love…where would we be without it…

love…is a dangerous thing…it takes a hold of a person and sometimes never lets go…

love…is a wonderful thing…it takes a hold of a person and sometimes never lets go…

love…

I have love in my life in many forms…lately the love of a 4legged monster has stolen my heart and made me realize that I don’t think I’ve experienced love like this before…I think it was at the point that I looked in his lil eyes and thought I own you that I realized there are many different forms of love…I have the capacity to love – I dearly and whole heartedly love my family – with every ounce of my body I treasure that privilege to love them…with that said I also have the capacity to fall out of love – it’s been done…I’ve fallen out of love with partners and with friends in my life…the very thought that love is such an intense feeling that one day we cherish it and one day we disparage it, is what makes it so perplexing to me…

love…

I think we all have had times in our lives that we have said ‘I love you’ too quickly, not quickly enough or simply whispered it to ourselves using only our inside voices without the other person being privy to hearing it…I think we all have people in our lives that we think share the love that we have for them but maybe they don’t…we can’t duplicate love, that’s why it’s such a mystical concept…I watch people…it’s what I do…I observe people…it’s what I do…I analyze people…it’s what I do…love intrigues me…

what is love…a feeling? an emotion? a privilege? I see you, staring at your loved ones with sparkle in your eyes…I see you, stealing a glimpse of your partner as they walk by your side…I see you, embracing the twinkle of your children as they fall asleep in you arms…I see you creeping on facebook with a grin on your face as you sneak a peek at your crush…I see you, but do you see me…

how do you classify love…is it what defines you? is it who you are? do you need it? do you crave it? do you have it?

love to me is what I feel in my heart…when I was younger it was what I thought I would have in my world from a partner…I had that once, well I thought I did…my love was a classic tale of feeling belonged…feeling like this is the way my life should be…experiencing heartbreak was the defining moment for me to know I was not in love…I was in settlement mode…I look at my siblings and I see them look at their partners…I look at my in laws and I see them looking at my siblings…I see something in them that I haven’t experienced…I thought I did, but I so haven’t…as the years pass, that understanding of love that I had when I was younger seems to dwindle and the concept of love in its true sense blossoms right in front of me…love…pure love…the love I feel when I look at my nephews…the love I feel when I see my parents walk ahead of me holding hands…the love I feel when I wake to a sun filled room…the love I feel when I feel I’ve accomplished something at work…the love I feel when I sit across from a friend and giggle our asses off…the love I feel when I see how happy my siblings are…that’s the love I need in my world…that’s the love that at the end of the day I can hold onto…that’s the love that sometimes others don’t validate in our worlds and shame on them for that…whatever love is for you, embrace it, shout it to the world and to those that give that pity held tilt because they deem your love not enough for a fairy tale ending– tell them to screw off…

is love an indicator of status…

people watching is a skill…well if your good at it and don’t get caught – that’s the skill…sometimes I get lost in the faces of others…faces tell a thousand stories…boredom, lust, love, loneliness, happiness, sadness, comfort, belonging, smitten – I could go on…

love…have you ever thought something is missing from your life because you don’t have the love that society thinks you should have…have you ever thought something is missing from your life because you don’t have the love that you thought you’d have at this point in your life…I often hear people describe loneliness as a lack of love…is it? when I think of my own world, I will admit that I’ve thought the same…how does one go through life without finding that soul mate, that love of one’s life…some say a life without love is a life without meaning…some say a life without love isn’t worth living…some say never give up, love is around the corner…some say love will come when you least expect it…but isn’t that setting oneself up for disappointment and a life of waiting…isn’t that saying that love is only in the form of another being – someone who completes us…what about the love that surrounds us everyday…is that enough for some people…and if it is, why do others judge…

recently I’ve coined myself a realist…not that I’m going around yelling to the world, “here ye here ye, danielle hogan is a realist”…but peering into my world and reflecting on my experiences, I donned the title with confidence…once I associated myself with this term, I googled it…cause isn’t that what we all do…I was pleasantly surprised…the urban definition is as follows: Realists have a firm grip on reality and can see things for what they are, not what they are told they are. Realists have their own views and do not fall victim to propaganda, misconception, or titles! 1. There is the Pessimist who believes the glass is half empty! 2. There is the Optimist who believes the glass is half full! 3. Then there is the Realist who knows it is just half a fucking glass!

