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Reflecting on How I See Things

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Reflecting on How I See Things

Hello everyone and welcome back to Join The ME Project. Also, let me extend my welcome to the first day of December. I mentioned it on my Instagram, but I really feel like this year went by fast. And you know, something about this month gets me in a mood of reflection. That’s what I’m going to be talking about in this post.

Tomorrow, I have my 12-week check-up with the surgeon that did my hip. And it’s made me reflect on what’s happened since that initial day in September. I’m still really happy with my decision to have surgery because it got rid of a lot of my pain.

See Also: Blogger Recognition Award

I just feel a bit bittersweet. I know I’m not physically where I need to be 12 weeks out. Although some aspects of this have been simply out of my hands. This wasn’t my first surgery by any means, but it was the one I had the most issues with. 

My family and I have dealt with the insurance, the surgeon, and physical therapy because there have been issues. And then these issues cause delays. It seems like an exhausting wheel of rotation without progress.

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Rather than focusing on what was only frustrating, I decided to turn my attention outwards. And I realized that I had so much to be grateful for. My mom and sister have been so helpful and loving. Our friends have shown that they care as much as possible.

I’ve discussed it a bit in, The Illusion Of Social Media. After turning my attention outwards, I had to focus back on myself. I didn’t have a negative attitude, I was grateful for who I had in my life, but there was a disconnect within me.

How I viewed myself and how I viewed my health was separate from each other. And I know what the catalyst was. Prior to my surgery, we discussed with the doctor about how everything would go. And he was pretty optimistic that I would have little to no issue.

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Through most of my healing process, I used crutches. And I thought they were a temporary solution. Then my doctor prescribed a cane and I realized my thinking was wrong. I was applying the word ”temporary” to not just the crutches but my health as a whole.

The way I viewed my whole situation was skewed. I was hiding my denial of the situation behind this wall of false acceptance. I had to take a step back and reevaluate it all. By combining those two sides of myself again, I could see that I put too much merit in this surgery.

See Also: The Visionary Friend

I can say now that I no longer have that issue but it took me a while. I had to really dig through layers of myself to get to the root of the issue. And I think that’s important for everyone to do when it comes to physical, emotional, and mental health.

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My problem was that I never buried the image that I had of myself. And where and who I am is not who I thought I would be. And in some ways, that is actually a really good thing.

So as I sit and finish writing this post, my cane is resting right beside me. Not long ago, it was the catalyst for a much-needed self-evaluation. How do I feel now? Motivated. Encouraged. And I hope that I can help someone else by simply reading this.

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As always, let me know what you think in the comments below. To stay updated follow Join The ME Project on Social Media!

Check out The CoUnity page to learn more about the project and find out how you can become a member.

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Get to Know Me Q&A

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Get to Know Me Q&A

Originally Posted November 13, 2018

Hello, everyone and welcome back to Join The ME Project. I’ve been blogging now for over two years. First as PAE Reviews and now under Join The ME Project.

I thought it would be fun to do a Get to Know Me Q&A. There’s been a lot of changes over the years. Especially just with my blog in general. This way you can get to know me and hopefully if you like it, I can do more in the future.

Questions & Answers

Full Name

My name is Erika Elizabeth Alexandria Parks. My brother gave me my first name. His name is Eric. My mom and father both had a grandmother named Elizabeth. And Alexandria was the name of an actress that my mother liked.

image-300x300 Get to Know Me Q&A Blogging Friendship November 2019 Tags and Q&As

Meaning Behind My Blog Name

I talk about this a little bit in,Where Would We Be Without Support?, I think. But my intention with this blog is to share my thoughts, views, and opinions. So essentially, I’m sharing myself.

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With my first blog, PAE reviews, I wanted to involve my name somehow. EAP Reviews didn’t look or sound good to me so I settled on, PAE Reviews. The blog title, Join The ME Project came about on its own in a way. It was the name of my side project and then it became my blog.

See Also: About Join The ME Project

3 Fears

Bugs, disappointing my loved ones, big bodies of water

Last Song I Listened To

Bad by Tablo featuring Jinsil. This song is one of my absolute favorites.

