Finding Your Niche

Hey friends! I hope you’re all well – I know it’s been a long time but finishing out senior year of college has been crazy if you get what I mean. May 21st is the big day. πŸ˜πŸ˜‚

I’ve just recently began the job search to see where life will lead after graduation. I’m excited and nervous at the same time. My whole life has been based around health and helping other people, so something that would help me continue that is my dream job.

I’ve always had high expectations too , but this whole thing has been quite the learning experience for me. I do feel as though it’s important now to take a step back and look at what’s realistic and what’s not. Something else I often focus on is finding that niche; the perfect spot to bring everything I’ve learned to the table. I think that’s where most of my writing will begin to focus on too as this journey unfolds, so I hope you’re ready!

Life has a funny way of showing you how things will happen when they’re supposed to. In the end, you just have to embrace the uncertainty and trust that everything will work out in time. πŸ’œ

I can’t wait to begin a whole new chapter in this awesome book of life. After all – the work is never done. It’s only just beginning. 

Xoxo –  Coll

7 themes for 2017

..Hey all! I hope everybody’s been doing well. I wanted to take some time and share some ideas for a new outlook or perspective on things in the new year. Here are seven themes for 2017:

1 – Health.
2 – Love.
3 – Faith.
4 – Hope.
5 – Confidence.
6 – Patience.
7 – Last but not least, always choose happiness.

These are all pretty common I know, but why not take the time to focus on one or two that you wouldn’t normally think about? I’ll tell you what I’ll be focusing on. Along with health, I want to focus more on hope and faith. Upon my college graduation this year, I’ll keep the hope that everything will happen as it does for a reason. Everything will happen on its own time, and for the best. I’ll also work to have more faith in myself as life unfolds. πŸ’œ

No matter what you choose to focus on, just remember that absolutely anything is possible if you put your mind to it. You have a whole clean slate to work with now. 😊

Have an amazing start to the new year everybody. I look forward to continuing on and seeing what exciting things are in store!

Much love,

Coll

..an Incredible Machine

…just sitting here thinking about life and how crazy it’s been lately. I’m already almost through with the first semester of senior year! I also wanted to share a little bit about what I’ve learned over the past couple days.

Sometimes I think we really do forget to be in the moment. We forget that our minds are like an incredible machine. Whether you know it or not, you have the power to stop and say “ok. I need to be right here. Right now”. Last year, I took a course on this concept about stress and mindfulness as well.wp-1478533659733.jpg

It’s ok to have your moment of “aw, man..this is ridiculous! This absolutely sucks”, but as that saying goes, don’t unpack and live there! Dust yourself off, and get a move on.

I was at an RA conference last weekend and listened to a talk on mental health and self-care. It made me decide on a couple of things. If you’ve seen my instagram, you’ll notice that I like a lot of photography. I want to get back into doing some of that. It’s so relaxing and takes my mind off a lot! I also want to read more (who saw that coming? 😁). I’ll even take trips to the mall myself to get a mani-pedi in my favorite salon. Not only do I want to do those things, but I want to continue to laugh and smile more. I think it’s so important to embrace life, and just kind of go with the flow. Don’t ever forget to show that love and appreciation for everything around you. Take notice of the things that make you happy, and be aware of the things that bring on negative energy. Those aren’t cool. Trust me, it’ll change your attitude completely.

Remember that life happens, and you just have to do the best you can to work with what you’ve got. I find that writing these things out helps me so much, so I hope it helps you guys too! I’m always available to offer a listening ear or helping hand if you’re struggling with anything at all. No matter what, spreading that love and positivity is something we can all do each and every day too.

As always,

Stay happy. Stay healthy. Stay mindful. ❀

Xoxo – Coll

 

A Tree Grows…in Boston

I walked into my shift in the library this morning and noticed something pretty interesting. On one of our whiteboards we have a question for students to answer. It says: If you could give a book to your younger self, which would it be? 

My answer was A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith. This is a story about a young Irish girl named Francie Nolan who lives with her family in the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn ; I feel as though I can connect to her very well in that she has to work through so many struggles to get what she wants out of life. Francie’s mother, Katie, works very hard to make money for the family while her father, Johnny, is an alcoholic and can’t hold a steady job. Despite that fact, Francie can’t help but love and appreciate him just as he is.

