My college graduation

Today is a proud day. I was finally able to have a graduation ceremony with my family watching, it wasn’t the one I expected but I am still blessed. I never thought this day would come, I struggled so much during my high school years, I dealt with learning disablities and trauma and just graduating from high school was a feat for me.

Even though I made the effort after high school, I didn’t believe a college degree was in the cards, it seemed daunting and I didn’t have the confidence to take college courses and soon dropped out. But slowly but surely, I did take classes, I passed them and gained my confidence.

I entered a program of study that I was passionate about and I flourished. And the last semester was a really struggle; being forced to take a course that I have learning disabilities in, I must have taken this math class at least 3 times and dropped out each time, I was so frustrated and I felt stupid. I thought I would never graduate and eventually had to petition the school to allow to subsitute the math class ( which is something they rarely did) Through a lot of meetings with the school and prayers, by the grace of God, I managed to get a subsitute class and I passed it, leading to me to finally get my degree.

So today, I can say what I never thought I could say, I am a college graduate, I am so proud of myself, I had a dream of a college degree and it seemed impossible but I never gave up, no matter the obstacles in front of me. I learned more fromt he courses I took, I learned about perservance and patience, I learned that there is hope in a hopeless situation. And I hope to use this part of my story to inspire others to never give and never stop reaching for their dreams.

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Getting my college degree

Things are so good right now; I can’t believe it.  Well earlier, I had made a post about how I was struggling with my math class at college, it was the only class keeping me from graduating.  I have a learning disability in math, which doesn’t mean I am stupid or that I don’t try hard enough ( For those who judge me), it means that my brain is not wired to understand math concepts. It’s similar to someone who has dyslexia and struggles with reading the most basic things. In fact, I am not ashamed of my disabilities, they make me who I am and I use my experience to help others.

 

Anyways earlier I had to drop out of my developmental math class, I just didn’t get it despite my best efforts. I had actually taken the course multiple times and it caused so much emotional distress that I couldn’t sleep at night, I was having angry outbursts and anxiety attacks, I was in bad shape. I assume a lot of people with learning disabilities deal with frustration. People without learning disabilities fail to understand that we try really hard and the issue is not that we are lazy or dumb, it’s just that we learn differently and the traditional way of the classroom doesn’t work for us. We need to find our own system of learning; we all have our own learning styles and learn at our own pace.

 

So, we require accommodations, which can include longer tests times, testing in a quieter space, extra tutoring, frequent breaks. I had talked to a disability counselor prior and I had all my documentation, which had al long history of learning disabilities and emotional issues that impeded my learning, including the trauma of losing my brother to suicide when I was 14.  So, I was given the accommodations and even with that in place and putting all my energy into studying, I failed my midterm even though it was an open book quiz, I was so frustrated.

 

I was also fortunate  to volunteer with a disabled ministry at church and the lady who created the group offered to find me a tutor and some other people looked at my math with me. I am so blessed to have so many people who support and care about me, people who take a vested interest in my life. I don’t know where I would be without this support

 

My mom and I decided to have a meeting with the disability counselor, we brought all the documentation and discussed the issues I had with math particularly the fact that I went to 5 or 6 alternative schools while dealing with the death of my brother.  The meeting went well I asked for them to either waive the class or give me a substitution but she is insinuated that a substitution was very rare, so I wasn’t very optimistic when I left the meeting.

 

I was told that I would be contacted about the school’s decision. I waited and waited and heard nothing. So, a week later I emailed the counselor and she told me she had sent everything to her boss and I would receive a call or email. Again, I waited 2 weeks and heard nothing so I was losing hope. I mean, all of that hard work and it was a brick wall.  I felt like my dreams were crumbling. It just seems like there are so many obstacles and its hard not to want to give up sometimes.

My mom who is my best advocate wrote a letter on my behalf, asking what the hold up was.  And before anyone makes a judgement, I am so grateful that my mom advocates for me. Sometimes it’s difficult for me to confront people or seem pushy and she is really good at fighting for me and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.  She was able to get their attention when I couldn’t.

 

Almost immediately, we got a response saying that the substitution had been approved, I couldn’t believe it, I was  so excited because I thought it would never happen. I wasn’t expecting for them to approve it. I am going to take astronomy and that is much easier for me than math. It will require studying but I know I can pass this. It also means I will finally have a college degree, a life long dream of mine. I couldn’t have imagined this 10 years ago when I was struggling so much.

