Parenthood Is Not a Competition!

BY: Deborah Levine-Powell – “The Soulful Wonder Chef”

The holiday season is upon us, and thus starts the long month of “so and so has this”, and “so and so has that”.  OMG, I am already exhausted and it is only December 4!

After a long conversation about the fact that I lost my job in September; we came to an understanding.

It left me feeling bad that I could not give my kids more this season. But, it also led to think about the “Mommy Wars”. 

I deem the “Mommy (or daddy or anyone else) Wars”  as the unspoken comparison of how we parent our children, and what we do for them materialistically, emotionally, etc.

I think any parent reading this can understand that internal battle to teach your kids that materialistic things are really not that important, while at the same time having that nagging feeling that you want to give them anything and everything they want.

I never realized that one of the hardest parts of parenting is the battle you face with that thief of joy- comparison.

We all parent in our own ways. Everyone has an opinion from the minute your children are born. All of a sudden everyone is an expert on your life, and will tell you how to feed, clothe, raise, toilet train, crib/co-sleep, what methods to use, organic food, breast milk, bottle feed, formula – THIS LIST COULD GO ON FOREVER.

I wish the one thing I would have realized as a new mother was that none of it matters because they will survive it all and so will you.  Generations of women have raised children in many different ways and it is what makes our world so diverse.

The “Mommy Wars” are a real thing ask anyone stepping onto a school playground, PTA meeting or open school night. It feels like you are entering a war zone at times. When our kids enter school it is like reliving high school all over again. The cliques are present, as well as the judgment.

What if we didn’t judge one another? What if instead we helped without being asked, gave without telling the world, lent a hand, sent a meal, a word of encouragement that you are doing the best you can?  What if we took all that negative energy and put it into lifting up another mother?

I have always felt better after helping out another mom, from simply telling them where to find something at a better price, how to bake cupcakes, telling them it is okay to not feel like you have all the answers, and that we all worry we are FUCKING up our kids on a regular basis.

Parenting does not come with instructions. I do not care how many books you read on the topic. There is absolutely nothing that can prepare you for the most important job you will ever have; raising a child.

Deborah Levine-Powell is a psychotherapist in New York, where she works with teenage girls who are victims of abuse and trafficking.  She is a wife and a mom to a tween and teenager.  When she is not working, you can find her engaged in PTA activities, a leader at Girl Scouts, having fun with her friends and family, while serving up hot soulful dishes in the kitchen.


BY: Nancy Fraioli – “Queen of Ageless Wisdom”


The wisdom of my Christmas feelings and traditions run deep. With each new Christmas, it seems I travel back, deeper, in memory and wish I could bring back yesteryears events! I invite all of you and The Daily Feels readers, to embark on my ‘road trip’ to the past. I’ve entitled my December Blog “A Trilogy” because I am showcasing three episodes that are closely related and eventually become a ‘main event!’

My three events have and always will be close to my heart and forever burned into my memory. Time has not erased the emotions or the good feelings that I had then, so many years ago, and still affect me now.


Martin Luther began the “tree” tradition of bringing a Fir tree into his home. As the story goes, in the year of 1536, while walking home, through the Pine forest of Wittenberg, Germany, one December eve, Martin noticed how the stars shone through the trees. He was so impressed and was anxious to share this with Mrs. Luther, his wife. So he cut a tree down, took it home and placed it in their home. He adorned it with small lighted candles, (which reminded him of the stars), on its branches. Martin Luther declared that it would be a symbol of the beautiful Christmas sky. Martin looked upon the “tree” as everlasting love from God.

Today we have many symbolic Christmas Trees but the one that comes quickly to mind is The Rockefeller Center Tree. It, too, has quite a history connected to it. In 1931 it was the first tree at the Center placed there by the construction workers. Actually, the workers would collect their pay at the tree. Two years later, in 1933, another tree was placed at the same site, this time it was adorned with lights. This became its official home each Christmas season. Today, the famous tree dons at least 25,000 lights! A sight everyone must see, at least once! Of course, we have the growing Tree as part of The Nutcracker Suite presented each year at the Met. This one-ton Christmas Tree grows from a height of 12 feet to 41 feet! Go and see it and find out how the tree is housed! Let us not forget the famous “Charlie Brown Tree!” It too evokes much thought! Do you know what Charlie’s tree needs most? Linus has the answer, it’s love! Does it fit the modern spirit? So a little background on my feelings about and for the special tree we use for the season. No, the Fraioli Tree never became famous but brought us so much enjoyment and love that I’d be remiss if I didn’t, at least, share one of our tree stories.

One very cold, freezing, Saturday in December, we embarked on our ‘tree hunting escapade!’ Gloves, scarves, heavy coats and boots; nothing curbed the frigid cold of that day in December! I was always the fussy one, wanting the ‘perfect’ tree! Our noses, toes, and fingers were frozen and Larry, my husband, and my daughter were done with this tree shopping bit! I picked a beautiful spruce for indoors and Larry decided to get a white root ball spruce for replanting after the ground became unfrozen! Since we were feeling a bit flushed with some extra money, I loved the idea of a permanent spruce in our little yard! It grew from 5’ to at least 16 feet!

Money wise it was a “fat” Christmas for us! We also had a white “fake” tree which we’d use as well! This particular year, our daughter Paula claimed her rights to it and the decorating of it. So, three people and three trees! A bit ostentatious but we had a plan! The white tree stood in the kitchen and Paula trimmed it with small colored ornaments of toys and kitchen play items. red and blue were the color scheme! A homemade tree blanket of baby bears made by my cousin Barbara hugged the bottom of the tree. In fact, she made one for the family as well; one side looked like a stained glass window and the other side was a rich Victorian garnet color.

We placed our live spruce in our wheelbarrow; untrimmed, unlit but yet, she stood majestically! She knew that the best of times were ahead of her; she’d found a home! The Main event was decorating our real blue spruce! Larry had placed the tree in its stand and gave the tree a drink! Next we’d tackle the ‘lights’! Always a nightmare! You know the story, unwinding the lights, checking to see if replacements were needed and finally, string them on the tree in uniform order. Since, we fought the elements all day, we were looking forward to a hot meal!

Finally, thawed, warmed and fed, we were on to the fun part of the event! We did have a method of madness to our trimming……tiny, small, medium and large decorations and ornaments were to be placed and in that order! When we decorated my mother’s tree, she finished off her decorating by using tinsel! Remember that aluminum shining icy stuff? It most likely had other elements in it and it mimics the effect of ice. It is very harmful to cats and dogs! Mom insisted upon the thick kind! And she would start at the top of the tree and each branch had to be decorated in a uniform manner; short, medium and long. Her tinsel made the tree! So much so, you couldn’t see the old fashioned ornaments! But, that was what pleased her. To this day, we still have those old ornaments! Real treasures! And that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? That’s what creates the ‘memories’ of years gone by!

