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Lean On Me

The first day of kindergarten was a day I had long been anticipating. I lived in a rural area and this was going to be my first opportunity to make friends of my own. (My older siblings occasionally had their friends over to visit — but generally they did not want to include me, the youngest sibling.)

Little did I know what I would experience on that first day.

After meeting our teacher and receiving our seating assignments our teacher soon brought us outdoors for recess. Instantly, the entire class began to run toward the inviting grassy field. I joined in, because that was what I assumed we were supposed to do. But we were immediately instructed to come back and our teacher told us the field was off limits; that we were only allowed to play on the blacktop. It was disappointing and I felt bad — as if my classmates and I had somehow misbehaved.

After we gathered together our teacher instructed us to form a circle and hold hands. When I reached out my hands to the children on either side of me the other children instantly jerked their hands away after briefly touching mine. I looked down at my hands and noticed they were sweating profusely — dripping, even! They had never done this before. It was not hot outside; there was no reason to be sweating. One by one, each child refused to hold hands with me. All except for one.

I will always remember the girl who held my right hand. The circle had a slight gap between me and the child on my left, because neither he nor any of the other children would hold my left hand. The teacher never noticed… but this one sweet girl always held my hand for the rest of the year.

By second grade my classmates from previous grades and my new classmates had accepted my condition. But adults still struggled to understand. Not only would my palms become sopping, dripping wet, but also the tops of my hands would bleed pools of sweat. And did I mention my feet? Yes, they would sweat profusely, too. Each year I would ruin a pair of shoes or winter boots which would crack and then eventually tear. Over the years most of my blouses also were quickly ruined due to my underarm sweat deteriorating the material.

I had to learn to adapt to the obstacles that this condition caused. Writing was difficult; the sweat from my hand would soak through the paper, leaving it a soggy mess that would tear each time I attempted to write on the page. So I figured out a solution: I would fold up another piece of paper several times and then rest my hand on it so I would be able to work without making any puddles on my paper. The first time my teacher observed me doing this was when our class had recently returned from the restrooms. She accused my of not drying my hands after washing them. I began to explain, but then stopped when several students in the class spoke up and told her, “No, her hands are always like that!” It took the teacher awhile to believe this was the case but she soon learned it was the truth.

It was very gratifying to me that my classmates, many of whom I did not know personally, stood up for me. (Should I tell you about the time a substitute teacher refused to let me go the restroom and I ended up wetting my dress? Students also defended me at that time, too. But that’s another story…)

There were many other incidents, such as when I stood in front of my fifth grade class while giving an oral report and the sweat was running down both arms and dripping, making puddles on the floor. Another time was when I was 15 and a boy I liked wanted to hold my hand. I refused, showing him how sweaty my hands were and he instantly grabbed a napkin, put it on my palm and then proceeded to hold my hand. (Oh, and in case you are wondering, simply washing or wiping off my hands would not suffice. Buckets of sweat would immediately appear again.)

On very humid NJ days it seemed that my hands were unable to sweat the moisture out fast enough — my fingers and toes would swell and it became difficult to bend them. When I was a teenager our family physician prescribed a medication which he said would stop the sweating (I believe its real purpose was to treat ulcers). It had no effect at all on my perspiration problem at all and it made me feel lightheaded. It dried out my eyes and also my mouth — so much that one time while eating a muffin I was unable to swallow due to lack of saliva and began to choke. That was the last time I took that prescription!

I have a lifetime of similar stories, but what prompted me to write about this series of events is the gratitude I feel toward all the children throughout my life who accepted and supported me for who I was. You have had a lasting positive effect on my life; more than most of you realize. Thank you.


I have continued to have this condition throughout my adult life. The only reduction in symptoms has occurred while living in an area with a less humid climate with lower temperatures (Central Coast California) than my home state of New Jersey.

Was I ever taunted in regard to this condition? Yes, but not by my classmates and that is another story.