 

The lesson I learned from all of this was preservice, never giving up, and to have faith.  I thought about God an how he is always working in my life and always answers my prayers.  It’s funny because I am assisting a special needs Sunday school and the theme this week was perservance and not giving up, I mean how much clearer could God’s message  to me be?

 

I also find it interesting that at this time, I would get a troll, saying that I was stupid and lazy and couldn’t even pass a math course and this miracle happened immediately after. Like the devil trying to trip you up or something.  Things happen for a reason and this troll attempt only gave me confidence and got me more connected with others and propelled me to write even further. So, I am grateful for the troll comments, gives me motivation.

 

So, I wanted to share the wonderful news with you and to thank you for all of your support. I will keep everyone updated

 

 

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New Year goals 2019

New Year Goals

Well, a new year is upon us and it has been quite a incredible year for me; I made a lot of progress and really grew as a person. I pray that 2019 will also be a good year for me; I plan on making the year to come a very successful one; I’d like to improve myself on a mental/emotion, spiritual, social and financial/career level; all aspects of my life. I am ending the year on a somewhat sour note; being unemployed but I have perseverance and I am very driven. I am many goals for this year and I plan to achieve a lot in the coming year.

One of my goals is education; I am determined to finally get my associates degree in developmental disabilities; I want a job in the field; maybe as a job coach, a peer mentor or a motivational speaker in the future. I can sense how my writing and story has inspired others and the idea of using it to help people is something I very much like to do. I will take any opportunity to use my experience to inspire others to do their very best and not to give up; this may be one of my callings in life. I want more career aspects because like anyone else; I want to make enough money so I can be independent; I don’t live with my family by choice; I’m with them because my health issues and disabilities limits the kinds of jobs I can take; I want to push myself to do better; I think we all deserve that.

And speaking of my career; I want to continue to volunteer with the disabled ministry; I plan on spending more time with them this year; getting to know them further; and learning the skills I need to enter the human service field. It also helps me grow closer in my faith and become a more spiritual person. Through this group, I know God is working in my life. I plan on volunteering in other areas such as teaching English as a second language and other volunteer opportunities throughout the area. Now that I have all this free time; I plan to use it wisely and maybe get involved in church more as well. I think God has big plans for me in 2019 and I just have to follow his lead.

I think this will be a big year for me socially as well. I plan to continue reconnecting with friends and hopefully making new friends as well; I am trying to learning to face my fears and learn to meet new people and not avoid social situations; just to put myself out there. Something as simple as asking for a someone’s number who I’m interested in is a big step for me. Maybe dating is on the horizon for me; that is an exciting new chapter for me. That’s something that creates a lot of anxiety but I know God will guide me through whatever happens. I plan on maybe taking a trip back home to see old friends; there are so many people I want to see; just the idea of traveling is new to me but I am ready for it. I am so thankful for all the friends I have connected but am sad most of them live far away; so I have to make the effort to see them. This will be the year where I expand my social life.

I will continue to write; exploring new ideas and forms of writing; I am going to keep my blog and hopefully gain more followers and connect with more writers; I am so excited about that. With my free time; I hope to find a writers group in the area and meet fellow writers face to face; maybe get the chance to share my poetry to a live audience; I would love that. Yes writing is my saving grace and I have no idea where I’d be without it.

I figure if 2018 was such a big year; then 2019 will be even better; I just have to have faith; I need to stay positive and move forward in my life. I want to inspire and encourage others and do my part to make the world a better place. I want to be a more compassionate and forgiving person along the way; I remain in prayer and I hope for the best in the upcoming year. And I wish all of my family, friends and followers a very happy new years. May 2019 be a successful year for you; may you be blessed with all the happiness in the world

Dave

 

 

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Last day at my job

Today was the last day at my job and I’ve written a lot about it; I’ve been so depressed about it and today was no exception. At the time same it’s pretty bittersweet; I have been working for the last 2 years and I feel so tired; a part of me is looking forward to enjoying the rest; volunteering more; make it to church on Sunday and finding time to write and of course going back to school.  So I am trying to have a positive attitude about all of this and I also tell myself that this was seasonal and they let go of almost everyone; so I can’t take it personally.  It really wasn’t a bad last day;  them letting me go was not a result of an emotional breakdown or me quitting in anger ( unlike every other job in the past); it’s all circumstances beyond my control; my old store was closing and I took the job as a means of making money during holidays; knowing full well it was seasonal. I am proud of the job I did; I managed my emotions; I showed up on time everyday; didn’t complain and worked hard and a lot of my co-workers have mentioned how hard of a worker I am.  I am grateful I didn’t have to be at Sears until the very end; I am grateful to God for blessing me this short time at this new job and giving me the strength to make it through all this; it was tough.  I also felt good that a lot of people wished me luck; I got a lot of hugs and people seemed genuinely sad to see me go; they realized how much this job meant to me.

