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Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Standing by the water’s edge
Quietly making a silent pledge
Letting go of past afflictions
Looking to see my own reflection

The current moves in my direction
Take a step forward without caution
Dip feet into the shallow water
My mind goes into a blur

Suds gathers the ankles
Creating mini circles
Take in a deep breath
Desire life more than death

Stand still for a moment
Element poses no judgment
Clouds take in my thoughts
Nearby seagulls walk like robots

Walk back onto the shoreline
It’s a little past nine
The fresh morning breeze
Puts my mind at ease

 Sit down on the soft sand
With pen and notebook in hand
Jot down my inner emotions
And unresolved burdens

Wind picks up suddenly
Continue to write freely
Blowing through the many pages
Seeing self in different stages

Contemplate what’s next for me
As an overcast approaches the sea
Listen to the ocean speak
My hand becomes weak

Light rain begins to fall
Feeling ever so small
Alone and unaware
That God was always there

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Summer moods

This has been a reflective summer thus far. The transition continues, teaching me something new each day. I've been quiet on this journey called life. I haven't talked to too many people, nor have I posted much on social media. For the first time, my mind and heart won't allow me to express myself. I feel many things yet I can't seem to find the words. Maybe I am not supposed to. I spend most of my days either home working on school work, which by the way is going very well. I passed my first class, Intro to Human Services with an A, and I’m now in week 3 of my second semester/class, Intercultural Communication. I got an A on my first paper. I am proud of these accomplishments, because I didn't anticipate doing this well in grad school. I am enjoying this process and what I'm learning. When I'm not doing school work, I am crafting. I still love to collect stuff, recycle, and recreate them into something new. Since I love the beach, I am trying to bring the beach home by creating beach-themed decorative art. 

I took a mini hiatus from Facebook and the response was surprising. Many wondered what happened to me. I am honored by their concerns, but taken back by the amount of response received while away. I left because I needed to and still need to focus on me. I am always there for everyone, but rarely there for self. Also, I haven't been feeling my best about some things. Since my mind and heart isn't allowing me to share, I pray instead. I write also. The more I write, the better I feel releasing my feelings and thoughts. Carrying a notebook everywhere I go has become routine for me.

I went to Coney Island beach to reflect. I love going to the beach. I picked seashells, collected some sand (I plan to use it for a crafting project), wrote, videotaped the shoreline, and did a voice recording. I plan to transcribe all my voice recordings to add them to my book. The video recordings of the water is for my own relaxation. I’ve made several videos of the water’s current both at the beach and waterfronts. Anytime I feel I need an escape, I play back the videos. Listening to the water’s current is soothing. At the beach, I had a chance to walk into the water (ankle deep) without my cane. This was a gift to self, entering the water freely without any assistance. It’s been a long time I could do that since my hip surgeries. I always listen to music when I’m at the water reflecting. That day I listened to a cassette tape I made 10+ years ago of house music. It’s special to me, because I used to listen to it a lot when I would visit Rockaway beach by myself. I traveled a lot by myself in the early 2000s. The music helped me not to feel nervous and instead liberated. Listening to it that day felt liberating!

I spend a lot of my days at the waterfront at Brooklyn Bridge Park. I enjoy sitting or standing watching the water’s current, and the boats that pass by. I like listening to music and daydream. Most of the time I just think about anything and everything. I pray as well as reflect on self. I try to understand my emotions more. Loneliness is something I struggle with most of the time. I despise it. Even at the waterfront I feel alone. Most of the time I don’t mind it, but there are those times when it bothers me. It’s not being alone that bothers me, it’s not having anyone to share the time with together. When I say “anyone,” more specifically I mean a man that I am dating or in a relationship. I could invite people to the waterfront with me, yet I tend not to because it’s my special place. It is my escape from reality. It’s not the whole park that I am attached to, only a section of it.