For more information about hyperhidrosis, please visit the websites listed below.

Hyperhidrosis Information:
Sweat Help

A blog I that wish had been available when I was a child and teen:
My Life As A Puddle

And I shall try to know of you…

During your teenage years, were there times that you experienced very strong emotions for someone? You may have had hopes, fears, and desires… wishing you could tell this person how you really felt about him or her.

When I was 16 years old I was seeing someone who I liked and admired very much. But I was unable to express my feelings to him, as I was shy and felt awkward. I found myself writing about him… and one day, for his birthday, I gave him these “poems” I had written. (I didn’t really consider them to be poems… they were just my thoughts.. my thoughts now exposed on several small pieces of paper!)

I do not remember if I mailed them to him or handed them to him directly. I do remember that he did not read them in front of me, of which I was grateful. I wondered if he would ever talk to me again after reading about my feelings for him in these writings. Fortunately, the next day when I saw him at school he did not seem uncomfortable around me. He did not mention the poems, other to say that he let his mother read them. I was surprised, but not embarrassed that he had shared them with her.

I never did get past my shyness and after a few weeks I began to feel that he was just stopping by to meet me after class out of feeling obligated. So, still being my shy self, I wrote him a letter expressing that I very much wanted to continue our relationship but that I also sensed he no longer wanted to see me. And that if that was true, he could simply not show up to meet after the next class and then I would know that he wanted the relationship to be over. And that is what happened. He did not show up after class.

Years later, this is not a sad memory. I have fond memories of the few times that we went on dates — and attending my very first concert with him! And I have kind memories toward my younger self who was not able to openly express her feelings for others. It is not always easy to show your vulnerability to someone you are afraid of scaring away, at any age.

Below is the first poem that I wrote — about the smile of his eyes.

The Smile of Your Eyes

I seek to know of you for your smile —
It appears intense with a desire to reach out,
Yet is tainted by a confused sadness.

My curiosity aroused, I wish to understand.

Still, I fear learning
For I have found knowledge hurts at times.
So I position myself safely away
Free to visualize you as I please.

But dreaming becomes tiresome
And a want for reality perpetuates
I must risk my stability and find out who you are —
For in my dreams, a wish has grown to share with you:

The sad beauty of the dark, bare trees
Silhouetted against a misty grey sky.
The drizzling rain
Floating down upon the dampened ground.

And I want for you:

To feel the warmth and security of the sun’s rays
The coolness of a soft breeze —
And hear the rustle of leaves,
As the wind passes on it’s never-ending journey.

Why do I think of one I know so little of?

Your smile caused a spark, which may become a flame —
While I dream the spark cannot grow, and I am safe.
If I learn of your smile
The flame will have a chance to grow —

The flame of love and joy — so beautiful to obtain —
So much pain and emptiness when snuffed out.

But I feel I can control the spark, if I move with caution —
And let it grow into a flame gradually, if at all.

This is why I think of you
And shall try to know of you — for the smile of your eyes.

— Copyright © 1975 Dora E. (Haessner) Crow, age 16

Capturing Moments

Photographers capture a moment of life the instant before it disappears forever. Whenever I view captivating images—whether it be of nature, street scenes, or portraits—I feel as though I’m being given the gift of a moment in time.

But what really touches me the most are those personal photos taken of ordinary people’s own lives—as they create their own memories. As a child, I would sort through the photos I had taken and often discard the rest. Little did I know the significance and emotions that ALL photos that I took then would hold for me today. Even viewing those photos taken by a stranger of a place or time that I feel connected to will evoke memories and strong emotions in me.

What kinds of nostalgic images have triggered you to travel on a Flashback Journey of your own?

