The Power of 10

This year is a milestone year in many ways for me and the number ten appears to bee a significant one. Why is that, you might ask? It all boils down to two things—ten years ago I graduated high school and ten years ago I began working at my current employer, Kohl’s. In retrospect I have to admit that the girl I was ten years ago and the woman I am today appear to be polar opposites.

When I was eighteen I was cocky, somewhat obnoxious, and desperate for friends no matter how toxic those friendships could be. Ten years later approaching the end of my twenties I must admit that I am actually more socially awkward and starting to like myself as a person more. The person I am today has been shaped by the events of the past ten years and I feel like 2008 was an entire lifetime ago in terms of personal growth and maturity.

I wish that I could tell that eighteen-year-old that sometimes not fitting in is okay and that you don’t have to try so hard to make friends. I look at that girl in pictures and see someone who was trying too hard to be cool when in reality it was all an act. I see myself today and know that I am more self-assured and comfortable with the core group of people that I surround myself with.

I know much more about life and adulting then I did ten years ago. I pay a lot of my own bills, have my own dental and vision insurance, know how to save and budget my money, and have even paid off one of my student loans. Success for me comes in increments due to the fact that I have a nonverbal learning disability and a chromosomal abnormality.

This nonverbal learning disability affects every aspect of my life including my visual-spatial skills, my ability to navigate spaces, my coping mechanisms, and my ability to develop a social life. The only friends I have are my family members and my co-workers. I have no friends my own age and the only friends close to my age are online and live far away from me.

Despite all of this I must admit that I am very fortunate in the life that I have. I have a supportive and loving family who provides support and encouragement and can take me to all of the places I need to or want to go to. I literally work five minutes away from my house in a store where I am loved and respected by co-workers, managers, and supervisors. I have been the recipient of accolades from customers and my employer including winning associate of the month twice in my ten-year tenure at my store. Did I ever anticipate this ten years ago when I first started working there? No, I must admit that I did not. I had unrealistic aspirations that I was going to go away to college after two years of community college. I now realize that this would have been a mistake because I am in no way, shape, or form prepared for independent living.

When I look at my high school classmates on social media, I see engagements, weddings, children, expensive vacations, and their own homes. Do I want that kind of life? I do not because I like the feeling of being able to live my life on my own terms. I am still a person in a cycle of growth and learning and living a life where I am not judged or ridiculed for any flaws that I may have. I am no longer that young girl starving for attention; instead, I am a woman who knows that attention is earned by the successes in one’s personal and professional lives. I may not work in a job where I am utilizing the skills I learned in college but I am working towards a goal of finding that right job. Right now, I am in a good place where I do not have nasty supervisors and managers and know that I can always address any issues that I have at work with them and have them resolved in a manner where I am not degraded or reprimanded by anyone.

The power of ten is that it is an impactful number. It represents overcoming challenges both personally and professionally and continually learning the skills that I need to succeed in all aspects of my life. It means that I have accumulated a wealth of experiences and wisdom that I can transfer to my next employer whenever that may be. I look at the stressful work lives of my family and am slowly realizing that I have a job that overall is not overly stressful; instead, it is a routine job where I know what to do and how to proactively resolve any issues that I may encounter. It is a job where I am valued and constantly reminded of that by co-workers and upper management. Life is a series of changes and challenges but for now my life is one that is fulfilling, educational, enriching, and so many other positive descriptors. A decade is a long time and I hope that the next decade brings even greater rewards and accomplishments in my life and the lives of my family members.image1v2


Lost for Words

Sometimes I just don’t know what to say
I’m just lost for words
Speechless and grasping in conversation
I wonder what’s wrong
But I can’t express it
I find myself lost for words
Struggling to know what needs to be said
Will you help me find my way?
I’m still lost for words
Drowning in the endless sea
Wishing and hoping
Someone will come and save the day
Maybe one day the words will come
I’ll finally be able to converse
And say the things that are necessary
And worthy of your time