well sure didn’t I giggle my ass off…of course I’m a realist cause it is just a fucking glass…

I read once “love is a word used by many, but understood by few”…I use the word love daily with my family…our conversations never end without saying ‘I love you’ and truly meaning it…the sound of my father, my mother, my sister or my brother saying ‘I love you’ brings a warmth to my heart and a calmness to my soul…the sound of my nephews saying ‘I love you auntie joey’ brings a smile to my face and a song to my ears…I will never question the love they have for me…never…I don’t have to it’s unconditional…growing up in my household, love is a word that we heard all the time, it was used daily, numerous times…I believe my parents instilled in me a sense of home…and home is where my love blossomed…the trick is once you leave your parents home, how is that love nourished and passed on to others…my siblings shine at love…they embrace life as it comes…

and what happens to others that didn’t have the opportunity to learn from parents like mine…love is a universal language…you learn it from other people, animals, songs, poems, stories, nature, movies and the list goes on…as long as your mind is open, the possibility of love is endless…we need to let go of the idea that having love is synonymous with being in love…we need to let go of the idea that one love is greater than another’s love…love shouldn’t be measured in intensity or duration…

the realist in me wants to yell at those waiting or yearning for love to snap out of it…but that’s cruel…when someone says to me, oh your turn is coming, I want to scream – can you shut the fuck up, how dare you think I’m waiting for it…when someone says to me, it’s never too late, keep your chin up, I want to scream – for the love of god and punch them in the throat…phew – rage much danielle…love is definitely something that makes the world a better place…although the realist in me says there is a fine line between love and hate…

love, when you have it, you know…

love, when you don’t have it people will often remind you that you don’t have it and that you should be looking for it…

love…where would we be without it…I know, because I’ve seen it…it’s bleak, lonely and bewildering…it’s as if you are staring straight through a person’s soul when you look in the eye of someone with no love in their lives…there are individuals out there that have never experienced that butterfly feeling in their tummies; never had the love of a child steal their heart; never had a person hold their hand, just cause; never had a soft ‘I love you’ whispered in their ear; never had the support of their parents to strive for what they wanted and never felt someone lie next to them and wanna be the small spoon…

I want to teach people that no matter who you are or where you are – you will always have love if you have yourself…don’t allow people to take the love you have away from you…don’t allow people to belittle what you believe is the love in your life…the pity head tilt is so overrated…with pity comes judgment and there’s no room for judgment in the concept of love…open your mind and your world will get bigger and brighter…I was at a memorial service recently and the concept of smiling was talked about…this individual was known for her smiles and her loving self…as part of a tribute to her, her friend suggested that we take a moment and look at the person next to us and smile…a room filled to capacity all stopped for that second, turned to the person next to them and simply smiled…it was heartwarming and it was endearing…it’s a practice I’ve taken home and to heart…the world gets smaller if we stomp on others…lets as a society praise each other up and allow those individuals that are struggling day in day out to feel that love is around them in many forms…love could be a simple smile…try it, your heart will feel warm…

love…is a dangerous thing…it takes a hold of a person and sometimes never lets go…

love…is a wonderful thing…it takes a hold of a person and sometimes never lets go…

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it’s too bad we don’t get to hear our own eulogies…

leaving your legacy…

what will my legacy be…I read an article the other day about this exact thing and I pondered…the title hooked me…then it got into financial legacies and I turned into that child with sugar rush – I bailed, running away with my arms wavering in the air…but after my ‘don’t make eye contact with an article that’s talking about finances’ sugar rush left me, I was left with the question – what will be my legacy…

the world is huge…wow that’s an astonishing 4 word phrase isn’t it…but honestly the world is huge…I’ve been struck with heart break, sorrow, faith and love this past week…all wrapped up into one lil person…my heart has ached in the past…but this week it feels ill…it feels broken…and I’ve been enlightened by this feeling…this idea that a feeling can take control of you physiologically, emotionally, mentally and physically…a feeling…wow, a feeling…what’s fascinated me is that others too are going through the exact same thing and the way that they have faced it, is ultimately enlightening…

