Writing Heals, It Really Does

A couple of months ago, an article popped up in my Facebook feed with a title that went something like….10 Facebook Pages Every Writer Needs to Follow!  I would never ever call myself a “writer”, but I do enjoy writing and am always looking for ways to improve my writing so I read the article and found a couple of pages that offered writing prompts, quotes, interesting articles and whatnot.

I followed the pages, then, I completely forgot about them and because Facebook is super annoying these days and only allows certain people and pages to show up in your feed, I didn’t ever see any of their status updates, until today. Today, a status from NaNoWriMo magically appeared in my feed and caught my interest. It read…

“Now researchers are studying whether the power of writing — and then rewriting — your personal story can lead to behavioral changes and improve happiness.”

Today’s writing prompt? Write a sentence summing up your year so far… then write the next sentence in that story as you look forward to the rest of 2015!

So I tried it. It’s much harder than it sounds. Go ahead try it. Just think of a sentence. Here’s what I came up with… (It’s 3 sentences, but whatever.)

Happily trying to keep my head above water as I finally figure out how to manage life as a Mom. Everyday feels like a race these days, but it’s a race I never want to end. I only want to continue growing, learning and chasing dreams.

Afterwards, I went on to read the actual article from the New York Times that is linked on NaNoWriMo, and found it no only intriguing, but oh so right! OF COURSE the power of writing can lead to behavioral changes and improve happiness! Isn’t that why I write. Yes, yes it is. Don’t I always tell everyone that writing is what helps my anxiety most? It keeps me sane. It brings me back. It reminds me of everything that really matters. And, now I’ve found proof.

why i write

Apparently there have been studies done that prove that writing about your life, your problems, your loves and your dreams can actually “improve mood disorders, help reduce symptoms among cancer patients, improve a person’s health after a heart attack, reduce doctor visits and even boost memory.”

When I write about any issue that has been eating away at me, and nervously press that powerful “publish” button I immediately feel a weight taken off my shoulders. Sharing my truth allows me to let it go. Then, when I begin connecting with you, reading your comments and emails, and learning that I am not alone, I am lightened. Beyond that, I learn more about myself, my mistakes, my habits and my fears through reflection. Putting pen to paper (err..fingers to keyboard?) allows me to make corrections, outline my future and began creating a new chapter.

write what

Perhaps, the most powerful quote in the article is the last…

 

“When you get to that confrontation of truth with what matters to you, it creates the greatest opportunity for change,” Dr. Groppel.

That’s important. How do you get to that truth? Do we all find it through some form of art? Can you write and tell your story? Would you prefer to paint it? Choreograph it? Photograph it? Will it have the same effect as writing? I think so. I think, perhaps, we all have a way of finding and sharing our truth. Find yours.

Writing this blog has changed my life. It began as a way to share my life abroad with friends and family and has since morphed into therapy. Therapy, that is constantly curbing my anxiety, healing me after many health scares and teaching me what’s important. Thank you for being a part of the process!

how yo do it

If you are ever debating to write, or not to write, whether it be in a journal, a blog or an email, please do it. You will not regret it.

Cheers!

What You May or May Not Know

Alright, everyone on Facebook seems to be playing the “give a friend a number game”. I’ve never played, but I think you give a friend a number, then that friend has to write that many unknown facts about themselves and share it in a status. I typically find these weird game things really annoying because people say things like “I LOVE chocolate/my family/dancing in the rain/blah blah blah blah!” (yeah…we know) OR “I’m actually super smart and talented” (which I don’t think counts…). HOWEVER, this time around lots of my friends have posted some actually interesting and honest facts about themselves. I have found myself reading every single one and enjoying it.

I figure I’ll jump on the bandwagon and write a post about what you may not know about me. I’ve been thinking about it all evening and I have to say it’s challenging. I’m really open on here, so if you read my blog you probably know too much about me already. I don’t want to expose EVERYthing do I? Whatever, I’ll give it a shot..

Here are 10 Things You Hopefully Do Not Already Know About Me.

1. I sucked my thumb until I was six. The only reason I quit was because my sister told me I was going to look like the guy with VERY large buckteeth who pumped gas at the local gas station. (We lived in a small town, so yeah, we knew the guy at the gas station). This poor man’s teeth were scary big, and it freaked me out so much that I hid my security blanket from myself so I could quit sucking my thumb. I guess I’ve always had good willpower.

