One Direction Concert Experience + GIVEAWAY

One Direction Ultimate Fan Giveaway

I’ve been a One Direction fan for years now, and a couple weeks ago I FINALLY got to see them preform! On August 7th, my friend and I drove up to Foxboro, Massachusetts to see the Where We Are tour at Gillette Stadium. We not only got to see them on the 7th, but August 8th and 9th as well! I can easily say that those 3 days were the best 3 days of my life.  I want to share some of that joy with YOU! By giving away an Ultimate Fan Pack!  (but don’t forget to read how awesome my concerts were!)

The Ultimate Fan Pack includes: VIP Fan bag from the stadium, including One Direction Tank Top, 1D watch with exclusive bag, and lip balm. Also,  Our Moment Perfume, Where We Are book , This is Us dvd, and Midnight Memories cd.  Everything for a One Direction Fan wants!

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We got to the stadium at around 2 PM to start filming my video, 60 Reasons Why We Love One Direction. I have to say, meeting the other fans was one of my favorite parts. I heard so many stories on how these boys affected the lives of their fans. It was an amazing atmosphere, because it felt like we were all almost connected to each other. Everyone there loved this band, just like I did. Everyone I talked to had been affected by One Direction in a positive way. They had even saved lives.

One Direction may just be a boy band to you, and that’s fine. But to their fans, they are so much more. They’re heroes, reasons to live, inspiration… It may seem silly, that 5 singing boys have such an effect on us, but they do. Harry, Liam, Louis, Niall, and Zayn have changed the lives of millions of people worldwide. While I sat in Gillette Stadium, I had a big realization. It was not just my friends and I that had been so greatly affected by this band. There were over 68,000 people in that stadium, whose lives had been changed by these boys. I saw people screaming from getting waved, crying from getting a kiss blown at them, even sobbing just from listening to the music.

On August 7th, I sat in section 313, and I had an amazing view of the entire stadium. It was surreal to see just how many people were there to see One Direction. I could see almost everything and I had an amazing time. On August 8th, I sat on the floor, right next to the B Stage. It was absolutely amazing. The confetti popped out right over our heads during “Happily”, and the boys were down there for a long period of time. My favorite night though, was August 9th. I sat right next to the main stage, and where they sat to sing the slower songs. It was so surreal to see my idols directly in front of me, singing the songs I’ve listened to in my bedroom for years. I did get waves, and kisses blown at me, and I might have screamed a little, not going to lie. Those 3 nights were the best of my life.

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Thank you to One Direction, for helping not only me, but millions of fans throughout the years. Thank you for helping us feel beautiful, for inspiring us to go for our dreams, for helping us not feel so alone.


A Bullied Kids Guide to a bully free school year

When you’ve been bullied in the past, the first day of school isn’t usually exciting, In fact, it can be terrifying!   It’s hard to walk back in the “lion’s den”, but there are a few things to  do that can make it a little bit easier.

How to Have a Bully Free School Year

Reach out and find new friends- If you had a hard time making friends in your classes last year, this year is a great way to get a fresh start. There are more and different people in your classes this year, which proves for more opportunities to make new friends. Don’t stay hidden behind your books, talk! Answer questions in class, engage in classroom discussions. Try to talk to the people around you as well. It doesn’t have to be a full blown conversation at first. Ask for a pencil, or give a compliment. Open yourself up to new friendships.  Talk to the people you get partnered with. Find a kindred soul. Love art? Check out the after school art opportunities in your class.  Love to sing?  Is there a drama program you can join?  You’d be surprised at the people who belong to groups that you don’t know. Look to grades above you and below you, as well.

Find someone to trust at school.- If you’ve been bullied in your past school years and you’re uncomfortable at school, find someone you trust. It doesn’t have to be someone in your grade. There are great people to talk to in guidance centers about daily problems at school. You could also find a teacher you really trust to reach out to. Teachers are there to be educators and supporters. It’s also a good idea to have your parents reach out  to administrators and teachers about your past experiences so that they are aware of people and things to watch out for.  You have a right to be at school and to be in a safe environment.

Learn how to #BeBrave – Being Brave is a simplified version of how to end bullying.

To Be Brave, you have to stand up FOR the bullied, FOR yourself, and TO the bullies.

