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Monday, April 14, 2014

Waterfront Visit after Surgery

Stepping outside feeling the early breeze
The sun rises on a Saturday morning
This spring season has been a real tease
Happy to experience the weather again

At the bus hub sun pierces through the glass
The rays highlight pigments of my makeup
Gray sweater dress, blue tights, a lady with class
On a self-esteem high with music in my ears

Arrive downtown of rugged ground
Farmer’s market begin to set up shop
It is nice to see so many people around
Walking through the busy Borough Hall

Take another bus to go to my favorite place
Older gentleman says hello walking by me
Courtesy always put a smile on my face
An empty bus ride adds to the smile

Walking pass street art and history
Stopping to capture every moment
Feeling excited by what I see
Balancing the cane, camera and chai latte

Scent of the water draw me closer
Four months away from the flowing current
I am the reflective daydreamer
Finding self through every visit

Kids, a carrousel, and giant eggs on display
I sit idly watching the busy activity
Thanking the universe to see this day
The baby steps it took just to get here

Eventually standing at my favorite spot
Breathing in the air coming off the waves
The metal railing is not that hot
Lean forward as I begin to reflect

Thinking about the recovery process
Tiring and painful experiences
Appreciate it all and the success
Two surgeries down and I’m still here

Everyone is in their own bubble
Take comfort being in mine
Each of us go through our own cycle
That determines our return or departure

Embrace the bubbles that still remain
Releasing the ones that choose to float away
The friendships that continue to grow and sustain
May we find our way on this journey called life

Slowly walk away as the current moves
Feeling refreshed and happy
Change the playlist to another set of grooves
Smile as the sun guides my steps

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Dara Takes The Bus: my adventure begins

April is off to a great start. As promised, I am celebrating me for the month, and doing all things that make me smile. I have been smiling, mainly because I accomplished a major goal. I took the bus and it felt great.

Saturday, April 5, 2014
The bus ride

I missed the infamous B38 bus, the same bus I’ve written articles about, and spoke at transit hearings regarding its service. There is something nostalgic in revisiting something you haven’t been to in a while. That was the feeling when I walked outside Saturday afternoon and was greeted by the sunlight. As I walked up the block to the B38 bus hub, it didn’t take long for a bus to pull up. Thankfully, I had my Metrocard in hand. Getting on the bus wasn’t difficult as I anticipated. I found a seat and that was it. I was riding on the bus. I couldn’t help but smile.

I would like to thank the Academy...
I went to a flea market. It was the first day to their season. It was crowded, many vendors selling both vintage and modern day items, as well as food. It was windy and my hair kept flying up. I didn’t mind. I felt pretty with my colorful outfit and makeup. I love wearing eye shadow, I always feel pretty wearing it. Yep, I’m back to my old self again. 

I enjoy going to flea markets, because I am a collector and I can get crafting ideas. I love collecting many things, most notably rocks and minerals. However, I love collecting metal objects, buttons, keys, and more. The more unique it is, the more I love it. I met some nice merchants who not only made me smile, but shared their experience being a merchant. I also enjoyed their positive energy. I admired what they were selling, from vintage clothes, skeleton keys, vinyl records, and my favorite, vintage milk and soda crates. The man selling them offered to drive them to my home upon sale. That’s good to know and I will be back. The same man had a replica of an Oscar award. So you know I had to take a picture.

I took the bus back home where I was standing for some time. I was concerned with the jerking motion of the bus, but I was fine. A lady allowed me to sit down which I appreciate. Being at the flea market confirmed my thought that there are hidden treasures everywhere. One never knows what he or she will find. That excites me, and I look forward to discovering more.

On Sunday, I relaxed and spent time with the family. Monday I received my new bed. I am happy but more humbled by that, because for years I’ve been sleeping on an old bed. I was literally sinking. How I survived sleeping on it with two surgeries is beyond me. It’s the little things we take for granted. Sleeping on a comfortable bed is priceless. I thank my Dad for this great gift. Now my hip and I can rest easy.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Physical Therapy Update: health pros and woes

Pros: I went to physical therapy, and was told I am progressing well. I still need to work on my balance and walk. Otherwise I am doing well. Climbing upstairs is still a challenge, and that will take time. It felt good to tell my physical therapist I took the bus. She was happy for me. I have two therapists. Depending on the day, either one will work with me. After the stretching exercises, I did my own stretches looking at myself in the mirror. “Have I lost weight?” I said to myself. I know my family said I did, but I laughed it off. In looking at myself, I think they are right. My favorite, “Love the Hustle,” t-shirt is looking less snagged on me. Hmm…if I did lose weight, I am glad. I haven’t been eating much lately. I have little appetite and no desire for any specific food. I do PT at home almost every day along with basic stretches. l like the exercises at physical therapy, but riding the bike is my favorite. I always go into a daydream while riding. I tend to think of the waterfront which motivates me to work harder so I can go there. I miss it. Also, I want to take the subway. Baby steps, baby steps.