I got sidetracked but that’s what happens at his time of the year. My husband, daughter and I truly enjoyed dressing our tree. After our ornaments were placed and the skirt arranged under the tree, we’d step back, pause and look at each other, as though we’d just performed a little miracle! Now, was the best time….lighting our tree for the holidays! But, before we did that, I’d make hot chocolate and we’d toast our tree and each other! Job well done! Now, the crowning moment; all house lights off and Larry would light the tree! Wow! I still get goosebumps today.

We’d sit, look and sip our hot drink. All was peaceful. This feeling of love would wash over me and I couldn’t help but tingle within, as though Angels were touching me. All the tiredness of the day just disappeared and we were home, safe and happy.


 While in the Navy, Larry learned the plumbing trade. He thought once he was mustered out of the Navy, he’d have no trouble getting a plumbing job. Wrong! Seems one had to have a license to plumb before one could get a job. He did that but because he wasn’t with a company, he was refused work. He did auto work as a mechanic but he wanted to be a plumber. It was one of those catch-22 situations! So, he persisted and found someone who would take a chance with him and his plumbing experience. He was hired by a small shop, in New Rochelle, and found a home. However, this particular year it was quite a thin year. Larry’s boss was experiencing a very slow year and this was clashing and playing havoc with Christmas shopping. I wasn’t working. Just doing all those charitable things one does to help out. My daughter was about seven or so and she went to St. Gregory’s in Harrison.

One evening, after our dinner, Larry shared his thoughts about Christmas gifts. Jobs were not plentiful and Larry’s boss wanted to be fair with his eight workers. A little work for each! So, they could all be on salary. Now, Larry’s idea for a Christmas gift for our daughter was a Doll House! In fact, he told me he saw one in the window of Miller’s Toy Store in Mamaroneck. He loved it; it was complete with furniture and family.

I asked him if his thinking about this Doll House was conceivable since work was so slow? We were just barely managing but the bills were being paid. And, furthermore, he said, you and I’ll exchange gifts.  We’ll be creative in our gift wrapping. No fancy paper for us this year. We’ll brown bag our gifts and we’ll be fine! I certainly admired his spirit and he did not waver once from his idea about the gift! Doubt never entered the picture. I, too, felt uplifted. Sure enough, I managed to buy Larry a certain tool he wanted. Yup, I ‘brown bagged’ it and pasted golf cartoons on the bag! He, in turn, got me the hair dryer I needed. He used comic strips of Nancy, you know the girl with the short thick hair? Clever! Paula had little gifts for us as well!

Well, something happened during Christmas week! We had quite a snow storm. Kitchen pipes were freezing up and drain storms were clogged! You guessed it, Larry’s workload increased on Christmas week. Christmas cooking, company coming, the housewives were screaming for plumbers! On Christmas Eve, Larry’s boss was able to give each of his men a full week’s salary and the housewives were so grateful to have their sinks, pipes, and plumbing restored, they gave the men generous tips too! On Christmas Eve, Larry was late getting home. You know where he was? Yes, at Miller’s. The “gift” was still in the window. When he arrived home that eve, he motioned to me that the “house” was in the truck! I do think faith was at work here.

Paula loved her Doll House and we all had fun playing with it. It wasn’t all about the gifts but our attitudes, our feelings and our thinking about positive possibilities. Oh yes, I threw in my more than share of prayers!


 Anyone who really knows me knows that I love ornaments. Whenever we would visit quaint towns, such as Newport, RI, and Nova Scotia I’d head for the Ornament stores. In Italy, I ladened myself and our luggage with Pinocchio ornaments! In Venice, we bought beautiful colored glass. So over the years, my collection, now my daughter’s, has grown! A story with each ornament. Soon now, we’ll be saying to one another, remember this and the story just goes on and the memories come flooding back. I am collecting Frosty Friends and I started them on their inception date which was 1980 with “A Cool Mule.” My grandkids, Cajun and Savannah can split them! We have some beauties. In our family ornament collection, we have various types of Nativity Sets.

So our trees really have been dressed to the nines! For a time, we were using tinsel but we let it fall by the wayside. It was harmful for our pets and I don’t like hiding our ornaments. One particular December, my cousin Chris called me and said she was coming up to visit and she’d like to pop some corn, string it and decorate the tree. Well, we got a late start and if you’ve never strung popcorn, don’t!! It’s work! Well we started late and it was a chore! I can tell you, the popcorn idea went out the window with the tinsel idea! But as we strung, we talked about Christmases past. Retelling family stories; especially old fashioned narratives! Chris’ sister, Barb who had hands of gold. She created all of our ‘family tree quilts; and Carmen, the middle sister who kept us all tranquil when disagreements popped up; she provided us with accurate information. Carmen was and still is our ‘go to’ for solving problems. My cousins, my soul sisters; I love them!

My dear Daily Feels readers, we are the ornaments of life! Some of us are hewn from the the hard stuff, like The David! Some of us may resemble a painting, fragile, and then we have the everyday type of ornament…..which we cannot do without! So you see, irregardless of color, creed, beliefs and ideas, we are the gifts, the ornaments of life! I’m thrilled we’re on display 365 days per year! We cannot be put in a box, neatly arranged in an attic or closet; we are the constant ornament! Please remember, dear reader, that it’s been your experiences, your wisdom that has brought you to where you are today!

In all languages, I deeply wish all of you, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a peace filled with so much joy! My thanks and good wishes to Janis Gaudelli, the founder of The Daily Feels. To all the Bloggers, regular and guest visitors! Janis, our Tree and tower of strength; the writings are the gifts and the Bloggers are the ornaments! Thank you!

It seems in retelling and exploring Christmas’ past, I’ve fallen in love with all of those wonderful people I used to know and talk with. I, now, have a better understanding of them. Thanks for taking this journey with me. Be good to one another! We are “The Main Event!”

Nancy Fraioli is a retired Benefits Asst. from Town/Village of Harrison, NY. She’s alive and well, residing in Sarasota with her daughter and family and enjoying the Floridian lifestyle daily.

Her passions are writing, reading books of philosophy, children’s stories and poetry. Her deep love is living, learning and sharing how faith, meditation, and music guide her daily life. And she loves to lunch with the ladies!

