The Freak Found true love at Mermaid’s Chair in St. Thomas and You Won’t Believe Who It Is!

Blogger: Cherry Maggiore – “The Freak of Nurture”

Chapter 24: Finding true love at the Border

The bright, Caribbean sun beats down on my red shoulders as I hear the snap of my flip flop over the roar of the waves at Mermaid’s Chair.

During my vacation, this is the fifth time I’ve hiked down to this beautiful tiny slice of beach called Mermaid’s Chair in St. Thomas.  Yet this is the first time I wore flip-flops.

I’m with nine of my good friends (all who wore proper water shoes or sneakers), and we are hiking toward a massive boulder that overlooks the entire beach. The terrain is extremely rocky with small patches of sand and beach (I learned during the trip the entire beach is comprised of Metaconglomerate rock), so it was an absolute necessity to don appropriate footwear.

SIDEBAR: What I learned from one of our tour guides (and Sciencing.com) is that conglomerate rock is made of smaller particles of rock and sand collected in the sediment of streams, rivers or oceans.  If this rock experiences metamorphism caused by geological events such as tectonic plate collision or subduction, the rock becomes metaconglomerate. Apparently, when there was a tectonic shift in this region, the metaconglomerate rock created one of the most magical natural places on earth.

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Let’s get back to my flip flop fiasco…

Immediate regret washes over me as I navigate the slippery rocks and continuous waves. With complete frustration, I yell out, “Fuck! My flip-flop broke! What an idiot!!!”

I look out at my friends all happily climbing the rocks, easily traipsing through waves to get to the main boulder. And I’m red hot pissed off…

Luckily my friend Jason Rodriguez (aka Jay) was behind me, and he helped me regain my footing.  Jay checks to see if my flip flop is salvageable.  Of course, it is not.  So, I do what I do best, beat myself up for not making a wiser choice.

I say to him, “I’ve come here five times already, what would possess me to wear these stupid shoes?”

Jay says to me, “Cherry, stop!  Stop beating yourself up!  You can get through this, and I’m gonna guide you.  I’ll teach you how to get back to the beach in one piece.  All you have to do is look for the friendlies.”

I turn to him with a smirk and ask in a snarky tone, “Jay, what the fuck is a friendly?”

He continues unaffected by my pouty attitude, “At an Anthony Robbins convention, I learned a fundamental lesson as I faced a path filled with broken glass that I had to cross.  He taught us, that when you are faced with treacherous terrain, you need to look for the friendlies. In your case, the friendlies are the rocks that are flat and smooth, just take this one step at a time and look for the friendlies; like this one right here.  Friendlies are all around you, you just have to relax, be present and take one step at a time.”

I’m listening intently trying to process how his advice is going to help when I’m facing another 15 minutes of climbing boulders, rocks, and waves BAREFOOT!

Jay takes my hand and walks with me as he points out the friendlies.  They are everywhere and then as my panic subsides I start to see them.  It clicks finally and I gratefully say to Jay, “Thank you…I get it.  I’d like to walk the rest of the way by myself.”

With Jay’s voice in my head, I kept repeating, “be present, one step at a time, look for the friendlies.”  There were moments I would gaze up at the long stretch ahead of me and get overwhelmed, but Jay’s voice popped up again and said, “be present, one step at a time, look for the friendlies.”  It became a chant that I said out loud, as I carefully walked along the jagged shoreline.

Before I knew it, I crossed the final boulder landing safely on the sandy beach, with no cuts or bruises. I turn to Jay as he arrived in the same spot and dramatically declared, “Jay, today, YOU were my friendly.”

At that moment, Jay wasn’t just a friend he was my guide who led me to safe passage with sage advice and patience.  How lucky was I to have such a friend?

But then after the gratitude wore off, I put on my analytical hat and recognized that in my own time of need, I cruelly beat myself up for a poor choice.

The irony was not lost on me.  Clearly, I was not MY “friendly”, I was my enemy.

As I reflected on this a bit more…it was clear to me that this was meant to be.  I was supposed to wear the flip flops, Jay was supposed to be there with me to guide me through it, and all my hope for this trip came to fruition because of this experience.

If you are a reader of The Daily Feels and my blog, you would know that I’ve candidly shared my journey of discovery and healing.   I’ve told sordid tales about my divorce from the Chupacabra to the visitation battles, then there’s the hideous online dating life and finally all my Daddy issues.

Even as I’ve exposed my innards to a broad audience of friends, family, and strangers, I understood the blessing and the opportunity.  This experience has far exceeded my expectations.  The fact that people show up to read and support me as I process my life, as I’ve publicly peeled the onion (and yes, it often made me cry and smelled really fucking bad), still surprises and delights me.

And all the while, I knew it was leading me to an important transition in my life.  I knew I was on the right path, but I didn’t know where it was going or what I would find at the end of the journey…  I just opened my heart and went full force down the rabbit hole of my life (yes, lots of metaphors today).

After a year of pouring my heart out, I was totally pumped for this time off in St. Thomas with my good friends.  Hopeful in fact.  I felt that I was on the brink of a transformative moment.  Something big awaiting at the end of the runway where the sun was shining.  Maybe, just maybe, love was waiting for me on the sandy shores of this beautiful Caribbean island.

And I had big plans for my vacation…what I find so interesting is that most people (including me!) will starve themselves, stop drinking, exercise like crazy and have themselves on a strict regimen, then do the EXACT opposite while on vacation and feel like crap half the time.

With my newfound commitment to eliminating ALL external abusers and my own self-abuse (that’s right Benjamin P, I will never allow myself to be a victim again!), I walked into this vacation with a new mindset and an aggressive set of goals.

After SUBTRACTING many negative things from my life over the past two years…it was time to ADD in the good stuff.  To bring on the self-care and self-respect… to fill my life and body with the “friendlies.”

