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Seeing The Beautiful Things.


Last weekend, as Dan and I took ourselves out for lunch at Panera bread, there was a woman sitting at the table beside us. She was on her own, drinking a big foamy latte and slowly munching away at a big, delicious, sugary muffin. She was reading some sort of self-learning book.  She was just sitting there. Enjoying herself. Relaxing. Reading. Completely on her own in the mid afternoon. 


A couple days later, I was walking on the treadmill. Up stepped a young woman onto the machine beside me. She set herself up at a leisurely walking pace, put in her ear phones, and began to dance. Well, walk and dance I suppose. Walk, dance AND rap away to her heart’s content. Arms flailing. Voice free. Eyes closed. Every lyric memorized. Everything around her just disappeared. She didn’t care. She was there for herself and was doing what made her happy. 


And then this morning, about 9 AM, I saw a middle aged woman sitting outside on a picnic table with a take out coffee. By herself. Slowly sipping and writing in a notebook, a slight smile on her face. It was the first day in months where we’ve had nice enough weather to even consider doing this. And she was taking full advantage of it. Coat wrapped tight, but enjoying every moment of the near-spring like feeling in the air. 

beautiful things

Tonight, Dan and I were texting and somehow got on the subject of childhood cereals (and how neither of us were fans, except for maybe a specific few).  I suddenly then remembered how, in the hospital, we would have cereal every Wednesday.  And how I always asked for Corn Pops. I loved corn pops.

I love corn pops. 

beautiful things


It’s been almost precisely three years since I left that hospital. Three years since I was discharged, and three and a half years since I first entered. I lived there for six months. I still can’t really believe that. 

And now, here I am, almost graduated from a theatre program I never thought I’d be in, and I have an audition in one week for my ultimate dream. 

My mental illness is still with me each day. I still have to fight. I still have many things to learn and change. But I know this for certain…

I am not that girl who stood out in the dark hospital hallway at 6 in the morning, before the rest of the ward awoke, and waited quietly for another patient to finish using the communal shower. I’m not the girl who only got to see my parents when they got buzzed in through the 6th floor doors, and sat supportedly in my hospital bedroom.  

I may still be the same girl that loves corn pops, but it’s crazy to think how far that girl has come. 

beautiful things

So to the woman taking herself out for a latte and muffin… to the girl dancing like nobody’s watching… to the woman relishing each solitary sip of coffee in the near spring air…. and to me…. I say

You go girl. 

Do your thing. 

Be proud. 

Know how far you’ve come. 


Let go. 

And keep seeing the beautiful things in each day. 

Like all the women who walked in the Womens’ March last week showed us.

beautiful things

I wrote this post tonight because I simply got the urge to sit down and write (a little Thinking Out Loud with Amanda, perhaps?). It wasn’t until I had finished that I realized today was #BellLet’sTalk day.  Wow.  Now I think that’s what we call synchronicity (speaking of beautiful things…).

To anyone struggling with mental illness… 

I don’t think it matters where you’ve been. I think all that matters is where you are fighting to be. 

Be you. Be proud. See the beautiful things. Live the beautiful moments. #BellLetsTalk #happiness #mentalhealth Click To Tweet




  1. Kate | 26th Jan 17

    That last line…. yesssss. There were so many times in my struggling where the thought of needing to not be where I was at the time was the thing to keep me pushing.

    This was such a good reminder. There are days where I am better picking up on these kinds of things and other days where I am slacking. You make me want more days of this!
    Kate recently posted…Recipes I’ve Loved (Recently)My Profile

    • Cora | 27th Jan 17

      Oh me too. I definitely do not always see – or choose to see – the little things like this. But its a place of mind that I would like to be in more often, so when I am, I want to make note of the things that make me smile.

  2. Susie @ Suzlyfe | 26th Jan 17

    This should be required reading.
    Susie @ Suzlyfe recently posted…A Departure From Normal and The Infertility Waiting GameMy Profile

  3. Jamie@TheMomGene | 26th Jan 17

    I taught a seminar in high school English entitled “Madness in Literature.” We read King Lear, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Bell Jar. The one thing I remember thinking, especially with The Bell Jar, is that we could all find ourselves there, on the brink. It’s biological and situational happenstance that some find themselves there when others do not. I think compassion and perspective (in hindsight, because it’s almost impossible in the moment) are the key to getting out from under the bell jar and breathing clean air.
    Jamie@TheMomGene recently posted…You Like Me. You Really Like Me.My Profile

    • Cora | 27th Jan 17

      I like this, very much. You are incredible and so wise, Jamie. Thank you.

  4. Emily Swanson | 26th Jan 17

    Seeing beauty in little things is so precious and so wonderful; it’s hard in a world that races so fast, but I’m so thankful that God’s World that He has created, nature and the birds and the wind and the trees are so peaceful.
    Emily Swanson recently posted…WIAW: Why Iā€™m Content with My Stocky BodyMy Profile

    • Cora | 27th Jan 17

      It really is. I don’t always see them… but when I’m in this place of mind, its probably the best feeling on earth. Its so light and freeing.

  5. Sarah @ Bucket List Tummy | 26th Jan 17

    LOVE this reminder. It sooo reminds me of the quote, “Dance like no one’s watching.” but if they are, who cares? Sometimes letting loose like that is exactly what we need. Memories that remind us of childhood and what used to make us happy. PS – Corn Pops are da bomb!
    Sarah @ Bucket List Tummy recently posted…What It’s Like to Have a Nut Allergy + A Giveaway!My Profile

    • Cora | 27th Jan 17

      Haha – yes! If they are, who cares! Love it. Things that remind us of childhood are SO important. We need to let our inner child take the reigns more often.