November’s “FAN OF THE FEELS” is…

This month’s “FAN OF THE FEELS” is: Debbie Schepis

This month’s “FAN OF THE FEELS”: Debbie Schepis
Debbie has been with us from day 1, cheering us on, supporting our voice, and is a true believer in what we set out to do here on The Daily Feels.
Debbie has liked our posts 58 times, commented 24 times and reads all of our blogs daily. For that and more, we are so very grateful and want to honor you as November’s, FAN OF THE FEELS! ❤

Where Autism-angst Ends & Gratitude Begins

BY: Janis Gaudelli – “Champion of Truths, Unicorns & AWE-tism”

From 2013 until 2017, I spent all day, every day angry with Autism.  I became resentful, hopeless and unable to find a morsel of gratitude.  Every conversation I had was peppered with victim-based, discouraging, angst-ridden banter.  I vented to anyone who would listen about how much Autism sucks and how very hard it is (bless all of you who were on the receiving end).

Now here I stand, almost two years later, declaring that Autism still sucks. Depending on the day, I still have moments where I need to release the fury and fear that sometimes cripples me.  I am not grateful for Autism and I apologize if you thought this would be the storyline of today’s blog.  However, what I am grateful for is the person Autism has allowed me to become.  It’s been 4 years since Kellan’s diagnosis and there is one thing that helped me discover the silver-lining: Gratitude. 

Autism has changed me in ways no other experience has. And it was only when I began my gratitude practice that I began to see all that this disorder has gifted me. Autism has changed my lens on life.  It has taught me to be patient with how life unfolds.  Autism has not only made me a better parent, but a better human as well.  Autism has granted me an expansive view of the world and all those in it.  

Whereas Autism pushed me to level up, it first needed to humble me.  I am fully aware that Autism came in to my life for a reason.  It showed up to school me.  I always say Kellan is my greatest professor–and he is– but Autism is the core curriculum.

Autism taught me to appreciate the small stuff, however, in our world, it isn’t so small.  I savor every milestone, every forward motion, every moment of true connection and every obstacle we overcome, more than I ever would with a “typical” child.

Autism cured me of caring what others think of me.  Once you know who you really are and what matters to you, what other people think of you becomes significantly less important.

Autism made me less accepting of the unnecessary bullshit (people, places, and things).  My motto has become: ‘if it doesn’t add to our lives, it’s not in our lives’.

Autism showed me the strength in asking for help when I need it.

Autism helped me release my need for control and taught me to surrender to the unpredictable.

Autism has empowered me to embrace vulnerbility.

Autism helped me find a special community of parents who face the same struggles. Our overwhelming challenges have become sources of connection. I went from feeling completely isolated to seeing a beautiful web form amongst myself, and other parents grappling with the fear and frustrations Autism often presents us with.

Autism introduced me to wonderful people.  Teachers, therapists, doctors, coaches, specialists, etc. – the people who I am so deeply grateful for – the people who would have never touched our lives otherwise.

Autism compelled me to look at my amazing child through a new lens, with all his unique strengths and challenges, and see who he is as an individual.  Not who I want him to be.  Not who I hope he’ll become.  But who he actually is, right now, and to be grateful for exactly where he is on this journey.

Who can say they bear witness to a warrior each and every day?  A child who has had to work harder at basic tasks that are second nature to the rest of us.  A child whose brain is beyond fascinating and filled with wonder.  A child who has exposed me to the truest concept of AWE because he notices everything, magnified and with great curiosity.

I chose to change Autism to AWE-tism because Kellan highlights the awe present in the every day.  When I started to practice gratitude, and accepted all that is Autism, I finally released the angst and was invited to experience the awe of it all.

I urge you, friends, to keep practicing gratitude.  Find in your everyday.  It’s quite magical.  I promise it will change your life, as it did mine.

Janis Gaudelli is The Founder of The Daily Feels.  She started this passion project to reveal the magic behind storytelling, and how truth-based narratives bring people together in the most heart-warming of ways.  Fascinated by soul, depth, intellect, raw truths and rebellion with a cause. Often captivated by the awe of nature: star gazing, moon manifesting, sunset chasing, waves crashing, crickets singing. Fiercely curious about the inner-workings of the human psyche… she professionally studies human behavior for a living.  Forever proud and grateful for being a mom to the force that fuels her life: her 7-year-old son, and greatest professor, Kellan.


Easy Like Sunday Mourning

BY: Joan Poiner – “November’s Guest Blogger”

A daughter without her mother is a woman broken. It is a loss that turns to arthritis and settles deep into her bones. ― Kristin Hannah, Summer Island

When I was a little girl, there were no happier moments than the simple times spent with my mother, in the kitchen of our 2nd floor apartment.  Her chatting with me from the sink or the stove or leaning out the window to hang laundry on the clothesline, while I sat at the big, oval, ’70s, silver-trimmed table that took up most of the space.  I remember thinking how big it was.  Now I realize it was just me who was so small. It was here that we spent most of our quality time.  Mom worked, sometimes, 3 jobs.  I didn’t get to see her much.  So, when we were together it always seemed we were in the kitchen.  Preparing a meal, cleaning up, doing my schoolwork, and even setting up an obstacle course of kitchen items for my hamster, with Trix cereal hidden behind the items that she would scurry around to find, and fill her cheeks with while we chatted.  It was here, that I always felt safe, and loved. 

Childhood, for me, was complicated.  I was a very sad and lonely child.  I did not talk a lot. I did not make friends easily.  It would take me many years to reflect on all the things that made me this way.  Trauma, isolation, harsh blows to my self-esteem, and a never-ending feeling of being alone in a world that didn’t see me didn’t seem to want to, and certainly didn’t understand me.  My mother was the only person I ever felt true happiness with as a child.  She was my safe place, my haven, my peace.  She never judged me, although I know she worried and wondered.  She never made me feel “odd” or “out of place”.  She just simply loved me.  It was through the eyes of her love, that no matter what was happening to me, I felt that she was the one person who would never hurt me.  I truthfully do not know if I would still be here today if it were not for her unwavering, and unconditional love.

It is a strange thing, the relationship between a mother and daughter. It ebbs and flows like the tide. Sometimes it is shallow and murky and other times it comes crashing into you with its sheer magnitude of force like a tidal wave.  And in between, there are those beautiful moments of the peaceful calm and serenity. My relationship with my mother is no different.  All our stories may be different, but so much of our soul, and so much of our defining threads of existence, are deeply rooted in the mother.

As my mother and I, ebbed and flowed there were times where she was my best friend, and times where she was my worst enemy.  Times where we laughed, and hugged, and smiled and times where we screamed and raged and cried. But always, when I needed her, she was my biggest cheerleader and my constant support.  No matter what stage of emotion we were in, she was always… always there when I called her name.

