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  My parent’s marriage was never a rose colored one, or one of those where the couple has been married for so long you wonder what a great life they’ve had together. Wrong. My parent’s started off great, my dad even got his teeth knocked out in pursuit of my mom (had to get replacements). My mom destroyed the greatest car my dad ever had, rejected him a million times before she even said “yes” to a date and yet they got married.

What seemed to be a perfect story didn’t turn out so well a few years into their marriage, my dad had affairs and eventually they separated a few months after I was born. They tried to work things out when I was a few years old but that turned out more sour than the last and they called it quits soon after. Now after years of dad being away they’re back together but finally it seems they’ve figured out that despite everything they ended up together because no one seems to comprehend the other like they do.

I’ve been observing them for the last two years that my dad has returned, they started off quite rocky but it wasn’t until one of them decided to change that the other decided they too had to change to make this work. We all knew that those two loved each other, they were just too stubborn to change and admit their faults. Now, when I look at them I see that love that I hadn’t seen before. I see the way dad holds my mom’s hand and smiles as she eats her breakfast. Or the way mom makes dinner in such a loving and careful way to make it perfect because dad deserves a great meal after a long day at work. I love the way they hold hands in the car or when we go out to eat. I love the way that they hold on to each other when they fall asleep or how my mom looks like a schoolgirl whenever dad steals a kiss from her unexpectedly.

I’ve never seen my parents this way, and it took them years to realize how to make a marriage work. They’re getting older and older now, but to see that love is still there after all these years makes me very happy. I get so happy because it gives me hope that love doesn’t die, it doesn’t age, it just needs nurturing to stay strong. Its the kind of happiness that brings me hope that I can grow old with the person I love. To be able to hold their hand in my wrinkly hand, and still have that twinkle of love in my aged eyes the way I did when we first fell in love.

Smile, sometimes all you need is a new chance to turn it all around.

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I remember that when I was little and there were so many things that I didn’t understood so I made up my own explanations, my own reasons to why things happened the way they did. I never understood why some people were the way they were, or why they would treat me they way they did. Over the years I made countless excuses for them not realizing that I was setting myself to a state of denial instead of looking at things for what they really were.

Bottom line is we won’t please everyone we meet. Unfortunately, that also includes family, people that we unconditionally love, people that won’t feel the same way about us. When we’re little our eyes see the world with a lens of innocence, time goes by so slow, we feel free, and careless. As we grow older we begin to see things by how they really are, and we realize that there’s so much more out there than we ever imagined. As children, some of us are lucky enough to have not experienced discrimination of any kind, our world was sugar coated.

What about the kids who are not as privileged? Children that have been: raped, molested, discriminated, abused, mistreated, and stayed in silence. A friend of mine told me I was privileged for knowing what it meant to love without fear. She was raped when she was ten years old by a family member. Another friend told me how he is always weary of visiting friends because when he was little he was discriminated by his friend’s parents for being African-American. Similar stories went on and on, and as I listened to every one of those stories I thought: how come I never heard any of this when I was little? These people are my friends, my peers. The people I see everyday with a smile on their face, and I was so angry and I felt so impotent.

New slang when you notice the stripes, the dirt in your fries”, and that’s when innocence is gone. Is it better to live in a state of innocence where the world is sugar coated? Or in a world where you see things for what they really are? I prefer to notice the stripes, and the dirt on my fries, sure there are things I miss of those “good ol’ days” but I wouldn’t want to go back.

Some people will smile while hurting inside, while the world remains unaware. Believe it or not, some people are very unaware of what is going on around them, let alone in the world. There are many vile people in this world, but don’t forget that there’s also good hearted people out there willing to lend a helping hand.

Smile, we are the hope of tomorrow.

      Today I had one of those days where you just sit down and think of how your life is suddenly starting to flash before your eyes. I came to realize that not everything I had once planned is really what I’ll eventually be doing. Having that realization was more eye opening and mind blowing that it ever had been. It all started after I had a talk with my brother about the plans I had for my life.

My brother is not the kind to intervene in my life, but he is very protective, and I know he wants the best for me. I had a mindset that my life was pretty much well planned for the most part but when my brother asked me today I realized that a lot had changed. Truth is that life can change in any given moment, and I mean it can really change upside down and side to side and before you know it not even the best of plans can come out according to plan. I realized that I don’t have a lot of time to make some major life decisions, some which I will never get again and no matter how I look at it most of the decisions I have to make are nothing I had expected. Life changes quickly.

I know that I can’t have everything I want in life and so I must set my priorities straight. I promised myself before graduating high school to never do something that didn’t make me happy. I realized that a lot of the things I always wanted to have or achieve were things that didn’t make me happy, they were things I wanted merely to show that I could actually achieve. Keyword being “show”. Its not what I need, not what I truly and honestly wanted. Funny how one’s priorities change as one grows older.

I asked myself what made me happy and the answer was pretty clear from the beginning. I know what makes me happy, I know what I want, and I’m willing to fight for it till the very end. It might not be what I had always planned on wanting, but its OK to have changes. I understand that this road will be very bumpy and full of obstacles but that’s not something that’s going to stop me. If there’s anything I’ve ever been sure of is this, I’m risking it all for my true happiness.

Smile, your life can change before you even know it. 

   I had a math professor who would only give us the most challenging problems in each section for our homework (don’t get me started on the exams…) and everyone complained. We would ask him why, and why couldn’t we get some easy ones in there? He would always say “If you can tackle the big monsters you can tackle everything else” that forever resonated with me.

This professor was my favorite math professor ever, he challenged me like no other professor ever did. I spent countless hours trying to figure out the math problems he had assigned, the class had no curve, he had no mercy. Never did he use notes to write notes on the board, never did he hid behind a desk, and from day one he knew each one of us by name. He always had a lot of interesting points and things to say, when I thought about it a lot could also be used outside of the classroom.

“Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors” – African proverb

If you think about it, tackling big monsters in real life give us experience and confidence in ourselves. Sometimes when I have those bad phases of life I think of what he said and I think if I can get through it I can get through many more things ahead. It keeps me going, it keeps me motivated when I am down. Sometimes the bad isn’t so bad as we think, sometimes the bad is what makes us see the good in many places where we couldn’t see. When you have monsters (problems) to tackle just remember that you have a choice to break down, and complain as to why you don’t have it easier or tackle it and add it to your belt of experience.

Smile, don’t get discouraged by those “Big Monsters” of life. 

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