“You will always be my Favorite Hello and my Hardest Good-Bye”

I see you laying there and hear the machines beeping all around you.  A flood of memories come crashing in as I walk into that hospital room.

All of a sudden, I am a 14 year old girl walking down Lockwood Ave in a jean jacket and levis that were washed a million times to get to the right shade. Crossing the street, coming towards me is the guy with the bluest eyes I have ever seen. Your beautiful long locks of dirty blond hair are blowing in the crisp October wind.

Our eyes meet and we say hello.

It’s 44 years later and our eyes meet again, but this time you are lying in a hospital bed awaiting a heart transplant.

The connection is still deep. We both know it. And so does everyone else in the room.

I would do anything to save you if I could. I would do anything to take this pain away from you. You have been such a fighter these last few years. Had more courage than I ever would or could, and always trying to keep the faith. At the first hospital, months ago I was able to sit on the bed with you and hold you. This new hospital has you hooked up so much I can barely touch you. As I bend over to hug you, you hang on tight as if you are going somewhere. Not yet, I say.

A couple of months later you are doing better. A device that will keep you going till the new heart comes has been inserted. You are able to sit up, talk and even roll your eyes at me when I start cleaning up your hospital room. We both know I would be the best one to take care of you, even discussed it, but decided you will be going home to your family. To your house, where the woman that was estranged for years, not caring about anyone but herself, has now decided to come back for some reason. I’m really hoping for your sake that it is the right reason. Everyone does, but everyone has their doubts.

Some would read this and think this story is such a wonderful love story, but it isn’t. There is no happy ending.

Instead, this is a story about how our lives, over the span of 44 years, took different twists and turns. But somehow this crazy bond we possess manages to keep us weaving in and out.

Just at the right times. And sometimes at the wrong times.

This goodbye feels different when I leave the hospital.


Donna Reboletti

Donna is an administrative assistant at a local school district. Worked many years as a customer service manager and sales rep in the publishing distribution field. Non profit is her passion, but it doesn’t pay the bills, so Donna is an avid volunteer in her community. A mother of two adult children and a Schnoodle named Vinnie all who still reside in the nest. A divorced woman over 50 who has been on at least 50 first dates in the last few years but still has not given up hope. Donna grew up in Chicago and had a great childhood in her neighborhood. She currently lives in the outlying burbs. She swears she has the best Italian/Polish family and has a fabulous support system of childhood friends. Her “Girls Club” keeps her sane and tries to help her not sweat the small stuff. Looking forward to becoming Golden Girls when the time is right. Her life has been a roller coaster of love and loss but she always keeps that ticket handy for the next ride. A big shout out to her 8th grade English teacher Mr. Purton who always said she had it in her. Donna tries to leave a little sparkle wherever she goes.

Losing Myself In Every Little Embellishment

For the majority of my childhood and my young adult life, I have been a habitual liar. 

I would lie about things that were inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, but there was a consistent presence of feeling the need to embellish. Now isn’t that a much “nicer” way to refer to lying? These embellishments would burst forth from my mouth without thought, it’s as if I had programmed myself to be in a perpetual state of lying.

There has been one person in my life who always seemed to know better. My mom could always sense when I was lying. She would even question me about how baffled she was about the why. “I just don’t understand why you would lie about the smallest of things, Angie,” she would say.

As the years progressed, I began to wonder why? When I dug in an asked this question, the answer came bounding back to me so clear, I was lying to myself. My habitual lying habit did not begin with whom I was lying too, it was me shielding the truth from myself. My world had become so inundated with lies, half-truths, and embellishments; it had twisted my beliefs…I was losing sight of what was real and true for myself.

Once I recognized that all those lies were just a way to protect myself, I found the courage to begin to unmask my own lies and find my truth. I had become a master liar with the practice spanning over decades. I told myself all kinds of lies every day and had gotten so used to them that it overshadowed my beliefs. It became incredibly clear to me that it was time to face my own self-lies.

It was a challenge to untangle the vast interconnected web that I had created. There were so many embellishments that the only way to deal with them was to unravel the ball and expose them, each and every one. The way that I choose to shed some light on what was going on inside of me was writing about them. By letting go of the lies I told myself, something spectacular and quite unexpected occurred. I found a quiet space of wisdom. By choosing to face my lies and let go of them, I found the space to open to that wisdom and everything it had to share with me.