Woes: Recently, I went to my family doctor for pain I’ve been having in another part of the body. It’s personal so I won’t go into details. During examination, my doctor said she saw something. “This concerns me,” she said, as I tried not to get nervous. I am going to a specialist next month (unfortunately that’s the earliest appointment I could get). I have some tests to take. The pain continues and makes me feel uncomfortable. Ironically, I’ve had this problem dating back in 2010, and doctors couldn’t find anything at the time. I took some medicine and that was it. It left, came back, left again, and now it’s here. I don’t like this, but remaining positive. I don’t want this to upset me too much, because it will interfere with my happiness. I remain in prayer.

Reflection: After physical therapy, I bought a Metrocard and found some extra ones laying around. I collect them in general. They make cool crafting projects. I took a walk through Borough Hall, downtown Brooklyn and admired the sunset. I like the area. Earlier, I received some good news via email. I will share once everything is finalized, but the possibility is not only likely but exciting. I thank God for the blessings. Despite the ups and downs of recovery, the lonely times, and sometimes painful moments (physically), I am still here. I am still trying. My dream lives on, and I will keep working at it one step/bus ride at a time.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Happy April: Celebration of Dara

It’s April 1st and I am surprisingly excited. I don’t have any special plans. My birthday is on the 22nd, and I am turning 33. So why the excitement you may ask? Every April, I strive to not only be happy but to celebrate me. This goal only started a few years ago when I became disappointed by a birthday that didn’t turn out the way I wanted. In fact, I ended up drinking a beer, and watch the sunset at home feeling miserable. That was the first and last time I had a day like that. I decided never to have one like it again. Every April since then I made a personal goal to have no expectations, don’t look for anything from anyone, and definitely not feel lonely. Drinking a beer and watching the sunset isn’t bad, but it can be when you’re not happy. My students always made my birthdays special. It was always unexpected, and one of the many times I felt appreciated. I miss that. My family made things special as well. Although, I am older and we don’t do the cake and ice cream anymore, they still remind me how much they love me. Then there are those friends who made me laugh or were just there to celebrate my special day. Overall, I am a lucky lady.

What makes this year different? For starters, I am still not 100% healed from hip surgery. I still have to take it easy, and take baby steps. I guess no dancing in my near future just yet! The other thing is I am home most of the time, and when I do go out it’s via car service. I still cannot take the subway. This is one of the reasons I haven’t thought about making any plans to do anything. The bright side is I no longer celebrate my birth on the actual day only. I celebrate for the whole month. The goal is to do all things that make me smile. The challenge is to not get upset by my circumstances. I always like to say, “I may not have much, but I make it work with what I do have.”

I feel happy this year. I have accomplished a lot, and it’s only getting better. I call this my treasure box. The treasure box consists of the things I tend to do well in. The dream is very much alive, and I believe each step I take will pay off sooner than later. That excites me most. When it happens, I will reveal it here. My book is going well. I’m at 32,000+ words. I’m close to reaching the 50,000 word goal. That excites me too. I’m proud that I have been keeping on with my main goal, “To do all the things you were told you couldn’t or were too afraid to try.”

Here are a few examples:

Applied for a NYC craft entrepreneurship program where candidates learn how to sell their crafts online (creating an online store). As of last night, I was informed that I am a semi-finalist. Yay!

Completed a training I’ve been wanting to do for over a year now. It’s a hurricane shelter training with the NYC Office of Emergency Management. It prepares one to volunteer in opening and operating a temporary shelter in emergencies such as a hurricane.

Took a digital journalism online course where I learned how to create audio slideshows using Audacity and Soundslides software.

Today I am a volunteer grant writer for iN Education, Inc. My profile can be seen here:  This is exciting to me, because I’ve been trained in grant writing but haven’t actually written one. I look forward to working with a team of other writers who are passionate about education.

Lastly, I’ve been networking with other writers to understand the writing/publishing business. I feel I am making some headway in something I’m striving to accomplish. Being a published author would not only be an accomplishment, but a testament to who I am.

Here’s to a month of smiles and (hopefully) more accomplishments. I may not be able to walk well, but that won’t stop me from walking.

PS: I am still crafting and getting ideas from Google, YouTube, and stores such as Goodwill. This Mason jar I brought for $1.99 from the Goodwill is going to be my wish jar. I will write all my wishes on small pieces of paper, and put it in this jar. By the end of the year, I will see how many wishes that came true. Hey you never know!

