Be My Hero?

Everyone has their heroes, the person who has changed their life or who the aspire to be like.  You hear mom and dad a lot or maybe some famous celebrity because they make a lot of donations and are successful or maybe they just seem nice.

Of course Mom and Dad are heroes, and they will be to anyone, they raised you and took care of you and you want to be like them, I know I do so I’m just going to talk about heroes outside of the family.

First of all celebrities are very hard.  Personally, I would never consider a celebrity a hero of mine.  Yes I do inspire to be like some, have the musical ability of some or maybe a job like theirs if they worked their way up from the bottom and I think many just seem like nice wonderful people, but to me a hero is more than that. 

A hero is someone who changes your perspective on life, makes you rethink your past actions.  Celebrities don’t do that for me.  Yea it’s nice they make large donations to charity, but why can’t they do that without making such a big deal about it?  Why does it have to be public knowledge, just so they can hear again how wonderful they are?  I know they say that they want to tell everyone about the charity.  Ok put a tweet out or write a speech, why do you need to publicly state that you are giving X amount of money to a charity?  Just do it.  If I was a celebrity I’d of course give large donations, but wouldn’t send out a memo to magazines stating how I donated so I’m wonderful.  Most times, to me at least, celebrities seem like not only do they donate to a cause they like but also do it go get publicity.  I know that’s not everyone and I understand that.  I’m not trying to say negative things about anyone in particular.  It’s just something I think about.

Anyway, celebrities, to me at least, aren’t my heroes.  Every day people are my heroes, like Becky the founder of Women At Risk (WAR) International (you can visit there website here).  She is an incredible woman who is so passionate about her cause.  The first time I heard her speak, she absolutely captivated me.  She created this amazing organization located in the U.S. and many other countries.  She saves lives every day and unless you know about this organization, you’ve probably never heard about her.

People are my heroes, the ones who risk their lives every day or ones who make a goal to compliment a stranger just so that they have one more thing to smile about.  They are my heroes and they inspire.

I’ve always wanted and do want to be someone’s hero, to inspire someone and make them think about their life.  I know my boyfriend has told me that I inspire him to be a better person, I not I’m up to hero status or anything, but I still made a positive impact on his life.

Everyday people, the farmers working their fields, the office workers, the volunteer workers, police & firemen, the average person who smiles at you, those are my heroes.  They don’t need credit or a fan fare telling them how absolutely wonderful they are, they just do what they do because it’s what should be done.

So to every person out there, everyone who thinks they are too small to make a difference, do something, take action, just give a compliment to someone you don’t know, be their hero.

To everyone reading this, would you be my hero?

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I’m Afraid

In past blogs, they have been about me but not really.  I’m always trying to urge people to act because I feel like people are bombarded with so many ways to get involved they are just overwhelmed.  That’s how I was until I was inspired and found the cause I want to support, what I want to do.

This blog is going to be a little different though because right now I’m going to share what I’m feeling right now.

I’m afraid.

I’m afraid, I’m nervous.  I’m timid.  I’ve explained that before, I’m very timid.  I wrote that without my boyfriend I wouldn’t be as brave as I am now.  I wouldn’t have the courage to blog or help my Aunt with Recycled2New or try to help a new non-profit get off their feet.  I wouldn’t have done any of that without him and it does take courage to put yourself out there, something I didn’t have before.

Now I’m taking the next step.  All of those other activities I’ve done with people, I do blog on my own, but that is a little different because I”m in my own home.  I run all marketing for Recycled2New, but I still work WITH my aunt.  I help this non-profit with my own ideas, but I’m still working WITH people I know.

Today I sent an email to the volunteer cooridnator at Build, Inc. and this is why I’m afraid.  I don’t know anyone there, I don’t really know the neighborhoods (and the one that I want to work in is dangerous) and I’m afraid I won’t fit in.

