for long walks and lose myself, popping into stores and doing what I wanted when I wanted. I can’t do that anymore. Walking a few blocks hurts too much. If I walk it has to be short, as I also tire very easily.

I take supplements to boost my immune system and keep my energy up. I blend juices, take vitamins. I have rubs, salves, heating pads all next to my bed. I feel older than my years. I pray everyday to not give up the fight for good health. I have accepted my condition and its limitations., but I will also find ways to enjoy myself and not just remember good times past.

My life isn’t over, but it has slowed down considerably. I’m going to concerts of artists I’ve been waiting to see.  I’m looking at the summer tours right now. I’m looking for cheap Broadway tickets. Maybe, I’ll hit up a baseball game. I don’t mind doing things by myself. I don’t like making promises to people, that I might have to break. If I make plans with someone, I chant extra for days to be able to go. I buy the insurance that goes with ticket sales, just in case…… I have to find ways to stay upbeat when circumstances could drag me down into despair. When I am attempting to have fun and do something exciting, know that I am hurting, but will never give up living.


Even though on the outside people with fibromyalgia may look fine, just know we are sometimes putting on a happy face when we really want to cry. We fight hard to do things, like bending and tying our shoes or standing up and washing dishes or cooking food. We may have to delay chores in order to lay down and feel better. So, please be patient with us. Support us and continue to include us in your lives. If you don’t know what to say to us, a gentle hug would be just fine. Be sensitive and please ask us first, we may be having a flare.

In the Writings of Nichiren Daishonin there is a gosho named Happiness in this World,that says, Suffer what there is to suffer, enjoy what there is to enjoy. Regard both suffering and joy as facts of life, and continue chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, no matter what happens. How could this be anything other than the boundless joy of the Law? Strengthen your power of faith more than ever. Whenever I read it, I know with all my heart that my circumstances will charge. My mission in life is to show actual proof of my spiritual practice. I will regain my health.

Speaking of Mother’s Day

Their activity list may include: brunches, lunches, dinners, a spa day or just a day for themselves, Mother’s Day is on Sunday. This day has become a bittersweet one for me. I have no children, not even a pet  ( I’d love a small dog but with recurring pain and uncertainty about leaving the house, I could not with a conscience have a dog, I can’t walk ). I had birds as a teen and I don’t want fish or a snake. LOL!   In Panama, where my family is from they celebrate this day on Dec 8. So, I can’t call my Aunt that lives there on Sunday. Both women who raised me have passed away.

This leaves my Aunt in NJ as the one I send my card and gifts to on Mother’s Day. I appreciate her so much because there are days I will call her and I ramble on and on about my health or my faith ( She introduced me to Buddhism) and she listens.  I don’t often get a lot of the older female wisdom, that so many take for granted. She has lived a life and knows the important things going on in mine. She is my mother’s older sister. So, I say thanks to her and I love you, as she fills a void in my life. She wishes for me the best things in life, most importantly my happiness. For 20, plus years she wanted me to chant and become happy. I was a very hard sell, but she planted the seed of knowledge and after chanting for me and having extraordinary patience, I became a Buddhist. Buddhism has changed me and my life.

I was at a low point then. Illness was ripping and roaring through my entire body. It still is but my attitude towards it, is different My great aunt who raised me (Mimi) was in a nursing home and didn’t remember me any more, due to Alzheimer’s. She had recurrent pneumonia and I couldn’t imagine my life without her. You see, as she raised me, she sheltered me too much. No friends, no hanging out or parties.  School, studies and education were of the most importance. She wanted me to do something with my life and didn’t want any distractions, including boys. All types of distractions were sorely needed. To this day my socialization skills are not the best because I didn’t have a lot of practice. Chit chat is not my forte’.  Through my Buddhist practice and meeting new people all the time, I am getting better. I did graduate from college and worked as a paralegal for a time. I went back to school for my graduate degree and became a librarian. My career goals were fulfilled. Health issues have now shoved those careers aside for me. Maybe new ones are emerging…

Since I was at home practically all the time she was more than my mother, she was a beloved friend. She had a cheating husband and was unhappy. I became her happiness. Something no person can fill for you. We watched TV and I got any book I wanted to read. She got me hooked on The National Enquirer, Star Magazine and People Magazine before I was a teenager.  I also got most of the junk food or clothes that I wanted. I still fight with myself not to reward myself with food and clothing. I am so unsuccessful at it. LOL!!

