Total Pageviews

Monday, February 18, 2013

Missed Encounter

It starts with a simple hello
A handshake and name exchange
Same language, different accent 
 Two cities globally apart

His voice blankets the sound of crowded platforms
Listen intently ignoring the hustle and bustle

Story-tellers, passionate writers
We take a journalistic view of the world
Encouraging ideas emerges
Spellbound by the perspective

Time stands still

 Unaware of the camera's flash
 Stand smiling at each other
  Green eyes stare into mine
 Quietly take in the moment
The train arrives

Brief handshake with an embrace
He walks on the train and waves goodbye
Waving back I'm left to wonder
What could've become from this missed encounter

Happy V Day

Thursday, February 14, 2013

It's Valentine's Day and I am walking down West 49th street approaching a nearby Starbucks. I'm listening to "What is love?" by Vivian Green, the sun is shining, and my mood is mellow. It's Valentine's Day, a day of  love and romance, something I currently don't have. As I walk into Starbucks, I'm greeted by a nice barista who takes my order. A chai latte and coffee cake, and  a happy V-day wish made me smile. I thank her and see a dish full of chocolates wrapped in red and pink foil. I take a picture as I wait for my order. When my name is called, I grab my latte and coffee cake, and step aside to post the picture of chocolates on Facebook with the caption, "Chocolates anyone?"

As I leave Starbucks and get closer to the building with a large red cross on its side, I begin to smile. I've been volunteering with the American Red Cross in Greater New York since January. I stress the "Greater in New York" part since this is my local chapter. Each state has its own American Red Cross chapters. My experience volunteering at ARC has been wonderful. Not only am I learning a lot, but I get to help people which is something I love to do. I'm a volunteer client caseworker,  but I haven't taken on any cases just yet. I'm still in training. I work at the intake desk in client services where I process clients' documents, verify their information into the computer database, and assign them to a caseworker. However, there are times I am a caseworker, because clients ask me questions or share their stories with me.

I walk in and say hello to my manager as I put my bag down and take off my coat. "Dara, I'm going to need you to manage the desk today we're busy," my manager says to me. "No problem, I'm here to help." I take out my notes and log into the computer when my manager informs me that I have a Red Cross email. She gives me information on how to activate it. I never felt so excited about getting an email! While taking care of that, clients begin to come in. I do my usual when one client asks to speak with me. I let her know I needed to process her information first so the wait wouldn't be long. I could tell she needed to talk to someone right away. Luckily the processing didn't take long, and I allowed her to talk to me. At this point, the caseworker received all her information via the computer. As the client shares her emotional story, I comfort her and tell her she came to the right place to receive assistance. As the client continued, I see my manager in the background observing our interaction. She looked pleased. Eventually, a caseworker asked the client in. She thanks me and I wished her good luck. Later, my manager said I did a good job talking with the client while multitasking. That felt good to hear. Before leaving for the day, I received my official ID. I'm a registered volunteer at my local chapter. And I am proud.

It's 4 something and I wait at the Starbucks for my friend. She is someone I've been friends with since high school, someone I always admired and loved like a sister. It's been two years since we last saw each other. When I received her call to say she is in the area, I left and walked over to where she was standing. The "ahhs" and "It''s so good to see you" comments while giving each other a big hug felt nice. We walk along 10th Ave to the 60's to go to a restaurant near Lincoln Center. The walk is great since our high school is in the area. When we arrived to 10th Ave and W56th street, we stand there and look at the building that says "High School for Environmental Studies." I smile saying, "The best four years of my life." My friend says she can't believe its almost 20 years since we graduated from there. How time truly flies. We reminisced about our days in high school, laughing at the clicks we belonged to, the makeup we used to wear and reading Glamour magazine.  We were in awe to see the Tex Mex takeout spot is still there; we used to eat there afterschool. Good memories. We ate delicious food at a restaurant called PJ Clarkes, took pictures, and had intelligent conversation. "This may not be the traditional way of doing things, but happy Valentine's Day to us!" I said to my friend. We laughed.