I see myself as Boston’s version of Francie. When I started school, I wasn’t prepared for how hard things would hit me. I wanted to try my hardest as a nursing major, and in the end that didn’t work out so I had to explore a different option in health and wellness. All of this while worrying about how things were back home in Connecticut. Needless to say it’s about 3 years later; I’m a health major and still worry about the same stuff. I worry about my older brother and younger sister (ya know…still stuck in the middle and all πŸ˜‚). I worry about how mom and dad are doing. I also remember being worried sick and crying so hard when we lost our black lab Lily eight months ago. Me being the overly-sensitive emotional one, it can take a while to get over those things. πŸ’œ

I know for sure that I still wouldn’t trade these last 3 years for anything at all. I really have grown so much, and have met so many others that have helped along the way. I’m obsessively grateful for all of the wonderful experiences I’ve had and will continue to have in the next few months! It just goes to show you – give yourself room to breathe and take in everything around you while focusing on where you are in life. You can still expand and grow in everything that you do, like that tree.

“Let me be something every minute of every hour of my life. Let me be gay; let me be sad. Let me be cold; let me be warm. Let me be hungry…have too much to eat. Let me be ragged or well dressed. Let me be sincere-be deceitful. Let me be truthful; let me be a liar. Let me be honorable and let me sin. Only let me be something every blessed minute. And when I sleep, let me dream all the time so that not one little piece of living is ever lost.” Chapter 48, pg. 413

Keep it simple. Keep it real.Β 

Hey friends; I’m back! It’s been so long and I thought I’d do my best to update you on wp-image-1652960965jpg.jpgwhat’s been happenin’ lately.

It’s been a very busy yet fun start to a newΒ school year. I’m loving my new spot in my RA position, and classes are great! I also just turned the big 2-1 (finally πŸ˜…). So far, this new chapter has put a lot of new things into perspective for me.

Sometimes, people are going to underestimate you. They’ll make you feel as though you aren’t as strong-willed or intelligent as you think you are. Yup. Crazy I know. I say this because sometimes I do feel as though I’m held back from being who I am and doing what I want to do. However, I have learned that in order to fix that, expressing myself differently can be key. I don’t always mean learning to say yes and no. What I mean is that you can take everything you’re given in your life, and not be bothered by what others will think about those choices you’ve made. It really isn’t such a bad thing to take the hand you’ve been dealt and play it as you see fit!

My awesome boss at my school’s library also mentions this from time to time – if you’re NOT making mistakes or screwing up every once in a while – you’re not getting anything done! She also knows the importance of keeping things independent – making sure you know enough to handle certain things on your own. Now that certainly sounds exactly like how I think we should all try to live life. 😁 πŸ˜‰

Here’s what it all comes down to. TS or not, you ARE always tough enough. You CAN handle anything that comes at you in every second of every day. If you have to cry just cry, and once you let it out, let it go. Prepare yourself to move on. After all, it’s not always so healthy to live in the past either. Don’t tear yourself apart over anything that you have no control over, and just continue to be who and what it is that you want to. I remind myself of these things every single day.

Keep it simple, and keep it real.

Xoxo – Coll

Where’d the summer go?!

Hey everybody,
It’s been a while, huh?! I finally found some time to sit and let you guys in on what’s been happening these past few weeks. It’s been a busy yet fun-filled summer for sure. 😊

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I spent July working my summer job at the elementary school down the street from me. It was a fun four weeks working with some pretty cool kids! Although my time with them is short, it’s just fun to see them grow and enjoy their learning.
I have a little bit of time left this month before I head on back to school to start off my senior year, so I’ve been home relaxing and doing a lot of preparing for that. I actually took a job at the school library, so I’ll be doing that as well as continuing as a resident assistant for the year. I wanted to wait and see how the past school year went before I took something else on; it’ll be a bit more responsibility but I think I can handle it! I’m psyched and ready to finish college strong. 😁

On that note, I want to thank you all again for your continued support. I hope you will follow me along as I continue this work and move on to bigger and better things both in and outside the TS community. ❀

 

Stay healthy; stay happy.
Xoxo – Colleen

…only human.

I just finished reading the book given to me by a professor and wow, did it get my mind spinning.

 
It was called Inside the O’Briens, by Lisa Genova. I don’t want to give too much away in case you end up interested in reading it yourself, but overall I really enjoyed it! It was about a family and their struggles with something called Huntington’s Disease. Huntington’s occurs when nerve cells in the brain begin to breakdown. Symptoms can start showing in a person’s 30s or 40s, and these include issues with memory as well as uncontrolled movements of the body  (arms, legs, etc).