My nine ADDITIONS for St. Thomas were as follows:

  1. Stay Smoke-Free! After just quitting 12 days before the trip (through hypnosis which was INCREDIBLE. If you are interested PM me and I will get you the name of the hypnotist), I was truly committed to going smoke-free. Mind you, I never smoked in front of my kid, but who’s fooling who, she was old enough to smell it on me…this was my pledge to her and to me.
  2. Exercise every single day for at least 45 minutes. Right now, I attend two hours of Ballroom dancing per week and do 15 minutes of calisthenics every day. Then two other days a week, I work-out with my daughter, MSP.  I’m committed to being active, and I didn’t want to lose momentum on vacation.  In fact, I wanted to up the ante; no freakin’ excuses.
  3. Read and finish a book. I used to LOVE to read and would devour a book on every plane ride.  For whatever reason, I stopped (maybe lack of time and patience, Social Media ADD,etc.).  Luckily another friendly in my life (Lauren Hammer of Hammer Leadership) introduced me to Brené Brown…I decided to read Braving the Wilderness her latest book.
  4. Make healthy choices. And even attempt to lose 5 lbs!  I know, I know this is an aggressive goal…losing weight on vacation is a ridiculous goal.  It’s lofty but possible…
  5. Write! Write for my blog or just what inspires me.  Nourish this passion while my mind was clear and open.
  6. Be comfortable with silence and do something alone. I’m a total scaredy cat, especially with  noises and the dark (snicker all you want) on top of that being alone was never comfortable for me.  Silence, for me, is louder than New Year’s Eve smack in the middle of Times Square. I wanted to challenge this issue and face my fears so I can be more at ease with going solo.
  7. Be present and Social Media free. Shut it down and do NOT post.  Typically, I post most of my adventures on FB…but I wanted this time away to be mine so I could focus on healing my mind and my heart.
  8. Get a good night’s sleep. I was NOT going to stay up late and get up late. I wanted to enjoy the morning…even if it’s a lazy morning.  The goal was to get at least 7-8 hours sleep each evening and go to bed before Midnight.
  9. Do something new! Try a new sport or adventure. Something I never did before or was afraid to try.
  10. Find love. I didn’t know who, so I just left that to fate.

Drum roll, please……

I’m happy to report that eight out of the 10 “St. Thomas Additions” were completed successfully!

The two I failed were #1 and #4.  I tripped up on the smoking two different nights (I cracked after a few too many drinks and great convo around some of the smokers on the trip).  However, I was smoke-free most days; the better news is that I got right back on the bandwagon…smoke-free again and committed to staying that way!

While I did do my best to eat healthily, there were lots of late-night meals and hard to resist rice and beans and pasta. I didn’t lose five lbs, I gained three (FUCK!!!) even with all the working out.  But I am confident I’ll get that off in no time and then some…

I finished Braving the Wilderness and it couldn’t have been more appropriate as a catalyst for what was to come later in the trip (I highly recommend it! Thank you, Lauren!).  While sitting on the outdoor deck overlooking Mermaid’s Chair I wrote most of this blog.  I totally shut down social media to live in each moment and have deep talks with my friends.  I tried paddle boarding at Maho Beach in St. John’s; it was cool but nothing earth-shattering.

And every single day of the trip, I brought a new “friendly” with me and hiked down to Mermaid’s Chair to work out and just breath in the beauty of that magical place.

There was one day when I hiked there on my own, and it was by far the best day I had!  That was the day, I fell in love.  With me.

This was nothing I have ever felt before…I wasn’t ashamed of loving myself, it actually felt like a warm embrace and my heart was full.

Like the Metaconglomerate rock we discovered on Mermaid’s Chair, I had my own tectonic shift during this week; my own volcanic eruption that exposed all the pain I’ve kept in my life.  The abuse that I welcomed was totally unearthed, especially the cruelty to the person I should love the most (besides my daughter)…ME.  It was time to fucking let it go.

At dusk on our last full day on the island, I went to say good-bye to Mermaid’s Chair and watch the sunset with two of my “friendlies” from the trip, Anthony and Angelo (my best friend June’s son and nephew).  They promised to climb that boulder I missed on the last outing (cause of the flip flop fiasco), and we could watch the sun sink into the horizon from the top of the rock.

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As I looked out at the unbelievably beautiful, sparkling blue sky that was swiftly turning orange and pink, I said to myself…

“Enough.  I surrender.  I have no more room in my life for the pain to wallow in.  No more reason to feel sorry for myself because I am not a victim.  There is no one I can love, without first loving myself wholly and completely.  This is not a game, and this is no longer acceptable.   I am shutting down the hallways of the memories and abuse that reside in my mind and refilling them with new memories and friendlies.  I move forward to love. To joy. To learning.  To fill the holes with goodness, with life.”

I inhaled sharply, the air sweet from the sun and salty from the ocean, then exhaled long and hard…and with this last breath I released my past and my pain into the Caribbean Sea (insert dramatic movie soundtrack).

As I climbed down that big freakin’ boulder with Anthony and Angelo, we laughed the entire way.  Once we landed on the beach, I freely, contentedly and gratefully walked over the Metaconglomerate rocks in my sneakers, “present, one-step at a time, with my freaky friendlies by my side.”

Xoxo, Cherry

P.S. I hope today, on International Women’s Day, you are inspired to wholly love the amazing woman you are and that you will continue to become!

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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.