It’s not like the high school definition of fitting in, the I’m wearing the wrong brand of shirt, the un-cool brand type of not fitting in, but the “I’ve never in my life experienced what you have been through so how am I going to relate to you” type of fitting in.

Let me explain a little about Build, Inc. first.  Build, Inc. (you can click here for their website or here for their facebook, which I highly recommend) works with at risk and gang affiliated youth in the city neighborhoods of Chicago.  They provide tutoring, recreational activities, and so many more wonderful things.  This is my passion and this is what I love.  The idea that a child can grow and life in a neighborhood so dangrous breaks my heart, it honestly hurts me to even think about that, that they have to sacrifice their childhood living in fear or that they get involved in a gang for whatever reason.  If you were to ask me “In a perfect world what would be your ultimate dream”.  I would tell you that I would want to start a non-profit like Build or become extrememly involved in a non-profit like that, designed to help kids AND their families in these areas.

This is where my a bit of my fear comes in, the normal nerves.  Not only do I not know anyone and the neighborhoods themselves are dangerous BUT I’ll meet people when I go there and I’ll have to be careful.  Two worries just got checked off my list.

I’m afraid (my biggest fear) that I will be thought of as someone who came in from the suburbs, never once experiencing any of these problems, and only their to do my good deed.  Just doing something that looks good on my resume or to say I helped the city.  That thought brings tears to my eyes. 

More than anything in this world I want to help people and I found my cause, one that I suport with all of my heart and would do anything for.  I want to help my home, Chicago, and more than anything I want to not open a newpaper or go to a Chicago news website and see that another child was killed in senseless violence. 

I’m just afraid if they think that about me, that I’m only here to get my good deed for the year in, that they (the kids I’d love to help) won’t let me in, won’t let me help them whether it is tutoring for school or whatever they want me to do.  Since I have never experienced what it’s like to live in these neighborhoods, since I don’t know what it’s like to fear gang violence, since I don’t know what it’s like to accept the possibility that I may get shot walking down the street, I’m afraid they won’t trust me.  Anyone that knows me will tell you I am beyond passionate about this and I will talk your ear off, literally.

I just don’t know what to do about this.  I guess I’ll find out if I have the time to volunteer down there, between school and work.  Thank you for listening to all my worries.

My Affair with Jack Kerouac

I had a love affair with Jack Kerouac, well have a love affair with Mr. Kerouac.

This is not an affair as in they physical terms of course and the main problem with that being that he died 22 years before I was even born.  With his books however, we have a ravenous, growing affair, one that seeps into every inch of my being, taking hold of my mind, of my spirit.  I can’t shake this addiction, I’m addicted to Jack Kerouac. 

I guess I need to revise my confession from a previous blog.  Hi. I’m Meg and I’m a semi-loosely considered-hoarder who is endlessly, hopelessly addicted to Jack Kerouac.

I’ve always wanted to read On The Road.  I’ve heard a lot of people talk about it and there are documentaries and tons of publications and documentaries about Kerouac.  Finally, Freshman year of college I pick up On The Road (the extended on though, names unchanged, parts unedited).

Some people think this book is about traveling and his travels.  Basically that is what it’s about, but he is really on the search for God, or proof something more exists, believe that he doesn’t have “it” (whatever “it” is) in his life.  He follows Neal all around the country, going down Neal’s table of contents, the various women, homes and children that make up the life of Neal Cassidy, believing Neal found the answer to life, something Kerouac himself had missed.

Kerouac’s ability to write is absolutely incredible and interesting.  Sometimes he goes on about something, not something terribly important, but of course it’s more eloquently put than the average person, but other times, he finds red.  Let me explain this, an average detail would be a bland color, like beige like a wall.   But red, describe red to me!?  Red is lust and love and death and life and sadness and anger and happiness!  All of that is in red because red  is too hard to explain.  Kerouac’s red are his moments of insight, that are beautiful and deep and hit you so hard you feel the impact.

