Love comes and goes

I have an incredible amount of love surrounding me, both because I purposefully place it in my life and also because i’ve been fortunate enough to have my “greater plan” include love by default. This past week leading up to and including Valentine’s Day has been a comprehensive reflection of the love that I’ve had come and go. 

My roommate and I have a running tradition of spending Valentine’s Day together, and this year we decided to extend the celebrations and make a full week out of it. We made Build A Bears together, had a night of sushi and wine at home, went out to the movies, and of course spent Valentine’s Day with our one true love: Canisius College basketball. It was a week of joy and affirmation that it’s important to celebrate the love that comes with great friendships. 

Readers, meet Riggins.
Readers, meet Riggins.

I also had to celebrate love that is now physically gone. Tuesday marked one month since my brother passed away. It was certainly one of those days that didn’t seem real, a day where I moved through the motions in a daze, feeling numb to almost everything going on around me. I cope and grieve very well, but I’m still human and am in disbelief that he’s actually gone.

Twin's 21st birthday.
Twin’s 21st birthday. Cheers to you, brohan.

This was also the week that my first year of coaching came to an end. I love those fifteen girls more than I think they’ll ever realize, and without giving them unnecessary details, I’m very open and honest with them. They know about the passing of my brother and the loss of my job. More importantly, they know that I use coaching as a positive outlet to cope with all of the difficulties I am going through.

Those fifteen little misfits have been a sincere saving grace for me this year. Whether it was hearing them shout, “love you, coach!” when they walked out the door, telling me about their boyfriend troubles, asking for help in algebra or just watching the lightbulb go off in their minds when something I said finally clicked for them, they always gave me just what I needed. 

Last home game with my misfits
Last home game with my misfits

Through the years, I’ve had a lot of love come and go. There has been love lost, reignited, transformed, misplaced, tarnished, discovered, nourished, jeopardized and celebrated. You can store it away and move on from it, or lock it up and throw away the key. Other times you just save it for a day when it makes more sense, or shout it from the rooftops for everyone to hear.

Just don’t forget what love has done for you, both good and bad. Love, in all of its forms, makes you who you are. And at this very moment, you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.


Make the money

Lately i’ve come to realize that perhaps the most difficult part about life is not just that curve balls get thrown at you, but that you cannot control the time or circumstances under which they are thrown. You don’t get the luxury of seeing when that curve ball hits, you just get to deal with the brutal aftermath and decide how you’ll get back up and heal.

As most know, less than a month ago I lost my brother. Needless to say, that was the biggest curve ball life has thrown at me. I will deal with that loss everyday and it’s unfathomably difficult. Just as I was beginning to understand how I felt about that situation, life threw me another curve ball. One week ago I was let go of from my job due to restructuring, cutting of finances, etc. etc. etc.

Now let me stop for a second and say something that will probably sound like a contradiction at this point: I do not want your pity. I am not writing this to answer the question, “why me?!” There are no answers for that question. This is the hand I was dealt and i’m playing it the best I can. I open up about my struggles for the following reasons:

1. Writing is cathartic for me and helps me understand my own thoughts a little better

2. In the words of my celebrity crush, Macklemore: “See life’s a beautiful struggle, I record it, hope it helps you maneuvering through yours.”

Losing my job was a tough pill to swallow, I simply didn’t see it coming. I interned there in college and was fortunate enough to be employed full-time before I even walked the stage at graduation. It was the perfect launching pad for my career. I was given the tools to grow my skill set, network my ass off, meet incredibly intelligent and compassionate people, and most importantly, learn what I like and dislike about the working world around me.

So instead of sulking in my sorrows, I viewed the loss of my job as an incredible opportunity. While it’s a known fact that I adore Buffalo beyond measure, I also crave adventure and change. It’s just the way I’m programmed. I would be thrilled to stay, but i’m also ecstatic to know that the possibility of a new city is more within my reach than ever before. Yes, the reality of it all is a bit daunting. But the unknown is what makes the exhaustion of it all so ridiculously worthwhile.

These curve balls are never going to end. Some will make me drop to my knees and cry, I’m sure others will make me grin like an idiot and appreciate life in a whole new way. Regardless, they will each teach me a lesson. Learning that lesson and sharing it with others has always been what keeps me going. That will never change.

*Shameless plug: in the meantime, if anyone knows of job openings that fall in line with community management/marketing/public relations, you can view my LinkedIn profile here 🙂

“See life’s a beautiful struggle, I record it
Hope it helps you maneuvering through yours and
That’s why we stay in the lab at night
I’ve been staring into this pad for over half my life
A true artist won’t be satisfied
So I guess that’s the sacrifice
And I say
Make the money, don’t let the money make you
Change the game, don’t let the game change you
I’ll forever remain faithful
All my people stay true”