Favorite Movie

Night at the Museum is one of my favorites. I actually like the sequel and the third one. I’ve always been a history buff and I tend to stick to comedies and family movies so this is right up my alley.

Favorite Songs/Music

I have too many songs to list them all, but I’m pretty selective when it comes to genres of music. At the moment I like: 90’s R&B, Classic Rock, Funk, KPop, some Pop.

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Favorite Color

Turquoise, Coral & Orange

A Fact About My Personality

I’m an introvert, usually, in conversation, I’m the listener, not the talker. I’ve always been better at communicating when I could write things down.

What I Dislike Most About Myself

I’m constantly overthinking and worrying too much. I’m naturally an anxious person. I’ve gotten better at it over the years, but every once in a while, I’ll drive myself crazy worrying over something.

What I Like About Myself

My sense of humor. I try not to take things too seriously, my mom always says that you need to have humor in your life.

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My Relationship With My Parents

As I mentioned before, my father isn’t in my life. But my mother is just about my favorite person on this earth. I tell her just about everything because I know that even if I don’t like her advice at the time, it’s what I need to hear in the end. Plus, she’s simply hilarious.

Last Time I Cried

I cry about small things frequently. I think it’s a good stress releaser. But the last time I had a huge ugly cry was when I found out that a good friend and mentor had not only passed, but he died months before. I talk about that in, Teen Ink| Personal Experience & Saying Goodbye

Favorite Sports Team

I like College Basketball in general. I’m not loyal to one team, I just go crazy during March Madness.

Scars

Plenty, I have scars on my knee from two surgeries. Then I have scars on my right elbow, forearm and wrist from a Carpal Tunnel and Cubital Tunnel surgery. And now, I have scars on my hip from my recent hip surgery.

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Day or Night?

Night. I’ve always done my best writing and thinking at night. I can barely function in the morning, especially without coffee.

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As always, let me know what you think in the comments below. To stay updated follow Join The ME Project on Social Media!

Check out The CoUnity page to learn more about the project and find out how you can become a member.

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Saying Goodbye to Teen Ink

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Saying Goodbye to Teen Ink

Originally Posted by October 8th, 2017

Hello, everyone and welcome back to Join The ME Project. As I mentioned before, I used to be quite shy about showing what I was writing to my friends and family, but I had no problem publishing it online. I think I was I was worried about the personal opinion of what others that knew me, and I knew them. Online, I had the protection of anonymity, I didn’t have to worry about that. The website that I turned to was TeenInk.com.

I found it one day while I was doing some googling. The website’s tagline is, “By Teens, For Teens” that’s what attracted me to learn more. Not only can you publish your writing on the website, but they select a few to get published in their monthly magazine. It allows you to connect with other writers, read their work, and have them comment on yours.

The website’s tagline is, “By Teens, For Teens” that’s what attracted me to learn more.Join The ME Project

But there is an age limit for the site, it is called “Teen” Ink. Once you are over the age 19, you can no longer publish to the site, but your work will remain.

See Also: The Visionary Friend

In 2009, I found out about Teen Ink’s NYC Summer Writing Program. It was open to girls in grades 9-12 of that school year. The itinerary included: writing courses, individual instruction, guest speakers, and daily outings. Housing was at the Juilliard College dorms.

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To apply I had to fill out an application and send in samples of my writing. Thousands of girls applied, but they only picked 30 to be a part of the program for that year. I was totally shocked to find out that I was one of them.

(Author note: This is the video they made of our 2009 NYC Summer Writing Program. You’ll see a really young version of me)

Once again, I never shared my writing like that, so to get news that I had been accepted into this program with 29 other talented girls blew my mind. At first, my mom was not into it. She thought it was a big scam and I was going to be sold into slavery off in a different country. She would tell me that multiple times a day. The top really blew off, when we learned that the total cost was going to be $4,000.

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This was a two-week trip, so the cost included: meal plan, tours, Broadway shows, museums, etc. We just didn’t have the money. Throughout all of this, we were in contact with John Meyer, who was the owner and founder of Teen Ink.

See Also: Letting Go of Old

Looking back now, it’s simply hilarious and heartwarming because he would reassure my mom that the program was not a scam and I would not be sold into slavery. He said that they still wanted me to be a part of the program and things would work out.