I am just struggling to figure how I am going to deal with all of my anxious thoughts and depression with so much free time; I feel rejected in a sense that I wasn’t picked to stay.  I have been irritable and I have felt rejected both by this job and by trying to contacting people I’ve known life and getting ignored responses; it hurts. So I know I am in a middle of a depressive episode and I pray God will get me through this. I hope by writing I can make sense of my feelings; so they don’t build up. So if my blogs seem erratic; just know I am struggling with these changes in my life. I have no idea what’s ahead but I do know I am ready for whatever comes ahead.

I also wanted to talk about something that I haven’t shared on my blog or any of my social media; which is amazes because I have a history of being so anxious about these things.  In fact I have managed to keep it all to myself and not ask anyone for advice; that’s a first. Anyways there was this girl at work that I met a few weeks ago; she seemed really nice and she was in college and I told her I really liked to write; I had a blog and how I loved school; she seemed real interested and whenever I was on break; she’d sit next to me ( along with a lot of other women; I don’t sit with guys lol) and she would just light up when she saw me and it was such a good feeling; she’s really cute but somehow I was confident; mostly likely because she seemed so interested in talking to me.  I thought about asking for her number but I didn’t want my anxiety to show and I could never find any moment alone with her; I couldn’t do it while other people are around; I am so self conscious about those things.  I sort of decided that I’d just leave it alone because again I have long history of being rejected ( especially asking out girls I worked with)  Once I found I was leaving this job; I realized I had nothing to lose but I tried not stress over it. If I could ask her; great; if not; then I’d be alright either way.  Anyways as I was leaving for my shift; head down; very sad about leaving; I went back in to do some shopping; I then saw the girl I liked on her own; at the front door; looking at her phone.  I decided in a split second right there that this was chance to ask for her number.  I sort of nervously told her that if she had questions about writing ( stupid I know) that she could talk to me about it.  I told her this was my last shift; she seemed happy about me asking for her number and told me to put my number on her phone and she’d text me. She then hugged me and wished me luck.  I just felt so proud of myself at that moment; that I had the confidence to ask her and I wasn’t too anxious.  I went about it the right way and I realized that maybe I lost my job but I gained a possible opportunity to get to know this girl. I just tell myself to take it very slow and give myself a chance to catch my breath from all the stress; I’ll text her soon and see what happens. When one doors closes another one opens.   I think this is a new chapter in my life; a new year and good things are truly on the horizon.  Thank you for all the support regarding the job; it really makes a difference

Thanks

Dave

 

Sad news about my job

Well, the day before Christmas; one of my my supervisors ( the one gave me the review) at work called me in to talk to him. He informed me that they would no longer need me after the Christmas season and that I would be leaving at the end of the week. I kinda of expected it but I was a little upset that they chose the day after Christmas to tell me; it hurt.   But I did tell him that I had learning disabilities and I gave it my all because I really wanted to work there. He said he didn’t know that ( I am not sure if he couldn’t tell how much I struggled)  But he said I did a good job and I may get a call back to work there in March when there are more openings; so fingers crossed on that one.  I told a few co-workers about how I was being let go and they all said I was such a good worker and they were surprised.  One lady who was really kind hugged me and said “I’ll miss you sweetheart; I enjoyed working with you”; it felt nice to be appreciated. So I kind of was of moping to myself; feeling I was singled out and wondered what I was going to after this. I am trying to look at the bright side; this means I can go back to school and finish my degree and I can also spend more time with the disabled ministry.  I also planning on other volunteer opportunities while I look for another job. I also realized that I can write more and maybe attend some writing workshops that I could never make due to work. So yes, I’ll be alright; if I keep a positive attitude.  So while I was moping to myself one of my other co-workers who came in with me said she was also cut and then all of a sudden about 5 or 6 people said to me they were cut as well. I realized I wasn’t the only one and I felt less bad because they pretty much had cut everyone and  you know what, they all seemed to have a calm attitude about it.   I realized that everything was ok and not to worry.   Just wanted to update you guys; thank you for all support regarding the job; it means a lot

Dave

I’m feeling less anxious these days

I was driving home today and I thinking to myself; how tired I was from working non stop in the bakery;  I am on the go; all day; wrapping bread, making cookies trays, placing pies in holders, placing baked items on the tables and rotating baked goods; aside from my breaks; I literally do not stop; I take a second to catch my breath and continue onto the next task.  I am not complaining; I am just busy; it’s not like my old job where I checked my phone every few minutes;  In fact I keep my phone on airplane mode and only check my social media on breaks.  My old job I  was anxious all the time  and I was so emotionally drained from all the negativity; at work; now it’s more mentally draining and it’s something I have never experienced. In fact I keep my phone on airplane mode and only check my social media on breaks.  Even other workers who don’t have disabilities tell me that they heard the bakery was brutal; and they have no idea that I have learning disabilities or ADHD ( Although I’m sure some suspect it); so I am really working hard.