Life is an Adventure

I’d like to think that every day could be considered a new adventure. You never know what surprises lay in store each day and that precisely is what makes me wake up in the morning. It’s not always about the money for me. I’m driven by looking to see what each new day will bring to my life.
Life’s adventures can be the simplest of things—a drive with family and friends, a nice dinner out, or even taking the time to learn a new skill. Believing that every day is an adventure is a core belief of mine and I think it’s a good reason to keep on living. I’ve had my share of psychological issues but from what I’ve learned over years of therapy is that every day is a new tomorrow and that even when bad things happen, good things are still waiting on the sidelines.
Take the time to savor each sunrise and sunset and think about what your life’s motivation is. What is your passion in life? Could you simply be a great life coach and mentor who enlightens others on the wisdom you have gleaned over the years? I believe that finding your passion in life is crucial as it adds a sense of meaning and purpose to your being.
Try to avoid the negative influences in your life and those who will try to bring you down. They will only sap your energy and make you less motivated to get through each day. You will feel much better once you are rid of them because your self-esteem and sense of self-worth will improve.
Remember that you are a special person who can contribute so much to society. Dream big and shoot for the stars. Stay close to the people you hold dear and never let them go. They are the ones who will always be in your cheering section and inspire you to keep going. I want you to believe that you are worthy of positive things and that even when things seem to be really bad, you won’t give up on yourself. Find an outlet to express your feelings as this will cleanse away the demons that seem to haunt you.
I want you to not plod through each day and think of your days as meaningless and mundane. Try to do something exciting and out of your comfort zone. Take classes and learn how to do things you’ve always wanted to do. Go for a walk and see what you discover during this break in your routine. There is so much out there waiting to be discovered.
Remember most of all that every day is a new adventure. I can’t say this enough. Go somewhere you’ve never been before if you have the time. You will be glad that you did. You will marvel at the world around you and maybe even consider trying to change what you don’t like about your environment.
Never stop believing in yourself and your potential. You are someone who will be great and do amazing things. I’ll be rooting for you each leg of your journey. I’ll never stop caring for you and thinking that you are someone special. Don’t let someone get you so down about yourself that you forget what makes you beautiful. You are important to the world and I know that you are extraordinary.
I hope that whoever reads this will realize that they are beautiful inside and out. My one wish is that people who read this find a sense of self-validation and come to the realization that every bad day leads to a new and brighter tomorrow. This is something my mom told me years ago during a dark period in my life and it still resonates with me today.
Take the time to reflect on your life and see what needs to be changed or improved. Do one new thing every day and I promise that you will not regret it. I’ve taken the time to contemplate my life lately and I’ve come to realize that change is indeed possible. I’ve grown up so much over the past few years and tried to cut myself loose from anything holding me down and stopping me from living the life that I’ve always imagined for myself.
Life is certainly one of the most epic adventures you can ever go on. It is full of action and excitement. It is stimulating and amazing. Your journey through life can be quite powerful and perhaps even change the world. I want you to believe that this is possible and don’t give up on living.
My plea for you is to think about what makes you wake up every day and what your motivation for living is. If you’re really down and thinking about hurting yourself, please try to get help. Help is available and there are people out there who can help you to cope with the feelings of negativity that seem to pervade your existence. I’ve received support over the past few years from therapists that have made me feel better about some of the bad experiences I’ve had.
Stop for a moment or two each day and think about the positive attributes of yourself that make you unique. This is a very cathartic exercise that will enable you to feel so much better about yourself. I journal on a daily basis and this has helped me express my feelings about what has made each day good or bad.
Maybe this piece will help you to go out and live a life that is beautiful and meaningful. I hope you know that I will always be rooting for you. I think that reflecting on the meaning of your life is something that is worth considering and will help you power through each day. Wake up every day and think about all the good things on the horizon. You will feel so much better when you consider each new day a blank slate.

The Social Conundrum

I have always had a hard time making friends. I never understood how other people my age were able to make friends so easily while I struggled socially. It was so difficult to find the right people to be friends with because I had a tendency to latch onto people who weren’t the best people to be friends with. They were the type of people who could get you into trouble or into very uncomfortable situations. I think this was a sign of desperation as I would become friends with anyone who seemed nice to me.
What I have learned over time though is that friendships take time to develop and that you never know when you’ll meet those who could be the best friends you could ever want. I’ve had such friendships develop at my retail job and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.
What I have learned over time though is that friendships take time to develop and that you never know when you’ll meet those who could be the best friends you could ever want. I’ve had such friendships develop at my retail job and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. My coworkers are generally awesome people who really care about each other and will be there for you through thick and thin. I’m fortunate to have forged such relationships at work because I know that others may deal with drama at work. While there is some drama at work that does personally affect me, we generally tend to get along with one another.
I wish that I could make friends outside of work though. I often wonder why I can never seem to get people to like me enough to want to hang out with me. It hurts to go onto social media outlets like Facebook and Instagram and see pictures of good times that coworkers and others have with one another. This is one of the hardest aspects of my life to confront. It can truly be considered a conundrum for me.
What has worked for me socially is to engage with others in online groups and try to connect with those who have similar interests to me. This is how I’ve met some great people who I am friends with outside of the group. I have matured more as well over the years so I am better at showing empathy with others and really try to be a good friend to those that I interact with.
I just wish sometimes that things could be different and that I could have an active social life. With all of the hurdles I’ve crossed in my life this is one that always seems to be an obstacle. I used to wonder what it would be like if I had a different life where I was popular and had a lot of friends. I know it will happen someday but for now I am glad to have my work friends and family to be a source of support and comfort.