my world is pretty big…I have family and friends spread across it…I take pride in the relationships I have made in this world…I’ve had the privilege to be part of so many lives that I really take for granted sometimes my experiences as if everyone has had them…I’ve walked on many beaches, strolled many streets, watched many sunrises, dipped my toes in many pools, shopped through the most prestige and the most downtrodden stores, had many meals in fine restaurants and from many dirt neck trucks…I’ve travelled by plane, train, automobile and fine luxury ships…i’ve had the opportunity to travel with my family and with my dear friends…all in all I’ve been blessed…

i’d like to think I haven’t taken my life for granted…but then again, I’m human, I definitely have…when one is faced with tragedy there comes a time when the huge world seems to stop…but it doesn’t…it goes on and on and on… in the midst of loss, there is growth…in the midst of sorrow, there is joy…in the midst of pain, there is opportunity…but in it, one feels nothing…

a legacy…

I was chatting with my mom the other night and I haphazardly said “it’s too bad we don’t get to hear our own eulogies”…now this reads dark…but give me a sec…when my world stops, when your world stops – people will grieve…the numbers, the who, the when, the how doesn’t matter…what matters is what will be your legacy…I can tell you what mine won’t be – finances…I’m laughing as I’m writing this cause I know that…my world is as big as it is because of the opportunity that my finances present for me…you will never read – danielle left such and such to such and such…my parents taught me to save but they also taught me to enjoy…but in all seriousness, what will people say…the thought – it intrigues me…

it shouldn’t take a death to talk about a person…it shouldn’t take a death to remember a person…it shouldn’t take a death to celebrate a person…it shouldn’t take a death to get together with a person…it shouldn’t take a death to have a meal with someone…and it shouldn’t take a death to have faith…it shouldn’t – it just shouldn’t…

a wise man said recently after suffering a tragic event in his life and I quote “do good, love better”….4 simple words that have been resonating in my muddled mind…do good…love better…I want to scream this to the world…but when you break it down, it’s really what we should all be doing without having to try…why do we often get caught up in the goings on in the world and turn a blind eye to what’s going on in our homes…why do we eat, breathe and sleep social media and not eat, breathe and sleep our families…times have changed since families would sit to the supper table together and chat about the happenings of the day…the monotony of the conversations now seem to bore the generation of today…why do we live through texting and not take a moment to answer a phone call…

I feel like I’m living a life of a vagabond – running from my bed to the shower…running from the shower to the kitchen…running from the kitchen to my car…running from my car to my work…running from work to my car…running from my car to my bed…I live a life on the run…I never slow down…but nor does the world…I watch my mom in the kitchen sometimes, slowly looking up recipes…gathering the ingredients and preparing a home cooked meal for my dad…my parents continue to eat together at the kitchen table – the same one we as a family sat around growing up…the television is muted and they talk…they literally talk…well my dad tells stories of his day and my mom listens…every now and then she’ll smirk or giggle at something my father has said, but she listens to every word that man speaks – or yells, depending on the story…I sometimes watch my mother and father through the kitchen window – they don’t know I’m there but they’re there sitting in the usual spots…I giggle as dad watches the news and repeats the stories verbatim to my mother as she knits or reads…sometimes they are both reading and sometimes they’ll peer above the binding of the book to see if the other is still awake…

I can easily watch my folks daily…often lately not leaving their home till late at night, sometimes my father jokes at how often I’m there – but I’m soaking them in…sometimes we don’t soak in the people we have in our lives often enough…that’s one thing I’ve learned this year…I am no one without my family…there’s a whole bunch of sayings that I’ve read through the years about how we don’t get to choose our families, we’re stuck with who we got…well I feel fortunate – if I were given the chance to choose a family, I would choose mine, hands down…through this 2014 year, the year I’ve nicknamed “the fucked up year”, I’ve grown tremendously…reflecting on the losses I’ve been faced with, the sorrow I’ve felt and the pain that demanded attention, I’ve gained a greater perspective of my potential for growth, joy and opportunity…