2. I missed A LOT of field trips growing up because of anxiety, including a trip to Six Flags.  At the time I thought I just came down with a weird stomach bug every time we had a field trip, but later realized it was just lots of anxiety.

3. I was 19 the first time I got drunk. I realize this is old for most people, but I was never interested in drinking until I found out my boyfriend of four years had been sleeping around with multiple girls. Then, I thought, what the hell? Might as well give this drinking thing a try. Oh, to be young and stupid again.

4. Speaking of being young…I was a very “good” kid. I never drank, smoke, did drugs or slept around in high school. I just never felt that temptation. (I did feel the pressure to buy trendy clothes, starve myself, and date certain guys, but that’s a different story.) I was really scared to try anything that could possibly become addicting (except coffee) and always felt very judged by my “friends” who teased me about being a goody-goody. I often felt I wasn’t “cool enough” to hangout with most people.

5. I started drinking coffee when I was 16.

6. While working at Disney World, we did so many stupid things….things I will not share on this blog (most people who work at Disney go a little wild). Out of all the ridiculous and illegal things that happened I am no longer allowed to work there only because I did not turn in part of my uniform when I left.

7. I have a special secret trick I do with my worst behaved students at the beginning of each year. (I stole this idea from Ron Clark.) Here’s what I do…. The first couple days of school I can tell which kids are going to be the everyday trouble makers, SO I call, write or email their parents and say something like this:

“Dear amazing parent, your child has been such a joy to get to know! I am thrilled to have such a great hard-working student in my class. You have clearly raised him/her so well because they are always so respectful and such a great listeners! Love, their teacher”

The parents, who are used to getting lots of negative letters, are in shock and thrilled to get something positive, and the kid is confused and trying to figure out what exactly is happening here. Often, this positive boost encourages them to actually be super students for a day or so, but inevitably they revert back to their old ways and I am then able to send a note that goes something like this home:

“Dear super parent, I’m sure you will find this as surprising as I, but so-and-so has had some trouble listening and following directions lately. I know you expect the best behavior from them and have taught them to be respectful students so I just wanted you to be aware of this change in their behavior. I’m sure that the two of us can work together to get them back on track. Thanks for being such great parents!”

Works like a charm.

8. I HATE when a waiter fills up my water glass or when Husband fills up my water bottle before I completely finish drinking it. I have a weird habit of keeping track of how much water I drink, and it throws me off if someone fills up my glass before I finish. Also, I often have a perfect water to lemon ration and added water just throws everything off.

9. I forget that I put clothes in the washer almost everyday. They mildew and I have to re-wash them. Sometimes, I try to get away with just tossing them in the dryer, but it always ends with Husband complaining that his clothes smell like a toilet.

10. I did not like potatoes or cheese until I was in my twenties. ( I still can’t eat baked potatoes.) I wouldn’t even eat plain potato chips and I didn’t eat pizza for years. Now, I wish I didn’t like potatoes or cheese…

Hope you learned something.

Cheers!

 

My 15 Minutes of Japanese Fame

I got an email a few days ago from Fuji TV asking to meet and interview me. They are doing a segment on their morning show Mezamashi TV (it’s Japan’s equivalent to Good Morning America — my favorite morning show) on hadoken-ing. They found my recent hadoken photos on my Facebook, and contacted me. *If you don’t know what hadoken-ing then you must click here.

In case you are wondering Fuji TV is the largest commercial broadcasting company in Japan. They are also the producers of Iron Chef. They have a base here in NYC and their director flew in to interview us! We got up early this morning (my least favorite thing to do on Sundays) and met the crew in Time Square.

IMG_5480

We did the beginning of the interview in Time Square and all of it in Japanese. The director would ask us questions like “What is hadoken?” and “When did the trend begin in the U.S?”. Then, the translator would translate and we would answer the director in English. After several questions we headed back into the subway station to re-create the photos we took with Sara last week.

This is one of our original photos with Sara.

IMG_5885

And, here is one of the recreated photos from the News shoot.

IMG_5483

We continued the interview in the station. I taught the director how to do the pictures (not that it is hard), and we had to take many breaks as the train and dozens of people trampled by us.

IMG_5484 IMG_5485

We also tried a new move…looks powerful…and painful.

IMG_5482

The crew was super friendly and so appreciative of our willingness to hangout with them all morning. We had a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to becoming a celebrity in Japan. So, Fuji TV, feel free to fly me out to Tokyo at anytime to meet all my adoring fans…I’m ready.