“What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.”
— Karl Lagerfeld

  • Acting As If

Acting As If

Earlier this week I was feeling overwhelmed. Things outside of my control kept occurring and I felt like I was unable to keep up. As soon as one problem was resolved, two or even three more would appear to take its place. But then… I wondered, “What if I tried to respond to or manage these problems in the manner I imagine someone I admire would? Or what if I pretended I was a character in a book or a movie…how would I write the script for that character to act under these circumstances?”

And then, as I imagined myself acting out this part in a movie, I instantly found myself standing a little straighter and feeling a little stronger. …and I thought, “Hey, how come I expect people I admire or even an imaginary character to be stronger and more capable than me?” This was a very intriguing revelation.

But simply taking notice of this is probably not going to suddenly transform me into a stronger, more capable, or wiser person. In the future, whenever I feel overwhelmed I need to remember stop and pay attention. If need be, act the part of a person who is able to confidently manage the current situation without becoming tense inside. I believe that with practice, this can become internalized and that I will begin to instinctively respond to chaos with detachment and clarity. It is possible that the physical process of acting as though one is centered, wise, and empowered could lead to truly becoming so.

    • Have you ever put something like this into practice?
    • Is there someone you looked up to during your childhood that you could mimic when you need strength or wisdom?
    • What is this person or imaginary character like?
    • How does he or she react to difficult situations?
    • Are there characteristics you could practice emulating such as mannerisms, speech style, posture, expressions, or attitudes toward others?

The qualities that people we admire possess are gifts presented to all of us. Examining what it is about our heroes that makes them so special opens up opportunities to discover or improve upon those qualities in ourselves. And if there is an imaginary hero that you have created, then that is a gift you have been holding inside…waiting to be called forth when you are ready to release it.

It's Never Too Late

No One Told You When To Run

“And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun…”
-Pink Floyd

Who decides or sets the time limits by which you must do something in life or it is too late? Society? Your parents?

Who has convinced you that there are limitations based on age? Why do you still let these beliefs hold you back from truly living your life the way you want to?

Do you feel it’s not worth taking the time learn how to do something that you’ve always wanted to do because you feel it’s too late to do as a profession? What about just doing something because you love it? Who has taught you everything you pursue must be of monetary value?

Are you holding yourself back from learning how to do something because you will you will never excel at it? Be perfect at it? Can you not just do it and see where it leads you?

And what if your dream or your goal is related to a profession? Now, more than ever, there are many ways to become an entrepreneur. Via the internet, you can learn many skills online, share your products and services, and reach people globally all for no charge or very low investment.

Is 30 or 40 years of age too late to begin living your dream? You may think so now, but 10-20 years from now you may say, “Why didn’t I start learning it then?” And if that’s what you are saying today – then do it now when you are 50… So that when you are 70 you won’t be saying the same thing again, “I wish I had…”

Loving Our Pets

Loving Our Pets

Pets are often a big part of our lives. We receive a loyalty from them that is rare to receive from other humans.

Do you have a story about a special pet that you would like to share?

  • That was then, this is now...

That Was Then, This Is Now

Sometimes a painful memory will unexpectedly surface and you may find yourself dwelling on it… Reliving every moment of the experience. Possibly even chastising yourself, asking yourself why you didn’t respond differently, stand up for yourself, or do something to prevent the experience from occurring.

We can get very caught up in memories like these and allow them now, to this day, to take over our thoughts and emotions.

The next time a painful memory appears, try gently pushing it aside and letting it go. Don’t be angry with yourself if it reappears again — just release it again.

Decide to replace it with a good memory or, better yet, go out and create a wonderful new memory.

We cannot go back to “then” and change the past, but we can do wonderful things with “now” — the moments we intentionally create this day.

If you have difficulty with this concept, you may want to have a section in your journal for these kinds of memories. The experience can then lie peacefully in the journal — it need not take up room in your mind or emotions anymore… If something triggers it, remember that you don’t have to dwell on it anymore — it’s all in your journal, safely put away.

How many pieces of baggage are you carrying around? Can you imagine how it would feel to stop dragging these around with you, just by releasing your hold on them?