I wonder if other mothers feel a tug at their insides, watching their children grow up into the people they themselves wanted so badly to be. – ―Jodi Picoult, Keeping Faith

I am, in almost every way, who I am today, because of my mother.  Some of it I am proud of.  I am kind.  I am empathetic.  I approach life with open eyes and an open mind to everyone I meet.  I will give every fiber of my being, every crumb of who I am, to someone I feel needs it more than me. I am strong, hardworking and capable of anything I set my mind to.  I do not want to hurt anyone, no matter how much I have been hurt.  She taught me that everyone is fighting a battle we may not understand, and we should always try to put ourselves into their shoes before we judge them.  I am proud that I am this way and I strive to be better, every day.  Some of the things I learned from her, I am not so proud of. I sometimes hold too much in.  I pretend that everything is alright even when it’s not.  I “fake it til I make it” and never let anyone see me break.  I feel tremendous guilt when I do “too much” for myself, or when I shut down and “take a break”.  I am incapable of living without guilt.  I hold back my words all too often.  I don’t feel like my feelings should matter, I am here to be the rock, the strong one.  I am here to make everyone else believe that I am whole.

If it weren’t for me, she wouldn’t have to take jobs like this. She would be half a planet away, floating in a turquoise sea, dancing by moonlight to flamenco guitar. I felt my guilt like a brand…I had seen girls clamor for new clothes and complain about what their mothers made for dinner. I was always mortified. Didn’t they know they were tying their mothers to the ground? Weren’t chains ashamed of their prisoners? –― Janet Fitch, White Oleander

Things have changed so much over my lifetime.  Somewhere, over time, my mother changed.  She became judgmental and overrun with cynicism.   Maybe just tired from the pain of life and living in a world that was never kind to her.  Maybe she is sick of being taken advantage of, or just plain exhausted.  Maybe, just maybe, she is angry that she never “lived”.  I don’t know.  Maybe she was always a little this way, and it is me that has changed.  I don’t know. 

My mother has not spoken to me in nearly 10 months.  At 44 years old, I have had to learn what it is like to lose your only parent, without, actually…losing them.  You see, at 44, I decided to choose me.  I always took care of myself, and my children in the literal sense. I worked hard, paid my bills, provided them opportunities, education and the safest world I could for them to grow up. I lived with my mother for nearly all my life.  Post-divorce, with my girls, I moved back home.  It was easy. Occasionally, I would move back out on my own for a while, but I always went back.  For the past 15 years, we owned a side byside duplex.  For a few years with my ex, but most of that time, just her on one side, and me and my 3 girls on the other.  She helped me raise them.  Many times, she raised them for me. I own my role in this.  It was easy to let life move on with someone else making the decisions that mattered, someone else to take the wheel when I didn’t feel like driving.   I had very little control over what happened in my own home.  She would walk into my home before 7 AM and many times was in and out until I went to bed. My mother made all the decisions and all the rules. And even though, everything I did was judged and scrutinized, I allowed it anyway.  Everything was fair game for comments or judgment where I was concerned. Whether it was how much I didn’t “need another pair of shoes” or how I was not paying enough attention to a certain “troubling” behavior of a child, or how I could have gotten a better price on my groceries if I wasn’t so lazy.  Nothing I did was ever right, or ever good enough for her.  She would always have done it better, smarter, harder.  Always, and I always knew it.

You might say, “Why wouldn’t you say something?  Well, as I said… in many ways it was just easier.  I do not like confrontation.  But mostly, as I mentioned earlier…. GUILT.  I never wanted my mother to ever think I did not recognize all that she had done for me growing up, and for my children.  I never wanted her to feel I was not thankful, or appreciative.  I know my mother, and I did not want to hurt her. She needs to be needed more than anyone I know.  And to say anything to the contrary, coming from me, would have crushed her. I thought I could take it.  It didn’t matter what I felt.  This is the woman who broke her back to give me everything growing up.  The woman who made it so “easy” for me and my children. How could I tell her to back off, back away and get out?  I couldn’t, and I didn’t.  That would have been much harder, and as history says, I am all about the “easy”

8 years ago, I met my now husband.  Let’s be clear, I am fully aware he is not everyone’s cup of tea. He lacks a filter and speaks from a brutal place of honesty, often without tact. He is bad at owning when he is wrong.  He is not always so delicate in his delivery and is very, very bad at “pleasing people”. I am the opposite… and specifically in my mother’s case, have always been a “people pleaser”.  I am sure you can imagine, she hates him.  And while he can be difficult, he has also been the most supportive man to me, that I have ever known. We have fun. We laugh, and we love HARD.  He reminds me, and encourages me EVERY DAY, that I am enough, and if I want to do more, be more, I can, and I should, and he will help me in any way he can.  He has made me break wide open and own all of my trauma, and all of my pain, and he has helped me through the journey of putting all of the pieces back together…and he loves me harder for it.  He has helped me to recognize my own strength and sacrificed many times, his own spine as my ladder to climb out of the darkness of life.  He sets no expectations on me.  He allows me to be wholly, and truly me, whoever I may be in that moment. 

In January, I moved out of my home with my mother and into the home he had purchased for us.  My mother was not at my wedding last month.  She refuses to answer, or acknowledge the many letters, texts, emails I have sent to her pleading for her love, her acceptance and her forgiveness for any pain I may have caused her by choosing this life with him.  She says that he controls me, and everything I do. I focused a lot on that statement. And what I have realized is that he does not control me… but she doesn’t either.  That is where I think the pain lies, for both of us in some ways.  I no longer “need” her… though I still want her every day.  There is not a day that passes that I do not feel the incredible grief of not having her in my life.  I miss my mom.  I hate that I have hurt her.  I have a tremendous hole in my heart no matter how much other joy fills it.  And there will always be a time, in my darkest of moments, where I do “need” my mom because she offers a level of security, and comfort that no one can replace. 

My mother is close enough every day that I could nearly touch her.. a matter of 2 miles distance.  And I some days I still call out for her, hoping maybe she would still come and hold me.  But she doesn’t.  It is a mourning, it is grief and loss and death in its own sense.  It is a death of time, of opportunities, of lost fibers of our souls.  It is a death with no body, no closure, where you are always hoping… one day… to have answers…and maybe one day, to hold each other again. But even though I grieve, I hold tight to the knowledge that I am a survivor, and I show them no pain.  Because this, I learned from my mother.

“Love as powerful as your mothers for you leaves its ownmark.
To have been loved so deeply, even though theperson who loved us is gone,
will give us some protection forever.” – J KRowling, Loved So Deeply

Joan Poirier is an Empath, a goddess, a woman, a wife, a mother, a sister, a friend.  She is you, and she is me.  Just a real woman, embracing her age and her wisdom, and not afraid of opening the da,m and making some waves during her short time on the wild ride of life. She is on an ever-growing quest to live better, do better, be better and taking all the lumps that go with it.

Stuck in a Funk and Pissed Off at the World. Is There an Unmedicated Way Out of This Self-Imposed Pity Party?