I must admit that at first, I didn’t really have an understanding of what was before me. I did not know how to consistently listen to it. I was forced to dig deep enough through all the lies to really hear and trust it. This did, however, show me that if I allowed myself to sit in the space of the unknown and to listen more deeply to myself, in the silence, that I have access to a profound teacher.

I was able to learn that I did know the truth of my life, but I just didn’t like it. I found that in the nature of deceiving myself, and by extension others, that I really did not understand the depths of how badly wounded I was. I also came to the realization that the fullness of my expression was brought to me by the awareness of it.

I‘m sure you know your lies very well. You rehearse them all the time in your mind and through your actions. I would also like you to be aware that there is a distinction between lying to yourself and having your truth shift perspective over time and only you can be aware of this distinction. The next time you find yourself trying to believe you‘re happy by rehearsing your lies take note of what you are repeating. What are the ideas and beliefs you tell yourself over and over?

Our own self-work shows us how deluded we‘ve been and this provides a new understanding to find a lot of compassion towards those who are as lost as we were. It can be natural to want to help people to see clearly and to grow. In these moments, I encourage you to practice moving from your space of truth instead. Living your truth is more important than telling others what you think they are doing wrong. Today, many people aren’t used to seeing someone act from a space of clarity and presence, and you probably haven’t done it that much either. When living our truth, this is one way that we can help to reveal lies to others without actively pointing out their own flaws.

It’s important to recognize that your truth doesn’t need any repeating or believing. It simply is. So the more you are able to begin to let go of your lies and beliefs, the more it frees you to notice in the present what is. Commit today to dig in, let go and allow things to be revealed to you, this is how you come to know your truth.

Angie Grimes, also known as Muse Maven, is a Spiritual Architect providing Inspiration, Knowledge, and Motivation. Teaching you to look within and awaken – to reclaim your divinity by guiding you with practical techniques to actively shift perspectives, addressing past human conditioning and centering a new emotional state. #MuseMaven

I Choose to Not Be a Victim

Full disclosure, this hasn’t always been the case.

Victimhood can be seductive.

In the past, I‘ve chosen to be a victim because it offered me a community and an easily accessible identity that didn’t require any work to obtain or maintain. All that was required was to be victimized. I didn’t realize what I was doing at the time, but instead of learning to move on and build an identity based on my own personal accomplishments and strengths, I took the easy road of being defined by what others had done to me.

This needs to be addressed because discrimination is real. Bigotry in all its vile forms exists, and those that suffer from it are tasked with coming up with a personal response to manage it. One such response is to accept the identity of the perpetual victim. To be someone who internalizes the hatred they have received. Such a siren call is more alluring than it might seem.

Being verbally accosted, spat on, and physically assaulted by strangers is incredibly surreal. Nothing can prepare you for it. In its wake, there are no explanations. I distinctly remember feeling tiny and lost. Anger eventually came but not until much later. It‘s time I admit that I still don’t know how to process those feelings. In the absence of real healing, I‘ve found myself believing I deserved such treatment. It isn’t logical, and I don’t entirely know how to change this, but I do know that it isn’t okay. When faced with trauma, we don’t always act logically.

Random acts of violence challenge us to create a narrative that helps us understand them. This is where my path to being a victim started. To believe I deserved to be treated as such had implications for the larger world and my place in it. Humans look for patterns in everything. We seek out patterns and then use them to make judgment calls about how to survive. So a random act of violence presents a very real challenge. How do we stop ourselves from putting too much weight in such an explosive experience? Please understand that these experiences are very real, and the pain associated is something I understand, but I don’t want to be tortured by trauma. I don’t want the people I love to be in an unending cycle forced to have their lives centered around hate.

Worse, the love and support one might receive after such a horror can be a catch-22. The worse a person’s life, the more of a spotlight they might receive to tell their story and to be offered support. On its face, this is just common sense. In every support group, I’ve belonged to time was precious. Not everyone could tell their story. Severity of affliction, recency, and charisma were the biggest factors in someone getting a chance to open up and potentially get support from the group. Let’s be honest; everyone likes getting attention. And so, the well-meaning support structures in place can often condition someone to be perpetually in distress so that they can continually receive a dose of love.  To be clear, I don’t believe that the majority of people who fall into this particular trap do so thoughtfully.

The aforementioned examples of discrimination are relatively easy to understand. Getting punched by a stranger is pretty damn concrete. Most discrimination isn’t. Hate typically manifests itself in such a way that its nearly impossible to prove. This, in my opinion, is the greatest hurdle to overcome. It’s a daily battle that can’t ever be defeated. The not knowing certainly drives me mad.