 
My professor wanted me to read the story as there is a genetic counselor involved (HD is inherited), and it got me thinking about a lot of other things. Any sort of condition or disorder can have a huge impact on one’s family and friends. It’s all in how you decide to respond to and cope with whatever the situation may be. I was reminded by mom the other day about how often I was put into surgery for the first 10 years or so of my life (9 sets of tubes for these ears 😝).  My grandmother would be called to watch my brother and sister while my mom and dad were with me. Each time, both siblings would be told to say goodbye before we walked out the door. Now that I think about it, I’m still glad they did that. 😊

 
Anyway, my point is also this. Having a condition like Huntington’s or Turner’s does NOT make you any less HUMAN than those next to you. We all have our own struggles and difficulties that we face every single day.  We all hurt sometimes. We all learn to love and have the want to be accepted by others, no matter what. We all want to understand life itself and what it all means. It’s the human condition, and we’re meant to go on the same exact journey to figure it all out. Pretty cool, don’t you think? πŸ˜„

 

Keeping Up with ConfidenceΒ 

Hi friends! It’s been a few days, but I wanted to shed some more light on some of the things I mentioned last. It makes me sound like a broken record, I know, but I do that for a reason. Not only do I want this to be about accepting yourself and a condition such as TS, but I want this to be about building that independence and confidence along the way.  I hope these little tidbits are useful not just now, but all the time. 😊

I’m asked every so often about how I can stay so confident and sure of myself through a lot of this. Here’s the thing. You have to WANT to. It doesn’t come easy, but if you work with it and learn from it, you’re golden. I also just really enjoy doing things like this and want to gear this work more towards these issues.

It’s not too hard to figure out what you can do to help yourself become more confident in what  you say and do, but how about keeping up with your strategy?

It’s taken me years to figure out who I am and how I operate (…still not done 😝😁).  I have to see and do things over and over again to understand. It helps me to experience things like this so I can become more and more confident over time. I’ve been told that I also “throw” myself into whatever’s put in front of me. Once I start, I intend to finish. πŸ˜„

I also see the different meaning this takes on as I begin to explore what I’m going to do with life as I get older and come out of school, too. So…as always – stay positive and CONFIDENT in yourself. Take those risks and face those challenges. It’s worth it. ❀

When you have confidence, you can have a lot of fun. And when you have fun, you can do amazing things. ~ Joe Namath

What you feel is what you are…

…and what you are is beautiful. These are just words from a little something I thought I’d share with you today.

During my freshman year of college the club I’m so fortunate to be a part of, Curry H.I.P.S (health, image, power, success), did a project called Operation Beautiful. The whole idea behind this was for members of this club to go around unnoticed and leave notes or encouraging words and quotes for students to see (so it wasn’t until later they’d find out it was us πŸ˜†). I really enjoyed this project, and here’s why.

It was so neat to see everyone walking around wondering who was leaving these messages. Most said how reading them just made their day so much better. I’m all about spreading the happiness and positivity around. I say all the time that I just don’t see the point in negativity! 😊

I also wanted to tie this in again with the body image issues that can come with having TS. I do feel it’s important to talk about these a lot as it’s something I see everyday. Not only should you learn to love yourself as a person because let’s face it, you are awesome and you and I both know it, but learn to love and accept your appearance too. I mean honestly, I have the droopy eyelids, and there’s even a little bit of scarring on my back from a mole I had to have removed. I don’t mind these things at all, because they’re what makes me, ME.

So, please stop beating yourself up over those things. Be proud of, and accept every single one of your flaws. Remember that there isn’t anyone else like you, and that’s what makes you, YOU! ❀

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…it’s the little things.

Mom made another comment last night that quickly caught my attention. She says she notices that yes, not only do I like being with my friends, but I don’t mind being with the family either. I enjoy being at home, working and relaxing while I can.

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I was raised to have a very strong work ethic, and I do consider myself a perfectionist. In my book, this can be both a good and bad thing.πŸ˜‚ In elementary school all the way through middle school years, I was always the student that had to have every single assignment done perfectly. I didn’t and still don’t want to miss a beat! When it comes to my job now, I’m the same way. I like to leave work knowing I’ve accomplished what needs to be done for the day. This is just how I am, and there’s a lot I’ve learned from it.

Not everything in life will work out the way you want it to. Sometimes things happen, and you just don’t have any control over it all. Step back and enjoy the things that matter most, like family and friends! When I think about it, those were the first people around when I was diagnosed. I like to keep things very simple, too. I look at each day as if it’s just another chance to enjoy what I love most. 😊

Never lose sight of what’s most important in your own life, and as usual, live each day to the fullest. ❀

 

I think it’s important to find the little things in everyday life that make you happy. ~Β  Paula Cole