Dr. Who and Ice Cream Will Always Be Waiting After My Long Rides On The Pain Train

Blogger: Demetrious McMullen – “Ruler of Androdgeny”

Sometimes we feel helpless. I have been feeling helpless for years. Occasionally, I feel powerful, but it never lasts. Right now it has been hell. I left college and moved. I’m now taking online courses and after moving, needed to change how I got my infusions. Without a primary care in the area, there’s no way for me to get it in a hospital (the doctor prescribing must have privileges to the facility). I thought about home infusions. I’m getting this medication for the rest of my life, so why not? Who wants to spend a their time in a hospital once a month?
So, we first had to wait for my Port-A-Cath to heal. I got it placed in early January. Then, the insurance company gave me a list of infusion companies. Every single one did not work out. The insurance could not provide me with one infusion company that was compatible. After finally finding one on my own, we had to get a prior authorization. After waiting almost two weeks, it got denied. I don’t get this. It’s CHEAPER for insurance to provide home infusions. I have been getting these for a while in hospitals. Okay, waste more money if that’s what you really want! The thing is, I don’t know where else they would expect me to get my infusions without the access to a nearby infusion center. It has been almost 3 months since my last infusion and they are meant to be monthly. I haven’t left the house in over three weeks. It hurts. I don’t have all of my medication, I don’t have the correct mobility tools, and I don’t have much left in me. My C-reactive protein was THIRTEEN! That is not good.
I’ve been trying to raise money through a GoFundMe. The insurance only covers specific wheelchairs and the type that I need is not covered. It seems as if insurance companies want to ruin everyone’s lives. I can’t get my new wheelchair, I can’t get my infusions, what will be next? The GoFundMe is called “Help me be mobile” and it has a Facebook page as well. Yes, I shamelessly advertised my page that begs for money. The pain, dizziness, numbness, and weakness all gets unbearable and I can’t even walk in the morning.
The pain is difficult to describe. One thing I can tell you is that I have experienced the taste of pain. I have no way of accurately portraying this feeling to someone else and I don’t know how successful this will be, but I’m going to try to poem it out. It’ll be about the taste of pain and anything else that comes out. I think it’s important to open up about these things and let them out 🙂
Pain
It tastes like metal that has been bent;
Metal left out in the rain;
Metal rusty.
Hospital smells and dentist offices. The grinding of teeth.
Knots in my cheeks
Jaw tension.
Inflammation.
Fire.
How am I? Stop asking. I’m tired.
I’m freezing, yet my body is hot.
Bruises on my knees from
walking.
Pain in my jaw from
talking.
Sore throat.
Please, no more coughing.
Asthma has a jam.
I can’t breathe. Damn!!
My chest hurts.
My back hurts.
My everything hurts.
My heart hurts.
I am hurt.
Why is my body fucking attacking itself?
Dry eyes,
Dry mouth,
I need to cry,
But it is so dry.
Another diagnosis??
Secondary Sjogren’s syndrome
Dry dry dry!!
Eye abrasion
Never enough hydration.
I need water. I need to pee.
I cant walk. Someone help me.
I can’t use my hands to write.
My joints are in a battlefield. They fight.
Fighting the fire without any help.
I can’t hear them yelp,
But I know they are losing.
I can feel it in my bones.
I can taste the fire. I can taste the rust.
I need water. I need to pee.
I fall down. My body hates me.
I can joke all I want, but I still taste the pain.
I can joke all I want, but I want to live and remain sane.
I wake up and the first thing I think is about what is hurting. I absolutely always think about what medications I have to take and what pain I’m feeling. I am hit with pain as soon as I move, most of the time having a lack of feeling in some limbs.
Do you know how many joints the human body has? I’m not sure, but I can feel them all. I have never in my life been more aware of what and where a joint is. I have never been more aware of the joints in a person’s hand. I’m going to count right now how many moving parts of my hand I can see. Thirty in my two hands! I can feel them all scream.
If they could talk, they may say “I’m bruising!! Help!” Or “my apartment is on fire! I need the fire department before I burn alive!”
Inflammation is the fire… get it? Because they all have their own little apartments… in my hand. Okay, maybe I’m not funny, but I tried! It’s the thought that counts. What I’m trying to say is that there may not be a way to even explain how much pain I am experiencing right now, but I can try to joke about it!
In contrast to what I just said, I said in my poem that I could joke all I want, but I can still feel the pain and I want to live and remain sane. I believe that jokes are wonderful. I think they make everyone happier. Although, after nearly three months without my medication (Remicade) for Ankylosing Spondylitis, typical asthma issues, more medications for yet another autoimmune disease, and horrible GI issues, I’m finding it hard to do everything.
I need to see a pulmanologist again, a new neurologist, and a GI doctor. It’s overwhelming, especially with how the insurance has been lately. I wish that I had everything I needed. I could be so much healthier and be doing so much more than I am now. It’s like there is a beam of sunlight that is about to hit me with it’s warmth, but it’s just not quite here yet. I love to joke, I really do. It lightens situations, but now is a hard time to joke.
I want to say something. I want to have a blog that ends with a positive message, even after all of the bad information and emotion.
This is what I know: the positives!
Support.
I have support! I have pain and I have these conditions, but I have help.
My fiancee, Lindsay helps me everyday with tasks. Every single day is a day that she takes time to help take care of me.
We have our dog, Ziggy (he is a cat, but a dog at heart) that follows us everywhere in the home and is constantly asking for attention.
I also have my friends and family to talk to. I can rely on them whenever I need help.
I have something magical… doctor who and ice cream. That is one of the best combinations to generate the feeling of betters. Sit back, watch the television, and eat the SUGAR!
Back to the seriousness, I also know that I have tools/methods like heating pads and ice packs, hot showers and vaporub, television and video games, music and art, photography and poety, a dog that meows and a fantastic fiancée!
I can utilize all of these things in my life to ask for help, destress, ease a little pain, let out my negative energy, cry, scream, and most importantly, take care of myself. Self care is so important to any person’s health and it is different for all of us! Whatever pains you, autoimmune diseases or that ex that won’t leave you alone because “you’re the one, babe”, we all have a lot of stuff to deal with. Without self care, us fragile humans would break!
Take care of yourselves, everyone. Thanks for being a part of the Reoccurring Emotions…
Or the Daily Feels… Bye! 🙂
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Dem
Demetrious McMullen is currently a college student. They are taking online courses at Westchester Community College for now, but the future is a slight mystery with many directions to take. They are a human services major now, but used to be a theatre major until taking classes online. Demetrious is a vocalist and pianist. They also play baritone ukulele, guitar, violin, xylophone, djembe, hand percussion, and more! Demetrious is also an actor, photographer, and painter. Demetrious is a caregiver and loves to teach. They want to be a special education teacher one day, and at some point, perform the arts they love to do. They want to combine their knowledge from music, theatre, caregiving, and human services to become the ULTIMATE teacher for the young students with special needs in this world. Demetrious was a student in special education programs and had experiences with teachers who didn’t expect much from them. Some teachers spoke down to the students in class. Dem wants to tell their students every day that they have potential!!
Demetrious is part of the LGBTQ community. They are Pansexual and Trans-male/Androgynous and uses pronouns they/them or he/him. Demetrious is chronically ill and two of their most debilitating conditions are Ankylosing Spondylitis and Asthma. They only listed those two, because they don’t want you to be reading this all day
Demetrious lives with their chronic illness every day and it is tough, but giving up is not an option. Chronic illness will not win! Demetrious’ plan is to break stereotypes and exist freely. Let’s break the gender binary, tell ALL of the stories, and shut down fallacies about people with disabilities!