In my life, I have and will: be turned down for jobs, lose friends, be ignored, be sabotaged, discounted, and lose opportunities because of who and what I am. And yes, all of this will happen to everyone, though that doesn’t erase that it will happen to those like me at a significantly higher rate. Unemployment and homelessness are magnitudes higher in my population than any other population in the United States.

I can’t change any of that. What I can do is decide how I respond to it. Namely, there is no fruit to be had from indulging in every gut feeling I have.Giving into those feelings made the world easier to understand. It made the world black and white. The truth is, most of the time I can’t know if it was just bad luck, or if it was legitimate hate. Nor would knowing do anything for me. Every time I give into those feelings, I revert to being just a victim. Someone whose fate is out of their own hands.

This is my rejection of victimhood culture. A force within the community that I reached out to for help when I was at my worst. A pervasive mentality that stoked a “them vs. us” mentality by encouraging people to shrink away from the challenges of life. I made the choice to buy the snake oil. When the world left me beaten and bruised, it felt good to be coddled; to feel taken care of. But then it never stopped. Healing never came from digging about in my wounds. Healing can’t come from projecting my fear and pain upon the world. Even if all my friends are doing it. 

Today, I choose to be more. 


Pass The Certificate!

August 2016.

Heading into my final year of high school. I was determined to make it the best year yet.

It was Tuesday, my first therapy session of the year. My therapist and I were getting ready to take my usual lap around the school as we were walking she stopped and asked,

Jules, what’s a goal you want to achieve before you graduate high school?

I didn’t even hesitate.

I didn’t even have to think about my answer.

I have had the goal in my heart and mind for a couple of years already and I was ready to do whatever I had to achieve it.

I want to walk across the stage in my walker at graduation,” I replied.

She smiled. “That’s a great goal. It’s going to take a lot of hard work, but we have plenty of time before graduation, so we’ll be able to do it. “

So, now that my therapist was on board, it was time to let everyone else on my team know. I told almost every single person. My paragym teacher, academic teachers, my house administrator etc. They were all excited and were there with me the whole time, every step of the way!

I also planned on keeping it a secret from my graduating class until graduation, so I told everyone that knew already, keep your mouth closed. I don’t want any of the seniors to know. Everyone was supportive of it and told me they would keep it to themselves.

But, unfortunately, halfway through the year, the anticipation of keeping the secret away from the graduating class was starting to kill me. I couldn’t hold it in anymore. So, to make myself feel better,I told them.

Their reactions such as “I’m going to cry and I’m so excited for you.”Were truly priceless and pushed me harder than ever to build the strength up in my legs enough all year to walk the long hike up to the stage that coming June.

May 27, 2017.

4 weeks before the big day.

One of the administrator’s that was on café duty during my lunch period pulled me aside to chat with me about plans for graduation. Like how the stage was going to be set up and how myself and another student that was in a wheelchair was going to get up on the stage using a ramp etc.

“You’re going to be called first Jules. She said then you’re going to give everyone their hugs and come down,  same with the other student. After you both are done, we will let all the others go. Sound good?”She asked.

I nodded in agreement.

June 12, 2017.

Finals week.

The final week before the big day for the graduating class of 2017.

And the final week for me to finalize everything before my walking milestone. The final step in the planning process was to speak with my gym teacher about how we were going to get me downstairs if we were all on the second floor and were separated by last names in rooms, it was going to be a tough walk.

Luckily, that week I only had one final and that’s it. SoI was able to spend more time planning.

“If you can’t make it downstairs without being tired because I want you to have enough strength and energy to be able to walk out to the stage,” explained my gym teacher. “We will let you get a head start and give you a ride on the cart. But if graduation gets postponed to the 18th of June due to weather (the original set date was the 17.) that rain day morning we will all meet in the gym and walk out from there.

The cart didn’t work.  So, now in a way, I was praying that it got postponed only because having the cart would kind ruin the plan.

It did get postponed. Which I was happy about.

June 17, 2018.

24 hours before the big day.

The day all of us graduating seniors pick up our caps and gowns as well as have our yearbooks signed. Emotions and excitement were running high for everyone. It was all starting to feel real.

June 18, 2017.

The big day was finally here.

The day 400 of us graduating seniors said goodbye to the place we called home for 4 years. We all met in the gym. I was feeling nervous, anxious, and excited all at the same time. We were led by row to line up in the hallway to get ready to walk out. My row went first and within 30 minutes or, so everyone was lined up and ready to go.