I have finally reached the “Why am I still single,” stage. I’ve heard people go through it in different ways. It’s the stage when (it seems) everyone around you is either married, dating, or in a relationship. I dreaded this stage to find me. I don’t like talking about it. In my many attempts in talking to people about it, I tend to get the generic “It will happen for you someday,” or having to hear how blissful their relationship is with whomever. The “one day you will be lucky to find someone like my so and so” comment is something I don’t want to hear. I rather just be with my own so and so.  I am always happy for those who found their love. Unfortunately, I can’t express it now especially when I am feeling so alone, and sad about being single at 33. It’s been nearly 4 years since I’ve dated/been in a relationship. Also, I am not convinced that those who found their love can relate to me. Why should they. I can’t relate to my single friends, because some of their ways in going about dating is not my style. Sigh. So, I remain silent. Silence is not something I always embraced. In fact, I tried to avoid it. I realized as of late that being silent is helpful when putting things in perspective. This process continues.

I was almost in a bus accident this evening. A man purposely walks in front of the B38 bus as it pulls out onto a busy intersection. The bus driver stopped suddenly to avoid hitting him. I was seated, yet my body forcibly jerked forward as people tumbled on and around me. The bus was inches away from the man. He walks across slowly as if he did nothing wrong. He smirked as the people on the street and bus yelled and cursed at him. I felt shaken up and upset. The way that man looked was evil. He knew exactly what he was doing, and knowing that bothered me the most. As we proceeded, one of the passengers who fell stood up and began praying. She spoke of the importance of God and believing in Him. She also expressed how precious life is and how close we almost lost it. I almost cried. I agreed with her. As she said, “God bless you all,” I said “Amen,” and watched her get off at her stop. I had planned to stop at the store to get some dinner. I lost my appetite and just wanted to go home. My hip hurts from the impact, yet I am thankful to be here. I know life is short. I am not ready for my life to end.

I am nowhere near fully understanding this transition I am in, but through patience and faith it will come to full circle. As of now, the notebook has become my best friend. 

The Duck (A short short story free-write)

The waves are crashing against the rocks
Seaweed on the rocks are basking in the sun’s glow
An overcast of clouds appear
The water’s tide shifts and begins to rise
A duck peeks its head out
His webbed feet paddles him along the current
He ducks disappearing under the cloudy, green, murky water
Eventually he reappears this time with fish in its beak
The small silver fish didn’t stand a chance
The duck swallows it whole and paddles its way towards the current
He disappears again
Sun peeks in and out of the clouds
Clouds blend in with the gray sky
The breeze picks up as boats go by
Water’s current swiftly moves along
The duck has yet to return

Author's note: Written at the waterfront at Brooklyn Bridge Park (DUMBO)

The Sign

“I see eternity”
Still wondering about my destiny

Who I am and where I belong
Roaming around like lyrics to a song
Always observing the morning skies
Taking endless bus rides
Asking many whys
Countless sighs

Loneliness sets in
A battle without win

Lost waiting to be found
Wonder if anyone will come around
Mirror less reflection only my eyes see
Trying to be a better me

How can I see eternity
When I don’t understand my reality?

The sign is misleading
I walk away without feeling

Author's note: Written on 7/10/14 while waiting to be called in for jury duty. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Dara's Voice blog: 6-10-14 Reflection on Love

What is love? I attempt to answer that and share what love means to me.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Dara's Voiceblog: Updates and Reflection 6-9-14

Due to my right hand/arm being out of commission, I decided to do a voice blog. Good news, bad news, my thoughts on teaching, being unemployed, and reflection...this is my voice blog via Soundcloud. Hope you enjoy the sound of my voice, or at least my message :)

Monday, June 2, 2014

Two Years Unemployed--The Difficult Journey Continues

It's June and so far this year has been a good one. There have been some progress in how I pursue things, and some of those things came true. I am appreciative for that. School is going well, I am receiving 100% for discussion posts and received an A on my first paper. I didn't expect to be doing this well since this is grad school. It's much harder than undergrad, and yes I am modest. I surprise myself in how well I'm doing. I like the class, and assigned readings. I am learning more about myself while learning more about the human services profession. It's truly interesting. Here's an example of an assignment I had to analyze, a case study of a woman, including her husband and their two children. I had to assess this case as a human service professional and list the steps taken to help the client. Strength-based approach and problem-solving techniques had to be displayed. The case is fictional. 

Case study: Susan
Susan, who is married to Ted, is now a single mother of their two young sons, Justin and Matthew.
The mindset of Susan is a sense of abandonment, confusion, and uncertainty of how she will be able to financially take care of the household after Ted left the family.