I’m a sponge – is that my legacy…

I love learning…I’m addicted to reading to further myself professionally…I’ve never taken the time to read to further myself personally – until recently…my sister gave me a book that I’m slowly getting through…now I’m not a slow reader but I’m finding myself rereading excerpts every time I pick the book up…I’m seeing myself in the characters and I’m living the life that the author is writing about…a self help book it is not…more of a self awareness read – but that’s my non-writer’s assumption…why do we see ourselves in others and not see ourselves in ourselves…why does it take me to read a story about someone eating their feelings to realize that I’m eating mine…it’s so weird this concept of self awareness and sometimes the lack thereof…

my sister and I were catching up the other night and we were talking about life, death and the happenings in between…in the world of social media we tend to think we know people inside out…and what we take from social media is that people are only sharing the good – not the good, the bad and the ugly…we get a glimpse of the surface of a person and not the whole person…recently, I’ve encountered an experience that gave me a glimpse of a person who had some layers peeled away from his surface…in the light of tragedy, one is sometimes thrown into the universe to deal with the unexplainable…it is within this experience that a person either withers away and becomes obsolete or a person has their outer most layers peeled away as if they’ve used an abrasive on their person…as the layers unravel, the inner most person surfaces…it is within this layer that we get to know a person…the true makings of a person…through tragedy comes the opportunity to either let the experience destroy yourself and live a cheated life or let the experience make you stronger and enable yourself to grow – it’s your choice…

legacies…the notion is scary because to me it means a lasting thought…the way I live my life is a direct result of my upbringing – the love, the joy, the pride, the enjoyment, the pure pleasure that I get from my family is enough to carry me through whatever life has to offer me…living in the present is enabling me to enjoy those exact things…we all know there’s no guarantee that tomorrow will come – if tonight was the last night that you could have an impact on someone, what would that look like…

if tomorrow never came, my world as I know it would stop but knowing that my legacy will live on is enough for me to try to live my life to the fullest today, leaving tiny footsteps on other’s hearts, unravelling my layers so the world sees my whole person and not just my surface  – “doing good, loving better”…

my legacy is me…what’s yours…

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I’m the girl who never got asked to the prom…

“you’re only lonely if you’re not there for you”…

whatever is happening to 43 year old joey is opening up a whole new world to 43 year old nanette…through varying emotions, varying moods, varying conversations and varying experiences, I am learning who 44year old danielle will be…I’ve shared thoughts, emotions and a recent story that rocked my world with a few people in the past few months…reactions have been overwhelming, sometimes heartwarming and sometimes irritating…the heartwarming ones are keeping me going…

with all the goings on, I find myself self reflecting on a daily basis…I’m practicing mindfulness and I’m loving it…the more I reflect and the more I self evaluate – the more I grow as an individual and as a professional…part of my practice that has worked for me all these years is the ability for me to be empathetic to my clients, situations and experiences…over the last year, my experiences have expanded…they have expanded to a place that I never thought I would be…my ability to take a negative experience and turn it into a positive outcome is a skill that I have developed – developed from hard work, self determination, and a good therapist…

if my life were a movie, I’d like it to be one that shows me living in the present day with periodic flashbacks to my past…I think that’s how I live my life…

flashback…

I’m the girl who never got asked to the prom…always had an amazing amount of friends but never that girl that a boy asked out…it was the grand march and I asked a boy to walk with me…he said no…at that moment I remember thinking why…we’re friends…I try to remember what I felt that day…but I can’t…but I remember that I loved getting my dress made…I loved wearing a corsage that I bought for myself (well my folks did cause I was 17…lol lol…)…I loved signing up for decorating, volunteering for safe grad and buying my ticket for the meal and dance…I went solo to my prom…but I went…weird thinking back, I wonder what 17year old danielle was thinking that day that she was getting dressed for prom…was I the only one going solo – I have no idea now…I know my friends all had dates…in all my pictures though, I was smiling ear to ear…