BY: Cherry Maggiore – “The Freak of Nurture”

Chapter 17: Feeling Funky at the Border

AsI sip a glass of white wine in the airport lounge area, I look around at the people waiting to board flight 1195 at 8pm to Los Angeles.  As you may recall from my last blog, this was the flight that was the culmination of all the signs I’ve been receiving since my Uncle Weazle’s passing.

I’m texting with friends who are asking how I am feeling based on the blog post.  Some of them advise me just to let it flow, and not put too much pressure on the person seated in 1A.  Some of them believe that this will be a life-changing experience.  At this point, I’m just eager to solve the mystery.

As they call Group 1 to board, I walk down the runway with hope and excitement in my heart. I just can’t help it.  I’m feeling lifted and energized as I happily greet the flight attendants.  After getting myself settled in seat 1B, I pull out my new book, The Ghost Photographer by Julie Rieger, and try to distract myself by reading a bit (an incredible book by a legend in the Hollywood film business).

Time ticks by and still no one claims Seat 1A. A few people almost sit in the seat and then realize that wasn’t their seat assignment (thanks for the heart attack people!). Just as they are about to close the door to the gate, someone is talking to the flight attendant as he directs this mystery person to the front of the plane…and that’s when I see Seat 1A. 

He’s middle-aged, balding blonde guy who’s about 5’6, wearing a black t-shirt, jeans, and a leather jacket.  I think to myself, “ok…here we go, let’s see what he’s all about.”

Darren. 56.  IT director for a law firm in Los Angeles. Father of two kids, 17 and 13. When the person initially seated in 1A didn’t show, Darren got upgraded.  He reminds me of Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High.  A stoned surfer-dude who never surfed before.

He shares that he usually travels on Mondays, but since he had an early meeting, he took the Sunday flight. He’s been flying for 8 years to Cali, since 2011. He confesses that he’s unhappily married, but they make it work for the sake of keeping their family together.

He’s apathetic at best; a life-settler.  To be honest, he was entirely and unequivocally underwhelming.  As he tells his life story (people tend to do that with me), he finally starts to ask me questions.  I share the basics and then confess that I am also a writer for The Daily Feels. And that he is seated in an important seat…he looks at me like I’m crazy. 

I ask Darren if he would be willing to read the blog…he skims it but gets the message.  When he finishes, he turns to me and says “Wow, no pressure right?”  I respond by laughing and saying, “No! No pressure at all!”

Then he says, “Well maybe I should watch Ocean’s 8?” I don’t get the joke at first, but once I catch on, I say “Yeah, maybe” and then turn back to my book, he sleeps the rest of the flight. 

Seat 1A is a monumental letdown. He wasn’t some wise sage or a brilliant creator or a soulful comedian. He was just some regular guy, living an ordinary life.  Weazle, WTF?! 

I laugh at myself for the insane build up to this one moment, to this one person and realize that maybe I haven’t figured it out yet.  Maybe, this was just a beginning. Maybe my Uncle Weazle, a complete jokester who loved to play pranks, was seeing if I was paying attention. Maybe.

Following the disappointment from seat 1A experience, I feel myself sink into the total and complete funk.  A funk I was trying to stave off for weeks now.

Why is the Freak in a funk?  Well, there are many “reasons.”  I could point the finger at any number of big things and little things that happened lately.  Shit to do with work or finding out the Chupacabra got engaged (giving my daughter a sense of a “traditional family”that I have yet to provide),  or the lack of any dates or even prospects. 

And then I get a call from Scotland a week later. Guess Who? Ulysses (from Blog #2).  Here’s the message…

“Yo Christine, I’m in Scotland right now. (sound of deep intake of smoke).  I called you by mistake, (insert strange giggle). My bad. remember me?  We were dancing (insert another strange giggle).  My bad Yo, called you by mistake.  Give me a call back.  This is Ulysses.  I know you remember my name.  You never met somebody like me.  It’s been a lifetime ago but give me a call (insert his phone number).  I’m fucked up right now but I know who I called.  Give me a call. Bye.” 

Just another reminder of the stupid, poor choices I’ve made, further propelling me into my self-imposed funk.  My response to Ulysses was a simple “Yeah I remember you, you are a pig.  Don’t ever call me again!”  Closure. 

Then here comes the pressure of the Holidays, between entertaining, gift giving, having to be happy. UGH!  I don’t want to bake. I don’t want to eat. I don’t want to be around anyone. I want to crawl under my covers with a tray of brownies and not leave for a week.

Then I find out that after seeing a financial advisor that due to the new tax laws, for the first time in 20 years, I will have to pay the government in April.  Another selfish reason for me to despise our current administration (among the millions of other reasons). 

I remind myself that this is a time of year to be thankful and find gratitude, but I’m struggling. Even with The Daily Feels 30-Day gratitude challenge, that fucking dark cloud creeps in and blocks the light.

I miss my uncle. I miss my dog, Spike.  I miss that last call of the day.  With all the horrifying news lately, I’m afraid of going into crowds and have anxiety when I drop my daughter off at school or when I get on a plane.  I go home and cry every night in my bed, alone.  I cry over things I do control but can’t fix and things I don’t control; I cry over things I don’t have and things that are missing.

Then I feel glad to be alone because it would be totally embarrassing to explain to someone why I am in this funk when I really don’t fucking know.  Everything I am going through is no different, no harder than anything I’ve been through before.  Ironically, my life has never been better.

So since I’ve been here before, I instinctively know I will come out the other side.  Sometimes I just let myself feel the know, just full on feeling sorry for myself. But it’s soridiculous! I just want to slap myself in the face ala Cher in Moonstruck and yell, “Snap Out of it!!!”

I consciously decide that while I am in this funk,  I will continue to go through the motions of daily life. I get out of bed every day and shower (You’re welcome).  I go to work. I go to ballroom class. I workout.  I cook for my family.  I take care of my daughter and attend all her school events.  I go out with friends and attend celebrations.  I write my blog (although lately, I’ve been seriously procrastinating). I don’t hide even though everyone keeps asking me, what’s wrong. 

As Thanksgiving approaches, the dread begins. My best friend Gregg, invited me to his mother’s in Delaware for the holiday as MSP is with her father every Thanksgiving (I have her every Easter as an exchange).  While I am excited to see him, I know it will be hard to muster the joy that feels like a distant memory.

On Thursday, I drive two hours by myself to Delaware (even though I fought the strong desire to stay in bed all day). I listen to music, my road trip soundtrack (strangely, even music isn’t lifting my spirits).  But I show up on time and do my best not let my crappy energy infect anyone else.  I channel Mr. Roarke, “Smiles everyone, SMILES!” (if you sadly don’t know Mr. Roarke, Google: Fantasy Island). 