“All I am is Just a Housewife”…How taking a role in a musical made me realize how much I really am

Blogger: Jennifer Angarano-Ricci – “Ms. Happy, Alive & Built to Survive

I said that I wasn’t going to audition for the show.  I was definitely sitting this one out…

Yeah, of course I auditioned!  Even though I was a little overwhelmed with the kid’s senior year activities, I auditioned.  What I didn’t expect though, was being cast into a role that would really make me look at my life.

The show is Working, a musical with a book by Stephen Schwartz and Nina Faso, music by Schwartz, Craig Carnelia, Micki Grant, Mary Rodgers, Lin-Manuel Miranda and James Taylor, and lyrics by Schwartz, Carnelia, Grant, Taylor, and Susan Birkenhead.  The musical is based on the book by radio personality Studs Terkel, Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do (1974), which has interviews with people from different regions and occupations.  I had originally auditioned for the role of the Millworker (which is a well-known song by James Taylor), but ended up being cast at Kate, the Housewife, who sings the song, Just a Housewife.  The song tells of Kate’s experience of daily activities and how what she does and thinks may not matter to anyone else, but it does to her- That she’s MORE than just a housewife.

While I’m preparing for this role, I’ve also been cleaning out our basement- you know- Marie Kondo-ing everything, when I came across a few things.

First, I found a sealed envelope that had Jennifer Angarano written on it.  Hmmm.  Why would I not have opened something from like 20 years ago or so?  BECAUSE I WAS MEANT TO FIND IT NOW.  Lately, I’ve felt useless, obsolete, just a boring “mom”- but this letter said otherwise.  Here it is (minus certain identifying marks of the person who wrote it- although some may figure out its author):

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I’m NOT just a boring, middle-aged mom- I AM A MUSICIAN!  And a good one!  So many people know me for singing at church, baking cakes, etc.- but not everyone knows that I have a degree in Music Education, and honestly, even I forget that in my day to day activities.  I can sight read anything you place in front of me, and then analyze it! Ha!  This letter made me feel like a million bucks, and it came at a time when I was feeling more like a bounced check!

Next, I found my old art portfolio.  The zipper was rusted shut, so Anthony & I had to cut it open, but when we did- a treasure trove of myself was released!

When I was in my mid-twenties, I wanted to be Carmelite Nun.  I was particularly interested, and on board to enter a group of nuns that were three monasteries combining to form one newer and larger monastery.  Here is a triptych that I painted for them.  The outside had the logo of three Carmelite Communities becoming one, and the inside is Our Lady of Carmel, flanked on either side by St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, the founders of the Discalced Carmelites.

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I was very interested in painting religious miniatures at that time, and here are two of those (not great quality pics, but, hey-not bad for an iPhone):

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The Holy Trinity, with Heaven and Earth /// The Virgin Mary and the Conception of Jesus

 

I also found a few religious songs that I wrote, but that can be for another story…

So, you see, we bury ourselves in our day to day activities and duties, and sometimes we lose the fact that we are much, much more than those activities and labels that are put upon us.  Maybe I AM a housewife- but I am a hell of a lot MORE, too!

Peace and love to each of you.

Come see me be Just a Housewife in April in Working, a Musical.  Here’s the info:

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Here’s the song, too- I KNOW you’re waiting to listen…


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Jennifer Angarano Ricci is a wife, mother & creative soul-searcher.  She is a musician, artist, and baker, and runs her home business Baked By Jen, in addition to running her local community theater group.  She loves to sing, create and help others and tries to connect all three passions whenever possible.

THE ART OF THINKING AND ITS WISDOM

Blogger: Nancy Fraioli – “The Queen of Ageless Wisdom”

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Thinking begins with a single thought. Running through my mind, at this very moment, are images of Rodin’s “Thinker” in various sizes; infant, early childhood, high school/ college and adulthood.

What was Rodin thinking about as he created his massive Thinker? First, the public believed Rodin was depicting The Gates of Hell describing his poem. The statue was also known as The Poet. Rodin wanted his Thinker to be nude and patterned his Thinker after Michelangelo’s statue called “Il Penseroso. So, first he was a Thinker, then a poet and lastly, a creator! The Thinker also represents Philosophy. This huge sculpture seems to be lost in thought but his powerful body suggests a capacity for action and has become one of the most famous sculptures known.

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Now, that I’ve paid due respect to Rodin and his work of art, I’d like to use another point of view that centers completely around thinking as a process. Thinking is one of our most valuable reasoning powers. What do you think?