  6. Kristy from Southern In Law | 26th Jan 17

    <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

    Such an important reminder.

    And please eat corn pops for me. They were my FAVOURITEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE as a kid but now the only gluten free version that comes kind of close is gorilla munch.
    Kristy from Southern In Law recently posted…Recent Things: Saturdates, The Kristy Library and ThankfulnessMy Profile

    • Cora | 27th Jan 17

      Ahhhhh mannnnn. Okay. I will do this for you. Because I love you. And because Gorilla Munch just is NOT the same.

  7. chasetheredgrape | 26th Jan 17

    I LOVE this Cora! With some of my recents posts and podcasts it has brought up a lot of memories from when I was sick… But I have the confidence and belief in myself to truly know that I am not that girl anymore. šŸ™‚
    And I bet when people look at you in a coffee shop, sipping away and eating a delicious scone, reading through scripts, it makes them smile too!
    chasetheredgrape recently posted…When living your life with a purpose means you forget to live your life #5TTTMy Profile

    • Cora | 27th Jan 17

      It can be really hard when those memories come back. It can fill me with sadness, regret, and disbelief. But I’m getting better at letting those feeling be there, then letting them go, and rather looking at who I am NOW. Sounds like you’ve worked hard at this, as well.
      I hope it does!! I like that thought :).

  8. Casey the College Celiac | 26th Jan 17

    beautiful! In fact, I think this is one of my favorite posts of yours that I’ve read. This week has been brutal. I’ve been working like crazy, got my first rejection for grad school (let’s hope the other 10 replies go better) and am overall just DONE. However, when I think back to where I was four years ago – just starting college, ending up in the hospital for celiac complications, etc. – I’m kicking some ass. Even if I feel like mine’s getting kicked at the same time!
    Casey the College Celiac recently posted…Things I’m Afraid to Tell YouMy Profile

    • Cora | 27th Jan 17

      Sorry about the rejection, girl. I also received a rejection this week. Sigh. Its an inevitable part of life – not easy – but I just keep thinking it happens to leave room for what is SUPPOSED to happen for us. Keep seeing how far you’ve come and all that you are doing. Don’t let it all kick your ass too hard… but if it does, just keep kicking back.

  9. Kat | 27th Jan 17

    I kind of don’t have any words right now. Thank you for continuing to share the deepest parts of your heart and thank you for continuing to be a real encouragement and movitation <3
    Kat recently posted…My 2017 Word of the Year [and why you need one!]My Profile

    • Cora | 27th Jan 17

      Right back at you <3

  10. Runwright | 27th Jan 17

    Beautiful post. Often, I try to be that woman too – focused on getting all the feeling out of the moment without worrying about what comes next or what else I could be doing. When I succeed, it is such a win.
    Thanks for the reminder.
    Runwright recently posted…UnburnableMy Profile

    • Cora | 27th Jan 17

      Oh man that feeling – it is SUCH a win. We should all try to be that woman a little more.

  11. Heather @ Polyglot Jot | 27th Jan 17

    YES! So so true! I often sit back and realize how far I’ve come and sometimes I can’t beleive Im the same person who used to do “XYZ”. It’s amazing!
    I hope you enjoy those corn pops and whatever else makes you happy this weekend šŸ™‚
    Heather @ Polyglot Jot recently posted…Foodie Friday: Kale Salad with Orange VinaigretteMy Profile

    • Cora | 27th Jan 17

      Its amazing and crazy and sometimes just plain hard to believe. But hopefully we can see it with proud eyes! Thank you!

  12. Joyce @ The Hungry Caterpillar | 28th Jan 17

    Thanks for this, Cora. I knew you were hospitalized, but I didn’t realize it was for 6 months. I’m so glad you’re in a better place now. Thanks for reminding us all to enjoy the little things in life and to celebrate how far we’ve come.
    Joyce @ The Hungry Caterpillar recently posted…A Low-FODMAP Super BowlMy Profile

  13. Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets | 28th Jan 17

    What a wonderful post. I love every single thing about this. I will also say as you get older, you gain confidence and also care significantly less what people think. For example, I carry on entire conversations with Ave in public even though she has no idea what I’m saying. Sometimes people stare; it makes no difference to me though.
    Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets recently posted…Currently January 2017My Profile

    • Cora | 2nd Feb 17

      šŸ™‚ šŸ™‚ šŸ™‚
      Love it.
      Who freakin’ cares.

  14. Kaylee | 31st Jan 17

    Those moments are beautiful. This post is beautiful. You are beautiful. Thank you for sharing this, Cora. I think it’s important to look back and recognize how far we’ve grown. We deserve it.

    PS not a cereal fan either but corn flakes are my corn pops
    Kaylee recently posted…Week in Review: Same Old, Same OldMy Profile

    • Cora | 7th Feb 17

      Thank you, Kaylee. All the same to you. Yes – it is extremely important we recognize how far we’ve come. It can be very hard, so we may need some help from others for a while until we can start to see it ourselves.

  15. Stephanie Leduc | 6th Feb 17

    Beautiful post, I am glad to see you are in a better place in life.
    Your ultimate dream!!! Girl, good luck!!!!!!!!!!!!

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