After a lovely feast with lovely people followed by a lovely two-hour nap in front of the lovely fireplace, I find myself home alone and in tears again.  FUCK! This funk is utterly relentless.  After scolding myself on this self-inflicted pity party, I get this unexpected text from Gregg.

An excerpt from my best friend’s text…

“I’m so thankful you were there today.  I’m so thankful for your energy and smile and warmth… I enjoy watching you nap and wishing I coulda stayed there too.  It made me aware of how much I love you MORE THAN family. We choose each other, and I’m blessed.  Thank you for loving me.”

And there it is, the beacon of light in this deep dark abyss.  What I wanted to hear so bad from someone I love so much at the exact moment I needed it most. 

As I read that text over and over, I realized how selfish and silly I was being.  I reflected on my life and began to find honest gratitude and hope.  I can’t imagine a better life.  I am loved, I am cherished, and my love is welcomed by so many. Isn’t that what we all hope for?  Isn’t that the dream? 

With that epiphany still fresh, I decided that regardless of how I feel I will getup every morning, put on my red lipstick with a smile (even if it’s forced; I’m going to fake it ’til I make it) and face the day.  Whatever the day brings.  I decided to stop examining what I DON’T have and focus on what I DO have.  I choose to stop seeking answers to maybes and what ifs. I relinquish control over what I don’t know and focus on the magic of people that generously fill my life with love and light.

I’m fucking alive.  It’s that simple.

Cherry Maggiore is the proud single mom of her 9-year-old super-sassy daughter (aka Miss Sassy Pants or MSP) and 15-year-old pug baby (Tiki Barber); in addition to being an award-winning senior marketing executive at NBCUniversal.

Beside her side hustle as the Freak of Nurture, she also started a home design company after being inspired by renovating and designing her 1880’s home in NJ.

This insanely curious and passionate “multi-potentialite” can be found dancing the Argentinan tango, swing and Hustle every Saturday, cooking her family an Italian Sunday dinner, singing and air drumming at concerts or searching for her next adventure.

Why Would I Want To Be Normal When I Enjoy Being Me?

BY: Debbie Arace – “Ray of Sunshine, Hope & Laughter”

It’s funny how we spend most of our life trying to be something that doesn’t exist.  Normal.

The definition for normal is:  “Conforming to a standard – usual, typical, or expected”.  Let this definition sink in for a minute.  Now let’s dissect. Conforming – to comply with rules.   Standard – a level of quality or attainment.  Usual – typical occurrences.  Expected – likely to happen.  This goes against everything that makes us unique individuals.  So why do we try to fit into a normal structure?  Right, because that’s the normal thing to do.  Guess what?  I don’t want to be normal.  Do you?

After living on this earth for 64 years, and meeting thousands upon thousands of people I can rest my case by saying:  Normal is an illusion conceived in disillusionment.  We spend our entire life trying to conform to someone else’s concept of normal.  We seek to attain what is typical in the eyes of someone else who is as abnormal as the rest of us.  We set out to make these rules of normalcy happen and lose our identity in the process.  There is no such thing as normal.  If normal doesn’t exist, why do we subject ourselves to all the pain and suffering we put our minds through to achieve a non-existent way of life?  

People are killing themselves and others, more and more.  We ask ourselves why, why does this happen?  If we search hard enough we discover that many of these people had deep routed troubles trying to fit into society. What exactly do they feel they didn’t fit in with?  An idea?  A concept?  Who they are didn’t fit the rules of normalcy.  News flash.  We were not meant to fit in.  We’re meant to stand out.  We were created to experience, discover, learn, teach, do our best by using the gifts we were given. That’s what unites us all in the concept of normal.  That is the essence of who we are not what we strive to be by someone else’s rules.

The Fear of not fitting into mans’ “normalcy” and not Gods creativity makes us question our own self-worth.  So many suffer from the need to be validated as “normal” that they spend their life rejecting who they were meant to be.  They fail to see their own value in what they have to offer.  They condition themselves to believe that they are beneath those who follow the rules of normal.  Others appear to do everything right according to the concept of what normal is. This makes those suffering feel inadequate if they don’t measure up.  They lose a piece of who they are and the peace of who they are meant to be which unfortunately takes its toll on them.

The problem with living by the rules of man is that the rules keep changing. We never know from day to day what new rules of normal we’ll have to adapt to.  Just when we think we might have a chance at normalcy,  bang, the rules change.  Back to square one, trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.  

On a personal note, as a young girl, I always felt I didn’t fit in. I compared my family life to the family lives of others.  My “normal” was not their “normal” which made me feel abnormal. I was the only child in a school of approximately 800 students whose parents got divorced.  Talk about not feeling normal.  That just added to the pressure.  Later on in life more and more people got divorced so being a child of divorce became quite normal.  It went from me not feeling normal because I came from divorced parents to my kids feeling strange because their parents were still married.  Crazy right?  Everything I did in my life went against what was defined as normal.  I liked being alone.  Not normal.  I didn’t like going out to clubs to meet guys.  Not normal. I knew at 16 that I would never want another man to love other than my now husband of 44 years.  Not normal.  I chose not to drive.  Not normal.  I had no desire to go to college.  Not normal.  My husband and I did everything together.  People would say that wasn’t normal.  We preferred staying home to traveling.  Not normal.  I relied on God.  Not normal. I could go on but I think you get the picture. I’m not NORMAL. So why was it so important for me to be something I was not.  Inwardly, I liked me but that me was so different than others that surrounded me. They were striving for things I had no desire for.  I now see that many of those people are not as fulfilled as they thought they would be. Some of them went in search of normal and left themselves behind.    They are now realizing that trying to fit in has left them feeling unfulfilled.  They lived by normals rules but now realize they missed out on being themselves. The reason I felt different was my personal concept of what I deemed important in life.  I wanted more than just superficial gratification.  I desired insight into the true meaning of life.  I chose not to do the norm because there were too many rules and distractions.  I could easily, and often did, find myself traveling down paths that didn’t feel right for me.  I saw how distracted I could become so I began to rely more and more on God.  Fortunately for me, He taught me ways to validate myself in His eyes and not the eyes of the world.  Perhaps that isn’t normal either.  Guess what?  I don’t care.  It’s who I am and why should I change me to conform to someone’s else’s concept of what I should be!

Reality Check

I learned to stop beating myself up inside for not fitting into the norm?  There was nothing wrong with me other than the unnecessary torture I was putting myself through.  I was just being me.  My desires in life were simple.  I was happy for those that went in search of their dreams.  But my dreams were not their dreams.  At times people made me feel as though I had no direction.  I had direction it just wasn’t headed in the way of most.  I tried doing the “normal” things but I wasn’t comfortable doing them.  I wanted to live my life my way, not the way others thought I should.  My ways felt right for me.  I stopped comparing myself to others.

