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  • Changing Reservations About SELF-LOVE

    As I write this, it’s February 14th, Valentine’s Day, a day to celebrate love.

    The phrase that comes to mind when pondering what love is – is “others,” aka being generous to someone else, as in NOT me. It is about making others happy.

    When it comes to me, associating SELF with the word LOVE is as common as someone who doesn’t like Chinese food – very, very, VERY uncommon.

    When the number reads 14, and the month reads February, for me, being single, the day is reserved for images of dark clouds and drooping flowers, instead of a rainbow perfectly expressing your range of beautiful emotions, whoever you are romantically attached to.

    Reserving a table at your favorite restaurant, celebrating the day reserved to enjoy your significant others company is my personal definition of this day.

    So, you can see why, as a single person, MY viewpoint of this day is filled with clouds and drooping flowers instead of the voraciously vibrant red roses.

    I could point out a list of adjectives as large as jumbo popcorn: envy and sadness are a couple of kernels to explain how I feel about not having someone I am smitten over sitting on the other side of the table, making me feel that I’m with the only one and everyone at the same time.

    Skewed and as untrue as it might be, having the one would make me feel whole. That said, as I am writing this, I am learning a very important lesson… there is a reason we have both iced and hot coffee.

    So, with that, I’ll stop bringing out the appetizers and get to the main course: the reservation might be for two, just remember, adding a +1 does not mean you stop loving you, and self-love is love that NO person can give to you except ONE.. YOU!

    And by the way, to my future Valentine (girlfriend) – since we love both of ourselves equally, we are splitting the cup because your self-love and my self-love is equally important to me and you.

    Voting starts April 16, 2024 12:00am

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  • Jake shared a letter in the Group logo of PoetryPoetry group 4 weeks, 1 day ago

    Inside vs. Outside

    The feelings I have inside are not easy ones to let out BUT THIS IS ME!

    If you asked ME what is the FIRST THING people notice when I MYSELF enter a room it would and IS my LIMB and FISTED hand because of my cerebral palsy a physical disability

    Often NOT ALWAYS the FIRST THING JAKE SEES is being treated DIFFERENTLY, but THIS IS ME I do not know any differently!!!

    It’s easy for me to say I should be treated the SAME as others whose differences you can NOT SEE

    Unfortunately oftenbNOT ALWAYS the WORLD does NOT teach enough about SOCIETY and how WE are ALL BORN DIFFERENTLY!!!

    mine is just one you SEE!

    I hope that WE can keep the MAIN thing the MAIN thing and that is we ALL have a heart

    So I ask ALL to please let that be the MOST IMPORTANT thing WE SEE

    With Utmost LOVE & GRATITUDE

    Jake

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    • Jake, I love how honest this piece is, and how you really take ownership of your story and your feelings. Thank you for sharing and thank you for being such a huge part of our community. <3 Lauren

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    • This is such a beautiful story. All too often we judge people superficially. This is a soulful reminder that we are not our bodies, but rather our hearts. Thank you for putting your love into this poem. Keep it up 🙂

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  • Air

    Thinking about my goals for the new year makes me crouch in my seat when I should sit up straight proud because I got there

    my brain BURSTS mulling over ANY AND EVERY GOAL so I take this time to look at them as a WHOLE

    What do I have to do to complete this puzzle piece that is comprised of EVERY SINGLE GOAL

    Being CONFIDENT and PROUD of what I have done should give me all the reason to continue to strive for SUCCESS this season

    There is truly no reason why 2024 can NOT be a BREAKTHROUGH season

    As I invision proceeding and SUCCEEDING in life the reason I haven’t had my break through moment is easy

    My potential is like the AIR you can NEVER have too much to spare

    I don’t dare to prepare to jump into the limit-LESS air BUT I am AFRAID of that STARE or smile that will inevitably be there (at least according to ME) to COMPARE

    If I dare to run the race that is LIFE and I WIN I will FOREVER WONDER if crossing that finish line FIRST was FAIR

    I think about EVERYONE ELSE who CAN be there

    Most certainly the guy with the limp is NOT supposed to be there (or so MYSELF thinks)

    But I tell myself if I do NOT run the race (LIFE) like I BELONG it will only be UN-used air and WASTED air just means in the end I did NOT care and I MYSELF CARE

    So in 2024 I DARE to jump INTO MY limit-LESS AIR!

    Voting starts March 15, 2024 12:00am

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    • Wow Jake! This is a fantastic and insightful piece. You are right! Your potential is limitless. Thank you for sharing and thank you for being such a wonderful and special part of our community.