present day…

i’m the girl without a significant other or partner, the new lingo…i’m the girl that doesn’t get asked to couple events cause newsflash, i’m not a couple…i’m the girl that doesn’t get dinner party invites cause newsflash, i’m not a couple…unless it’s a single event, or partners are away, then i’m in…now this is not true with everyone i know cause i have many fun date nights with my friends significant others there…but there are events that i’m left of the guest list because it might be awkward…awkward for who is the question though…i think people have a perception that if someone is not like them, then they’re miserable…I’m here to say, drop that attitude peeps – it’s old and it’s tiring…

what do I have that makes me this person…I love my person, my whole person…I thank my parents for that…they taught each of my siblings and I that we are the most important thing in this world…and to never, ever miss out on something because it doesn’t fit the norm…amidst all this I believe it’s normal to be down on yourself once in a while…it’s normal to question, why…it’s normal to be sad…it’s normal to be lonely…it’s normal to be well just be normal…

when I walked into prom with no one on my arm I’m sure I didn’t picture myself a 43 year old woman with no one on my arm…but I’m also sure I didn’t picture myself as the woman who would put herself through university twice – soon to be third…I’m sure I didn’t picture myself as the woman who would buy her own car – well on my 4th car…I’m sure I didn’t picture myself as the woman who would buy her own home…and I sure as hell didn’t picture myself as the woman who would become a single parent of a 4legged monster…

strength is a talent, a skill and an aspiration…

I’m not sure if my parents set out to teach me all that they’ve taught me…I’m not sure when we sat at the table at supper time chowing down vegetable soup and potted meat sandwiches that they had an agenda…I’m not sure when they’d gather us in the station wagon and get us to guess how many train tracks we’d cross before getting to grandma’s house, that they knew that’s where we’d learn to love eachother’s company…

my parents aren’t perfect…we didn’t have the perfect upbringing…my parents tell stories of struggles, poverty, hardship and well love…my parents worked their asses off to provide for my siblings and myself…when pregnant on me, they had no car, lived in an apartment and worked shift work…at birth I nearly killed mom, I was colicky, clingy and attached to my parents at the hip…my grandparents took me at 6 weeks old while my mother returned to work with a fresh belly cut and I’m sure a heavy heart…I spent most of my childhood in a dresser drawer – times were tough…but I was so loved…I was raised in the most brilliant home with the most amazing parents who just simply provided for us in the best way they could…

strength…they reeked of strength…

my mother once told me, no matter where you end up or who you end up with…protect yourself – have a little nest egg she said…she went on to say that you never know what another person will do or turn into…my mother taught me that you can only trust yourself at the end of the day…my mother is a brilliant woman, married to the most amazing man I know – the only man I know who will always love me, my dad…yet she still will advise to save for a rainy day cause as she says amazing is a 7 letter word that can change in the blink of an eye…

how do I stay in the present…mindfulness…try it…my therapist did this with me last session…if you wanna try and experience what mindfulness is – go get a raisin…I swear, a raisin…I’ll give you a sec, go get one…

now hold the raisin between your thumb and pointer finger…stare at the raisin for about a minute – notice the shape, the crevices; are the corners rounded, broken, ragged or rugged…now close your eyes, take the raisin and roll it in the two fingers, feeling the texture thoroughly…now wave the raisin in front of your nose, back and forth – do you notice any distinctive smell, does it linger, or escape your nostrils…now put the raisin up to your ear – squeeze the raisin, what do you hear, any distinctive sound…you just spent about 5minutes with a raisin – how would you describe that…my answer was “I just spent that time on a raisin”…she asked me, “did you think about anything else during that time”…I smirked and answered “I didn’t, I really didn’t”…I had just practiced mindfulness…I just embraced my present…

when you find yourself living in the past, projecting the future or simply afraid of the unknown – give yourself a few minutes to revel in your present being…life isn’t worth wasting with worry…life isn’t worth losing yourself in someone else…be open, be willing to reflect, self evaluate, experience and feel…have a little nest egg for yourself, don’t think you’re different, this will never happen to you – open your eyes, it can…

It took me nearly drowning to learn to breathe…

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