IMG_5474

They’ll send me the segment after it airs, and if I don’t look and sound like an idiot then I will be happy to share it with you.

After our hard work I treated Husband to a hearty breakfast at the smallest little diner/dive in our neighborhood that we have somehow never tried.

IMG_5479

Mmmm I love Sunday brunch. Husband is now in Tennessee to finish up the house stuff and Belle and I are left to fend for ourselves for a couple of weeks. I plan on learning to cook one dish during this time. Just one, I’m a realist.

Cheers and Sayonara!

A Super Secret Special Place

Have you ever been to visit a new friend, a distant relative, or even a co-workers home and immediately felt at home yourself? You know, the type of warm home with big comfy couches, friendly words, loving photos scattering the walls, maybe an old cat rubbing against your leg, and the smell of coffee coming from the kitchen? Some places are just more inviting and welcoming than others, and when I find a place I feel comfortable, it’s a place I am sure I will be returning.

Recently, Zoey was searching for a used bookstore in our neighborhood and came across this video. Now, watch the video…seriously. It’s only 3 minutes and it is WORTH it. Promise.

Interested? I thought so.

Zoey looked up the owner of this secret bookstore, AKA Brazenhead Books.  Michael is the owner and he invited us over at basically anytime we desired. Apparently, he hosts little get-togethers, or salons, often that usually go into the wee hour of the morning. We decided to go visit his book store/residential apartment on a Saturday night at 10pm.

We buzzed his apartment/store and waited anxiously to be buzzed in and walk up a few flights of stairs to Brazenhead Books. The door looks just like the door of any other small residential home on the Upper East Side, much like my own, but when the door opened we were immediately transported to a crazy magical dusty crowded world of used and collectible books.

 

 

Michael greeted us with a hearty handshake, a warm smile, and an offer to make ourselves whatever drink we’d prefer. He had an assortment of liquors and wine on the edge of crowded table with a few empty glasses nearby. He smoked a pipe and was still in the middle of a casual conversation with two girls and older man who were obvious regulars. They sat around chatting about friends, birthdays, their families, and the lactose-free ice cream they were eating.

 

Michael invited us to look around as he poured himself a glass. Zoey, Husband, and myself, began roaming the stacks and piles of literally floor to ceiling books. Every square inch of this apartment is used to store books. In case you did NOT watch the video (shame on you!), I’ll summarize the history:

Michael grew up working in used books stores, loved books, and loved selling them. As an adult he had his own used bookstore, but it eventually became virtually impossible for this sort of store to survive in NYC. Michael’s book collection moved to his home, and continued to multiply. A few years ago, he got a new place and turned his old place into a secret bookstore for other book lovers to discover and enjoy. He does not care if you come to look, shop, or just visit over a cup of whiskey. His passion is keeping used bookstores and this type of environment alive in the city. You can find him via phonebook or Facebook.

I could have spent hours and hours searching through the endless supply of literature, which is kind of the point. In the middle of my hunting Michael began talking to us about himself and his store. I tried asking him about where he acquired his books, but learned more about his dogs (one is a rescued greyhound!). He was so honest and approachable. I felt like we’d been friends for years. I wish that I had that sort of charming personality that put strangers at ease and allowed them to see that I care about each one of them and their stories. Instantly, I understood why the other 3 guests would come back again and again to hangout with Michael.

 

Michael has managed to put his soul and personality into his business. He is a beacon to others who are full of passion and determined to live their dream. I am happy to have met him and thankful he welcomed us into his homey store. I may be slightly obsessed with my Nook these days, but I still love the way a new, or used, book feels in my hands.  I will definitely be making more trips to Brazenhead Books.

Cheers!

I’m famous, I think

Husband and I  were featured on Disney’s Fairy Tale Honeymoon and Wedding Ever After Blog.  Their blog has a section featuring Real Weddings and Husband and I were chosen as a “real couple” and were apparently interesting enough to get our own post. Woohoo!

You can read all about us here! Really…just click right here. This makes me famous, right?! Famous enough to meet Ellen?!? Or join the cast of Dancing With The Stars?!?! Be honest.

I guess I lied the other day…I know I said I posted my last wedding post, but how can I not share this exciting news!?!?

My only concern is that Disney calls us an “eccentric couple” in their story…. I’m sure they meant to say fun and attractive.

I’ll let you know when we get our book deal.

Cheers!