Although this is a day I usually feel bummed out because I'm single, it felt good knowing I made a difference and reunited with a dear friend. Valentine's Day is also special for other reasons. I am sentimental about certain things especially about love. I realized this year that it's okay to be a sentimentalist, even if others don't share in the same emotion. It's disappointing, yes, but I believe there is someone for everyone. I am not alone in loving love. Someday, I'll be able to express that to someone who will not only accept it, but will give it back. I will be patient. In the meantime, happy Valentine's Day. Continue to love everyday. It's a beautiful emotion to share.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Let Go, Let God

It's no secret that I've had my share of ups and downs in the past few months. Some of those things I cannot explain. I don't understand it myself. However, I do know how I like to feel. I know what I want to do. The only thing I haven't practiced enough yet is to let go and let God. When someone says, "Let go, let God," what does that mean? For starters, it means to let go of anything or anyone that is causing you discomfort in your life. The "let God" part can be interpreted in different ways. For me, it means to let God take control, giving all your worries, concerns, things you may not understand to Him.

One of the struggles I've had is knowing how to do that. I like to be in control of what I do. I'm a proud person, I think independently, and don't always ask for help. I like to take care of things on my own. The problem with this, although positive, is the stubborn behavior that follows those traits. When you always want to be in charge, it's difficult to surrender when you've lost that control. With my recent fall, I realized that always wanting to be in control has gotten the best of me. It has affected my health as a result. My problem is trying  to do everything. I have many interests and I'm inquisitive. I like to challenge myself in doing all the things I want (career wise), be successful at them all, and still have time to help others (volunteerism, friendships). I love it and strive to continue at it. Sadly, I tend to learn the hard way that I can't do that, because with gain there's loss. I lose in not enjoying myself in recreational things. I lose by not taking care of my needs. I lose by not making myself the focus. What's the solution? Let God.

For the first time in a very long time, I am not worrying about anything. I am not concerned about protocol, rules, the he says and she says, nothing. It's to the point that I don't even think about it. I still care and still strive for what I want. That will never change. However, I don't want to run the rat race. I just want to daydream. I want to meditate. I want to sing even though I can't, and dance under the sun. I want to stare at the water, and watch the boats pass by at the waterfront. I want to take pictures. I want to drink chai latte and go to Starbucks just to smell the coffee brewing. I want to walk through neighborhoods I haven't seen, and return to those I admire. I want to write on my notepad at an outside seating area and watch people interact with each other. I want to download every song I love, and create cool playlists that I'll listen to forever. I want to visit an art store, buy some paint and create a masterpiece, my masterpiece. I want to continue making things out of lanyard and re-learn how to sew. I want to smile and laugh for no reason. I want to be around people who are free-spirited and don't mind being silly. I want to have fun. What's the solution? Let go.

To let go and let God is a learning process.  I'm learning as I continue in my journey one day at a time.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Seagull and Me

An afternoon at two
Hearing the gravel under my shoe
Manhattan Bridge at arm’s reach
Remember the place I used to teach
Waves crash against the rocks
Like a child, too big for my socks

Approach the boardwalk to the spot
Sun light makes the railing hot
This doesn’t seem to bother the seagull
Now sitting near me, I’m careful
Try not to make any sudden gestures
Wind ruffles his white feathers
Taking out my camera for a picture
Seagull is ready for his capture
Watch other seagulls fly around
Listening to their squeaking sound
Their wings stretch far apart
Freedom through air touches my heart
Weaving through clouds what a sight!
At times I envy their flight
Continue to admire and daydream
Seagull remains perched on the beam

Welcome Back and Happy February

It feels good to be back on the Creative Corner. I recently fell and fractured my elbow which put me on the mend for a couple of weeks. I did some video blogs but it doesn't compare to writing here. My elbow is still fractured, hurts, and is still in a sling, but at least I can type with both hands thank God. A lot has happened since January 12th. Here's the update.

