Tuesday, January 19, 2016


I've heard different versions of questions related to regret which has led me to ask myself what I would do differently if given the chance. There's not much I would change, but there is one decision I've questioned multiple times. As a teenager, I did not apply to the university I dreamed of attending because I didn't want to burden my family with the cost of out-of-state tuition. Though not often, I have had moments when I wondered how my life would have turned out if I'd at least applied to the university that I'd never visited, but envisioned myself being a part of all those years ago.

In July, I joined one of the most well-known university systems. Working for a systemwide office, I've had the opportunity to visit nine University of California campuses. I attended a meeting with a marketing director at one particular campus and she handed me a box. She said, "I wanted to give you a small gift to welcome you." I smiled. Twenty years later, I was being welcomed to very university I wanted to attend as an undergraduate student. I told my colleague the significance of her words and her gift and she responded, "Well, now you are officially part of the UC family."

My desire to be a part of that university was limited. I reduced the possibility of joining that university to a student experience and because I didn't attend as a student, I thought I'd missed my chance. Life still managed to lead me to the very same place. I hadn't missed my opportunity. My opportunity was simply different from what I imagined.

Maybe you have a vision that hasn't played out. That's not adequate reason to believe that your vision is faulty. It could just be that the vision hasn't played out yet. Vision is not limited to your timetable. Vision is not limited to your current circumstances. Vision isn't even limited to your concept of possibility. If you've had a longstanding vision for your life, don't let it go. Don't let the passage of time, detours, negative feedback, successes of others, or your own self-doubt cause you to forget or neglect your vision. One day, what you envisioned could unfold right before your eyes in a way you didn't even imagine.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Can't You Just

Some of the most significant conversations I've had were not positive. People I considered sources of support expressed their opinions about how I handled living with trauma, my trauma, and when I disagreed, the tone shifted. Their concern gave way to frustration. For me, nervousness turned into anxiety and feelings of isolation soared. I wanted them to tell me, "Whatever you need, we'll be here." Instead, I heard, "Why can't you just...?"

When facing a complex situation where there is no quick fix, opinions are abundant. People are more than willing to tell you exactly what you should do and when you dispute their unsolicited advice, their frustration speaks louder than their concern. They ask, "Why can’t you just…?" Just stop thinking about it. Just be quiet. Just go along to get along. Just stop expecting so much. Just let it go. Just get over it. Essentially, what they are asking you to do is to stop existing in a space or with an honesty that threatens their space and their delusion. Guess what. You don’t have to. You don’t have to 'just' do anything.

When someone asks or implies that you need to just do something that counters what is best for you, remove yourself. Remove yourself from the conversation, the physical space, from living under their expectations, and in some cases, from the relationship. You do not deserve to exist in an uncomfortable, non-supportive space. Create a new space. Build a new support system.

Your loved ones' decision to live in an unhealthy environment is not yours. The complacency that controls the lives of those you know does not have to control you. The fears that derail others do not have to derail you. If you ever have to choose between taking the road paved in denial, religious manipulation, and self-sacrifice so that others can feel more comfortable with the hurt that you live with and the unexplored, less crowded path toward wellness, always choose wellness. If you deserve to just do anything, you deserve to just choose your peace, safety, and freedom.