 If I were to redefine normal, I’d say normal is living your own life.  Not comparing it to the lives of others but sharing your life with others.  Teaching, learning, exploring, being, experiencing, loving. That is what “normal” should be.  Just me being me.  You being you.  No aires, no hidden agendas, no insecurities, no self-destructive measures because we don’t fit in.  Each of us embracing our own identity and reason for being.  

Today, I take everything with a grain of salt.  I face things in ways that seem right for me.  For the most part I take life as it comes and I figure out the best way for ME to handle my life.  So far, freeing my spirit and allowing it to lead me has turned out quite beneficial for me.   My non.conforming ways allow others to mesh with me in relaxing and peaceful ways were we learn from one another.  I am left. feeling fulfilled and gratified.

Embrace who you were meant to be.  You are as normal as the next person in the most unnormal and glorious way.  In Gods eyes you are you.  Live your life before life lives it for you.  Live it as it was meant to be lived on Earth.  Let your spirit be your guide. Get to know the You inside. Allow yourself to stand apart so you can stand within.  Acknowledging that I was not “normal” turned out to be normal after all.  I complied with a level of attaining what I expected of me.  I followed the rules of being who I am.

Married 44 years to my hubby whose purpose in life is to prevent me from getting through the “Pearly Gates”.  Mother of two, Nanna of four loving granddaughters and retired secretary aka administrative assistant.  I went to the University of Hard Knocks where I received my Doctorate.  My thesis is titled:  How To Survive Life’s Trials Without Killing Yourself or Someone Else.  I live by the belief that when life throws you a curve, learn from it rather than use it against yourself.  Faith and humor are my survival kit.  Appreciate the simple things for they are the true treasures of life.

Where Expectations End and Gratitude Begins

BY: Janis Gaudelli – “Champion of Truths, Unicorns & AWE-tism”

Two weeks ago, I started a month-long blog series about the power of gratitude.  The first blog focused on resentment, and how I swam in a bitter, grudge-ridden pool of it until I found gratitude…or, rather, until it found me.  Gratitude helped me shed much of my old self, including resentment, bitterness, and unworthiness. Today, I reveal how gratitude helped release the heavy weight of living with high expectations.

Shakespeare once said:


The man knew what he was talking about.

I have always had high expectations, mostly of myself. But as I grew older, I held people to those same, and at most times unrealistic, standards.  As human beings, we err regularly, but when you go through life with high expectations, you have little tolerance for mistakes.  My expectations mostly applied to the way I felt people should behave in any given situation, mainly modeled on how I would (because, you know, my way was the right way…*eye-roll*).  I would give unsolicited advice, telling people what they should say or do or be, and I drowned in disappointment if they didn’t follow suit.  I mistakenly believed that expecting other people to behave the way I wanted them to would actually make them behave that way.  My ignorance lied in not recognizing that the other person had no desire to live up to those expectations. In fact, it made them feel upset, offended, and resentful.  Who the fuck was I to put that kind of pressure on people I love?  Needless to say, I had an unhealthy need to control other people’s actions.

I had unrealistic expectations when it came to specific parts of my life, including:

  • LOVE: I dove into every relationship thinking that if I gave someone all I had to give, and loved them wholeheartedly, that they would do the same in return.
  • FAMILY: I believed that because we’re blood and were raised in the same house by the same people, that we should all think, act and love the same way.
  • CAREER: I felt if I worked really hard and really long hours coming up with revenue-generating ideas, that I would get promoted to the corner office.

Those expectations are pretty laughable, straight up naïve and disillusioned, aren’t they?

Once I began my gratitude practice and got back in touch with myself (which I wrote about in my last blog), I realized it was a lot easier to accept people for who they are– and life for what it is— than to try to change behavior(s).  I began to let go of my expectations and show gratitude for all that they are and what they offer.

It took a while for me to shed this idealistic mentality. But once I did, I realized that I was clinging to this high bar of expectations so tightly that I was missing meaningful opportunities.  Opportunities to experience unexpected joy and beauty, and to be grateful for how life naturally unfolds.  Once I got the hang of it, life became so much simpler, lighter and happier.  I finally realized that letting go of expectations was the key to letting joy find me.

With all that said, I still see the benefits of having realistic expectations, because they usually move us in the direction we want to go. They help bring a certainty and brighten our outlook.  Unrealistic expectations on the other hand, never serve us.  They are the truest thieves of joy and gratitude.  This I know for sure.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Janis Gaudelli is The Founder of The Daily Feels.  She started this passion project to reveal the magic behind storytelling, and how truth-based narratives bring people together in the most heart-warming of ways.  Fascinated by soul, depth, intellect, raw truths and rebellion with a cause. Often captivated by the awe of nature: star gazing, moon manifesting, sunset chasing, waves crashing, crickets singing. Fiercely curious about the inner-workings of the human psyche… she professionally studies human behavior for a living.  Forever proud and grateful for being a mom to the force that fuels her life: her 7-year-old son, and greatest professor, Kellan.


All I want for Christmas is silence

BY: JB McCann – “The Phoenix”

Now, I am not being a Scrooge. I am simply saying all I want for Christmas is to be reserved, and not be judged for my current state of stoicism. Everyone seems to be an expert at whatever issue I am finally brave enough to share with them and, frankly, I’m officially all talked out. Your love is awesome, but this hurricane I am currently in has no real solution at this moment. It just has to pass.


Before I lose all my readers and friends, let me say how thankful I am to have people in my life. I value your presence. I truly do, but what I miss most about “friendship” is the art of silence. I miss those days when a friend comes over, hears you out, let’s you cry super hard, and just sits there. They don’t try to cheer you up, or try to push you to react; they simply hold space, a quiet space where you can break and rebuild yourself when you are ready.

Lately, I’ve been told I am always the one with a plan. I am the one that motivates, elevates, and inspires, but I have a confession. Right now, I am very much the opposite of these things. I’ve lost my dad, my stepmom, my grandpa, my dog of 16 years, and a few good friends in the past 2 years. I’m about to lose my godfather and my grandma to terminal cancer. All I am able to do right now is exist and learn to accept loss. It’s the most humbling experience of my life, and while I know I will get my groove back, at this moment, I just want to sit in silence and be present.

As the holidays approach, I try to think about what I am thankful for…why I am here in this life? And my core values are still intact. I am thankful for my kids, my husband, my family, my neighbors, my women’s group, and most of all, my passions that have weathered this storm of emotions with me yet remained strong. However, for once in my life, I am without words and it feels merited, at least for now.