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I kid you not, I remember sitting in my Creative Writing class and over the intercom, I got called down to the main principal’s office. The whole walk there, I was filled with such dread just thinking about the reason why I had been called out of class. His office was on the opposite side of the school, so I had a lot of thinking to do as I walked.

See Also: Where Would We Be Without Support?

I walked in, and there was a lady in his office with him, but they were both smiling so I figured I wasn’t in any trouble. She told me that she was from the Board of Education, and she heard that I had been accepted into the Teen Ink NYC Summer Writing Program. She said that she was proud that I had been one of the 30 accepted and that they were going to pay for me to go.

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When I say I lost my mind, I lost my mind! I called my mother on the phone and she just couldn’t believe it. Honestly, it wasn’t until we got to Juilliard and she dropped me off did she stop thinking it was a scam. The program was absolutely amazing, I met many wonderful and talented individuals. I’m honestly glad that I went and took the opportunity because I learned so much about myself that I didn’t know before. Sadly, the program is no longer offered.

Even after the program, and leaving my teenage years, I would still help Teen Ink. Occasionally, I would do the freelance reading for them and I kept in contact with John. We would always email back and forth, and try to keep each other updated on life.

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When we moved to our apartment, I emailed him to let him know our new address, but I never heard from him. There would be a gap in time between our emails, but never this long.

Eventually, I emailed one of the editors to ask her and she informed me that he had passed away in January. He had liver cancer. I read the email at physical therapy so I couldn’t break down at the time, but I did when I got home. My grief is new, but he’s been gone for so long and I didn’t even know.

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I had a moment last week of questioning myself. I questioned what I share and what I discuss on this blog. I never want to offend anyone by what I write, but at the same time, what I write is coming from my perspective and my life.

I know that not everyone shares the same views as me, and that’s okay. But everything just got to be too much, and I needed a break. Then I thought about John, and his continual support and I knew that I couldn’t give up. But I’m going to end this here before I start crying again…

As always, let me know what you think in the comments below. To stay updated follow JoinThe ME Project on Social Media!

Check out The CoUnity page to learn more about the project and find out how you can become a member.

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Where Would We Be Without Support?

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Where Would We Be Without Support?

I’ve been contemplating a lot lately. The main focus of my thoughts has been on family, but since starting this blogging journey I realize the importance of friendship more, too. I mainly started blogging because I needed an outlet to express myself.

I’ve discussed a little bit of my health situation in a previous post before, but the majority of my time is spent at doctor’s appointments or at physical therapy. I got stuck in a rut of not feeling anything and just going through the motions.

See Also: The Illusion Of Social Media

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One day, I finally got sick of it and I decided that I wanted to change what I could. Now, my health situation is not going to change. But I could change the way I perceive my life and my outlook on it. I remember that when I was younger, writing helped me vent out all the raging emotions that I had inside. I’ve never been much of a talker but putting pen to paper seemed to be my way of communicating. There were some things that I wrote that I would share and others I wouldn’t.

My health situation is not going to change. But I could change the way I perceive my life and my outlook on it. Click To Tweet

See Also: The Visionary Friend

I decided that I wanted this time to be different. I thought, “why not make a blog? I have plenty of opinions. I’m always trying new products, this could work out.”

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Talking it over with my mother really helped me with my decision. She’s my soundboard for a lot of things, and I knew that if she thought it wasn’t a good decision, she would be frank about it and tell me. To my surprise, she was all for it.

See Also: Letting Go of Old

I made the decision to keep some things private and I still am. One of my biggest problems is that I’ve always been quite shy about my writing. At first, I wasn’t sure if I was going to tell my other family members and friends about my blog.

Britt K/@AltSpeaking on Twitter helped me see that I was making a bigger fuss about it then I needed to. For some reason, I thought that I need to make my blog a topic of conversation or at least bring it up in conversation. In the end, all I did was follow a few of them from my blog Instagram account and word got out. It made me realize if my friends and family, know who I am, then what’s the point in hiding my name. I admit that my thinking is weird sometimes.

