Tag: #community

December 8, 2018: Life Journeys

Yesterday I discovered that a co-worker is enduring a very difficult life journey, and it was completely by accident. She has a few days off next week, so since she tended to travel to the Carolinas to visit family, I asked where she was headed.

Her response was ‘I had surgery, but it was postponed’. She then told me her recent struggles, having to wait longer for the services needed due to it being out of network. I was grateful that she chose to share such a personal piece of her life with me. I’m also saddened that she’s enduring such difficulty with the healthcare system. It’s failing her at a time when she needs it the most.

My thoughts are with her this weekend as she continues to fight for a better life, and peace of mind.

September 7, 2018: My Thoughts on ‘The Other Wes Moore’

Yesterday I finished reading Wes Moore’s book ‘The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates’. Each chapter was broken into two parts, going back and forth from each Wes’s perspective. Both men were born in the same Baltimore, Maryland neighborhood, their father figures being absent from their lives (one never met their father, the other lost his to a medical issue that was sadly treatable). For the first few years in their lives, both boys turned to the streets in search of a connection, forming close-knit friendships that served as a bond that was absent in their lives. As they got older, the connections made in their lives took them in the path that determined the deciding factor in their life journey. One became a successful Rhodes scholar and Army veteran, returning to serve the community in which he was raised. The other became ensnared in the drug trade, leading to an arrest and conviction for first-degree murder.

Reading ‘The Other Wes Moore’ brought into mind the environment in which I was raised. I was born and raised in an inner city in Northern New Jersey, living with a loving family with very little money. Things didn’t look too well when it came to obtaining assistance for higher education. My family encouraged me to take the steps necessary to apply for college. My high school counselor did little to support my decision, so I took care of the whole application process on my own. Once I got admitted into college, I took the steps needed to better my life.

My path in life could have gone differently if my family was not supportive of my choices in bettering my education/job situation. I believe that this was a large factor in why one Wes Moore was able to take the right path in life, while the other failed to progress. I enjoyed reading ‘The Other Wes Moore’, and I hope that I come across another book that focuses on people connecting with community in order to better their standing in life.

September 3, 2018: Labor Day Heartbreak

Today brought heartbreaking news locally and around the world.

In Brazil, a devastating fire destroyed the National Museum. Countless artifacts documenting Brazil’s history, as well as other countries’ precious gifts, are now in ruins. I didn’t want to believe it when I first came across the story this morning online, but when I turned on the television and saw the museum in flames, I felt waves of sadness. So much work, so much history, gone. I mourn the loss of another piece of history and cultural value, and pray that this wasn’t the work of hurtful individuals.

I also mourn the loss of those killed in local soil. There were three reported shootings in Paterson over the weekend. I say ‘reported’ because this type of violence happens regularly in this area, yet rarely receive any media attention. Since I grew up in Paterson, and still have family living there to this day, I’m aware of the rough conditions firsthand. My family is at a crossroads when it comes to living in Paterson: some want to leave, return to Puerto Rico, where my line originated. Others want to stay, live life in the moment, since ‘violence happens everywhere’. While this fact is indeed true, there’s a child to be concerned about, who will soon start school life, and navigate the neighborhood with new friends. I pray that Ana will stay protected, and keep away from negative influences during daily life.

Sources:

https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/passaic/paterson/2018/09/03/double-homicide-paterson-leaves-two-other-people-injured/1184469002/

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latin-america/firefighters-battle-massive-blaze-esteemed-rio-museum-n905901

July 26, 2018: New York, Always

Only a couple more days until I share poetry with friends in New York. I’m glad I can come by and be with my community for the weekend. Visiting NYC on a regular basis has not worked out the way I had hoped since moving back to NJ. I miss the moments I had with good friends. I wasn’t able to communicate as much with Johanna while she was still living and working there. While she was still alive. I deeply regret that.

When I visit New York this weekend, I will honor Johanna’s memory while connecting with the group we cherished so dearly. They’ve always been there for me when I needed them the most during my times of need. Now, while looking back on Johanna’s life, we need to be here for each other.

July 22, 2018: An ‘Inactive’ Kind of Day

Usually Sundays are spent admiring the scenery in the area. After church, Andy and I take some time to explore, viewing the beautiful farmland and wildlife Hunterdon County has on display. Today is a slow, ‘relax at home’ day though. Sometimes you just need afternoons like that. We don’t have lots of cash to spend anyway, so some relaxing time at home it is.

I’m already looking forward to next Saturday. I’m spending the weekend with my poetry therapy community. It happens every July for 10 days, but I can only attend the last 2 days. As I mentioned earlier, my current work schedule & finances severely limit me from attending events often. So it will be a wonderful time to see my poetry therapy therapy friends and colleagues once again.

The rememberance session for our friend Johanna will take place this week. Johanna was a constant fixture every year during this time, and her absence is truly felt by everyone. It truly won’t be the same, but we’re all holding on to the memories we’ve created with her.

July 18, 2018: Good Outcome

Last night’s Sips and Stitches event went really well. It was located in Flemington, not far from where I work. I was the only crocheter at the gathering (the group leader does also, but currently does cross-stitching), but I enjoyed meeting others who work with yarn like me.

I felt a welcoming presence from the group leader, and she was easy to talk to. The other members were friendly also, with the exception of one who only cared to network with ppl with embroidery tools in front of them. I laughed it off. Everyone has their way of interacting with others. Hopefully I can make it to the next yarn crafting event held in the area.