It’s not always easy. in fact, it can be hard, but I promise you one thing, once you stand up to those who are bullying you and refuse to accept their behavior, they will leave you alone. If you stand up and report their actions, they will leave you alone, eventually. Most schools have anti-bullying policies in place and are cited in their handbooks. Get to know those rules.  One of the hardest things I ever did was decided to Be Brave for myself, but it saved me.

You may have had a hard time in the past, but you deserve to have a bully free school year. YOU DESERVE to enjoy school.  You may not become a popular kid, but you certainly can take steps to comfortable in school.  Take risks, talk to people you normally wouldn’t talk to. Raise your hand. Show confidence! Don’t let the bullies bring you down. Stand up for yourself. If you see someone else getting bullied, stand up for them as well. Make friends and be there for other people who get bullied. If you band together, the bullies have no power.

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Depression Doesn’t Discriminate

I was sad when  I first heard of Robin Williams death. What I most remember him for was his role in The Dead Poets Society. His role as John Keating was inspiring as that of a teacher who supported and was there for others.  When I heard that his death was an alleged suicide due to depression,  I was even sadder.  I was hearing a lot of chatter of people asking, “What could he have to be depressed about? He had it all!”
People don’t think rich, famous, funny people can suffer from depression.  But they can. I know from experience that sometimes the ones who seem like they have the most going for them can be holding on by the slimmest threads.

Depression doesn’t discriminate.  It knows no boundaries. Young, old, rich, poor, fat, thin, beautiful, ugly, popular, nerd, loved, lonely- depression doesn’t see a difference and affects all kinds of people.

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Depressed people are not always the lonely loser eating lunch alone. They are also the cheerleader smiling as she sobs inside. They are one of the boys playing basketball in the park. They are the Mother pushing a carriage down the street smiling at her baby, the Dad throwing balls to his son, the dancer whirling, the singer singing her songs, the blogger writing.   The fact is, we can’t always tell if people are depressed or not just by looking at them . They are people, everywhere, just getting through the day however they can to get to the next day.

Robin Williams (as John Keating) said,

No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.

Words can hurt, but they can also heal. If you think you know someone who is depressed, just talk to them. Sometimes just one act of kindness can make all the difference to a person.  There was a day  when I was feeling like there was no way out of the  abyss my life had become, and I was about to make a really stupid choice, one person noticed, checked up on me and helped me hang one for one more day. I’ll forever be thankful to that person.
Depression is an illness. It can be treated. I promise, and am proof that you CAN be happy again.  But you need help.  If you think someone is depressed and in a bad place, the best thing you can do it to talk to them, constantly and let them know that someone cares and is there.  BUT ALSO, TELL SOMEONE ELSE, HELP THEM GET HELP. If you are depressed and feeling like there is no way out, please reach out to someone, anyone for help.
The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800- 273-8255.


Being Brave for Myself.

Today, I turn 16. I decided to give myself a gift.  The gift was this photo.

The last time I was in a bathing suit in public, I was  at a local amusement/water park on a class trip.  I was with minding my own business, eating an ice cream cone after swimming for hours, when a man came up to me out of the blue, and said

“ You don’t need that ice cream, You’re fat enough. Go throw it up”.

I threw the cone away, and cried.  I was already depressed and was bullied from people who were supposedly my friends.  Now perfect strangers were coming up to me and telling me I was worthless and disgusting. That’s when I began loathing myself. For real and in earnest, I began to believe things that people would say about me, and found things to hate about myself. That’s about the time I started to want to die.

I’ll fast forward 3 years. I’ve come so far, (with a  lot of help and love) and made a conscious decision. I was at the same water park, this time with my family.  I was so nervous I was shaking, but I took a deep breath, off my cover-up and asked my Mom to snap a photo.

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I’m not societies idea of perfect in this photo. But I’ve come so far!  I’ve moved from hating myself and wanting to die, to accepting and loving myself for who I am, and not what size I am.  I talk a lot about being brave and standing up to bullies and for the bullied, but it’s also so very important to be brave for YOURSELF.   Believe in yourself, and the gifts that you have.

Some people might look at this photo and see a fat girl.  I see a girl who fought many demons,  dealt with many medical problems, wanted to give up on life but crawled her way back inch by inch to see that life is wonderful, and in fact, decided to Be Brave and believe in herself.