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  • @aišaThanks for the kind words, it is TRULY ❤️ warming!!! Just about every word does NOT do JUSTICE!!

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  • @giesantana, I can NOT describe how much the following sentence means to me!!! “Thank you for your refreshing outlook. And showcasing your ABILITY!! 🙂”

    I thank YOU for reminding me that disability can define your inability OR the fact that you get STRENGTH from it!! YOU, MY friend, FIGURED OUT the question of WHAT TO DO!! KEEP DOING IT!! and remember not everyday is going to be your best!! You are walking on the RIGHT PATH
    It is NOT easy poking into the wholes that are our emotions — ESPECIALLY the negative ones!! I am SO VERY PROUD OF YOU AND THANK YOU FOR POKING INTO THOSE WHOLES!! YOUR WORDS let me KNOW I am NOT ALONE!!
    YOUR ABILITY to EXPRESS YOURSELF WILL KICK JUDGEMENTS butt ANY DAY

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  • @rebecca I am sincerely glad that the piece resonated with you!!! Your response resonates with me EVEN MORE!!!

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  • Thank you, Lauren!!! This response will stick with me!!!

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  • AND ESPECIALLY using YOUR WORDS!!! YOU TRULY HAVE A GIFT!! I am HUMBLED AND HONORED to be a PAL of YOURS! I took a screenshot of your response, so it’s there for me not just when I NEED IT, BUT TO START MY DAY!! This is MY COFFEE!!!

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  • Aiša, this response LITERALLY makes me TEAR UP!!! I am glad with these words, “There is a responsibility
    To encourage others to see
    We all have a “disability” captured what you were feeling!! YOUR WORDS CAPTURED what I NEEDED to hear about this piece and for MYSELF!! A SENTENCE goes a LONG WAY!! Keep BEING YOU!!

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  • Jake shared a letter in the Group logo of Magical MomentsMagical Moments group 2 months, 2 weeks ago

    Thank YOU!!!

    Dear Lauren,

    Happy Birthday!!

    Today is YOUR day to receive gifts; I hope these letters are ones that you can open at any present moment, and feel LOVED AND APPRECIATED!

    With that being said, and I say this with NO EXAGGERATION, THE UNSEALED IS, and will ALWAYS BE, one of the BEST PRESENTS EVER given to ME (even if I purchased it myself)🤣

    As you probably know, words, phrases, etc, mean the world to me!

    The IMPACT that this phrase:

    “TURN YOUR SECRETS INTO SUPERPOWERS – Lauren Brill has on me is one that is on top of the standings for me!

    Through YOUR STORY AND the creation of THE UNSEALED, YOU HAVE taught me not only to talk with pride about my difference to literary WALK with PRIDE, and do NOT let ANYONE step on your toes, PREVENTING you to go after your dreams and GOALS!

    Much ❤️

    Jake

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    • Aww Jake, this is so sweet. I am so glad The Unsealed has had such a positive impact on you! You have so much greatness inside of you. And you have every reason to walk with your head held high. YOU ARE AMAZING. Never stop pursuing your dreams. They will happen. I am grateful for you and your friendship. Love you. <3 Lauren!

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  • Why He Chose Me?

    What am I grateful for?
    Often I feel shameful for not feeling more grateful for my disability
    I am grateful to the Higher Power
    For instilling the motivation and strength
    Recognizing how I can use my disability
    Sometimes I make myself feel dizzy
    Trying to figure out why me
    he chose to be looked at differently
    I never think I will fully love my disability
    Because I do wish my disability wasn’t something you can see
    But when I look at my life now
    I am trying to see something new
    The good in why he chose me
    Being one of the people whose disability you can see
    So you see
    There is a responsibility
    To encourage others to see
    We all have a “disability”
    I don’t want self-pity
    I just want people to understand that
    “Your disability” just maybe
    Your greatest ability
    Thank you higher power
    And everyone that supports me!

    Voting is open!

    Voting ends March 15, 2024 11:59pm

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    • “There is a responsibility
      To encourage others to see
      We all have a “disability””

      Wow.

      With these words, you’ve captured exactly how I’ve come to feel about my own [invisible] disabilities.

      I feel the need to both thank and congratulate you, for putting words to the feeling—something I’ve long struggled to do.