Sunday, March 23, 2014


Sometimes I like to sit in my room and daydream. I watch the NYC Drive channel on cable, and imagine being part of the traffic rush. I imagine driving through the city, eventually leaving it. I imagine the car horns honking, the flow of the highway, and the busy streets of Times Square.  I watch people walking along the Brooklyn Bridge. I imagine me walking with them.  

Sometimes I lay across my bed, closing my eyes as house music plays in my ears, and daydream about a new day. The new day will be just the way I want it. The sun will be out, the temperature will be warm, and I will hear birds chirping. I will have a window to open, and a reason to look outside. I will smell the freshness of the morning dew. I will watch the visiting squirrel that perches on my window sill. It will be peaceful.

Sometimes I sit at the table. The wooden table that has had its fair share of use. The scratches and ruggedness of it tells its own story. Similar to my story. My hands touch the rough surface. I feel my spirit under my hands. I stare at it daydreaming what will be created. I daydream about painting my own portrait on a table that represents parts of my story. The story I write on its surface.

I daydream a lot. I daydream every day. I create my own days and strive to make their dream come true. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

A Setback Perhaps, A Comeback, Yes

Saturday, March 8, 2014

I took my second walk since January. This week, it will be three months since I had surgery.
How time flies, and how much I want to resume having an active lifestyle. The weather was nice. Sun was shining bright and I needed to be under it. I wore two bracelets I made from recycled items. I proudly took a picture of me wearing them. It’s a nice feeling to wear your own handmade jewelry. As I got outside, I smiled looking up at the sun as I always do. I had my mom take a picture of me. Then we took a slow stroll. I found some cool street art, and took a picture of it. I visited some stores, and said hello to one of the security guards. “Look who’s here,” mom said to the guard. “Oh, hello!” the guard said to me with a smile. He has been asking about me to my mom since the surgery. I was happy to thank him for that in person. He is a nice gentleman. Every time I go to a discount store, I gain new ideas for crafting. The possibilities are endless! It was just nice to be outside, browsing through stuff, and creating a mental wish list of things I want to buy.

At one point, I knew I needed to head back home. My hip has a way of letting me know when it’s time to stop. Walking back home was alright, but walking up the stairs was harder than I thought. I only live on the second floor of my residence. The feeling walking up the stairs is hard to explain. It feels like I’m carrying dead weight, causing a lot of resistance. I don’t like that feeling. Once inside, I sat down and looked perplexed. “Am I having a setback?” I said to myself. With weeks of physical therapy, I feel I would be getting better. I know I shouldn’t compare surgeries, but with my first one I was back on my feet (without the cane) in three months. This time definitely feels different. I still cannot take public transportation. I still need my cane, mainly for balance, and I am unable to be on my feet for a long time. Sounds like a setback to me.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

I reflected about this “setback,” I feel I’m having. I still can’t do much, and I hurt all the time. I don’t mean small aches either. Sometimes, I hurt as if I just had surgery. Today was one of those days. I usually feel bad when this happens. I don’t like being in pain, or feeling like I’m not making progress. That’s when it hit me. I walked yesterday. I may not be able to walk long distances, but I walked. That’s an accomplishment. I can go down stairs with ease when months ago I couldn’t. Lastly, I have a better attitude about this than I did the first time. I have accomplished more in three months than I did in a year (my 2014 goals). So, how is this a setback?

I decided not to say “I’m having a setback,” but instead “I’m having a comeback.” Every day I am learning something new about myself. I have become oblivious to my circumstances (housing situation, being financially poor, etc.). I am no longer concerned about anything except for my faith in God, my family, and striving to make my dream a reality. Anything else is a bonus. Every day I work. It may not be in the earning-a-paycheck sense, but I am working. Rarely, do I do nothing. I am happy with how things are coming together. As for this hip recovery, it is going to take longer than I thought. I accept that. I know I am making a comeback each day I exercise, I read motivational sayings (or write my own), and work. It’s a sacrifice, because I am alone most of the time, and I can’t travel to see anything or anyone. Yet, I am positive that that day will come soon. I look forward to it. I must keep believing that.

Besides, I am turning a new age next month.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Nighttime Reflecting (The Inner Voice Speaks)

11:25 PM

It's Tuesday night. It's quiet and I'm glad. I always enjoy the quiet time. It allows me to reflect and let my inner voice have her say. I tend to think a lot at night. Lately, I've been in a reminiscent mood. I go through old pictures of self and things I used to do. I read old emails or letters, and sometimes re-read journal posts. Since I write a lot, I always like to know what I was feeling at that time through words. I didn't call it reflecting then, but I've been reflecting all my life. I guess it's a part of me. Traditionally, I listen to a variety of music when I write. I do this to evoke or tap into any lingering emotion I may have. I always like to allow the inner voice to speak, her way. So what will she say tonight? There are so many things to express. Sometimes, I feel a blog post isn't enough to say all that I feel.

