Meaning to Share Podcast: Ep 008 - Alison Krawczyk
8:37PM Aug 4, 2021
dana farber cancer
I was looking for more meaning in my life more purpose that for me was how do I make this a positive situation I need to reconnect with humans and help people. I think I was just raised to know like, we're gonna be okay.
This is meaning to share the podcast where we explore the amazing gifts of seemingly average individuals, proving that everyone has a meaningful skill, talent or strength that is unique only to them, and which they are destined to share with others during this lifetime. I'm your host, Meredith McCreight. I spent decades painfully trying to fold myself into the boxes that other people, the media and society created for me, until I realized there was only one authentic version of me. And that is more than enough. In fact, it's divine. I want to show my guests and you the listeners that each of us is meant for greatness. It's already in you, you just have to choose to see it and embody it. Now my guest doesn't know ahead of time which gifted there is we'll be discussing, so please enjoy this unscripted, honest, delicious conversation with one of my favorite people. This is meaning to share.
Today I'm sitting down with my friend Allison Krawczyk. Allison is a daughter sister, Auntie, friend and communications professional. She grew up in upstate New York and attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. After earning her degree in advertising and marketing communications. She worked in fashion and hospitality public relations in the Big Apple life eventually led Allison back to Albany, New York for five years where she continued her career and recommitted to her family relationships this time had its ups and downs, including the loss of her mother and her grandmother as well as welcoming her niece into the world. Her latest move in 2018 brought her to Boston, Massachusetts. Today she works in the philanthropy communications department at Dana Farber Cancer Institute, you can usually find Alison writing down the things she's grateful for reading literally any book someone recommends to her running around Boston, literally eating peanut butter dancing to Britney Spears or Jay Z or scrolling through tik tok. We talk about this a little towards the end of the episode, but Alison and I met when I was living just outside of Boston in a suburb called Newton with a few roommates and one of those roommates was her friend Jess. So she used to drop into town quite a bit to visit and Jess actually moved back to New York just as Alison was moving to Boston. So we became even better friends once she was a Boston local. We're talking today about Allison's ability to stay optimistic no matter what life throws at her. And let me tell you, it has thrown some doozies. We're talking about having a stranger for a dad navigating life after a devastating loss, trusting that everything happens for a reason and a whole lot more. That's right now please help me welcome an absolute Angel on Earth. My friend Alison Krawczyk. Hi, Alison. Welcome to meeting to share. Thank you for being here.
Thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited to see your face and I'm so flattered. You asked me to like be here.
Yay. Well, Alison, tell us about you. Where are you from? What's your cultural background and your upbringing?
So I grew up in a town called Scotia Glenville in upstate New York. It's about 40 minutes outside of Albany, 30 minutes from Saratoga. So it's a smaller town, but not the kind of town where you like, no, everybody, just, there's just not a ton going on there. I grew up in, I think of my childhood and kind of sections. So my parents divorced when I was a baby. So my mom moved me and my brother and sister into my grandmother's house. So I was partly raised by my grandma, mostly raised by my single mom, my brother and sister are five years older, they're twins. And so yeah, it was just kind of the five of us is this little unit. Eventually, I think I was around like seven or eight, my mom remarried, and my stepdad had two sons around my age. So then there were five kids, two adults in the house, my grandmother kind of went and got her own life eventually. And then when I was around 23, my mom passed away from cancer and my grandmother passed away. So I kind of think of, you know, my adulthood starting at that point, in terms of culture, my great aunt actually described our household is a very German household, meaning that my mom or my grandmother, if they told us something to do, you don't talk back to the you know, the answer if you asked why was Because I said so. So it's a very, you know, I wouldn't say strict, but just, they were the adults. We were the kids type of upbringing. That was kind of, you know, I think a byproduct of my mom being a single mom and working and going to school and having three kids on our own. There's not A lot of time for work, you know, questioning, but we also had, like, I have so many memories of dancing with her around the family room or her waking us up, you know, at night to just like spontaneously go to the drive ins in our PJs and you know, just playing restaurant at home because we couldn't necessarily afford to go out to eat. So it was very much a, you know, structured household, but also we had a lot of fun, too. So yeah, it's a good mix of things. So yeah, that's kind of my in a nutshell, childhood upbringing.