      Happy New Year pal 🙂

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      • Aiša, this response LITERALLY makes me TEAR UP!!! I am glad with these words, “There is a responsibility
        To encourage others to see
        We all have a “disability” captured what you were feeling!! YOUR WORDS CAPTURED what I NEEDED to hear about this piece and for MYSELF!! A SENTENCE goes a LONG WAY!! Keep BEING YOU!!

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    • Jake!!!!! This piece is fantastic! Your best piece yet. Embrace yourself. You inspire so many. You are thoughtful and have such a wonderful spirit. You are perfect the way you are! Thank you for sharing and thank you for being part of our family <3 Lauren

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    • AND ESPECIALLY using YOUR WORDS!!! YOU TRULY HAVE A GIFT!! I am HUMBLED AND HONORED to be a PAL of YOURS! I took a screenshot of your response, so it’s there for me not just when I NEED IT, BUT TO START MY DAY!! This is MY COFFEE!!!

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  • Jake shared a letter in the Group logo of Mental HealthMental Health group 2 months, 3 weeks ago

    Learning To Recycle

    Loving yourself is not easy
    Thinking about it makes me dizzy.
    My head spirals like the wind
    I think about what could have been
    Would my love for myself be different if I had not let society’s opinion take me on this tailspin?
    I wish I were a dog
    Not remembering their last internal sin.
    Giving myself love should not be difficult
    But my happiness does not come from within!
    Relying on others for my happiness will never allow me to feel that “win”
    All it does is cause me to throw my accomplishments into the trash bin
    However, it’s never too late to recycle
    Recognizing where I have been.
    Self-love is hard
    But life is like a sport
    Always giving you a chance to get that comeback win
    Before I throw my accomplishments in the bin
    Not remembering where I have been
    I certainly will remember this poem and its satisfaction.
    I love myself because I know I can win!

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  • Jake shared a letter in the Group logo of Chasing Your DreamsChasing Your Dreams group 3 months, 2 weeks ago

    WE UNSEAL The Bottle!

    Dear Unsealed Family

    We’ve all been there, trying to UNSEAL a bottle, and we just can NOT.

    After a million tries, we take a break and glance at our hands, only to see them bright red from our work, which, until this point, hasn’t borne fruit.

    We might even see a blister and wash our hands (reluctantly) because we know that once that hand even has the slightest bit of soap, it will be the most painful “bee sting” we’ve had in our life – until the next time it happens.

    Taking a deep breath, we jargon back to that YouTube video we watched, showing us how to breathe correctly and might utter an expletive to vocalize how upset we are that we don’t practice this routine more.

    Going back to the bottle, we FINALLY UNSEAL that cap. Hearing that pop sound gives a sense of relief and accomplishment equivalent to successfully climbing up Mount Everest.

    Opening up that bottle and hearing the cap pop off is the equivalent of taking that one extra step to get what you want in life!
    If we do NOT assume that step, life, itself, will ALWAYS have a cap and make us REGRT that the bottle was NEVER UNSEALED!

    This grand plan we have in our heads to write a book, become an Adaptive Clothing Model, public speak, etc, are things we want to do, but if we want to do them, we HAVE to TAKE ACTION!!

    This action is NOT meant to be taken ALONE and reach “Mount Everest” RIGHT AWAY,; it’s having JOY EVERY TIME WE get CLOSER to UNSEALING that Bottle!!!

    Much Love

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  • Thanks Lauren,

    I sincerely appreciate the kind words!

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  • The OPPORTUNITY Of A LIFETIME

    I want to say I remember the exact date. I do not; however, that does not take the meaning, luster, or any other adjective to describe the importance of this day away.

    I was a sophomore in college and still was having trouble finding a friend who truly made me feel comfortable talking about my cerebral Palsy. I felt that until I explained it, I would not have that authentic friendship I so desired.

    Anyway, I believe it was a gloomy day in September or October at Mitchell College in New London, CT.

    I remember it like it was yesterday —- which is saying something because the story starts with me on the phone with my mom — it probably was the 1000 time I talked to her that day. Still, this time was unlike the rest: she called, and I did not moan and groan about how much work I had to do; instead, she asked me what I was doing.

    It was probably four p.m., and I was lying in bed sleeping to mask my anxiety about making friends. I said, “Nothing.” “Well, what can you do?” She asked. Then, in a voice of trepidation, I said:

    “The basketball team is holding a clinic for Special Olympics CT.

    I did not want to go because — though I would be volunteering — I did not want to be associated with individuals whose disabilities are apparen, as I told myself that I did not have friends because of the way I walk.

    After the event, everyone was given Pizza. I took mine and scarfed it down because I probably had not eaten all day due to my anxiety.