March is here which means spring is only days away. Spring is my favorite season. Next Sunday is daylight savings time. Longer days, more sun time, and hopefully warmer weather, it's great! Every month since January, I've created monthly goals to encourage self in pursuing the things I want. This month the goals are to continue working on my dream, to walk and explore in baby steps, network and build my brand, and lastly, to keep smiling. Sometimes that's hard to do when everyday feels the same. I try to make each day different by doing different things. Hip recovery this time around is a slower process, and me doing silly things like cleaning the house makes it even slower. Don't get me wrong, cleaning the house is a good thing, but not while recovering from hip surgery. I did this last Friday and now I'm paying for it big time. I wanted to feel useful. Now, I have to be on bed rest. Despite that, I am here blogging, and working on my book. 

I'm enjoying writing my story. Being able to go back during good and not so good times helps me tell my story the way I want. It also reminds me of how far I've come. I don't regret those times, because I needed that to happen in order for me to mature and learn. However, there is always that one time in life you wish you could erase. Writing that part of my story isn't easy. I have been asked why I am doing this. Honestly, writing a book is something I always wanted to do. This is for personal fulfillment. My hope is that this book, my story, will inspire or aspire people. The goal is to not just talk about me, but to share stories of hardship and triumph all in the process of reflection. It's the same goal in starting this blog. I hope sharing my experiences can be felt, and people can take something away from it. I strongly believe we are all on this journey together. Maybe my voice can be a voice for someone who cannot speak or express themselves. I am realistic, in that there may be some who read this blog or my book and think its trash. That's okay too. If one person reads anything I write, that's an accomplishment in itself. 

I have been spending a lot of time praying and thinking about how I want to live my life. I know how I want things to be career/job wise. That is never a worry or concern. God has given me direction and I no longer feel lost. It took many days at the waterfront, reflecting and sometimes crying, to listen and pay attention to what God has been trying to show me. I am grateful for the answer. I am grateful for the blessing. One of the things I want is to feel more fulfilled in my interaction with people. I want improvement in my social life. Frankly, I want a social life. I want to trust again. I want to know what it's like to receive love, the kind of love that doesn't have to be spoken about. The actions will speak for itself. I want to be appreciated for what I do for others, and have those actions reciprocated. I’m tired of being fooled to think I have a friend when he or she is really not. I’m tired of being dropped, because I can’t solve other people’s problems. I don't want the one-sided-ness anymore. I want to be happy with people who not only care about me, but know the true meaning of friendship. Someday, I want to meet my better half. It would be wonderful to have a man love me for me. It would be nice to not be the one to make the first approach, but to be approached. Every woman wants to feel wanted (men too). I don’t have a problem letting a man know I’m interested in him. I’m not shy. Loving someone comes easy for me. I can say, “I love you,” without hesitation because I truly mean it. I take love very seriously. I hope to experience that someday without false pretense. I want to experience love in its purest form.

I think about traveling a lot these days. I want to see the world. I know as a New Yorker, we pride ourselves to think we are the world. We have so much here. For me, I always felt there was more to see than just New York City. I visited other states, but never long enough to fully explore them. I want to go exploring. I want to travel abroad and live my dream in teaching ESL in another country. I will work towards that. I want to relocate. Only a few friends know my desire to leave New York City. Many of them get upset at me for feeling this way. I guess I could see it from their point of view. Why leave a place that has so much to offer? After all, we are the city that never sleeps right? This is true yet I want change. I was born and raised here. I am just now learning about my city, and finding the creative side of it. I love our waterfronts, and of course the street art. Although it's exciting to rediscover something that was once ignored, it hasn't changed my wanting to leave it. It's getting harder and harder to live here both financially and socially. I like the excitement NYC brings. However, I wonder if this lifestyle or environment is best for me. It's my home, but I feel so out of place here sometimes. This is my sad truth I suppose. 

So where do I go from here? 

For now, I have to be patient and have faith. I have to keep reflecting and stay focused on my dream. That may just be the answer. Only time will tell. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Trying to Hold the Laptop Steady

Where are the words to create new thought?
The incomplete manuscript stares at me
Wondering what new ideas will be sought
Putting together the story of my life

Noise surrounds every inch of the room
A rush of anxiety travels through my fingertips
Concentration interrupted with every single boom
Holding the laptop steady as everything vibrates

With each sentence typed on the word document
Repetition begins to haunt my reality
Thinking about past events, a distracted moment
Deleting every sentence of useless babble

Crashing sounds, music, and lots of yelling
Time passes by as frustration elevates
Try to ignore it, determined to keep going
Still holding the laptop steady