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Twitter alone has been a big support to me. In not only finding like-minded individuals, ones who love to write and share their opinions, but people that truly want to support each other in every aspect that they can. When I started my blog, I knew what my topics were going to be, but I didn’t know how to reach readers or interact with others. I’ve learned so much just being on Twitter than anywhere else. And I think with that you have to put yourself out there.

I don’t want to be known as someone who stepped on people to get anything in life. So I want my blogging life/side to be the same way. If I can read, share, RT, or follow, I will do that. And my thinking is, “If I don’t do it for others, then how can I expect someone to do it for me?” Once again, these are just my personal thoughts. But my question for today is: How have you been shown support recently? or, When was the last time that you gave support to someone that needed it?

If I can read, share, RT, or follow, I will do that. And my thinking is, If I don't do it for others, then how can I expect someone to do it for me? Click To Tweet

As always, let me know what you think in the comments below. To stay updated follow Join The ME Project on Social Media!

Check out The CoUnity page to learn more about the project and find out how you can become a member.

Originally Posted October 5, 2017
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Why I’m Relaunching the Blogger Series

Why I'm Relaunching the Blogger Series 11

Why I’m Relaunching the Blogger Series

Originally Posted November 9th, 2017
Read the previous post here: Taste of HOME| Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen

Hello everyone, and welcome back to Join The ME Project. Today’s post is going to be an announcement and a culmination of some ideas that have been floating around in my head for a while now.

A Bit of a History Lesson

In, Let Me Reintroduce Myself, I discussed my old blog name, PAE Reviews and how Join The ME Project (known as just the mE project) at the time, was just a side project.

See also: About Join The ME Project

I thought it would be a great idea to go back and break down the original meaning of Join The ME Project. Doing so not only to educate to new subscribers but to add a level of understanding of why I’m restarting an old project.

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What does ME stand for?

In the very beginning, ME was an acronym for the words motivate, encourage, and energize. Over time, energize was dropped because of how the name was stylised (from mE to ME).

I started blogging September 14, 2017. My blog was Pae Reviews and initially all I did was post reviews. Overtime I evolved as a blogger and I met others who became a great support system.

It was during this time that I created Join The ME Project. Motivation & Encouragement mean a lot to me. And I wanted to create a platform around that. – Let Me Reintroduce MyselfJoin The ME Project

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What is Join The ME Project?

Why I’m Relaunching the Blogger Series

My goal is to create content that’s motivational, and encouraging (ME)It’s very easy to get distracted by our responsibilities and daily schedules that we forget about ourselves. I hope that this series helps inspire everyone (me included) to slow down sometimes and remember why we do the things we do.

Now, Join The ME Project has built itself up and has flourished with its own community. My goals are to keep this growth going and to connect with like-minded individuals. I want to support as many people as possible and use my platform. – About Join The ME ProjectJoin The ME Project

What Do You Think

First of all, I would love to hear what you think about this. Please let me know in the comments below. Second, if you have an idea for a post just leave it in the comments below and I will definitely do it.

Are You Interested?

Third, I would love to interview some of you and write a post about your blogging story for this. If you would be interested in that, just fill out the contact form or you can also email me at info@jointhemeproject.com

If we have done an interview in the past, I will be contacting you soon.

 

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The Future

In the future, I would love to have guest posts for this. But my other ideas are: blog shoutouts, and more tips & tricks.

Least but Not Last

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I would be doing a disservice if I forgot to mention The CoUnity. You can follow and become a member on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. New to the group is our ✨Instagram Highlight✨ Once a week, I pick a member to feature on my Instagram account.

I’ve been able to do this three times so far, and I would love to pick this back up again.

Read Let’s Build a Community!, for more information.

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I Want to Build a Community

Join The me Project

I Want to Build a Comminity

Hello everyone, and welcome back to Join The ME Project today I thought I would do something a little different and share my thoughts on current events, along with what I’ve been working on behind the scenes.

Why I want to build a Community

When I rebranded as Join The ME Project, one of my main goals was to create a community. I’ve discussed this a few times already. But I truly believe that blogging shouldn’t be a competition. It should be about creating strong bonds with like-minded individuals.

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The Facebook Group

This thought process and mindset spawned The Community Facebook group. I created this group for the bloggers, influencers, and creators. We are all at various stages of development and growth but that doesn’t mean we can’t lend a helping hand.