At the outset, I asked you, the reader, to visualize the Thinker in four sizes. The point is to
conceive thinking at various ages. An article which I’ve read concerning fetal development; it’s in the third trimester the baby’s brain rapidly develops. So, thinking, remembering and feeling are taking place.

Now, let’s visualize an infant in his/her crib or playpen. The infant may roll around, bump and thump across the crib and eventually pull himself/herself up and kneel or stand. I’m sure, if you are a parent, you may have witnessed these movements. My point is what happens to the infant when he or she flops over? Are they startled? Or amused or frightened? I ask because this could be the beginning of how an infant learns responses. How the parent reacts! Does the parent show encouragement or smother the child with comfort or fear? As the infant moves from stage to stage, he learns what he/she can do, also little ones are gathering knowledge and youthful wisdom. They know how to react to their parents responses. They are learning about fear, doubt and positive responses as well. Mostly, they are perceptive and will begin to manipulate those in charge of them. As the infant advances to adulthood, his life’s blueprint has been set. You think? Are you with me?

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No, I’m not a Doctor or in the medical field but I’ve always have had a deep interest in the process of thinking. I like to do my own thinking. Following others ideas is not always wise. They may lead me to where I really don’t want or should not go. Of course, I’m always open to new ideas but I want to be in charge of my God given thoughts.

So, Auguste Rodin, I salute you and your famous Thinker! Forgive me for dragging your
enormous Thinker through the growing years but I find that it’s a good experience to revisit the thinking developmental steps. Remember what we have been told, and still are, about the base, the structural ground foundation! Strong roots and superstructure lend to firm and sturdy beginnings.

Now that I’ve laid my substructure for thinking, I must defend my ideas and opinions why being a positive thinker definitely outweighs a negative one. Certainly, both cross the mind, the brain! But the final choice must lean toward the undeniable plus side! The only time I want to see the + (plus) and – (minus) signs are on a battery! But batteries, after a time do die!

Our brains, our minds, are our most valuable commodities. We have a responsibility to
ourselves, and all others, to use our thinking gifts properly. We, too, have an accountability to keep ‘watch’ that others never exploit those who may not be able to express their thoughts.

My defense for positivity remains! I am using a songwriter of the 40’s, Johnny Mercer’s song, “You’ve Gotta Accentuate the Positive and Eliminate the Negative….” a 40’s wartime ‘feel good’ song! Purposely written to make Americans feel good! Because the war was dragging everyone down emotionally! This song was a mood lifter for our country! So, music is a miraculous lifter! Music, Plays, motivational speakers all lend to the positive thinking side of life. On an everyday level, be careful who you listen to and whom you surround yourself with!

If I find a moment, and that’s all it takes to slide down to negativity, I turn to Carol Burnett and Tim Conway and his “Elephant story!”

deb2Or Lucille Ball’s antics or a feel good singer like Linda Eder or Abbott and Costello story! Of course, I have to hang on, more than ever, to my God life line! Everyday living is not for wimps!! Every day is twenty-four hours of combat! The brain, while we sleep, is relaxed and it cleans itself up! It’s always ready to do battle for us.  Treat it with respect! Give it breaks of laughter, love and positivity! It’s your best friend! Become a positive thinker and throw out a lifeline to those who seem to be sinking into negativity.
And, please remember the famous question: What are you thinking???

I want to shout out a big “Thank You” to Janis Gaudelli and her bloggers on the Daily Feels. These writers extend and expose their hearts, life stories and emotions, for us and to us so we can better understand both sides of the coin: positive and negative! We learn from each other. We are all like beautiful blocks of marble…we, too, can carve out our best work!

Thank you Rodin! Of course, Michelangelo and his vision, his idea, his thinking of The David locked up in that block of marble. Unlock yourself! Accentuate the Positive side of you!

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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!

Sports Mom Life

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

March came in like a lion! It was a reminder to self that it’s that time of the year again!

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So the fun begins. It’s sports mom season.

Some of you may be wondering what the heck a Sports Mom is, and the other half of you are doing a collective sigh.

When my son was in kindergarten, we thought it was cute to sign him up for sports.  You buy their cleats; you get their uniforms; you go to their games; you invite everybody and their mother to watch; you spend one million dollars on team photos (okay, maybe I am exaggerating but, it sure feels that way).

As time goes on you realize that this isn’t just for fun. By second grade, it becomes pretty stark competition. People tend to fight over who’s going to be coach; what team you’re going to be on; who gets played and how much time your kid gets to play.

It would be foolish to think that there’s not politics, money, and popularity that come along with all the sports teams. It is not always talent that gets you chosen.

Fast forward to March 2019, my son is now signed up to play on three teams for the spring: two baseball teams and one basketball team.  I think we have had a two week break from winter basketball, and he is already talking about the need to work out this summer, in order to prep for football season in September.

My daughter, on the other hand, always wanted to be a cheerleader. We did the obligatory tumbling, dance, ballet, gymnastics, and hip hop classes (Be Advised: start saving at birth, unless you are independently wealthy.  Don’t say I did not warn you.)

I thought “oh, how simple is that, as it won’t be as much running around like with my son”.  However, I had no idea the amount of work that went into cheerleading. If anyone doesn’t call it a sport, you’re out of your mind.  My daughter recently relayed a conversation to me, where a boy in her seventh grade class said cheer is not a sport.  Well, my daughter gave it to him. She said “oh yeah you try doing tumbling, and gymnastics, and throwing hundred pound girls in the air, and having to catch them. Don’t tell me it’s not a sport”. He agreed after. I am still not sure if it was because he really did, or her fierceness made him agree.

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Little did I know what came along with cheer? There’s gymnastics and tumbling, and when you’re not cheering for the football team, you’re in competition season. Cheer is year round (I had no clue), the girls practice three times a week in the off season!