The problems:
·         Susan drops out of school and relies on Ted for financial stability while pregnant with their first child, Justin
·         Ted abuses drugs and alcohol
·         Susan is both physically and sexually abused by Ted during her pregnancy
·         Justin is born with many health problems
·         Ted leaves family leaving Susan to rely on her parents to take care of Justin
·         Susan feels she needs to be like her mom and be the “good wife” despite Ted’s abuse
·         Susan doesn’t talk about their financial and emotional issues with her husband, and is afraid of his reaction
Ø  Subproblem: The varying of emotions Susan face daily and how she may or may not cope with them

Susan’s strengths:
·         Susan finds work after Ted abandons her and their son Justin, and again with their second child, Matthew
·         Susan continues to take care of her sons that have health problems and with special needs
·         Susan makes a list of the issues she faces
·         Susan is patient with her husband despite all that he puts her through

The Problem-Solving process:
·         As Susan’s case worker, I would help her identify her strengths through the problems she’s facing. I would assure her that she is doing a good job maintaining a household despite the struggles she has with Ted, financial burdens, and her sons’ poor health. I would encourage her to continue writing that list of issues, but to also keep a journal. The journal will allow Susan to express her feelings about herself, her relationship with Ted, her being a mom, her ideals of being “the good wife,” or anything she wants to express. I believe this will allow Susan to not only identify the problems, but deal with the emotions that follow. It will also help build her confidence as a mother, and empower her to recognize her inner-strengths.

·         I’d recommend substance abuse counseling and anger management for Ted if he decides to return to the family. This will depend if Susan wants to work things out with her husband. If Susan feels threatened by Ted’s abusive behavior, I’d refer her to a domestic abuse organization that help battered women.

·         I would ask Susan about her living environment, the community in which she lives in. Does she like it? Does she have neighbors? Does the community have local resources to help Susan in job development, childcare, or housing? Environment plays a role in how clients cope with personal problems. It can be supportive or detrimental.

·         I would work with the physicians and healthcare facilities where her sons go for treatment to see if there are ways they can be better helped. I’d like to know their conditions, what medicines they’re taking, if any, or whether Susan has insurance to cover their medical expenses. I’d like to know if Susan is going to the doctor too. If not, I’d make referrals. This will be for both physical and mental health.

·         Depending on Susan’s living environment, I’d like to know the public health concerns her community is facing. This may contribute to some of the health problems her sons are having, particularly Justin. Justin has difficulty breathing. I’d like to know the nature of air quality in her neighborhood, and who is overseeing these communal health problems, if any.

·         I would work as a liaison with medical professionals, public health officials, and other human service professionals to help Susan cope with these complex problems.

·         Through this process, I would assess her strengths and weaknesses and revise them as we move forward. We would work together to help Susan and her family live better lives. 

I like doing these kinds of assignments. Maybe someday I will have an opportunity to help a client like Susan. I wonder at times how I'd assess myself. 

When I am not doing school work (which is what I do most of the time), I am searching for part-time work, or working on my book. I make it a priority to go to the waterfront or hang out with friends at least once a week. I force myself to do this to avoid burnout. I reflect a lot, which helps me put things in perspective. It's been hard lately dealing with family health woes, housing issues, and being financially poor. Despite my efforts in staying positive, it hits home. Sometimes I don't know the way or the path to take to improve these circumstances. I just don't like how it makes me feel when I can't take care of responsibilities. 

I'm probably feeling this way, because this month makes two years I've been out of work. I am not happy about this, and tried to avoid this from happening. I guess everything happens for a reason. I will not complain, because I still have a roof over my head, food to eat, and a bed to sleep on. It could be worse. This experience has been humbling, and I had to swallow my pride more times than I can count. I am a proud person and don't like asking for help, especially help in personal matters. However, I'm learning that humbling self makes a difference. I am not the only one going through tough times. We have to remain strong and help one another. No one is better than anyone. We are all on this journey called life together. 

My goal for this month is to continue to stand tall no matter what happens. It's getting harder, but what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I will be strong and ride through this storm. After all the sun is always near.