I want to share this message from Eleanor Roosevelt said, with EVERYONE  that NO ONE can make you feel badly without your permission. I choose to believe what that man (and others) said, that I was a waste of life and not worthy of being in the same space as them. It was only when I decided to be courageous enough to believe that I was worthy and deserved to be happy did I take my life back.

#BeBrave. Stand up FOR the bullied, stand up TO the bullies, and most of all,  Stand UP FOR YOURSELF. You are worthy.


Top 5 Places for Plus Size Teen Clothes

Finding cute clothes that make you feel good about yourself can be hard.  When you’re a plus sized teenager, it’s almost impossible!  I live in a small town in Connecticut, and every time I go shopping is a hassle. The stores in my town, such as Kohl’s or TJ Maxx offer very little variety. The sections that used to home plus sized clothing have now shrunk to 1 or maybe 2 racks.  Even our local mall offers few selections for younger plus sixes people. Thank GOD for online shopping!    Part of feeling good about yourself is looking they way you want to look.  Finding young, hip, confident and trendy plus sized clothing should be easier. I’m not going to sugar coat it – a lot of the clothes I find are, most of the time, ugly.  A majority of plus size clothing is boxy, shapeless, dull, or looks like it is made for elderly women. Here is a hint to the fashion world:

Just because I’m larger than a size 12 doesn’t mean I don’t like stylish clothes.

I’ve resorted to often making my own clothing using things I find in thrift stores and DIY ideas (thank you Tumblr!).  Thankfully, I have found a couple places that have really cute, up to trend, clothing in plus sizes for things I don’t make.   Here’s a few:

Forever 21 Plus

Almost every teenage girl has heard of Forever 21, and has seen their clothing. Personally, I love Forever 21 Plus. The clothing is affordable, the clothes are well made, and the designs are trendy. There are many different varieties of styles you can choose from as well. I own multiple pieces from the store and love all of it. Forever 21 Plus clothing has a flattering fit and is similar to the other clothing in the store, so you don’t feel excluded from the cute pieces in the other sections. They offer sizes 1xl-3xl in shirts/dresses, and 12-20 pants.

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I have loved every piece of clothing I have gotten from this store. I have both shopped in the actual store and ordered online and I enjoyed both experiences. The clothes in the shops are very cute, and are extremely affordable.  The sales are great, too! They offer sizes 1-3x in dresses/shirts, and 14-24 pants. They also have a nice selection of lingerie, and sizes range from 36C-44DD

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Love Culture

Love Culture Plus size clothing is very up to date with trends, and is really well made. I have never been disappointed when getting an item from this store. The clothing I have gotten from there are great staple pieces in my wardrobe. They offer sizes 1xl-3xl in shirts/dresses, and 1xl-3xl in pants.

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Torrid

Torrid clothing is very well made and dependable. Torrid is probably one of my favorite plus size stores. The styles are diverse and there is a wide variety of styles to pick from. There is so much to pick from, no matter what your preference.  I have multiple pairs of bottoms from there and I adore the fit and feel of them. They have an wide range of sizes, from 12-28.

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Wet Seal

Wet Seal’s plus size section is very similar to their other sections. The clothing is affordable and is extremely comfortable to wear. Every time I’ve purchased something from the section, it becomes a big part of my wardrobe. They carry sizes xl-3x in shirts/dresses and 18-24 in bottoms.

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I’m really proud that at least a FEW companies recognize that  plus sized teens also want to wear stylish clothing and feel good about themselves.   I want to scream to the fashion world:  Pay attention!

I am part of a HUGE demographic. We’re young, we’re hip, we’re confident, and  want to be stylish. We also have money to spend on clothing. Why are you leaving us out?

Is there a favorite store of yours that offers plus sized clothing  for younger people?  And when is plus-sized fashion week again?


5 Reasons to Love 5 Seconds of Summer

The Australian pop-punk band, 5 Seconds of Summer, have taken the world by storm. However, they’ve already won over my heart. I have been a fan for a long time, but their global successful has my fan-girl heart swelling.

The boys have been toured with One Direction last year, and are joining them again this year during part of the Where We Are tour. I saw them at their headline show in Wallingford, Connecticut, and fell even deeper for the band. There are so many reasons to love this band.