  • The angels know your truth.

The Angels Know I’m Telling The Truth

Recently someone expressed doubt about my true intentions. As I thought over various ways to respond to this accusation, I realized that nothing I could say would change her opinion of me.

I also realized that it doesn’t matter.

I had a Flashback Journey to my childhood, when there were multiple times that I was falsely accused of something by other children. (These were in regard to incidents where the other child lied and said that I did something that someone else did — or something that never even occurred!) The adults would always believe the other child’s accusation — perhaps because the accuser was older than me and thus deemed to be more credible than I was?

After this happened a few times, I understood that no one would believe me no matter what I said. This was crushing, to not be believed by the adults I trusted.  But somehow, when I was young as 4 or 5 years old, I found an inner strength. I said to myself, “The angels know I am telling the truth.”  I not only said it to myself, I said it to my accusers. I stated my truth and walked away, knowing they would believe whatever they wanted to believe.

When someone doubts your sincerity or intentions, remember: the angels know your truth.

  • Orange Christmas

Dreaming of an “Orange Christmas”

What memories does the scent of an orange bring forth for you?

For me, the scent of oranges evokes a special memory of the Christmas stocking my mother made for me.

Each Christmas morning I would peak over the railing of our loft and spot my stocking: red with white spots; my name embroidered on the green trim. The stocking was filled with candies and small gifts. And I could always spot a large round shape in the toe of the stocking. No, it wasn’t a lump of coal — it was an orange!

What I find interesting is that although I never actually ate the oranges (I thought the candy canes and Whoppers were much more tasty), it is the scent of an orange that will instantly bring me back to our cozy living room in Newfoundland on Christmas morning.

Holiday memories can sometimes be bittersweet. We may have memories of feeling disappointed as a child, which could occur when expectations were set too high. This can be an especially difficult time of year for those who have lost someone. Remembering the smell of your father’s winter jacket when he came in after shoveling the snow… the scent of the stollen cake you wish you had the family recipe for… your dog who used to lay by the fire…

↪ What scents trigger memories of special holidays for you? Are there scents that remind you of special family meals, the weather during that time of year, or even the smell of a memorable toy you were given?

  • We Shared A Time

We Shared A Time

How many of us have imagined at some time in our lives of going back into the past to high school–but bringing with us the self confidence and knowledge that we did not have the first time around? I, too, imagined that scenario just a few years after graduating high school.

Due to feeling shy and awkward, there were many people I did not even attempt to get to know and later wished I had. And, having low self-esteem, I let things said by negative people bring me down. It would have been so nice to “do over” high school with the confidence I had gained in just a few short years of working and supporting myself after graduation.

It’s interesting to see how powerful those school experiences and memories can be. How important our “place” was to many of us. Some people look forward to high school reunions (especially those first few reunions) so that they can show their classmates how they’ve blossomed into a very attractive person, or how successful they have become.

In later years, as we mature, the approval of others becomes less important. The focus is now more on others rather than on ourselves. We are grateful to become reacquainted with our classmates, and to form new friendships with the classmates we did not know before.

Whether we hung out together or in the same group doesn’t matter anymore. We have become a group over time, even if we have not seen each other for over 25 or even 40 years. We are a group of people with shared memories. We may have not made the memories together years ago, but we have much more in common with each other now simply by having had the same teachers, listening to the same music, experiencing the same current events, going to the same places such as favorite pizzerias, local nightclubs, county fairs, the shore, and even places that don’t exist anymore. We shared a time, even if we did not know each other then. Today we share memories. Today we are connected.


“There were people who went to sleep last night,
poor and rich and white and black,
but they will never wake again.

And those dead folks would give anything at all
for just five minutes of this weather
or ten minutes of plowing.

So you watch yourself about complaining.

What you’re supposed to do
when you don’t like a thing is change it.
If you can’t change it,
change the way you think about it.”

― Maya Angelou