Just in case you were wondering what it takes to go to completion: hair done, bows, sneakers, uniforms, money to get into the competitions, the obligatory purchase of that week’s corresponding shirt ( because G-d forbid you don’t where it to school on Monday), and don’t forget snacks!

I would venture to say, if you’re a newbie sports mom you do not realize the level of intensity it will take to be that person. Be ready for a long road trips, hours spent on the field at baseball games (wishing it would just rain some days…don’t lie to yourself, you know you secretly wish that too sometimes)  .

The nice part about football and basketball is that they are time-limited ( I suggest reading up on sports.  It took me some time to get it all down pat, you know so I could scream at the right time during the game and embarrass my kid).

Baseball sometimes can go on for hours and don’t be fooled the cheer competitions go on all day.

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Being a sports mom is a true commitment to your children. No, I’m not complaining.  I just wish I would have known the reality of what it was like to have kids in sports. I love that they have the team, the camaraderie, the friendships and the exercise/physical part of it, which is so important (kids do not have enough time to have fun and do what they like).  It’s good to be part of a team, and for all those reasons, even if you have to give up so much of your own weekend, it really is totally worth it in the end when your kid has a big smile on their face. Show up to the game, they want you there.

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Fun Facts:

  1. I have been known to take fence photos, because after 8 years of sports I still have not invested in a high tech camera (why bother when I have spent millions on the team photos – as mentioned above.).
  2. Of course, the minute I decide to run to the store during a game, my son hits an out of the park home run.
  3. I really wish some moms would not sit next to me.  I can’t even lie here.  I don’t want to hear about your broken nail, the fact you couldn’t sleep late or how many millions you have. The only thing I care about is my kid. Good for you – but those things are not important to me.
  4. I will really try not to embarrass my kids at games anymore ( I am working on anger management –LOL).
  5. If I don’t call or text you back, try to remember between my two kids we are at practice, games and competitions seven days a week. I don’t even have time to talk to myself.
  6. I often forgot my glasses and can’t see far away. My daughter asked if I saw how great it was- well of course I did! (I watched the video later- don’t judge me )
  7. I want to raise kids who lose gracefully and win humbly
  8. I am glad you think your kid is headed to the pros, and is going to be the next Jeter or Sabathia- the statistics indicate differently. It’s great to believe this, but stop beating your kid up, and stop being obnoxious, no one wants to be around you.
  9. No, I can’t buy my kid a $600 bat, and somehow he still plays and hits balls… imagine that.
  10. I spent my first three years as a Sports Mom, clueless- but now I no longer ask what inning we are in, or what quarter.  I come armed with knowledge
  11. My husband coached basketball and baseball for all of grade school.  I have to be honest, my kids loved it and it was great. But, I am so glad that is over. I am not into politics or bullshit. Andre was so invested in the kids, he would get wild if he felt they were cheated at all. I am able to enjoy games much more now because someone else has to deal with the BS. He even got kicked out of a game once.
  12. I have been snack mom and drink mom, and I have been the mom that has forgotten both!

I would not change any of this for a second! But, there is a whole entire world out there I had no idea about before I became a SPORTS MOM!

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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.

Couch Confessionals with…Liv Mazz

Couch Confessionals is a raw, honest chat session, where we go beyond the blog and dig into deep-truths about each of The Daily Feel’s bloggers.

On this episode of Couch Confessionals, we go behind the blog and get to know one of our youth bloggers a little better. Liv Mazz, “The Lone Teen”, opens up to us about her passion for performing, what teens her age struggle with, music that lights her up, and so much more. This 14-year-old’s lens on life is beyond impressive. Watch our conversation below and you’ll see what I mean.

Special thanks our incredible editor JB McCann.

February’s “FAN OF THE FEELS” is…

This month’s “FAN OF THE FEELS”: Sandra P.
Sandra has been a loyal supporter of our since the day of launch. She has cheered us on, supported our voice and is a true believer in what we set out to do here on The Daily Feels.
Sandra has liked our posts 54 times, commented 10 times, and takes time out of her busy schedule to read all of our blogs. For that and more, we are so very grateful and want to honor you as February’s, FAN OF THE FEELS!

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Frozen… and NO, I do not want to build a snowman

Blogger: Joan Poirier – “The Worrier Princess”

Have you ever googled “Signs of a midlife crisis”?  Of course, you haven’t. But I have. I google EVERYTHING.  Sometimes, this is a useful tool. Other times a crippling handicap.  If you read my last blog post, you will know that I may have a small problem with overthinking (understatement?)

See, the thing is, I am FROZEN.  And not in a joyful, sing-song, Disney sort of way. Although sometimes I “get” Elsa…. I too, lock myself up when I am feeling like I will do more harm than good by being around people.  

I find myself stuck in my own head.  In a state of reflection and fear. Reflecting on anything and everything in my life, past and present.  This is not a bad thing in general. I believe you should frequently revisit your past, to remind yourself how far you have come.   How much you have overcome, despite any bad cards you may have been dealt. How many hands you won, even when you were given the right cards, but played them all wrong.  But lately, all I can do is focus on fear. Fear that all the mistakes I have made, will define me. Define my future. Instead of focusing on the positives, I am stuck in a negative, debilitating state.

Sure, I get up.  I have my coffee.  I smile and send my kid to school.  I go to work, manage my schedule, and that of many others.  I pay my bills, cook dinner and do laundry.  Sometimes (though not often lately), I even convince myself that I am A-OK and get out there and smile, socialize, even gasp… LAUGH.  I know that most of this is my depression rearing its beastly, ugly head. I know this. And knowing is half the battle. But I am ignoring the other half, the half that usually tells me to step outside of the box, and DO SOMETHING to drive forward.  Instead, I am firmly planted in PARK.