1. Their Music     One reason to love 5SOS is their music!(Duh). The songs they sing, such as She Looks So Perfect, Don’t Stop, Good Girls, etc., automatically put you in a good mood when you listen to them. You want to dance around and sing the lyrics at the top of your lungs. ( I know I do when there isn’t anyone home.) They have a punk/rock vibe to most of their songs. Everyone in the band is amazingly talented with vocals, and the instruments they play. Other songs they have preformed, such as Wherever You Are, Beside You, and Amnesia are heartfelt, and can cause tears. They’re incredibly talented.

2. Their Performances     If you’ve ever seen a 5SOS live performance, you’ll know that the entire place is electric. When I saw them, the entire theatre was buzzing with excitement. The boys have so much energy on stage, it’s incredible. Their energy filled the entire building. The whole band seems to be in their element when on stage. They cover every inch of the stage, jumping around, sharing their excitement. They’re passionate performers, losing themselves in their music.

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 3.  The Members      Each member adds another reason to love 5 Seconds of Summer. The band has an amazing dynamic

Ashton Irwin, 19, is the drummer with dimples.

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Michael Clifford, 18, is a guitarist with the hair of many colors.

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Calum Hood, 18, is the bassist with a smile that could melt your heart.

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and Luke Hemmings, 17, is a guitarist with amazing blue eyes, and the lip piercing.

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While being attractive, that’s not all that draws people to this band. Each of their personalities makes the band lovable. Ashton is a bit dorky, but in a cute way, with his different types of laughs. Michael is sarcastic and a bit sassy, and has a bit of attitude, but overall is such a sweet person. Calum is easygoing and fun, and seems like an absolute sweetheart. Luke is a bit quiet, but his slight awkwardness is endearing. All of the boys are hilarious. Every interview and performance you see of them is sure to make you laugh.

4. They’re Themselves      5 Seconds of Summer don’t seem to try to fit the mold, and they embrace their quirks. They seem like the type of guys you want to be friends with. They look like they have a lot of fun together, and seem to be best friends. They have a very chill aura around them. The boys don’t try to hide who they are.  It seems as if you know them, just by watching videos and reading their daily tweets. It’s easy to feel connected to them, even if you’ve never met them.

5. Support     One of the best things about 5 Seconds of Summer, is that the band is extremely supportive of their fans, and vise-versa. The band often voices about how much they love their fans and how much they appreciate their support. In fact, they call their fandom a family, the 5SOS Fam. They tweet their fans, and remind them that they’re loved, and that they’re beautiful. They remind them that someone out there does care about them.  The 5SOS Fam is incredibly supportive of each other, and help each other get through tough things together. It’s amazing to hear stories of how music has saved lives, and this band is definitely a contributor to that.

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Have you heard 5SOS’s songs?   Do you have a favorite band member?


That Time I Didn’t Meet Demi Lovato

Last week,  Demi Lovato played a concert in New York City. as part of the Summer Concert Series for Good Morning America.  I really, REALLY wanted to interview her for my blog. I wrote to everyone a lot of people at GMA asking them to help me  get just a few minutes with her so I could  tell her my story and tell her how inspiring she is and how she helped save my life.  In the darkest moments, when I wanted to die, sometimes singing her songs were what kept me going for just one more night.   I thought that if I met her, it would be amazing and I’d be able to share with her my plans on stopping bullying.

How if everyone would just #BeBrave, bullying would end.

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I didn’t get to meet Demi. I never got to share with her how she helped me Stay Strong or tell her my story.  I was disappointed, but then something amazing happened.   I made hundreds of new friends camped out in Central Park waiting for a chance to hear Demi perform.  I got there about  1:30 am, and was about 200th in line.  Standing in that line,  I started talking to people, and we started sharing stories.

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The stories they shared are not mine to tell, but what I can tell you is  that we all had something in common.  We all were, at some point, lost, and needing to find strength and hope.  We shared a certain kind of frailness, yet extreme strength, that comes with  being broken and then put back together.  We were not only together to hear our hero Demi sing, but also to celebrate: We WERE strong and we made it through! We were ALL Warriors.

We are our own heroes.