Recently, I went to Georgia to take care of my godfather and spend time with my grandma in hospice. It was in those moments of stagnant time spent that I realized how much of my life I have spent in “on” mode. Since the day I was born, I have been in serious survival mode. My home life was always changing. My parents never got along. Madness was always right around the corner it seemed. So, you can imagine how relieved I was when I graduated high school. I hit the ground running to make a better life for myself. I guess I feared if I ever just paused, sat quietly, then maybe I would miss an opportunity to grow.

In all honesty, I was right. I spent my 20’s with blinders on and the end game in sight. This focus and determination lifted me over hurdle after hurdle until it got me where I am now. I’m a mom of 2, running both my production services business, & my husband’s sign painting business. I’m even about to launch one more endeavor in June 2019, that could be my greatest contribution to society yet. More on that later, but the point is this…focus and drive were crucial for me straight out of the gate. It’s pushed me from mile marker 1 to mile marker 10 in this marathon of life. However, somewhere around marker 9, the blinders got ripped off and I was forced to see the scenery around me. It wasn’t pretty but it needed me. So, I had to stop dead in my tracks and handle what I saw.

The last few years have not been about me at all. It’s been about investing my time, not my voice, to many I left in my dust when I finally decided to “do me”. I guess I thought time would always be on my side. I had been a loyal, “good” kid all my life, so surely if I took a decade to really invest in me, no one would notice, right?

I’m at a loss for words realizing how very wrong I was to think this way. I’m not upset at my choices in life. Self-care is important. But that wasn’t what I was doing for the past decade. I was filling voids with fundraisers and volunteering. I was consuming dead space with red carpet events and fancy wrap parties. I was avoiding hard talks for fear of being vulnerable. I just wanted to be the girl who beat the odds so bad that I forgot to give myself a break and enjoy the journey.

And when I hit Marker 10 and life literally threw a nail strip in my path, I learned real quick that the only way out of this one was to flip the “off” switch and sit in silence until the world around me stopped spinning. I’m almost ready to start running again. But for the next 8 miles in this particular race, I’m gonna try a different tactic. It’s not about blinders. It’s gonna be about observation and strategy.

I’m going to make time to sit in the woods alone and just listen to nothing. I’m gonna have hard talks and follow up by holding space, not giving advice. I’m going to accept that I don’t know everything and that’s ok. And I’m going to say “no” if asked to join or do something that may push me beyond my capacity.

All I really want for Christmas is silence. My world is still spinning. This nail strip has not been lifted yet, but at least I am now brave enough to lift my face from the pavement, stand quietly in the middle of this storm, and let my roots hold me steady. I don’t have to cheer up. I don’t have to have motivation. I don’t have to listen to advice. I just have to stand in silence, be a little off, and learn whatever I can from this delay in my marathon.

My hope is that I don’t see this time in life as a pause, but more of an awakening to a deeper part of my soul. I ask friends and family to not lose faith in me. And maybe, just maybe…you will have a moment to sit with me in silence.


Love and Hugs,

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JB McCann has worked in “The Biz” for almost a decade, yet she’s somehow managed to keep her feet firmly on the ground. Her altruistic spirit aims to evoke your Inner Phoenix and encourage readers to take the difficult leaps in life, so you can continue to grow.

Find Yourself a Mentor

BY: Padraic Maroney – “The Neurotic Urban Millennial”

I’ve been lucky to have many people as mentors to me throughout my life.

From the time I was in high school, my ninth-grade English teacher helped to nurture my writing ambitions and suggested that I call to join the writing panel for the local newspaper. It was there that I met my first editor, which led to meeting the woman who would be my boss at Teen People. A few years later, after breaking my foot, I met my running coach. I have benefited greatly through the compassion and experience of these talented and accomplished people.

They’ve all taken the time to help and teach me, whether it was taking time to give me career advice, offer guidance through life’s trials and tribulations, or more technical advice. Having a mentor is important for teen’s and young adults, as they set out to chart their path in the world.

Anyone who is in college, or just graduated, and thinks they know everything that there is to know, will undoubtedly get metaphorically punched in the face by the real world. There’s so much to learn, and as I’ve found out a lot lately; you don’t know, what you don’t know until you don’t know it. Having experienced people who have previously gone through the exact same things that you are going through currently, is more beneficial than you’ll ever know.

To anyone reading this, I suggest that if you are in the position to mentor someone, you seize it. Or, if you are just starting out, find someone that you can trust, who is willing to help mentor you. You’ll be surprised how many people are willing to help out and provide advice when asked. Based on my experiences, I’ve tried to help out and pay it forward to those younger than me.

However, just like when you were a kid and were shocked to see your teacher out at the grocery store, it’s hard to see them in a different type of role than what you are used to seeing them. Seeing teachers outside of the classroom always elicits excitement from students. As US Weekly likes to say — Teachers: They’re Just Like Us!

With mentors, it can be a harder transition. For lack of a better term, there’s a power differential. They are the wise old sage, and you are the younger person just starting out.

What do you do when you get older and the relationship needs to evolve? Similarly to watching your parents age, the needs of each person in the relationship changes. The scope in which you see your mentor expands. They aren’t just there for the role you know them in, but rather they are regular people who have juggling priorities, stress at work, the families and loved ones that they have outside of the paradigm that you usually interact with them.

It can be an awkward shift as this all comes into focus, and can include disappointment when you first see this shift, if you aren’t ready for it to happen. You still see them with the golden halo on, unable to do anything wrong, and it can sting when they do — whether through something that is within their control or not.

That’s the crux of it. How do you find that balance, and evolve the relationship from mentor and mentee to one of mutual friendship? Sometimes it’s hard. Over the last 20 years, there have been varying degrees to which I have been able to do this. Some of these relationships have seamlessly shifted into a friendship, while others have run their course, and others are still stuck in that awkward middle place of wanting to honor what they’ve done for me, while also trying to assert my own knowledge and experience.

As awkward as this change might be at times, it’s part of growing up. It was also awkward when I found out (Spoiler alert: Kids avert your eyes) Santa Claus isn’t real in third grade. It’s part of growing up, the shifting worldview and being flexible enough to go with it.

Regardless of your worldview, the best thing we can do is to find a mentor to help you shape it.


Padraic Maroney hails from upstate New York, suffering from middle child syndrome.  His writing career began after moving to the Philadelphia suburbs while in high school. He wrote for The Bucks County Courier Times’ Reality section, written by local teenagers, and has the distinction of writing a weekly gossip column for a college newspaper at a school he didn’t even attend! His love of pop culture led him to intern at Teen People, where he met Janis Gaudelli, and realized he could turn being a millennial into a career. Since then he’s alternated between writing and marketing, but always focused on Millennials and everything they bring to the table. Padraic is a lover of shenanigans, 80s music, and the movie “Scream.”

You can follow his additional adventures on Instagram: @padraicjacob