So as I was driving I realized that since working this new job ( and working 40 + hour weeks); I have felt less anxious and depressed. Hold let me take that back; I feel anxious but about different things; I have less social anxiety or thoughts about the past; the anxiety is more about trying to keep up with a face paced environment and whether they will keep me after the Christmas season; all normal anxiety.

But it’s anxiety that I can handle and it doesn’t make me feel bad about myself; in fact I have more confidence than I ever had in my life.  I have never gotten along with my co-workers and supervisors so well in a job; no one has really criticized me too much; they seem to enjoy seeing me and I make sure I say hi to everyone and they seem genuinely nice.  Even a lot of the women seem very friendly with me; which is a first for me in a job situation.  Obviously I am going to stay focused on my job but it does feel nice; and for whatever reason it doesn’t make me anxious; which is the past would have created so much anxiety; I am really not sure what’s happening but I seem to be comfortable around people in general and more sure of myself.   I am just happier right now than I ever been at a job and I think that all the praying; the support from my friends; my writing and my growing social media accounts ( the blog included) has made me more confident in life and people around me are picking up on and responding more positively to me than in the past.  I also think perseverance is really starting to pay off; I hope to inspire others never to give up.   Anyways this is all I have the energy to write tonight; I have the day off and I am going to get some much needed rest and recharge my batteries.  Thanks for all the support; it really makes a difference in my life.

Thanks for listening

 

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Unrelated but music helps me to calm down; this is what I am listening to as I write this; first track is great!

 

Perseverance

Perseverance is key; have patience and you’ll see; things will get better; listen to  me; don’t hide; don’t flee; keep at it; where you are; with a positive attitude; you’ll go far.   I know it’s easy to give in and think you’ll never win but you gotta keep going; showing up for life and you’ll achieve but you have to believe in you and do everything to keep moving forward with your goal and learn how to roll with the punches; you’ll be alright; this all I got for tonight so I hope my words might inspire you to do your best and I leave the rest to you

Peace

Dave

A letter to my former self

Hey Dave, I know you’re 18 and I know and out of school; you want to be independent but you’re also scared of being an adult and out of the protective bubble you’ve been in for so long.   I also know you don’t have the best coping skills or the ability to express your feelings in ways that others can understand; it’s so frustrating.  You may be 18 but you’re still 14; struggling to move on from a monumental loss; 4 years at a standstill; I know; no one understands.  You have all of these thoughts and feelings that you don’t know what to do with; just racing thoughts that drive you crazy.  I know you’ve joined this new group of people because you think the are the answer because you think your other friends are judging you and besides you associate pain when you see them; so you push them away because you think they don’t care ( when they really do).   So you focus on this new group; hoping they will care about you and you try so hard to befriend them; finding that while they allow to tag along; they don’t fully accept you and you fail to connect with them; it will be years before you figure out they were never your friends to begin with.  In fact leave this group all together; keep your job at Giant; go to community college and reconnect with your old friends from church; they care about you. I know you fear them but they really are your friends and would never knowingly hurt you; unlike the group you’re in now. You’re wasting your time with these people; no matter how hard you try; they’ll never accept you. Call someone from church or just show up on Sunday and I’m sure you’ll see them; don’t push them away.  You have to know you are good and there are people who accept you for who you are; even if you are a little crazy; who isn’t.  And I want you to take care of yourself; cut out the bad food and the smoking; that’s why you are in  physical pain all the time.  I know life is tough and you are under a lot of stress but this is self-destruction and in the back of your mind; you know this.  You’ve given up and you can’t do that; life is rough but you have to try and improve yourself.  I wish I could go back and give you a big hug and tell you it’s going to be alright and to keep moving forward. That someday you’ll use the your painful situation to help others going through similar things.  I’ll tell you to start writing and making sense of those racing thoughts.  But mostly I just tell you to love yourself, accept yourself and show to love to everyone you meet.  Take care former self; I’ll see you in the future.