Download-Happy-Mothers-Day-Images-3Later on, when I could have left home and was making my own money; I started having health issues. When her already unstable health became worse, I wanted to provide her with the care she had given me. Looking back, my actions were well intentioned, but I hurt myself and my own growth in the process.  We had formed such a bond, I was devastated, confused and relieved all at the same time when she passed. The pressure to make serious decisions for her life was over.

I had felt similar loss when my mother passed away when I was in my twenties, but it was different. My Mother didn’t raise me but she was a presence in my life. She was present at graduations and holidays. She taught me how to ride the buses and the trains. She took me to the nail salon for the first time and to Disney World. She made incredible potato salad and loved Teddy Pendergrass, Barry White and The Jones Girls. She even loved country music. She liked to have a good time, have boyfriends and dance. My mother just wasn’t ready or prepared to be a mother, because she didn’t experience it in her own life. I felt baffled as a child and resentful as a young adult thinking that my mother didn’t want or love me. We never got to talk on a deep level about my feelings. My mother passed away at 51 from cancer and I had many unanswered questions. I think that as time has gone on, I understand her as a person much better now as I have had time to learn about her life, experiences and not just what people wanted to tell me. She wanted the love she never got as a child. I still miss and mourn her because I know our relationship could have been better.

As a kid I felt torn between two women. One was mothering me and the other was my mother.  Who did my loyalty go to?

Mimi and Mommy, I love and miss you both terribly. I wish I had just another day with both of you. For anyone who has faced a similar struggle just love them both and know they both love you. Don’t feel conflicted. Treasure them, tell them how much you love them, everyday no matter what has passed. Start from today onward. They won’t always be here to say those simple words, that come with such difficulty for people.

I won’t be making breakfast for anyone on Sunday morning but I know I am not alone. So many have lost their mother, grandmother or mother figure. Let’s never forget them and I wish them, and every Mom out there, Happy Mother’s Day!

https://youtu.be/4I3TxyYDcSw Céline Dion – Goodbye’s (The Saddest Word)

https://youtu.be/3CLlo82PPB4  A Song For Mama- Boyz to Men

Diary of a Migraine

I finally started my blog, and apparently the news upset my body. It felt like lighting struck the back of my head. My bed became my refuge and the place to uphold me. This past week, I was stricken with a migraine. It was one for the record books. I have been having migraines for years, but they are not traditional, because nothing about me is. These headaches can last for days.

I once had to wear sunglasses in the house for a week, because the light from the sun outside was slowly killing me. WebMD describes migraine symptoms as moderate to severe pain (often described as pounding, throbbing pain) that can affect the whole head, or can shift from one side of the head to the other.Sensitivity to light, noise or odors.Blurred vision, Nausea or vomiting, stomach upset, abdominal pain.Loss of appetite.Sensations of being very warm or cold.Paleness.Fatigue, Dizziness Fever(rare) Bright flashing dots or lights, blind spots, wavy or jagged lines(aura).

You can read about it but feeling one is very different.

I peeked at the Golden Globes Awards, Sunday night with one eye squinting at the television. Common gave a fantastic acceptance speech after winning Best Song (Glory), his collaboration with John Legend for the movie Selma.
I checked into Facebook on my phone a few times. I know if I don’t post something folks may think I am on the deceased list. I have a bit of an addiction to Facebook (Don’t judge me. I have a few simple pleasures in my life, LOL) I have made great friends with total strangers, reconnected with people and stay connected with family.
Day 2– Absolutely nothing was working and believe me, I have a lot of medication to choose from. My regular migraine medications were laughing at me. Pain was all over my face. I was not standing up too straight. I was drinking tea, trying to sleep and basically waiting out the day hoping for relief.
Day 3- My Facebook friends were sending me healing vibes and wished me a speedy recovery. I needed that kind of optimism and so appreciated them. A brother in faith sent me a home remedy and I tried it. I lay down in bed chanting quietly to myself, that this had to STOP! I felt beaten and defeated, but I couldn’t let that happen. I couldn’t sleep and fibromyalgia symptoms started kicking in. My back decided it wasn’t going to work anymore. Come on man! Are you serious with this?

On the final day of the beating and throbbing, I felt like Sheila E, was living inside my head playing percussion. I was living in the house without lights on. My bill should be low next month. I struggled to my prayer altar.