Thursday, January 17, 2013: Return to Rockaway (post-Sandy relief)

As promised, I returned to Rockaway, Queens to participate in post-Sandy relief. I volunteered with NY Cares to assist at the Action Center on 57th Street and Beach Channel Drive. The Action Center is a distribution center that serves food, and gives clothing and supplies to residents affected by hurricane Sandy. I was assigned to sort and fold clothes in preparation for the afternoon rush. Before I could get started, I asked for directions to the ladies room. In the midst of me saying “Thank you,” I tripped over a crate and fell, slamming my face against the hard tiled floor. I could feel my head pounding and arm throbbing underneath my body. People rushed around me saying, “Are you okay?” When I said, “No, this really hurts,” someone yelled “Get the nurse!” I was scared not sure if I broke anything. I could see my glasses across the room bent up. After the nurse checked me and cleaned an open wound on my face, I was helped up and sent to the clinic. I remember me saying, “I’m so sorry, here I am to help ya’ll out and you’re helping me up!” I giggled as the nurse and staff smiled saying, “It’s okay, we want to make sure you’re okay.”

While receiving an ice packet for my swollen face, I felt woozy and achy. I hadn’t eaten anything which upset the nurse. “You have to take care of yourself,” she said while checking my sugar. I agreed with her. A friend of mine, who’s also a Sandy survivor, stopped by the center. It’s been a year since we saw each other yet I didn’t want her to see me in that condition. After a few hugs and recapping what had happened, she stayed with me for the remainder of the day. She thanked me for helping out, because Rockaway is her home. She lost everything due to the storm. 
On Tuesday, January 22nd,  I found out that my elbow is fractured. I am thankful for the team leader from NY Cares, their volunteers, and everyone at the Action Center for their assistance and kindness. I’m grateful to them, and respect the work they do to help the community. I will be back again to finish what I had started.

Friday, January 25, 2013: New writer for NY Writers Coalition

I'd recently applied to be a writer for the NY Writers Coalition's blog, The Narrator. I completed an application, submitted writing samples, had a phone interview, and wrote a practice post about mental illness vs. gun control. I was nervous writing such a post since it's so broad, and a personal topic especially after the recent shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.  I am happy to announce that it was well received and I now write for them! Here's my post:
I'm very proud of this, a New Year's goal already accomplished! Yay!

Thursday, January 31, 2013: Client Casework 

After being home for a week, it felt good to return back to my volunteer work as a client caseworker with the American Red Cross. The people there are very nice. Many asked how I am and were surprised of my ordeal. One of the security officers said it best, "Well at least you got hurt in the process of helping others." I couldn't agree more. I was busy managing intake by answering phone calls, input clients' information into the computer system, scanning documents, and talking with clients. I work in the client services department  for local disasters such as homes lost due to fire. It's sad to hear stories of survival and how these individuals are coping with their loses. I can't imagine how they must feel. I never experienced anything like that. I still have a lot to learn about casework but so far I like it. It's a great way to gain experience in a field I greatly respect, social work. Before finishing the day, I ran into another volunteer I worked with in the call center (Sandy related). He asked what happened to me and when I told him, he joked saying I should take a picture. We were standing by a wall with a sign saying "RECOVERY." He insisted for me to look mad or sad but when I did (which is hard for me, because I always end up laughing) he laughed out loud falling on the floor! Between our laughter, volunteers passing by couldn't help but chuckle. I haven't laughed like that in a while. It felt great. The picture came out great too!

February 1st: Friday reflection

The sun is always near. It's been an interesting two weeks. I stepped away from social media, spent a lot of time by the waterfront despite the cold temps, and daydreamed. That's been my mood lately. I've been allowing my thoughts to roam free, and not focus on anything. I'm very ambitious and at times over do things. Sometimes I work too hard and don't enjoy just doing nothing. I like to daydream. It allows me to imagine, and takes me away from reality for a while. One thing I did learn from this experience is the need to take care of myself. I don't do that often and seems like when I don't I fall. Falling the way I did two weeks ago was scary. I could hear my face hit the hard tiled floor. I felt the throbbing sensation run through my body. I still have bruises on my ankles as a result. I don't like falling and must do better in trying to avoid that from happening again. This month is special because it's Black History month and Valentine's Day. As with any new month, changes will occur. I feel a change is right around the corner for me. I will stand tall when it comes.