Within the group, you can find resources, weekly threads, and Q&A sessions. Feel free to join a growing Facebook group!

See Also: Finding and Creating Your Brand Identity

( update- As of 11/05/19 The Facebook group, The CoUnity has been archived. Right now, I find it important to put my main focus on my blog. Once I have that firmly established again, I will put my all in the FB. I find that to be the best. That way I won’t be stressed too thin. )

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Creation of an RT account & Threads

So many of us get burned out because we’re constantly worried about stats. Added on by the pressure of people who follow/unfollow and brands with unrealistic expectations. Instead, we should celebrate each other’s milestones because in the general span of things, we are a small community. Wouldn’t it be better to ignore what we have no control over?

See Also: Free Resources Every Blogger Should Know About

But to combat the negativity, I want to make sure that I do my part. Today, on Twitter I’ve created an RT account that’s also attached to the Facebook Group.

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I know one of the biggest struggles about what we do, is feeling like our work doesn’t get seen or pushed in front of a big enough audience. While this account is starting off at the bare minimum, I’m hoping with your help, it will grow.

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Use What You Have to Highlight Others

I wrote about it today in the FB group, but there will be one new change that I will be adding to my Instagram. Each month, I will post a thread on FB entitled, Instagram Highlight. Once a week, I will randomly pick someone to highlight on my IG feed. You just have to be a member of the group and following me on IG.

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That’s really all I have to share with you today, please let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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The Visionary Friend

The Visionary Friend- What kind of friend are you? Being a friend is a two-way street. If we want someone to be there for us in our time of need, we have to be there for them.| jointhemeproject.com

The Visionary Friend

Originally posted: September 27, 2017.

How’s your vision? Would you say it’s good or bad? If we were talking about literal eyesight than you wouldn’t want to depend on me for anything without my glasses because my vision is actually quite poor. But no, today we’re figuratively discussing our vision. How much or how well we pay attention to others.

The definition of the word visionary means to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom. Synonyms for the word being: insightful, perceptive, and discerning. Can you use these words to describe yourself as a friend or your friends? And I’m not trying to call anyone out by writing this, I learned this lesson too. I recently had to look at myself and reflect on what kind of a friend I was.

My health has been changing lately. And with it came changes to my daily routine, what activities I could do, and even the way I thought. I had to grasp the realization that I couldn’t do what I once did. During this transition, I started to create expectations of others, not taking into consideration that they had their own life to live.

Someone once told me, that when you are in the height of your emotions, pain can feel like a box. And depending on how long you dwell on your own suffering that box can get smaller. This box can become so small that all you can see is yourself and the problems you face. I found this to be true. At the time, I felt like I had no one around me and that wasn’t true at all.

Once I realized that I was in a box, I started to look for ways to break out. Instead of waiting for my friends to come to me, I went to them. One of my favorite sayings is, “Everyone has a story. Sometimes we just need to read it.” Being perceptive of others let me see that they were suffering and going through something just as much as I was. And if they wouldn’t come to me, I needed to take the first step and go to them.

If you have nothing to your name, you have your time to give. You have a shoulder to give for others to cry on. If you are a visionary friend you will be able to notice that something is wrong with your friend and ask them about it. It’s hard for some to take the initiative to bring up what’s bothering them, ask first.

Being a friend is a two-way street. If we want someone to be there for us in our time of need, we have to be there for them. Click To Tweet

Being a friend is a two-way street. If we want someone to be there for us in our time of need, we have to be there for them.

  • We don’t want to be a Taker– Someone who should be seeing a psychiatrist instead of calling you on the phone about their problems. They take your time, they take emotionally but never give anything in return.
  • Or, the Non-Follow Through– The friend that says they will be there when you need them, but never shows up.
  • The 3-Way Caller– Always asking another friend how you or someone else is doing instead of calling that person directly.
  • Be the Visionary Friend– someone who takes the initiative to ask about the welfare of their friends. Someone who is there when needed. Someone who notices when something is wrong.

As always, let me know what you think in the comments below. You can read the previous post, Letting Go of Old, by clicking the link.

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