Hmm, thank you for that. Well, I like to start by asking all of my guess, one question, and you can just respond with the first thing that comes to your mind. And that is, what is something that you've been meaning to share?
I kind of cheated because I know, you've told me that this should be a organic conversation. But of course, I was listening to other episodes being like, what do I want to share? And I think the thing that I really want to share with you and other listeners and my friends is that you are strong, too. I get a lot of comments from my friends. I'll be like telling them I'm training for a half marathon or you know, oh, yeah, I lost my mom at 23. Or, you know, things like that. And people always say to me, like you Oh, my God, you're so strong. How did you do that? And I didn't do anything differently than anybody else. You know, I think every one of us is strong. And, you know, we tend to look at other people are like, wow, like, they must be made of something else. And I'm not, I'm just human. And you guys are strong, just like me. And you can do anything that you know, you put your mind to. And yeah, I think that was just something I've been thinking about lately, because I tend to get that comment a lot. Hmm.
I love that. I think that's such a part of our culture, too. It's like that comparison. itis thing, right? Like, there's always someone who's doing it better. Or I think social media plays a lot into that too, because they look at Instagram and think someone's life is so perfect, but you're not getting the full picture. Right? So it's important to talk about what goes into that strength. But also, it's not a comparison, everybody is just doing the best they can with what they have day to day. Yeah. So thank you for that. Well, thanks for asking it. Any guesses as to which gift or skill or strength I'm gonna talk about today?
I literally have no idea. And I've been like, literally laying in bed at night being like, What is she gonna say? No clue.
Well, I want to talk about something that I think is deeply integrated into a lot of your strengths. And there are many. So we'll talk about a few of those right now, you really are just such a gem of a human being, you're such a good friend, you're honest, you have such integrity, you're kind you're loyal, reliable, consistent, and You're so thoughtful. So for the listeners, you should know that Allison mails her friends a card in the actual mail for their birthday, and every single holiday even Halloween and St. Patrick's Day. And I don't know if this is a strength per se either. But you're just always look put together. Like even if you're going to the gym, you just have this like Sunny, like put togetherness about you. But it's a considerate human being. And it's really evident that you care about other people, and you're an aunt, so you're very fond of the little ones and your sister and I, I know that you spend a lot of time with them. But you just tend to sort of roll with the punches, even when things get really awkward or uncomfortable. And I guess that's kind of really the gift is kind of that thing that's woven through all of that is that you're somehow eternally optimistic without being toxically positive, so you're able to stay hopeful, but also to acknowledge when things are shitty, or someone treated you in a way you didn't deserve. And that's what I want to talk about today. How do you feel about that?
I'm so flattered again. I'm like using that word, though. That's so nice to hear. Because Well, it's nice here. It's not toxic. Because that gets annoying. But yeah, no, that's so nice. Thank you.
Yeah. Let's go back to the very beginning. I'm just so curious. Were you just like the happiest baby? Did you ever cry?
I have been told that actually. No, I was not a happy baby. And not really an easy kid. I mentioned this that my parents divorced when I was about 10 months old. And you know, I think my mom at that time was just going through so much. You know, she was going through divorce. She had just lost her dad, and she had to move back in with her mom, which I think all of us as adults at this point would be like, Oh my goodness, that's a huge adjustment. And she had to you know, start working again. She was a stay at home mom. So there's so much going on in her life. And I think her attitude, her like, you know, vibe really affected me as a baby. And so I've heard that I was a very moody child. I obviously have no memory of that. My dad will tell you like oh, I go pick her up for like his weekends and I would cry with him, which has its own like, I'm sure reasons. But it sounds like I was maybe a moody child. So maybe not something I was born with.