Why?  I don’t know.  My youngest child will be 14 this year.  My oldest, will be 25. In many ways, I can “see the light” at the end of the tunnel.  They are more independent, I have more freedom. In a few years, my husband and I will have the freedom to up and go wherever we want, whenever we want.  That’s good, right? Maybe. So much of my identity is wrapped up in my children that I am now reflecting on if I have done, and if I am doing…. enough. I had my tubes tied after the birth of my last child… and really… you could not pay me to have another one (Hey, to each his own…).  BUT that being said, I am in the end of that phase of my life, even if I wanted another child, knowing I am past the age to reasonably, feasibly do that… to know that my body is moving into another phase of life, that eliminates that option…Sucks.

I have always embraced getting older.  But lately, I don’t know…I feel as though I am facing my mortality in some ways.  I don’t FEEL healthy. My depression is at one of the worst peaks of my life, and I do not know why.  Part of it, I know, is tied to my estrangement with my mother (again, former blog post where I talk way too much about that).  I finally got up the courage last week to drive to her house and walk up to the door, knowing full well she may slam it in my face and that it could cause me to spiral even farther, but felt that this is the only way to move forward.  But maybe the universe was telling me something as once, she was not home, and the other, I could tell by the car there, that she had company.

I know I am stuck, and I know something must give.  I have been having nightmares for the past few weeks.  Many of them revolving around pregnancy and childbirth.  Only they are not healthy pregnancies. The baby is too small or is born with a malady. Frightening visuals, that have shaken me to my core. I feel as though this is a sign… not anything to do with a child, but a need for “rebirth”.  A need to expel all that is making me feel “unwell”. Yes, I believe in all that hokey dream stuff!

I am desperately in need for change and upward movement.  Yet, knowing and feeling all of this… I have remained…FROZEN.

So, I decided to try a yoga class, which wasn’t horrible, and I will continue.  I went to the doctor that I have been avoiding for over a year, and have in hand my overdue blood work slip, and way overdue mammogram.  I am taking my vitamins, trying to rest, and I am slowly forcing myself to step into forward motion. The battle wages on….and I am a Worrier (oops, I meant WARRIOR!).  Stay tuned…


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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 dam 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.

To The Mom Sitting On The Floor With Her Child In The Cereal Aisle…You’re My Person

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

There I was, walking through my local Target when I heard familiar sounds of incessant wailing, the thud of body parts hitting the floor and the breathlessness of those involved.  My son Kellan looked at me, wide-eyed and said: “Mommy, give me hugs”.  He says that when he’s nervous and senses someone struggling—typically a child.  I looked at him and told him it’s ok, as I quicken my pace, trying to follow the wails of the child in melt-down-mode, and the parent in desperate need of help.

I track them down in the cereal aisle: Mom was on the floor, restraining her son in a familiar wrestling-type hold, trying to prevent him from banging his head on the hard tile below.  Our eyes met. There were tears in hers, then in mine.

I mouth to her, “How can I help you?”.

She replied, “We’re ok, I think.  I am just afraid to let go of him, for fear of him trying to hit his head on the floor”.

Next came those all-too familiar words I have often uttered to complete strangers: “He’s Autistic.”

I looked at her compassionately and nodded, glancing over at Kellan, “I get it.  Same.”

A sense of relief came over her, as if she had suddenly recognized me.  And, well, she did.  In that moment, we both realized that we were a part of the same tribe.  The tribe that acts as a family of sorts.  The tribe that not only gets each other, but always seems to show up when one of its members is in need.  In this mother’s moment of need, I showed up and became her person.

You see, this isn’t the first time I have come across a parent who is struggling to comfort their child with special needs through a challenging situation in public (I’ve been there too, but more on that in a moment).  We do our best to get out of the house and enter public spaces for our own sanity. To feel, well, normal (whatever that feels like).  Sometimes we succeed, and other times we find ourselves falling to pieces on the floor of a cereal aisle.  But we try.

Fuck, do we try.

We want our kids to experience typical people, places, and things, but sometimes those things trigger something and well, the next thing you know, we’re back on the floor.  Almost every time that happens, we find ourselves with an audience, its members staring at the situation as if watching a sideshow act at the zoo.   I have some simple, sage advice for those onlookers: if you’re not going to step in and help, move the hell along.

But then there’s the helper, who steps in, and just knows what to do, or at least knows to ask what’s needed.  And in that instant, the helper becomes the parent-in-need’s person.

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My person pulled her car over on a busy main street in White Plains, NY, when she saw a child struggling, and a mother failing to comfort him.  By the time she arrived, eleven people were watching the spectacle unfold on the sidewalk as I tried to restrain my six-year-old son.  The key word here is “watch”, as if we were street performers showcasing our extraordinary act.

It was anything but.

My six-year-old son was having a melt-down like no other.  In fact, I had never experienced one like it (and thankfully haven’t since).  A meltdown where he wanted to hurt himself.  Where he wanted to feel something – anything– other than what he was actually feeling.  He couldn’t verbalize what was happening, but his body made it clear: It wasn’t good.  I sat there on the cold pavement trying to help my son.  He flailed, he screamed, he was short of breath and I could not, for the life of me, find a way to soothe him.  And there stood eleven people– some snickering, one holding his camera– and no one, NOT ONE of these capable humans offered to help.

And then one did, and I wish I had asked her name because she deserves to be honored for her help.  For now, I will just call her a goddess.  A goddess who, on a Saturday afternoon, illegally double parked her car, ran over and said:
“Baby girl, I know.  Let me help you.”

My eyes welled up.  Somehow, she got those eleven bystanders to clear out, and Kellan to calm down.  She was incredible.  She grabbed my bag, helped me up off the sidewalk, caressed Kellan’s head and followed us to our car.  She helped.  She fucking helped.  And for that, SHE will forever be my person.