The View from Up Here

Sometimes when I look out
And see the world around me
I marvel at the beauty and quiet in this suburban street
Life can be so crazy, chaotic, and messy
But the view from up here
Masks the commotion outside
Looking out this window so high up
Makes me realize how fortunate I am
To have such a luxury
Blue skies and bright sunshine
Illuminating the street below
It is just so magical and mystical
Watching life unfurl from this perspective
I wonder if I’m the only one
Who feels this same way about the world?
Can it be possible to admire something you’re not a part of?
Looking out from the heights
Makes me wonder what’s going on in the world
I hear the sounds of the outside world
Want to be involved but I’m transfixed
I was never the outdoorsy type anyway
Just look for yourself
And you’ll see what I mean
Just look out your window
And you’ll be amazed
At the sensory overload
And the things that you’ll see

Raising the Minimum Wage: The Pros and Cons

New legislation has been passed in New York, Washington, and California among others raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. While I do feel that those who work part-time jobs should be paid a fair wage depending on the type of work performed, I also believe that $15 is simply too much of a wage for the part-time positions considered under this legislation.
One job sector that has achieved a higher minimum wage is the fast food service industry. Those who work in this industry do not perform highly skilled work and at times only possess a high school diploma. Why should someone who works at McDonalds be paid more than someone who provides skilled labor perhaps for a part-time office position or a position at a retail store?
From my personal experience I can attest that I have office experience from working at a nonprofit organization for 1.5 years and over seven years of experience working at a major department store, Kohls. I was paid $10 an hour at my nonprofit position which in hindsight was a very low rate of pay but allowed me to attain office skills that I can translate to my next office position. This was a job that required a college degree and involved appearing at medical conferences to publicize the work of the foundation.
In comparison I have worked in the same department at my retail job for over six years. This is not a job that you need a lot of skill to perform but does necessitate some social finesse to successfully engage with customers on a regular basis. I am paid only a little bit above minimum wage but receive annual raises that range between 20-25 cents. I have coworkers who have worked at this store since it opened fifteen years ago and some frequently complain about their rate of pay. My thoughts on these complaints are that you should appreciate the job that you have or leave if you’re not satisfied with working there.
Do I believe that we need to raise the minimum wage? I can honestly say that I do believe that it could help economically vulnerable members of the general population such as college students working to pay their way through school, parents working so they can put food on the table, and retirees trying to earn extra money to supplement what they receive from pensions and Social Security. However, I feel that a raise in the minimum wage should not specifically be targeted to one particular industry but should instead be targeted to all industries.

How to Become a Freelance Writer

Freelance writing is a career path that is ideal for those who wish to potentially earn a good income and those who truly consider writing their passion. It is perfectly suited for someone who may not have a college degree but finds pleasure in writing about diverse topics. There is an abundance of online and print outlets that freelance writers can pursue writing for and although some outlets can be selective in their choice of writers, you should never give up on trying to break into the media outlets that you desire to write for. Moira Allen wrote about writing for publication in her book, Starting Your Career as a Freelance Writer, when she said:
“Writing for publication is one of the most rewarding careers I can think of. It offers the opportunity for independence, creativity, and the occasional moment of fame. It allows you to speak to others—to entertain, to educate, to inspire, to motivate. It gives you a chance to earn an income by doing something you love. It may even give you a chance to change the world, or at least to improve one small corner of it, by giving your readers the tools they need to make their lives better. And there’s nothing like the thrill of seeing your name in print—not just the first time but every time!”
How would you define freelance writing though? It can be defined as a type of writing where the writer is self-employed and works independently writing what you choose to and then offering your work to markets that will publish your work. There are a variety of ways you can freelance including:
• Writing for magazines
• Writing for online periodicals such as webzines, e-mail newsletters, and websites affiliated with offline entities such as stores, catalogs, and media outlets
• Writing for newspapers
• Writing nonfiction books
• Writing and editing for businesses
• Editing and copy-editing
• Speechwriting
• Teaching
• Public speaking
• Writing educational and curricular materials
• Humor writing
• Writing essays
• Writing poetry
Freelance writing can really be adapted to your interests and passions so that you can write on whatever topic seems best suited for you. For example, as someone with disabilities, I have written pieces about disabilities for online media outlets and for a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting individuals with a specific disability. There is a market out there for any type of writer and doing some online research or consulting the Writer’s Market published annually by Writer’s Digest will help you find the right market for you to enter.
In addition to writing for specific markets, you may also consider registering for one of the many websites available to find freelance work like,, or Upwork allows you to place bids for posted projects and if your bid and proposal is accepted you will be hired for the job you applied for. It is very similar to another website, that will be shuttered by next year. You may not always be paid the highest rates but Upwork allows you to build a portfolio of work that can demonstrate your writing ability.
One thing to remember is that you will not necessarily earn a good living as a freelance writer in the beginning of your career. It takes time to build a reputation for the work that you have produced. If you’re a very talented writer you may be able to strike gold and earn high rates writing for major media outlets.
It is important to note that writing is something you must spend time on and practice regularly. I recommend that you take some online or in-person writing classes. Writing classes can be offered for a fee online, for free, or through your local college or community college. These classes can enable you to perfect your writing and work through any issues you may have encountered in the writing process. I have taken a few writing classes and I can’t say enough about what it has done for me as a writer.
Freelance writing is truly a fascinating career to pursue and one of the best perks of it is that you are able to work wherever you are most comfortable. There is no work dress code and you can even work in your pajamas! I have found that the opportunities I have found in my search for freelance jobs have enabled me to meet some interesting people and write things that I would have never considered writing about before.

