Posts Tagged ‘hope


Sometimes I wish humans had a screen like this.  Because I have dyspraxia, and it’s time that people understood it.

There are varied degrees of it. My issues are spatial memory and coordination.  Sometimes that’s left-right confusion, or processing/remembering directions, or taking longer to do household tasks.  Sometimes it’s knowing how to do a task, then forgetting as soon as you’re supposed to actually do it.

In other words, it’s a few “loose screws” in my head.  Or a bad telephone connection between the brain and the body.  Or when your adolescent physically-awkward stage never really ends.

So, what exactly is it?

It’s most like a learning disability, but I feel its presence much more outside the classroom setting.

It’s not an “excuse” at all.  It’s just a reason to work harder.

It’s being a “visual learner” with words, but struggling to memorize maps, and wondering what kind of learner you even are.

It’s a 50% chance of putting your shoes on the wrong feet, and probably an 80% chance that you’ll get it wrong.

It’s people assuming I’m drunk because I can’t keep my balance on a fast-moving train.  That’s actually a common experience among us.  (Read this post too.

It’s knowing this ( is your favorite dance because it gives specific directions.

It’s failing driver’s tests, even AFTER visualizing the entire exam and every curveball the road could possibly throw at me.  (If you’re wondering, I did eventually pass.)

It’s hearing a million iterations of “Be more careful.” “Try harder.”  “Be less clumsy.”  “Pay attention.”  “Just listen.”  Believe me, if I’m given the responsibility of doing something, I AM listening to your instructions and focusing on it with 200% of my attention.  I have no other choice.

It’s finding hardly any dyspraxic support pages online, and wondering if I’m just supposed to deal with it on my own.

Just suck it up.  There are a lot more disabilities, hidden or visible, that are harder to live with.  No. Do not allow negative self-talk.  Even if your condition is invisible, your voice and your story are not.

It’s endlessly debating whether to check the box on job applications.  Yes, that box where you disclose a disability, or not.  If I don’t need accommodations at work, do they have to know about it?  Or should they be forewarned that any occasional disorganization or forgetfulness does NOT mean I’m sloppy?

It’s realizing that “unskilled” manual labor might not be possible for some of us.

It’s finding creative ways to compensate for any limitations. For me it’s repeating directions in my head several times to remember them.  It’s looking for jobs only in cities where I can rely on public transportation and won’t have to drive.  It’s finding ways for technology to fill in the gaps – using my GPS for walking directions, taking screenshots of vital information to remember, and I could go on and on.

It’s being successful because said compensation strategies are working, and immediately wondering if this really is all in my head.  Maybe I am just lazy and stupid.

It’s a lonely journey sometimes, but there is always humor to be found along the way.


auld lang syne
ôld laNG ˈzīn,ˈsīn/
1.times long past.

A year is a long time to reflect on.

Especially when the days feel neverending, and then you look back and realize another entire year has passed. How did that happen?

Every year has its ups and downs. Surprises, victories, losses, and lovely moments in-between.

I grew closer to people. I went to Israel and won a scholarship for my time abroad.

And now I end the year with the unique feeling of purpose and completion that settles over us when the calendar hits December 31.

There was a little too much sadness and injustice in the world this year. Not affecting me or my family, thankfully, but too close to home.  I’m not sure if there was actually more of it, or if more people (myself included) were just attuned to it, because of the interconnectedness of the Internet.

Yet there was hope. There is always hope.

For me, 2014 has to be a year of adventure, of friendship, of confidence, and love. I hope to have an extraordinary experience abroad, complete a meaningful internship upon coming home, and somehow end the year with a real New Year’s Eve kiss.

2014 already looks promising — it’s an even number, after all, and I’m starting it at the same time I start many journeys, physical and spiritual.

It feels like the resolution to so many plot threads that were set in motion in 2013.

I know it will be the beginning of a transition for me and so many, as I enter senior year of college.

Yet I am ready.

London is calling.


(Auld Lang Syne)

I always feel unqualified to write about national tragedies from the perspective of someone who’s only seen it on the news (though I pray I’ll never have to experience one myself).  Why would my thoughts matter to anyone when I can just turn off the news and return to everyday life, but there are so many suffering unimaginably from these events, who will never be able to forget this day for the rest of their lives?    
But all humanity is connected, and when one group suffers, so do we all.  So these are just some thoughts I need to let out, in light of this week.  Maybe someone reading this will be comforted that we’re all having the same experience here.  Reading and writing can be equally cathartic.  There is healing in the act of storytelling.    

First of all, it’s so surreal to know that the entire world is praying for Boston, this city I have called home for almost two years.  And that the site of this bombing, a disaster heard around the world, was not some foreign country or even another region of America — it was a corner on a beautiful street that I know and love, where just a few weeks ago I strolled with my family when they visited, and where I was even planning to venture out this weekend.  This is the first time I have been so close to the epicenter of a disaster.      

Every generation has its “where were you when?…” national tragedy that becomes a defining event.  For our parents it was JFK’s assassination.  For my generation, there have been too many to count, and far too many in the past year alone.  Aurora, Newtown, and now this. 
Where was I then?  Monday I was in journalism class, and we were all distracted on the Internet.  The sports fans among us were tracking the marathon.  Then there was news of an explosion, and I remember the exact moment when it clicked in my mind, “Oh G-d, this isn’t some small accident, this a major event, the whole world is hearing about it right now, I need to call Mom and Dad and tell them I’m all right.”  And of course my mom was sitting in her car listening to CNN, according to my brother.  Even from 800 miles away, I could hear her praying for my safety.  Calling my dad every five minutes with updates, waiting by the phone to hear my voice.  That’s what it is to be part of a family like mine.     
And the rest is a blur.  I remember waiting to hear from my roommate, a volunteer EMT (who wasn’t at the marathon), if the four other EMTs there were all right.  There was a block of time when they couldn’t be reached.  I’m sure if G-d had a hotline, all the phone lines would have been clogged with the number of incoming prayers that afternoon.    
I will always remember how the Brandeis community came together as one, putting aside all the stress and commitments of the coming week.  I will remember 20 of us, some close friends, others just seeking togetherness, watching the news together, speechless and hugging in Hillel Lounge.  I will remember how one friend took it upon himself to hold his own peace vigil that night, and the community came together for one hosted by the chaplaincy the next day. 
I will remember the people who became lights in the darkness on yet another dark day: the runners who finished the marathon and promptly went to give blood for the victims.  Tragedy is a paradox.  It happens because of the worst of humanity, but its aftermath brings out the best in us too.       

Now I have never been more thankful that:

-This campus is tucked away safely in the suburbs
-Texting, email, and social media do serve a useful purpose: they are efficient to communicate with family and friends when you’ve been instructed not to clog the telephone lines
-Old friends who I haven’t even seen in a long time still cared enough to check on me and make sure I was safe that day
I think there are several stages of grief that hit all of America when a mass tragedy happens.  
There is the shock and disbelief that it could happen (especially there), the anger towards society (and the loss of faith in humanity), the outpouring of empathy and desire to do whatever is possible to help the victims, and eventually, the forgetting.  If we haven’t been personally affected, we move on, until the cycle begins again a few months later.  At least this year, that is the case.      
“There are no answers, but it does not mean we can stop asking the questions.”  These were the closing words at the Holocaust memorial vigil last week, and they are especially true now.  We must ask why this happened, and try to prevent another event.  And we must come back stronger from this.  The perpetrators may have claimed that day, but we will not let them take the spirit of this wonderful city.  Boston will rise again.