A Heartbroken Symphony

A heartbroken cry sounds in the night
In the city of light darkness arrives
A heartbroken human symphony begins to play
The world mourns
The world weeps
The world needs peace
Quiet descends
The conductor begins anew
A new symphony for a troubled society
A heartbreaking symphony
A sad requiem
Will life ever be the same?
We are left to wonder
What madness is this
When we cannot live without war
When we cannot live without peace
Simple lives made more difficult
Resonating to the same sad song
And once more
The heartbroken symphony plays on
In a world of chaos and confusion
I question the world that we live in
Hoping for resolution
But have little reason to believe
That anything will be the same again
And so I am immersed
In this everlasting symphony
When terror has struck
We are left scared and scarred
Emotions at play
Let the conductor play his song
And one day may we unite as one
For a moment or two
And listen to the symphony together

Help Me Out: Great Holiday Season Skincare Tips

As someone who has suffered from terrible cystic acne, I have worked hard to maintain healthy skin all year long. Some may think that breakouts only occur during warm weather due to sweating but in reality acne breakouts can happen at all times of the year. As the holiday season rapidly approaches we are all left with a complicated dilemma—how can we keep our skin clear of acne during the holidays? No need to worry, there are plenty of tips for that and I’ll share some of my tricks with you as well.
A 2012 article by Danielle Emig of Stylecaster.com recommended moisturizer as one of your front lines of defense. Skin dries out very quickly during cold weather and dry crackly skin can lead to bacteria seeping into your pores resulting in breakouts. Another tip is to use gentle cleansers as harsh acne treatments will only dry out and further irritate your skin. One product recommended is Philosophy Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleanser which will hydrate your skin and won’t lead to dryness like some other cleansers with irritants such as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid as ingredients. You can purchase this cleanser at beauty specialty stores such as Ulta.
If you only have a few pimples you can always try a spot treatment like Neutrogena’s On-the-Spot Acne Treatment which you can get at your local drugstore. A natural and always beneficial trick is to stay hydrated and continue to drink 8-10 glasses of water daily as this will keep you healthy from the inside out. If you’re not a big fan of water you can always try something with a little more bounce like seltzer which I drink regularly no matter what the temperature is.
One good tip that was included in an article on Prevention.com was to use a creamy cleanser that contains alpha hydroxyl acids every other day which will remove any dead skin cells that can accumulate on the skin’s surface. It even works for sensitive skin and will help encourage what is referred to as cell turnover.
An interesting piece of advice published in an article on WebMd.com was to take shorter showers and use warm water. Long showers in steamy hot water can sap your skin of moisture instead of adding more moisture to your skin. When you’re done with your shower it was recommended that you pat dry instead of rub.
You should also wear sunscreen regularly even during the winter months as up to 80% of the sun’s rays can seep through clouds, snow, and fog. Exposure to sun rays over time can result in moles, wrinkles, and skin cancers. You should use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 that includes both UVA and UVB protection.
Hopefully these tips will enable you to have healthy skin all winter long. Winter can be one of the most taxing seasons on skin so being proactive and trying to find the right products can make all the difference. Also, remember that finding the right products is a trial and error process. You may have to try several different products before you find the ones that will be best for your skincare regimen.


Trapped in the world of the puzzle
Pen in hand
Solving crossword after crossword
Grids of blanks waiting to be filled
A crossword is my haven
A sanctuary of bliss
I can sit for hours
Getting my brain into gear
Demonstration of intellect
I sit here each day
Doing a crossword
Obsessed and transfixed
A compulsive need
Moments in time
I’ll never get back
But time well spent
And crossing new boundaries
In the world of puzzles
Moments in time
I’ll never get back
But time well spent
And crossing new boundaries
In the world of puzzles

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

Erasing the Retail Worker Stigma

I have begun to realize from seven years of working retail that the stereotype of being undereducated is simply just a stereotype. Many of my coworkers at the major department store I work at, Kohls, are either college students or are college graduates. With the economy the way it is right now, it has become more difficult to obtain full-time jobs that we have the credentials for. That is certainly the case with me—I have had a hard time finding a full-time job that I am qualified for so working retail is my source of income at this point in my life.
Is there a stigma around working retail? Yes, I definitely believe there is. Customers may treat you like you are uneducated and unskilled when in reality we are very bright and skilled individuals that deserve to be treated as such. I want to erase this stigma and have customers embrace us as individuals just like them, people just trying to make a living.
The people I work with have become a second family for me and Kohls has become a home away from home for me. I’ve watched my store evolve over the years and adapt to the times and I can honestly state that I have some pride in being a Kohls associate. Do I complain about what goes on? Yes, I must admit that I do outside of the store but it does not replace the good feelings that are usually associated with my workplace.
What I would like for us to realize is that everyone has to make a living somehow. Sometimes we have to work retail until the right opportunity comes to us. It may surprise you though that good opportunities can come in the retail environment as well. If you work hard enough and show that you are someone who can be a valued employee, then you may be rewarded with higher positions and higher pay rates. You can be promoted from within and I have seen coworkers go up the ladder to full-time positions within the store.
I know that the memories I have made at Kohls will remain with me forever and the people I’ve met there will be friends for life. I take pride in the work that I do at Kohls and making my department look great for customers. There may be things I want to change in my store but what I never want to change is the feeling that we work in a caring environment where we feel secure and comfortable.
I want to reiterate that there is no shame in working in retail. There are some great opportunities for advancement in this industry and you may find that you never want to leave this job behind. Right now I couldn’t imagine my life without Kohls and I do believe that if I were to be considered for a full-time position there I would definitely pursue it.
The next time that you walk into a store I want you to think about the gifts that retail workers bring to the table. Engage with us and learn more about what makes us unique individuals. You may even develop friendly relationships with the employees you meet during your shopping experience. I definitely have my regular customers who appreciate the work that I do and continue to come back and shop in my department. Don’t think of us as lesser people for the work that we do and treat us the way that you would want to be treated yourself.

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.

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