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I thought that meeting Demi is what was important. I was wrong.  The people I met were the most important.  The stories we shared were important. What I found was even more important: community.  I think I got a lot more out sitting on a sidewalk in Central Park, huddled together with new friends, avoiding the stinky port-a-john, laughing and singing, sharing strength and hope and bravery.  So, Amanda, Paige, Roberta, Nicole, Jenn, Sam, Alana, and everyone else who sat in line to see our hero,  what we really did is reinforce:

WE ARE OUR OWN STRENGTH AND BRAVERY.

We can all, together and separately, share what we have with others who need it. The simplest way is to #BeBrave and stand up for ourselves and others, and for what we know: Bullying is wrong, depression is real, self-harm happens, but hope is there and we can ALL make it through.     IT GETS BETTER.

By the way, the concert was amazing and I was happy to see Demi (and was surprised by Cher Lloyd and Nicki Minaj ) but I left inspired and motivated by the people  I sat up all night with, waiting in line and sharing hope, strength and love.

Who inspires YOU?

Remember: #BeBrave: Stand up FOR the bullied, TO the bullies, and FOR yourself. If we ALL are brave, bullying will end.


Rules are Rules

Canadian 11th grader  Lindsey Stocker was in trouble. She wore shorts to school, and was told they were not appropriate. She was  asked to go home and change, or face suspension. She refused, and printed up posters instead. Her posters read:

Don’t humiliate her because she’s wearing shorts. It’s hot outside. Instead of shaming girls for their bodies, teach boys that girls are not sexual objects.

She right, guys need to know that girls bodies are NOT sexual objects, and they need to be able to control themselves.  It’s not, or shouldn’t be a girls job to dress so that a man will be able to ‘control themselves” upon seeing them. Men should have control of themselves, in all ways, period. As should woman.

But this isn’t about “shaming women.”  It’s about a high-school Junior who violated her school’s dress code simply because she didn’t want to follow the rules. The schools dress code, according to the Beaconsfield High School website says:

Students must dress appropriately for school. Ripped or torn clothing, short shorts or skirts, T-shirts with unacceptable language or promoting violence, drugs or sexual innuendo, halter tops/tube tops/bikini tops, visible underwear, low riding pants, excessive cleavage, outdoor clothing and attire exposing the midriff are all forbidden in school.

She was asked to change to comply with the rule, and she blatantly defied the administrators.  The rule never said she couldn’t wear shorts, but that she couldn’t wear “short-shorts”. I don’t see anywhere there that it states that these rules apply simply to women.  These rules apply to men, as well.   We have dress code rules at my school that are pretty much the same as her schools, except we have no tank top rule, and the shorts rule.  The shorts rule is that your shorts must at least be as long as your fingertips on your legs with your arms hanging down by your sides, for both girls and boys. I personally don’t find this sexist, or shaming, or anything other than a rule to be followed.

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The outfits my friends and I are wearing for a party are perfectly appropriate – for a party. However, they wouldn’t be ok for school. Our schools rules are no shorts that violate the ‘shorts” rule, no tanks and no spaghetti straps. I’m fine with that.  I’m not being humiliated or harassed.  I’m just observing the rules.

High School is the training ground for adult life.  A real life with responsibilities that won’t won’t always consider your tender feelings when rules are made. Many jobs have dress codes, and even uniforms and if you don’t  comply, you lose your job.  Let’s face it, High School is also a place where you stretch your wings, and try to find your place.  Being asked to follow rules is not grounding you, its providing you with the guidelines for a successful flight.

It’s not shaming, or bullying, or harassment if you are asked and expected to follow rules. In this case, the school is asking all students to dress with respect and  in a manner in which the school would like to portray itself.  High school is not just a place where you learn how to be yourself, it’s a place where you learn to fit in society and like it or not, society has rules. Being asked to follow rules isn’t harassment. It’s life.


Demi Lovato Helped Me Stay Strong and Be Brave

“You can take everything I have
You can break everything I am
Like I’m made of glass
Like I’m made of paper
Go on and try to tear me down
I will be rising from the ground
Like a skyscraper”

Those lyrics are some of the only things that kept me alive in 8th grade. On the nights I’d feel the closest to leaving, I would listen to Demi’s songs and sing them to myself, and I’d feel stronger, even if I thought if it was only for one more night.