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I believe it was Sandra Oh’s character on Grey’s Anatomy who popularized the term: “my person” when she assigned it to her best friend on the show, Meredith Grey.  Her meaning of the term isn’t too far off from mine when I say, “my person”.  The difference is, my person is usually a stranger.  I do not know them personally, but my soul does.  .  It’s difficult to explain, but the universe draws us to each other– even if it’s for just a moment in time.  We seem to be in the same places, at the same time.  We heed the call of when and where we’re needed and have an innate sense of what needs to be done once we get there.  My person is my go-to in that desperate time of need.  That person gets me and understands what I am going through.  That person who without question, jumps into action and makes the shit-show less shitty.  That person who doesn’t know anything about me or my situation, but we’re profoundly linked on a soul level.

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My person is rarely ever the same person each time, but they always feel familiar, as if they live a similar life to my own.  My person often braves the outside world, knowing it can collapse around them at any given moment.  My person shows up to life every single day, severely sleep-deprived, and running on nothing but nerves and a cold cup of coffee.  My person sits awake in bed at night scared of what the future may hold.  My person is often guilt-ridden over the funds they don’t have for the right treatments/ therapies/specialists that can help their child thrive.  My person often looks undone, anxiety-ridden and on the verge of losing their shit.  My person sits on the floor in the cereal aisle, or on the cold sidewalk of a busy street, cradling their child who is struggling. And, on days like that Saturday in Target, I had the honor of being that person for Kelly and her son, Ryan.

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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.

FOLLOW JANIS AND THE DAILY FEELS TRIBE @:  FACEBOOK & INSTAGRAM

Device Detox

Blogger: Padriac Maroney – “The Neurotic Urban Millennial”

Did you know that in any given week there are 168 hours available? Many people will fill 35-40 hours worth of that time working. Others also use (roughly) 56 of those hours to sleep. Those two things alone take up more than half of our time in the week, not to mention commuting or doing mundane tasks like showering and grocery shopping.

Thanks to the wonders of technology, we are able to track how much time we spend staring at our mobile devices. Every Sunday when I wake up, there’s a notification on each of my Apple devices telling me how much of a zombie I have been over the last seven days. Depending on how busy I have been, my device usage can vary as much as 25% from one week to the next.

However, last Sunday I stared down in horror to see that I had been on my phone for over 40 hours in the last week. I spent a quarter of my entire week staring down at my phone. That’s not even taking into consideration the amount of  time that I had been on a computer at work, home, or on my iPad. This number horrified me. Had I basically been walking around like an extra from “The Walking Dead” all week? How can that number be so high?

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As any millennial worth their generation’s title will tell you, our smart phones tend to be  to be like an extra appendages. We use our phones to stay in the loop about everything, whether walking down the hallway, getting a quick peek between meeting, while watching TV, or just getting a last check before bed. Being constantly plugged in is our standard operating procedure.

But, in my best Carry Bradshaw voice, I had to ask, “What happens when you take the phone away from this media savvy boy?”

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I posed a challenge to myself that over the next week I would try to stay off my phone except for its intended purpose — to make phone calls. Granted this wasn’t exactly thought out well, considering I was off for President’s Day and home bored, and we had an early dismissal from work due to a snow day on Wednesday. So, basically what I’m saying is Jesus was trying to test me and, well, let’s just say my sainthood application has been declined upon further review.

The first few days I did actively try to stay off of my phone. I would see texts come in on my Apple Watch and unless they seemed urgent, or contained especially juicy gossip, I let them sit. I should note that usually I am the type who will respond to texts almost immediately. If they aren’t returned promptly, I’m usually either sleeping, predisposed for the moment, or I hate you. Usually the last option, to be honest.

Despite this fact, only one person during those first few days reached out to ask why I was ignoring them. To be honest, this was kind of disappointing. After not hearing from me for over 24 hours, why weren’t more people concerned that I wasn’t dead? I guess I can plan for low attendance at my funeral. This also wasn’t very reassuring that if I die someone would find my body before cats broke into my apartment to eat my face.

By Wednesday evening, my experiment hit a snag. Quite frankly, I’m not even going to lie. This Jussie Smollett case is bananas, and I’m full-on addicted. Similarly, to the way last Fall that I became addicted the homeless guy GoFundMe scam. I know those details so intimately, I could probably write an expose book about the case. This Jussie case has so many moving parts and so many questions, that when he became a suspect all bets were off, and I needed to be able to follow the news. It’s the little things that get me way too excited and these crazy crimes do it. In college, we used to pre-game on Friday nights before going out while watching “To Catch A Predator.” We had a drinking game for all the stupid things the perverts would do or say in an attempt to avoid jail. I know, I’m not proud of myself either for anything in this paragraph.

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The experiment as a whole wasn’t a failure. So far, with one day left to go, my cell phone screen time is down 61% this week. I’m averaging about 90 minutes per day on my phone, and that includes using it to play music on my way to work. I mean, Britney isn’t just going to magically play herself for me, now is she? (Although, let’s be real. It would be AMAZING if she did.)

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Even more than protecting myself from eye strain and the unfortunate future of possibly having to wear eye patches like some kind of old, sexy pirate, my mental strain relieved itself a little bit. I was barely on Facebook or Twitter this week, except when I was at work on a desktop. I didn’t constantly scroll through news sites on my way into work. The mental exhaustion and the way seeing so many hateful things can affect my daily mood wasn’t as prevalent. If I was in a bad mood, I only had myself to blame this week!

When we are constantly connected, we don’t realize the effect that it can have on us mentally and emotionally. There are so many negative things or just general mood triggers being transmitted through our phones that we just kind of accept it as the new normal. Almost like there is no way to escape it. Well, my friends, I am here to tell you that there is and all you have to do is go slightly Amish and disconnect for a few days.

Hopefully, you’ll have better luck than I did with people wondering if you died or not.


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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