A to Z challenge – About

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Today, as I’ve started to feel human after a terrible allergic episode, I’m trying to engage in the A to Z Challenge that I signed up for last month. I’ve decided to keep it simple and start the Challenge with ABOUT and perhaps try to explain why I’ve decided to write a blog that seems to be about me.

I had been writing a blog with a running title of “Self-Censored/ A blog about me. Verbal snapshots of a simple life”. The other day I was discussing my blog with someone who asked, “why would you write a blog about yourself, it’s not like you are someone famous … You need to write about something that your reader will value and come back for …”. These were good points, so I took the information and filed it in my brain under “THINGS TO PONDER.”  Here I am, trying to ponder as I participate in the A to Z challenge.  Please join me.

Over the past few months, I finally had the chance to go through boxes of old photos and family memorabilia – which is probably why my allergies are out of control. The treasures I found prompted me to contact some people and take an opportunity to sit and talk. Some of these folks I’ve known all my life, some all of theirs, and others for at least a couple of decades. A constant theme in these conversations has been what was going on beyond the photo, beyond the eye of the camera.

It was in those memories that we learned things about each other that were hidden in plain sight. For example – who knew that you sang and played guitar on stage at a coffee house in New York City when you were in college? Or that you had looked up who Ty Cobb was and were proud to be part of the team, wear your uniform and play at those little league games that your Dad dragged you to each weekend. Who knew you didn’t really get lost on the subway that day when everyone was so worried – instead, you had a crazy adventure with friends. Who knew you stepped up to take care of the family dog and neighborhood strays when your older sister went off to college? Who knew that at age ten you already knew how to make something beautiful out of repurposed materials? Who knew that you always wanted to play the clarinet but when it was your turn to chose, the trumpet was the only instrument left, and yet you thoroughly enjoyed jammin’ with the band? Who knew all these things, these little sparks, you would carry in your heart alone until the time was right to shine?

I want my reader to feel a smile creep across the face as he or she joins me in the memory. Do you remember walking out of the comfort zone and then feeling ecstatic and relieved all at once. What a feeling to know you survived – you did it, and you enjoyed it! What if you haven’t yet? Well, why not. Tomorrow is another opportunity. What if you don’t have an experience readily available in your toolbox? I’m hoping you can borrow the energy from one of the stories I share.

I worked in a state-run system of human services for many years where I provided rehabilitative and supportive counseling for countless clients. Some didn’t have much of an opportunity to make happy memories, but somehow they knew there was something better, and that’s what kept them going. Some folks, knowing that they had nothing more to lose, took more chances. The strength and resilience I saw in these people were a blessing to my own life.

Those are the kind of stories I want to share – true stories of simple everyday people, putting one foot in front of the other walking the path before us. Few of us can skate through life on Easy Street. Most of us will follow the scenic route with all its twists and turns. Let’s take plenty “snapshots”.