We started to walk; I was already getting overwhelmed and we didn’t even make it to the gate yet. When we walked the path, all I could hear was people clapping as the band music was playing from someone’s I pod and the faint screaming and hollering of the people in the bleachers. It was very emotional how many people supported me in reaching this goal of walking across the stage at graduation, and now the hard work was paying off.

With the guidance of my gym teacher, I made the long hike out to the football flown to my seat up in front, and he was so proud and so was I. The music stopped playing. The national anthem was sung, and all speeches were given.

Finally, it was the moment we have all waited for.

I got ready to walk and went up to the ramp. 

My name was called:

“Juliana Ruggiero.”

I walked.

All of the seniors were screaming and so were the people in the bleachers. I gave everyone on the stage their hugs and walked back to my chair. I felt so proud of myself. “I did it!” I whispered proudly. The other wheelchair student went after me. We both watched as the rest of the seniors went up.

Everyone was done the closing speeches were said and we all able to throw our caps up in the air as a final farewell. Everyone was crying and proud. I was proud of myself. And my para was crying. The whole day was emotional and happy, and it will be a day I will remember forever.

To anyone with disability reading this. I want you to know no matter what you can achieve your dreams. Don’t let anyone or anything hold you back. You can do anything you set your mind to, all you have to do is work hard and believe in yourself! That’s it!

You got this!!

Juliana Ruggiero

Juliana is 18 and fresh out of High school. She graduated with High honors. Writing is something she really enjoys doing and everyone that knows her tells her she has a gift for it. Juliana is a hopeless Italian food addict, loves meeting new people and making new friends. She is very laid back and easy going. Juliana is here to inspire everyone and give it her all. She doesn’t have a bad bone in her body. Her career began in July of 2016 after reaching out and offering to be interviewed for The Abler Blog. Since that interview, after seeing all the positive feedback she was getting from everyone, it pushed her to do more with her writing! Pushing herself to do more has lead Juliana to some of the most kind and supportive people she could ask for! She is grateful that she took that “leap of faith.”

Faking it

We’ve heard it a thousand times, “Fake it, till you make it.” We’ve all know what it means and we are all guilty of saying it at one point or another. There is just one issue with it, it’s the biggest lie I’ve ever told myself.

Being positive and keeping my chin up is difficult for me. Being constantly positive and seeing the silver lining in every situation, is exhausting. It’s both physically and mentally exhausting. I’ve tried to fake being positive. To put on a smile despite what I’m going through. Faking happiness and just waiting for the day that I will actually be happy is the worst thing I could do.

I’ve denied myself emotions I was rightly due. Denied myself the process to heal the right way. Lied to myself that not being okay isn’t okay and you just need to move on and be happy because the world doesn’t like you if you’re not happy and positive.

I’ve continuously questioned why I’m still upset at the end of my last relationship. My best friend tells me it just takes time and you have to choose whether you move on or just stay put.

Faking it has kept me stagnant because I’m only pretending to have moved on. All the while behind the smile, the laugh, and brave face, I am crying on the inside. I now stand at the beginning of a new road. It’s time I choose.

I can sit here and wallow in self-pity and cry poor me. Or I can choose to be happy. Choose to move forward, let go of the past and trust God.

Here is to a better year. Letting go of things I can’t control. Forgiving the hurt and pain that others have caused, asking for forgiveness for pain and hurt I’ve caused others.
Being more positive (thank you Project Wednesday) and grateful for the good in my life.
Seeking to rebuild my faith in God. Learning to trust in His will. His timing and His plan.
~First Facebook post of 2018

I’ve faked it for too long. Faking it has only prolonged my struggles. We all have at some point. This is my time to move forward and change.

God has a plan, as difficult as it may be to trust Him or no matter how much trust you’ve lost in Him, He still trusts you to allow Him to work in your life.

Today, I once more choose to be happy. Choose to allow myself to hurt when I hurt, cry when I cry, but not allow myself to stay there to hurt and cry.

Same for you.

You are strong, courageous and brave.

God Bless and Positive Vibes.

Niall Covington

Born with a genetic disorder, Niall knows what it is like to be knocked down. He has been there several times and he has been able to get back up because of faith and a small number of friends. Seeing others getting knocked down, Niall offers a hand whether he has just fallen or is on the way back up himself. Volunteering as a summer camp counselor for children, teens, and young adults with the same disorder, Niall hopes to inspire them to overcome life’s road blocks. For Niall, writing for Project Wednesday is an opportunity to reach more people, and to help more.