I do think that people tend to glamorize him a little too much though.  I think he was a very sad man and I feel very sorry for him.  Obviously, I’m basing that opinion off of the books of his I read (which is a continually growing list), documentaries I watch and other information I found.  From his drugs to alcohol abuse, I think he was very sad because he kept looking for something he already had, life.  Same with artists like Janice Joplin.  She was incredible, words can’t describe the emotion she put into her music (her red), her talent is something you will NEVER find in any of the popular singers of now, nothing even comes close, but I think she was a sad person and was lost.  I feel like sometimes people tend to glamorize deaths like that, of talented people instead of realizing how sad it really is and learning by their mistakes.

I had my time in life, a time where I was searching for something, that ‘it’ all through high school.  High school was rough, I was going through a lot of things, family, personal and otherwise, but I was really lost, a little more lost than the average teenager and going through things that could’ve really hurt myself, physically and mentally.  The love and support of my parents kept me out of trouble and on track with things like school, but inside I was just drowning within myself.

Then I read On The Road and found these moment of insight he has and they inspired me.  I realized too that I don’t want to be like him, I don’t want to be lost in myself, always looking for something.  I’m alive and life is beautiful, life is hard, but life is beautiful.  I found faith.  I found joy. 

In every moment of my life, when life is hard somehow Kerouac always reaches through, almost like my guardian angel.  Every single time when things get rough, the next page I turn in my book has one of his insights, something that touches me deep and it’s in these times when I need it the most. 

Life is not to drown in or search forever.  Life is to be embraced because by living you are blessed with an amazing gift that you shouldn’t waste.  There are bad times, but those make the good times even better.  Life is more good than bad and once you see that, everything will just fall into place.

“On soft Spring nights I’ll stand in the yard under the stars – Something good will come out of all things yet – And it will be golden and eternal just like that – There’s no need to say another word.” ~Jack Kerouac, Big Sur, 1962~

Second Star to the Right and Straight On Till Morning

Gallery

I think most people know the story of Peter Pan.  It’s something that has been popular almost without fault for decades.  It’s the whole idea of staying, being a child forever, not having to work or worry about bills or emotional … Continue reading

Very Inspiring Blogger

Just last night I was nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger award and I was very surprised.  I’m not really a writer and this is just what I do for fun. I always hoped that maybe my words would inspire someone and I’m glad they did.  I was nominated by Isabelle and thank you so much!  Visit her page at omnommables.wordpress.com   I love the blogs I’ve read on her page.  Her personality just shines through her writing!

Now for the details – To accept the award, the rules are:

  1. Link back to the person who nominated you (check)
  2. Post the award image to your page (check)
  3. Tell seven facts about yourself
  4. Nominate 10 other blogs
  5. Let them know they are nominated

Seven facts about me!

1. I play piano and have been playing for over 15 years.  It is my life and I absolutely love it!  I’m classically trained but my focus now is Hispanic music.

2.  I love traveling and I would love to move out of the U.S. after I graduate college.

3. I’m Irish, German, Puerto Rican and just a bit Scottish, but I’m most proud and connected with my Irish and Puerto Rican sides!  Their flags are everywhere in my room.

4. I’ve never blogged before, but I really like it a lot!  I thought it would be harder to keep up with.

5. I love horses, they are my favorite animal.

6. I love being super busy and doing 100 things at once.  I just feel really accomplished if I can get really involved.

7. I LOVE speaking Spanish.  I never learned as a kid, only a few words, but I’ve always tried.  Now that I’m getting better, it’s a lot of fun.