Cool actually like hearing that. Yeah. Can you say more about your dad and why you might have been moody about that?
Yeah, so my dad was not totally around a lot when I was a kid, you know, he had his own kind of issues going on, I'll be the first to tell you, he's a recovering alcoholic. And so he really, when my parents split up, I think he had a lot to deal with in his own life. And, you know, I think my childhood is like a classic, just divorced parents that did not get along. And my mom was very much an overprotective mother. So he would pick up my brother and sister and my mom didn't necessarily know where he was living at the time where he was taking them. So it was always, you know, again, very heartbreaking for her. Like, she told me at one point, she was a gang, eventually, I just like got in the car and followed him one day to like, figure out where they were going. So I think for me, like it was a combination of not really knowing him. And being a young kid, and my dad is six foot six and have a huge beard and like, you know, always wear aviator sunglasses and stuff. So like, you know, as a kid who doesn't know who that person is, it's kind of intimidating. But then also, again, I think my mom's just like, attitude towards it probably played a role as well, just feeling like, Oh, my mom's not comfortable that I'm not comfortable either. So I think a lot of that kind of stems from multiple places, but I think just kind of him being a stranger and not really around a time.
That makes a lot of sense to because I feel like you definitely have that mama bear vibe. Like you look out for your friends like fiercely.
Yes, yeah. And I think as you guys can probably tell, just already in this conversation, I was always putting my mom's feelings first and really kind of taking my cues from her. And I still do that now. Like, I take a lot of my cues from my sister, who was always very protective, being five years older, and just her personality wise, is being over protective. So I always kind of took cues from those people in my life to guide how I'm going to react to certain situations and that sort of thing, and always put their feelings first. And yeah, I think that's kind of the protective piece of it, and just choosing my loyalty. Those are the people that like, Okay, I'm going to move through this situation with their interests ahead of my own maybe,
hmm, so was it was there somebody during that time of your life that modeled what it looked like to remain hopeful, and I don't want to use the word positive will say optimistic?
Yeah. Well, we were raised to believe that everything happens for a reason that is just ingrained in everything that I do. And I used to always repeat it growing up was everything happens for a reason, you know, if you didn't get invited to that party, or that boy didn't like you back, everything happens for a reason. And as I've gotten older, I have found that that's very true. Even in like the very difficult situations losing a loved one or, again, still, that guy doesn't like me back or whatever it is, everything happens for a reason. And I think I just like held on to that. I don't know if there was one person in particular who was really positive. Although now I'm rolling my eyes, as an example does come to mind, my best friends growing up, they live next door to me and their dad, all of like the cliche kind of Let's kick some ass today. type of he would walk into the kitchen in the morning and just like start clapping and be like, it's a beautiful day to be alive, stuff like that. And so I grew up kind of with that, too. So it's just, he's the best example that I can think of, of somebody probably being like super positive and trying to just grab life by the horns and go for it.
That's so funny. And probably like, well, I'm making assumptions here. But it was probably nice to have someone kind of in that father figure kind of, like older male role, I guess, like caregiver role that was close to you, since you kind of had a little bit of instability in that area at home.
Yeah, absolutely. And I have talked to my friends, you know, because we're still friends today about their dad kind of being that influence in my life. And it's, you know, it's funny, even like, I'm a Patriots fan because of him. Yeah, I absolutely wanted that attention from him. I wanted to just have that element in my life, something to talk about with him because yeah, he was to me from being an outsider from their house. It looked like he was that stable dad who is working for his kids and giving them a better life and that sort of thing and being involved and, you know, having those advice conversations and you know, I can describe it as like a sitcom type dad. That's what it looks like from the outside which obviously, you know, as you get older, you realize, oh, there's actually cracks in that picture. But growing up, that's what it looked like. And yeah, absolutely. I wanted to like okay, like I'm going to follow in those footsteps and I want him to like you You know, think highly of me. So I'm gonna be a Patriots fan or I'm gonna like be positive, I
guess. And you are still a Patriots fan today you actually live in Boston's was that part of the reason for your move?