    While eating as fast as I could, I choked, and this player on the school team offered me his drink. I eventually stopped choking, and we sat on the gym steps for hours, talking about life and basketball.

    After explaining to him how my Cerebral affects me, he said, “Do me a favor; we are not going to refer to it as a disability; we are going to refer to it as an OPPORTUNITY!

    I must have looked at him as if a bear was attacking me. Still, about six years later, I am grateful that I have learned that I have an OPPORTUNITY to impact people using my disability POSITIVELY.

    Jake

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    • Aww, Jake, I love this piece. Your friend is right. It is an opportunity and NOT a disability. What beautiful and true wisdom. Never lose sight of how your uniqueness is a chance to inspire the world. Thank you for sharing. <3Lauren

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    • Thanks Lauren,

      I sincerely appreciate the kind words!

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    • This piece is incredible, thank you for sharing!

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    • Jake, this message was /is well received. I too have often hid the interabled parts of Me so that no one would notice. It is very tiring to say the least. I have had to turn down many many many events because of my anxiety and the fact I felt shamed by what others would think or if they could tell I was triggered. Perservance is what I am…read more

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      • @giesantana, I can NOT describe how much the following sentence means to me!!! “Thank you for your refreshing outlook. And showcasing your ABILITY!! 🙂”

        I thank YOU for reminding me that disability can define your inability OR the fact that you get STRENGTH from it!! YOU, MY friend, FIGURED OUT the question of WHAT TO DO!! KEEP DOING IT!! and rem…read more

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    • Jake, you’ve done it again! Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

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      • @aišaThanks for the kind words, it is TRULY ❤️ warming!!! Just about every word does NOT do JUSTICE!!

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  • But… Get Your Butt UP!

    Dear teenage self,

    Before I go back in time, it’s crucial to recognize your mind was not fully developed yet.

    They say things happen for a reason, but…

    “If you sit on the bench, you sit on the bench.” It is your fault that I did.

    I wish you would have pushed yourself to lift one more “weight” by going to that party. You did not… it’s your fault.

    You wanted to tell that girl you liked her. You did not… it’s your fault.

    These milestones that I did not hit, yes… it’s your fault!

    You did not know any better, but people that I trust tell me it will come at the right time.

    I think I am in the right hands – that is me joking about how I can’t use my right hand😂

    Anyway, Thank you for forcing me to realize that the bench is too hot, making me move my butt. Because of you, life won’t have as many buts as it once did.

    Your inaction is forcing me to take action, and not say “BUT if I did this!” I’m hitting the field now.

    Thank you for making me see the GREEN in the grass. Now, I am slowly appreciating the muddy trail you took me on.

    As I hit the “field,” from now on, I’m going for two all the time!

    Love,

    The CURRENT YOU!

    Voting is closed

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    • Jake – I am so glad your teenage self taught/motivated your current self to chase all of your dreams and live life with a sense of fearlessness and urgency. You are amazing, and I am grateful you are part of our community. <3 Lauren

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  • Jake responded to a letter in topic How are you changing the world? 7 months ago

    Thank you, Lauren! Your kind words always hit the spot. My unique perspective certainly has been heightened by my positive experience on the UNSEALED!

    I can’t wait to learn more in the coming months in years!
    All the best!
    Jake

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  • Blink Your I

    How do we change the world? It is far from easy. First, you take your squeegee.

    When we take the squeegee we focus on what “I” can change and looking up to the sky should not be the only thing you use to figure out why.

    Reflecting is ok, but there will come a day where action is the takeaway!

    The answers to your question is by evaluating one letter I!

    That is how the world will change in a blink of an eye!

    Voting is open!

    Voting ends July 31, 2024 12:00am

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    • Jake, this is very clever and creative, and also very true. Your wisdom is truly incredible. You view the world from a unique, deep, and powerful lens. Thank you for sharing and thank you for being a part of our family. <3 Lauren

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    • Jake replied 7 months ago

      Thank you, Lauren! Your kind words always hit the spot. My unique perspective certainly has been heightened by my positive experience on the UNSEALED!

      I can’t wait to learn more in the coming months in years!
      All the best!
      Jake

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    • Whoa!! Quite an interesting concept if “eye” I do see so myself!! Thank you for reminding Me that the change will always start within! I am wishing you so well 🙂

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  • Jake shared a letter in the Group logo of Remembering those we lost/GriefRemembering those we lost/Grief group 7 months ago

    TUSK UP!