10 Blogs that I’ve nominated for this awesome award:

1. http://lesleycarter.wordpress.com

2. http://picturesandplanetickets.wordpress.com

3. http://addingcolour.wordpress.com

4. http://enfieldriders.wordpress.com

5. http://bipolarmuse.com

6. http://artbyritva.wordpress.com

7. http://krystalgemmasworld.wordpress.com

8. http://wholeheartly.wordpress.com

9. http://largeself.com/

10. http://hummingbirddiariesblog.wordpress.com

I spent a lot of time going through different blogs, finding ones I like.  Most are travel blogs or the blog I read was about traveling just because I love it and can really relate to how they were feeling.  Each of these blog has something beautiful about them, whether it is the photography, a simple message or telling you to pursue your goals.  If you want to know which blogs I read or what I found most inspiring, leave me a comment!

Sweet Home Chicago

I’ve grown up in the suburbs of Chicago my entire life.  I never really like the city when I was younger, but I’ve gain a love of my home, especially after all of my travels.  Some cities are good for a break, other are good for business and other for parties.  Chicago has everything!  It has museums, one of the greatest music scenes ever, bars, clubs (if that’s your thing) and places to just enjoy some sun at the beach (unless you’ve been spoiled by the ocean and expect the water to actually be warm).  Its so beautiful and we have the Bean, it’s pretty cool.

The neighborhoods, the areas that aren’t in tourist guide books, are separated by different groups, as they are in most cities.  I love going to Humboldt, though because of it being a dangerous area I don’t stay long and go in the mornings.  It’s one place where you can find Puerto Rican food in a grocery store.  In the suburbs, there aren’t any places that sell Puerto Rican food and being part Puerto Rican, I love my florecitas and other food!  Logan Square also had this great restaurant, Cocina Boricua.  So good! I just love it!

The city is a beautiful place, a wonderful place, especially if you live or go to the parks and museums or in the suburbs or some scattered neighborhoods.  Other areas though, areas like Humboldt Park are dangerous, very dangerous.  In these past years, the violence has gotten even worse in the city, not just in Humboldt Park, everywhere.  Last night there were 19 people injured in shooting and that is just so sad and shouldn’t be happening.

A lot of the violence I don’t understand, whether it is gang violence which Chicago is renown for or other.  I don’t think I’ll ever understand it.  It makes me so sad, so sad that there is such little value of life.  I honestly can’t even imagine taking another persons life, or trying to, just because of where they live or something like that so insignificant like that.  I can’t even kill a bug that’s in my house, rescue them and put them outside!

With all of the beauty that the city holds, I think people forget that there are many problems, not just problems, unacceptable conditions where people, innocent people have to raise their children and keep them safe from those who cause violence.  Others are left with no hope or choice.  It breaks my heart to think of that and it breaks my heart that it seems like people forget about all of that or sometimes I feel like it’s just another news story or people don’t realize how bad the violence problems are.  I know I can’t relate because I’ve never lived in areas plagued with violence, I’ve never experienced that fear.  I talked to a women born and raised in Humboldt Park and she told me she couldn’t go out at night and they had their windows broken by various things quite often.  That’s not how a child should grow up.

Something has to be done and support has to be given.  I’ve focused my support in the form of an organization called Build, Inc. but there are so many ways to get involved through various organizations.  Always do your research though, find out about who runs an organizations and how they set up their plans to help.  The more information you have, the more power you have to help.  Don’t think that you can’t make a difference, that you don’t live there so you can’t help or just pass a story like this by in a newspaper and say “That’s horrible” and move on to the sports page.  It’s not just a story, these are people’s lives, children being killed in useless violence.  In March a 6 year old was shot on her fron porch, things like that shouldn’t happen and it’s not just a story, that is a live that has been extinguished so easily by another. There is never something that you can’t have help and it doesn’t matter where you live, Chicago, L.A., the suburbs even another state!   So don’t just read a story, feel for a person who need a difference to be made.  Instead, do something about it.

Fly Over States

Like I said in my post Paint Me a Song, there are two moments in my life where music has touched me beyond any describable emotion.  For those who haven’t read that blog, to me music has this power to touch people.  Of course you’ll hear songs that you can relate to like those about the death of a loved one or a song about a break up, but there are times where music touches you deeper than that, far deeper, hitting something within your soul and you just can’t explain it.  There aren’t words to describe what you’re feeling.