I kind of joke that Yeah, I've moved to Boston because I needed to be with my people. Other Boston sports fans. In reality it probably I mean, there's probably a lot of reasons why I moved to Boston, but I always joke that like, yes, that's I'm here because these are my people. But yeah, I mean, I have always loved Boston, my mom used to bring us to Boston when we were growing up because it was only three hour drive or so from where we grew up to, we'd come to the aquarium, we used to go down the cape for vacation with my mom, New England itself is very important to our family. There's a lot of memories here. But yeah, I do I love Boston.
Well, let's talk about that. Because you moved there, how long? How long has it been?
Um, I think it's a little over three years and moved in the summer of 2018.
And you moved into an apartment with two strangers, you started a new job, and I guess on and off kind of gave dating a shot and a new city. That's a big life change. So what are some tools that you use to navigate that time in your life to kind of stay open minded and hopeful?
Well, it's kind of funny, you know, the positivity piece, because moving to Boston at that time was not actually in my plans whatsoever. I at the time, was still living in upstate New York, and I was in grad school for speech pathology, which not a lot of people know. And I had quit my full time job during school full time, early 2018. And a fact that probably won't surprise people who know me, I'm not great with finances. So I did like a semester full time and then ran out of money and had to quit grad school, which was really upsetting to me, like I, you know, as you do, like, if you're pursuing that path, you've envisioned your life down that road. And so to realize I can't actually do this was really upsetting to me. And I remember when I made that decision, I was like, okay, you get five minutes to cry. And then you have to figure out what's next. Because to me, I don't have parents that I can call and be like, Can I move in with you? Or like, Can you spot me for a few months, so I can finish this? That wasn't an option for me. And I actually think my guidance counselor at school was like, Well, can you come live on campus? Like, I'm 28? I'm not gonna live with 18 year olds, that's just no. So is this very upsetting moment in my life where I was like, you know, I have to quit this, which I'm not a quitter at all. So that in itself was upsetting. And so I started applying for jobs again, in communications. And I applied for jobs in Albany and in Boston. So I was like, now's the time, I guess. Like, if I'm going to move to Boston, why not try now I got zero callbacks from jobs in Albany. And I got a bunch of calls about jobs in Boston and landed one and so I moved here. And so I think to your point, like just kind of rolling with it, that is a prime example. Because I again, I gave myself like, I think five or 10 minutes in the shower to cry. And then I was like, okay, on to the next thing. Clearly, this isn't the path at this moment. What's going to be next? And yeah, so I came to Boston and ever since
what's the reasoning behind only giving yourself five minutes to cry?
Such good question, Meredith. I think for me, it goes back to that strength thing where I'm like, okay, you have to be strong. And I think that goes back to, you know, losing my mom losing my grandmother at 23, which 23 sounds like an adult, but you're not your child. So I had to really start parenting myself at that age. And I think my model growing up was my mom didn't have time. Like I said, like, she didn't have time to play around. You know, she had to put food on the table. She had to, you know, pay a mortgage and, you know, make sure that her kids had enough to keep them happy. And so I think for myself, in parenting myself, I was like, okay, like, you can be upset for a little while, but you have to feed yourself. You have to like pay your rent, that sort of thing. You're allowed to feel these feelings because it's upsetting, but don't hang on to them for too long. Because there's you know, there's the next thing that like you need to focus on. And
yeah, yeah, I'm not as efficient as you are. I need like five days.
I think it's probably my anxiety. That's like, okay, you five minutes because otherwise, like your head will explode. If I like really dwell on something. It's like, Oh, my God. And I think you can have these feelings, but you got to just Buck up kid, which I don't know who said that to me. But now it's in my head.
So your friend's dad, maybe? Yeah. Well, let's talk about I didn't realize that you lost your mom and your grandma. And the same was at the same year.
