Sunday, July 24, 2011


Most of us cannot even imagine the life of a musician. Day in and day out, they are writing, recording, touring, planning, creating, meeting and greeting, etc. I know they asked for that life, but that doesn't mean the pressure can't get to them. They feel pressure from their fans to be this perfect person the fans have in their mind, pressure from their managers/producers to create something amazing that will sell, pressure from other artists they are competing against. At some point, they aren't even living for themselves.

Mix that in with addiction, and you have a full on disaster. Addiction is scary, tragic disease. It is not a choice. The decision to try drugs, have a few drinks? that's choice. But when you can no longer function as a human being without substances, you aren't you anymore. The drugs and alcohol have taken over the body and the mind. You feel trapped, you hate yourself. And you see no way out. Hope is diminished.

It is terribly sad that we've lost Amy Winehouse. She was a talented young woman who inspired millions, including Adele and Lady Gaga. Amy joins the 27 club. It's scary, it's sad. I cringe when I see jokes about it, because addiction is no joke, and certainly death is no joke either. I wish she could have gotten help. I wish someone would have touched her life enough to turn it around. I know she must have been in some very dark times to feel that low and helpless that she was killing herself with drugs and alcohol. My heart hurts for that, and for the millions of other people in this world who are not the help that they need.

We can't let this keep happening. We need to spread awareness about addiction, we need to spread awareness about hope. Don't give up.

I also just want to say- addiction is not always in the form of drugs/alcohol. You can be addicted to food, self hate, cutting, internet, gambling, etc. Anything that takes over your life, so that you are no longer living your life in a healthy way. Or, you are trying to get rid of other feelings (guilt, depression, anxiety) by fully indulging in things that fill you up in that moment..and soon you just cannot live without that one thing. That's dangerous. No matter what it is you are addicted to, it's dangerous. Filling your life with friends, family, God, are so much more worth while.

Rest in peace, Amy. Thank you for giving us the gift of music. We are blessed because of it.

Friday, July 15, 2011

it was the end of a decade, but the start of an age

Harry Potter has officially reached the end of the road. And while I didn't go to the midnight show dressed up in HP gear, I still consider myself a Harry Potter enthusiast. And I, like millions of other people, am sad it's ending.

I think people have a difficult time because Harry Potter has been around since 1997. that's a long time. People get attached to things like these, people escape in Harry Potter. I think HP has become like Santa Claus. We know it's not real, but we believe anyways. In just reading that book or watching that movie, we could forget about our own problems and fully emerge into the magical world at Hogwarts. It's tought for that to end. I'm sure people made friendships because of Harry Potter, I'm sure it changed lives. So I get the mass hysteria and I sympathize.

I started reading the HP books a year or two after the first one came out. I was fascinated, and hooked. Harry Potter defines my adolescence. I was 11 when I started reading, 18 when I read the last book. In high school my friends and I were Harry Potter nerds. One year, instead of doing a Christmas gift exchange, we pulled each other's names and ordered our person an official wand from the Harry Potter store. My favorite memory, which I shared on twitter last night, was in July 05. We had just graduated and were spending our last few summer nights together. I distinctly remember five or six of us sitting on my friends' trampoline with the 7th book in our hands. We didn't speak. We just read. An occassional gasp, giggle, or whine got out, but other than that we were silent. Completly into the book. Our love for those books was someting we shared between us, and I will always cherish that.

And, while the books mean more to me than the movies, those movies also brought me joy. Many a times did I have Harry Potter movie marathons...grew to love Daniel, Emma,and Rupert. They brought our imagination to life and I thank them for that.

So, goodbye, Harry Potter. Thank you.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

call it a lesson learned

I know my birthday is still a few weeks away, but over the weekend I had an opportunity for reflection on what I've learned in the past year, and I wanted to share it with all of you.

The biggest lesson I've learned is this: It's time to grow up. Am I there yet? No way. But I've accepted it, opened my hear to it, and said goodbye to many things, people, activities that were stopping me from growing up. Part of growing up, I've realized, is taking care of yourself. Realizing your worth. Understanding that you are in control of your life. Why make choices that will only hurt you in the end? Mistakes I understand, but throwing lives away I don't. We have one chance. And I'm totally on board with having a great time while you can and all that jazz...but I also think part of growing up is putting that aside and focusing on you- what you really want out of life. Not what makes you happy for that moment or two, but what will make you happy in the end.

Another lesson? Go with your gut. If something doesn't feel right, most likely, it's not right. With my new job, I've never once had an ounce of anxiety over accepting the position. I feel like I've been here for years when it's only been 2 months. That's how I know I made the right move. It takes trial and error, of course, but going with your gut feeling and listening to that little voice inside can go a long way. Have you taken the time to listen?

Lesson 3. Life is a beautiful, precious gift. I know I sort of touched on this before...but working in hospice has showed me just how true this really is. Most of us are lucky that we are healthy, happy, and supported. Not everyone is that lucky. We have patients who have no one, we are their family. This year has taught me to be grateful for what I have, for my support system. I've also become super comfortable with death- I know that sounds morbid but when it is a part of your daily routine every single day, you learn to get comfortable with it. I'd like to share a quick quote from a recent patient visit

Pt "I want to go home. I want to go home."
Me "Where's home?"
Pt "Heaven."

That moment nearly took my breath away. At the end of life, to be so comfortable and willing to leave this earth and join Heaven. The dying process can be scary, but it can also be quite beautiful. Those people left a mark on this world in some way shape or form, and now it's time to move on. I wish we didn't hurt when our loved ones were taken away. But think of everything you loved about that person- their strength, or maybe their humor- and imagine that they are pouring it onto you. Handing it off. Now it's yours to own, and that person is with you forever in that special way.

So those are just a couple of the lessons I've learned as a 23 year old kiddo. I'll post more as I think of them. I love you, and I hope you have a beautiful day.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Today I went to the Mercy Volunteer Sendoff...the really crazy thing? Exactly a year ago today, that was me. Sitting in a chair next to my three community members starting out into an audience of Sister's of Mercy who had made sacrifices to support us throughout our year of service. A year ago I sat there with tears in my eyes and an anxious heart. I was nowhere near ready to let go, say goodbye, and had no idea what my life would look like in the next few months.

I cannot believe it's been a year since that was me, saying goodbye and thank you. You know, MVC has this amazing transition retreat that all the volunteers attend at the end of the year, but nothing really prepares you for the transition until you feel it yourself.

I think my transition was pretty unique. I was "moving back home", which meant just 30 minutes up the road from my house as a volunteer. Since I didn't have a job, I could have easily fully emerged into the experience again and been that alum that's always just around. I didn't do that. For a few reasons...1 was so I could learn to detach, because I was afraid of just getting caught in that bubble forever. 2 is because this year was not about me, it was about the three lovely ladies that were doing their year. So I took a step back. In some ways I think I went too far back, I could have helped out more or been around. Maybe I missed out...but at the same time I'm super happy where I am right now.

Life just moves fast. Too fast. So, to the Mercy Volunteers who are packing up and getting ready to move on, I encourage you to stay connected. Don't lose what you had this year. Don't lose the gift you've been given. No matter where life takes you, find something that will bring you back to that place you were in the MVC house.

To the five new Detroit MVC's who are nervous and getting ready to move in, Welcome. Detroit is a beautiful place, and it needs people like you. Keep an open heart, open mind, and open arms because you will get more hugs this year than ever before. Be patient, be kind, be passionate.