The first moment for me was hearing Don McLean’s song Vincent.  It showed me that music can go beyond just a basic emotional reaction, it can bring out this beauty and, I don’t even know what to write!  It’s simply one of the most incredible feelings someone can experience.

I want to talk about the second moment where it just hit me and made me feel something so intense, it’s beyond all words.  This was when I heard the song Fly Over States by Jason Aldean.  First of all, he is probably my all time favorites artist.  I love his music and his songs can help me through a break up or make me smile or get me ready to go down to the city with my girls for a night of fun.  Second, I was surprised to feel such an emotional tidal wave because music just isn’t the same as it used to be, but that is an entirely different topic and too long to talk about now.

One thing you might not know about me is that I love traveling and this little fact is really important to understanding why this touched me so deep.  I’ve never been out of the country, unless you count a boat tour of Niagara Falls where we technically crossed the Canadian border.  I’ve been to about 42 states and driven to all of them, form Chicago to the Pacific Coast and Atlantic Coast, I’ve seen almost everything.  I’ve been to every single state west of the Mississippi except Alaska and Hawaii.  I just a few north-eastern states and southern states left to go.  Driving around the country is the most amazing thing you could do. The entire United States is just my big backyard, so beautiful and available, you can experience so many things, incredible things, from different cities to different natural wonders.  The United States is just beautiful and you don’t have to leave the country to have these amazing moments.

The song Fly Over States, for those who haven’t heard it, starts out talking about some guys on a plane making small talk with a stewardess about all of the states, the fly over states, full of farm land and nothing much to see.  In every chorus, Aldean describes the beautiful that these fly over states have.  There are farmers that work hard every day to support this country and he talks about “a windshield sunset in your eyes,
like a water colored painted sky” and taking “a ride across the badlands,
feel that freedom on your face” (that line is my favorite).

The cool thing is, I’ve done these things, felt these emotions, seen the people of this country and had these moment, almost like these religious experiences you hear about, something so powerful, it’s just incredible.  Even in these areas where there are only farm land or something like that, some people think that it isn’t beautiful, after all it’s only flat land with plants.  Look at it though, really look at it and think of the people working that land and look at that sunset.  It is a water-color, a beautiful painting shining through your window, lighting you up, wrapping you in these colors, completely natural.  There’s nothing man-made about it, that beauty is happening, it’s like a miracle right in front of your eyes, it is just happening.

The Badlands, Utah Red Rocks places like that, you can feel freedom.  Honestly it is absolutely overwhelming.  It’s so open and BIG!  Everything is so big it’s surreal, like you’re on some movie set where there’s a green screen.  The air around you just wraps you up and when the sun goes down, the rocks change colors, colors you’d never see in real life.  It’s so hot during the day, but at night the air gets cooler and slides against your skin and the only heat that’s left is coming right off your skin.  Pictures really don’t do any justice to these places.  In pictures you can’t experience what it truly feels like to be free and that’s exactly what these places do, give you that experience.

I guess that’s why this song struck a chord with me, no pun intended.  Pictures are limited in their ability to tell stories but music has to power to go past these barriers, it can unite people of different races or countries, it can explain the pain of losing a loved one to cancer to someone who’s never experienced that or help piece your heart back together after a break up when you feel your life will never get better.  If any way of art or communication can give this land any justice, music would be able to do that.

I love my country and this land, the natural wonders that people over look, they either think it’s just a bunch of rocks or flat land and there’s nothing there, nothing exciting, no Facebook or T.V. or anything like that.  Well, there isn’t, but there is just pure and simple beauty.  So stop and take a look around and don’t miss the wonders in your life, the sunset, the sun on your skin, stars in the sky or the sweet smell after a rain storm.  There are no such things as fly over states because miracles are all around us all the time, you just have to open your eyes and see them.