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


Christmas Blessings

Christmas is coming and I’m filled with good cheer

Thinking of all of the blessings I’ve had this year

Life hasn’t always been easy

Things haven’t been in my control

But when I truly reflect

I realize what my blessings are

My family and friends

My life and opportunities

Things have never been this way before

Christmas blessings like presents fade

But relationships have no end

Will life always be like this

No one can tell

But blessings will always be there

Fighting for you till the end

Never letting you go

And keeping you from

Losing all control

Yes, these blessings

Are incredible

Can’t thank my Lord enough

For the blessings he has bestowed upon me

I pray every night

And hope

That against all odds

Everyone will have a shot

At having Christmas blessings of their own

Anxiety Perils

Anxiety has always been my plight

Fears for the future

Fears for the present

When will things change?

Work fills my heart

With dangerous anxiety

Will things get better?

Chest tight

Breathing hurts

The curse of anxiety

Maybe it’s all my fault

Maybe it’s not

I don’t know what to think

Anxiety is full of peril

Can lead you down dark paths

Still it clings to me

I wonder when it will stop

I just need a sign

That things will improve

And let this anxiety

Drift away

Let this anxiety be part of the past

And not define my present

Anxiety can be dangerous

And so is mine

So let us hope

That anxiety will not steal me away

The Discovery

In early 2010 my mom was doing some research online and found out about a learning disability called nonverbal learning disability. Many of the traits that individuals with this disability had were similar to those that I possessed. For example, those with NLD are often very black and white and literal in thinking which is definitely me and have poor spatial sense which is me to a tee. They can be prone to anxiety and depression due to difficulties with the subtle nuances of social communication such as nonverbal communication, body language, and social cues.

Her doctor recommended that I consult a neuropsychologist so off we went to seek answers. My entire medical history was laid out before this doctor and an appointment was made for a neuropsychological evaluation. At about the time of my evaluation I had just turned twenty which was a sad but also exciting milestone. Anyway, the evaluation was an all-day session from 10-4, and my evaluator was surprised at my verbal abilities (another classic sign of NLD—our verbal intelligence is often much stronger than our spatial intelligence.) It would be another week or so before we went back to the neuropsychologist’s office where I was formally diagnosed with NLD. It felt great to have a name for at least part of the disabilities that I had.

Now that I knew I had NLD, I started joining groups dedicated to helping individuals with NLD on Facebook as well as some email lists. I wanted to learn as much as I could about NLD and the more I found out the more I realized just how much in common I had with other individuals with this learning disability. It was the first time I was able to talk to other people who had struggled with same of the issues I’d had throughout my life. I had always felt different from others my age and now I was beginning to think that my social issues stemmed from my NLD.

My NLD has impacted my life in a variety of ways. It has affected my social skills and my ability to get around independently due to my very poor spatial abilities. I have been fortunate to have a great support system in my family and they have helped me to improve both socially and spatially. I used to get lost on the campus of the community college I attended all the time but when I transferred to a nearby university I was able to figure out the campus in a week due to the cognitive therapy I had that summer.

Can I say that life has always been easy with NLD? No, I can’t honestly say that. I can admit though that it does not define who I am as a person. I have transcended my disability and become an advocate for others with NLD through my Facebook page and have managed to maintain a part-time job at a major local department store for almost eight years. That truly is something to celebrate and I couldn’t have gotten this far without the support and guidance of my family.


College is a time of transition

A time to change

College can be stressful

Don’t let it overwhelm you

What makes you stronger

Are the challenges to overcome

The struggles you encounter

Will only make you a better person in the end


It can be a scary thing

On your own for the first time

Remember who your friends are

And your family, too

They will stay by your side

Through thick and through thin

They will always be there for you

You will shine in college

Brighter than the rest

You will thrive in college

Your life will never be the same again

Yes, college is a new journey

But the end result

Is working to fulfill your greatest dreams

And there is truly nothing better than that

Getting Older

Getting older isn’t easy

Like chasing dreams that seem impossible

Life is moving too fast

I’m just trying to catch up

I wish I could turn back time and rewind

To the days when everything was easy

Things sometimes seem so hard

I wish for good things to come

Getting older is so hard

With each passing day I wonder

If I’m doing enough to make my life

As great as it could be

So grateful though to have my family

Constantly at my side

With them as my support

Getting older will be easier

Because I know I have people

There for me and ready

To be the comfort I need

In my most trying times


I’ve been thinking about you

Hoping everything will be okay

That it’ll all work out in the end

Because you mean so much to me

And have always been my friend

Through thick and thin you’ve been there

Forever at my side

My life’s better with you in it

With you I have nothing to hide

Thank you for the memories

I hope that more will come

And everything will be okay

Because you’re my number one

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