    Dear Mikaela LAUREN tick.

    Today is the 10-year anniversary of which you PHYSICALLY passed.

    Whenever I talk about you it’s ALWAYS in the PRESENT TENSE because I KNOW that you are ALWAYS guiding me down the hill , “looking down” on me, BUT that is the EXACT OPPOSITE. You look UP to me because of the thing that I fear people look down on me for.

    As I go into the work force, I worry that no matter how sharply I dress, my Wobble will force me to immediately turn around – hey that rhymes😂

    I know that you are there with me, telling me,“You are the one that needs to walk that frame of mind out the door!” I slowly have by writing about my disability.

    Losing you physically will never become clear to me; it is clear as day that you are with me by this telling story.

    Several months ago – maybe a year, I went out with Aunt Debbie and started telling her my struggles to feed myself the confidence I needed. On her suggest, I started following this on Instagram.

    One day, while waiting for the bus to go skiing, a favorite activity of ours, I scrolled through my account and saw she was being interviewed on this platform, The Unsealed.

    The platform turned out to be run by a woman named LAUREN, a former Sports Journalist, who created it to allow people such as myself, to tell their stories.

    I JOINED and every since, I’ve been UNSEALING stories about my disability and life AND you bet THIS is GOING UP THEIR!

    Please consider donating ANY AMOUNT of $$ to help Mikaela’s mission and the reason she IS an OT, SEEING the ABILITY in people!
    The link is on my Instagram and Facebook bio!

    LOVE YOU,🐘

    JAKEY💜

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  • The Hand Dealt

    Dear Body,

    I love you because I severely dislike you.

    At one point, I did not know if I would need a helmet to protect me from physically breaking a bone of yours. That is not my only bone to pick with you; it’s hard to swallow that everyday activities are challenging because of you: shoes, buttoning shirts, opening cans, etc., are taxing, but the younger me did not care about any of that: what I missed the most was sports.

    Kids are taught to move their bodies from a very young age. Thus sports are encouraged. Signup sheets with a multitude of options are (sometimes)literally thrown their way.

    Some are tossed in the garbage; some are run over to a parent or guardian as fast as Usain Bolt. Either way, as one of the only physically disabled kids in the school (that I could see), most people had a choice as to what they wanted to do with that sheet. I didn’t.

    Before I even got the paper, my hopes and dreams of being on a team were crushed, like most tennis serves at Wimbledon, fast.

    My feet actually did touch the grass of a baseball field, but only with the help of a “ball person” — yes, that is a play-on-words for a person who retrieves the tennis ball after it is hit into the net during a tournament.

    I can’t participate like everyone else because My reactions are such I might get hit with the ball if I did not catch it.

    Remember The saying “a picture tells more than 1000 words” (made famous by Henrik Ibsen, a Norwegian playwright)? When I was a kid, it told the whole darn story.

    My reality was different than my classmates. My dreams, not. Like many people in my age group at the time, I wanted to be a professional athlete.

    I still remember thinking a kid on my little league team would make the majors. Not only that, thinking he was Shohei Ohtani — arguably the greatest player in baseball ever.

    This kid seemed to be as tall as the Empire State Building. The chances are not that high that he did make it (although my brain is pulling on every cell to convince me otherwise.)

    The chances of me looking up if he did: pretty high! (insert laughing emoji)

    Everyone and anyway who stepped foot on any field or court lived out a dream I could only imagine; however, one day, my physical therapist (PT) and I were practicing my walking and running speed.

    I broke a personal record (I think it was 30 feet in 10 seconds) enough to convince my mom and PT that I should try my feet on the track team.

    I practiced for about three days, running around the whole track once. My mom saw I was exhausted, and after the second day, she told my coach to take it easy on me. I probably did not run more than 30 feet in practice once after and quit.

    So, I used the body of this article to moan and grown about my very own. How about I turn the eggs sunny side up — hopefully, that frown will turn upside down!

    Now at days, I look at things from “the other shoe.”

    Sports are about the team and the people who celebrate with you. No game-winning hit can compare to “lacing them up with my team, “trying to play the cards I was dealt and “tying the loose ends” that cerebral palsy hands me every day, and when I “lace them up,” one by one, we have won the Super Bowl.

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    • Jake, I think being an athlete and competing is about making the most of your given abilities, and pushing yourself, and growing and getting better. You have done just that. You have so many reasons to be proud of yourself and your body,. Thank you for sharing and thank you for being such an important part of our unsealed family. <3 Lauren

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