Why I Chose to Become a Writer

It all started when I was eleven or twelve years old and I was attending writing classes at a middle school in Matawan as one of their Saturday morning classes. My teacher was a bit eccentric but I enjoyed practicing my writing and eventually presenting one of my short stories in front of the class. I didn’t fully consider myself a writer then because it wasn’t yet a passion of mine but things changed drastically a few years later when I was fourteen and in a writing camp at Brookdale Community College. At Brookdale I truly began to flourish as a writer as I wrote poetry, short stories, and other types of pieces. After that summer I felt I really was a writer.
Writing became an all-consuming passion of mine after that camp and I began seriously writing stories about the characters I had come up with in my head—Samantha and Michael Jaqueries and the friends that Samantha made (often other boys she knew). I was still very amateurish in my writing style but over time began to flesh out my characters more so that they were fully evolved and unique characters. Michael and Samantha are characters I wrote about up until this year.
In high school I always thought that I’d become a famous novelist that was recognized around the world but this dream began to evaporate over time as my interest in my novels began to wane by the time I was in college. After being critiqued on one of my novels I was crestfallen and came to the realization that I was uncertain about sharing my writing with the world.
Once I graduated college I still wrote my novels but not to the extent that I had in my earlier years of college. I began focusing more on finding the right job for me and dabbled in some freelance work for clients I was hired by on a website for freelancers, Elance. On Elance I did travel research for one client while also writing for Patch, an online media outlet, and the Holmdel Happenings, a local newspaper.
Writing became a job for me when I was hired as the assistant to the president of the nonprofit organization I had interned for in the summer before my senior year of college. I learned how to write press releases, formal letters, profile stories, and other pieces and really matured in my writing style. I knew then that I had truly become a professional writer.
When I lost this job it was a major setback for me both personally and professionally. Where was I going to write now? I had no leads for jobs and was once more back in the job market. I still haven’t found a regular office job since then and continue to look every day for the right job for me. Late last year I began my endeavors in freelance writing and worked for one client on writing articles about events and activities in Middletown and another client on a series of articles and lists about erotic poetry. I helped promote his book, The Naked Soul, and my work aided in its success in its category on
Today I write on a daily basis for my own pleasure and sometimes for my WordPress blog. I write 1000 words a day—sometimes more depending on my mood—while still looking for freelance writing jobs and professional office jobs. I’ve had a couple of job interviews this year but am still frustrated at my inability to be hired for these jobs. What does help is the knowledge that I am a talented writer with skills that I am regularly endorsed for on LinkedIn and that I am continuing to learn new forms of writing on a regular basis.
So do I really consider myself a writer today? I must admit that I am not the prolific writer I once was and no longer aspire to become a successful novelist but I can honestly say that I am indeed a writer. I have an established reputation for good work on Elance and although writing is no longer a consuming passion of mine I do still enjoy the writing that I do daily. I have written some great short stories, poems, and personal reflections this summer and I hope to continue to be a productive writer in the months and years to come.
People often wonder though if they too can become successful writers. I would have to tell them that it is hard work to become a writer and taking writing classes can really help in the long run but it is a worthwhile career to pursue. I would recommend that they look to others for advice on writing and learn from the mistakes that other writers have made. You must realize that writing can become a full-time job—it may not always pay well but it can become something that may eventually bring a good income and a great mental workout.
I chose to become a writer when I was still a child and I hope I never lose this drive of continuing to write. I know that my writing on certain topics can make a difference in the lives of others and can be a model for others to emulate. You have to envision what you want to write about and I’m excited about sharing my perspectives with the world.