The SGI-USA webpage describes our Buddhist practice as this: “The practice of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism is to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, and recite portions of both the second (Expedient Means) and the sixteenth (Life Span) chapters of the Lotus Sutra in front of the Gohonzon. This is the fundamental practice of Nichiren Buddhism, performed morning and evening.”

I read the daily guidance for January 14th. It said, Everyone at some time suffers from illness in one form or another. The power of the Mystic Law enables us to bring forth strength to overcome the pain and suffering of sickness with courage and determination. The Daishonin writes”Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is like the roar of a lion. What sickness can therefore be an obstacle? That final sentence is engraved in my head and heart, since I need to remind myself of this often.


I sat at the altar, even though I felt dizzy and discombobulated. I knew I couldn’t give in to defeat. I live my life like this all the time, because I’ve suffered from chronic illness for at least 15 years. I hurt everywhere, somewhere, all the time, everyday. I’ve been through major depression. I no longer take medication for it, but I can’t let my mind master me. We need to pay more attention and take more seriously people who suffer with depression. (Another conversation, for another time.)

I said my prayers with the determination that I will win over this Boom, Boom, Boom in the front of my head. The following morning, I could feel the heaviness in my head lifting and I actually got some sleep. I rested, I told Facebook my status. Rejoicing was in the air! My face pain is better, but the rest of my body still hurts.

Here I am, back at the blog. It’s been a rough week and yes my computer screen is a bit dim, my carpal tunnel is bugging me, but I am here. I am fighting like Muhammad Ali. I take blows on the ropes, but I keep coming back. Migraine be gone and don’t let the door hit ya! The Lioness has roared! I am a Fighter, a Winner and I am Victorious!

Let Me Introduce Myself

I decided to start a blog. Why would I do that?? I have to take myself back to high school, Bishop Loughlin Memorial, 1979, when as a freshman I joined the newspaper, as an after school activity. I found out I expressed myself well and often better, when I wrote. I was basically shy and sheltered, but I felt free and happy when I wrote.

I thought I would become a journalist like Barbara Walters or write for a newspaper, like The New York Times. I had attended free workshops at Columbia University for aspiring high school journalists, and received an honorable mention award in a Catholic newspaper for catholic school high school students. I was listed in both my junior and senior years of high school in Who’s Who Among American High School Students for my journalistic endeavors. I was ready to study journalism. I was ready! Maybe I could be an entertainment reporter since I loved feature articles. I had been reading The National Enquirer and Star Magazine since I was very young. Celebrity gossip was so cool. I knew all of Liz Taylor’s business.

Even with all this momentum around me, I felt no one around me truly supported my dreams. I didn’t have the self-esteem and inner strength to be a cheerleader for myself. Oh, if we could do a rewind, the things we could change……..

I believed the negativity hype. I heard that it was harder for blacks in that industry or how someone they knew didn’t do well in the profession. Instead, I pursued less creative paths. I was a paralegal and then a librarian, but always kept journals and didn’t turn down opportunities to participate in newsletters at work. I had a knack for writing and I knew it.

I have had a lengthy period of health issues. Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, migraines, carpal tunnel and chronic pain finally took their collective toll and I could no longer work. Fibromyalgia makes it difficult for my brain to put thoughts together. Reading and writing that has always come easily, became a process of labor. It still is a struggle to get my thoughts down. This is why I decided to blog. I don’t want my gift to disappear, because of my chronic illness. I know now to fight for myself and for what I want.

I have practiced Buddhism with the SGI-USA for the past 10 years and my goal is to be happy. Nichiren Buddhism, teaches that each person has within the courage, wisdom and compassion to face and surmount any of life’s challenges. If you watched the film, What’s Love Got to Do With It, about the life of Tina Turner, starring Angela Bassett, you heard her chant -Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. We all see how Tina’s life changed when she started to chant.

So, I’m going to be happy despite the obstacles in my life. I have changed from my core, so I am brave enough to blog. I’ll write about the everyday, give insight about living with chronic illness. I’ll write about the mundane and the amusing. I’ll blog about what upsets me, enlightens me and what makes me, ME. Winning in life is what’s important no matter what. So as I blog I may face failure, criticisms and everything in between, but I believe in me and know this is the right time to write for me and to share it with others. I hope you will join me on my journey, finally fulfilling a dream.