Demi Lovato has been one of my main role models. Demi went through some similar things as I did, and I relate to her a lot. Her music and her philosophy have helped me become who I am today. Demi’s motto is “Stay Strong”, and that’s all I could do when I was going through a rough time. I repeated her lyrics in my head every day when I felt close to breaking down, and constantly reminded myself that she got through it, and I can too.

Demi is probably one of the most realistic celebrities out there. She inspired me back then, and continues to inspire me now. Demi shared her story to the world and I respect her so much for that. She knew that she wasn’t “fixed” either. You can’t just wake up one day fixed. You don’t just go to the doctor or therapist and *BOOM* become all better. Getting better takes time and work. You don’t see results in just one day. However, if you try, you WILL.  She acknowledges that she isn’t perfect and even better, that she doesn’t have to be.  She keeps a positive mindset and helps other people while she helps herself.  I have so much respect for her, not only for her music, but the way she chooses to live her life.  She enforces that we are all NOT PERFECT BEINGS, and we all make mistakes and mess up and it’s ok, we just need to pick ourselves up and carry on.

Something happened to me as a struggled to Stay Strong.  I decided that I wasn’t going to let anyone make me feel that badly about myself again. I also wanted to help others. I came up with a surefire way that will help end bullying. So in addition to being strong, I learned to be #BeBrave

To get through bullying, you have to Stay Strong.  To END bullying,  you have to #BeBrave.  Being Brave is standing up FOR the bullied, TO the bullies, and FOR YOURSELF. Do this, and bullying will end. For yourself, and others.

She inspired and lent me the strength to become a Warrior.  Now, I am strong.  Now, I am brave.

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Demi is coming to my area next week for a concert in Central Park. I wish more than anything I could meet her and ask her 2 questions that I’d  answer here:

What happened to make you decided, enough!  I am worth more than this pain they are putting me through, and  How do you find self love and self worth when others try to make you feel like you’re nothing?

If you could meet Demi Lovato , do you have a question you’d like to ask her?  Leave a comment with the question you’d ask.

Please remember to Stay Strong and #BeBrave!


Maybe

There was a time that I wanted to die.

I wore long sleeved sweaters to hide the scars of the cuts I made that I thought would help the pain.  (They didn’t) There was a time where I couldn’t see anything that made life worth living. I had given up.  I was ready…..to just end it all.  As I was preparing  to leave the world of pain I was living in, my Mom found me and told me, “Maybe- maybe there is ONE THING you can find to hold onto. Maybe…if you find ONE THING  that means something,  you can find a way back.  I will help you. Just one thing.”  My Mom gave me her strength, and helped me learn how to do it myself.

From that moment, I found one thing everyday, sometimes every hour,  to hold tight until there were good days more than bad days.  I’m ok now.  In fact, I’m great. I held on until the sun came out again, and I’m glad.

This is my anthem to everyone who feels like there is nothing left worth fighting for.  Because there IS.  Life is worth fighting for.

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There IS a way out of depression.  The bullies  will go away and life will get better. There is NO maybe about it. It really does get better. All you have to do is #BeBrave and hold on. One thing- on day- one minute at a time.

Maybe

I’ll pick up my own pieces
Put my life back together
Fading scars and healing cuts
Make my world hurt not as much
Greener trees and bluer skies
We can finally escape the lies
That had us cornered
By our own thoughts
We’re no longer caught

Maybe I can finally get better
Maybe I won’t have to hide behind these sweaters
The weights off my chest
I can finally breathe
I can finally rest
Maybe I won’t have to run
Maybe I can feel the sun on my skin
Maybe for once
I can finally win

I’ll climb out of my bed
Shake the thoughts out of my head
No one else could save me then
So I saved myself instead
Dry the tears
And wipe my eyes
Silence all the cries
That had me haunted
Trapped inside
But now I won’t have to hide

CHORUS

I won’t cry anymore
I can see life as more than a chore
I can feel my heart
Without my mind getting sore
You can push but I won’t fall
You can’t make me feel small
For so long I was down
But now I’ll stand tall

CHORUS

Maybe…..

by Ally Del Monte ©2104

all rights reserved.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.  Thank you. I love you.