It was about three weeks from each other. Oh, yeah. So my mom passed away September 11 2013. And then my grandmother passed away October 6. So as a few weeks from each other, which you know, anybody who's a parent and has lost a child, me, my sister still stay like, I think my grandmother, you know, went with a broken heart. I mean, she had breast cancer, but I think, you know, losing her daughter, I think she kind of held on for my mom. And then at that point, it was kind of like, okay, it's ready to like, let go. So
yeah. Well, gosh, I can only imagine how devastating that was for you and your siblings. Did you give yourself more than five minutes to cry about that?
Oh, yeah, yeah. And I still cry, like now. So I think, you know, the grieving process is not, it's not a straight line, there's always going to be days and moments where I'm like, you know, start crying and that sort of thing, or just get really sad that they're not here. I think at that time.
I mean, it probably took years for me to like, feel like okay, I'm like myself again. Were you able to sort of get through that time, while still staying hopeful and optimistic about the future? Or was was there like a pretty dark period of your life during that grief?
It's kind of surprising, because my mom was sick for like, a few years before she passed away. And as you can imagine, I was very dramatic, young adults. And so in my head, I was like, I'm gonna go, I'm gonna, like, have this like, break down, I'm gonna, like, get really into drinking or so like, I just like, had that I envisioned that. Yeah, I'm gonna have a breakdown. And that's what's gonna happen. But it was the opposite where I, I needed routine. And I needed things to stay consistent because those huge holes were in my life already. So for me, I was not happy, obviously, but stayed consistent in my life, pretty much. And I think, yeah, that's why I decided to go back to grad school because I was looking for more meaning in my life, more purpose. That for me was how do I make this a positive situation? I need to reconnect with humans and help people. I think I was just raised to know like, we're gonna be okay. My mom did such a great job, we're going to be fine. That doesn't make it any easier, obviously. But again, I think being at 23, kind of think you're an adult. So I think I was kind of like, well, I don't I don't need her in, you know, the basic life ways. But it was more Yeah, it's more, I just want to call her on the phone and that sort of thing. But I think I stayed positive and that I knew that I would be fine. Fundamentally, like I will survive, but I needed to, you know, just do something to give back and just try and be helpful, I guess, to the world. And keep in mind, and I'm not like a super religious person. But in my head, I was like, when I see them again, I want them to be like, yeah, I watched your life. And I'm proud of you.
Love that. Is that kind of what motivated you to work for a nonprofit?
Yeah. So I didn't like set out to work at a nonprofit. Specifically, when I moved to Boston, I was working in a PR agency, and a lot of our clients were like hospitality or consumer products. And that was very much a job where I got in at nine once it was 501. I'm out the door. Like I didn't have that passion for it. It was just kind of a way to pay the bills. And when I was applying for jobs to move to Boston, I had a conversation with a recruiter at Dana Farber Cancer Institute. That position didn't pan out. But they reached out to me. I'd been at the agency for about 10 months, and Dana Farber reached back out, we have a new job open, we think you'd be great for it. And I kind of took that as a sign again, kind of rolling with the punches. Yeah, sure. I'll talk to you, I'll interview and I kind of went into it. Like I have a job that I like, I like my co workers, like I'm good. But I ended up getting the job at Dana Farber. And to me it was kind of this is a sign from the universe, that this is the direction I'm supposed to go in. I won't say it fell in my lap. I obviously had the experience and the knowledge and expertise to like, get the job. But it did kind of feel like this is the direction you should go in. And yeah, that added meaning of working at a cancer hospital, when I have that direct experience of losing my mom to colon cancer, and my grandmother's breast cancer just makes it that much more meaningful, getting up and being able to do a job where I'm helping other families in some indirect way who are facing cancer means a lot. Yeah, I
love that. And like you said earlier, everything happens for a reason, right? Yeah, I don't think there's any coincidences in life either. So and actually, now that you say it, something really similar happened to me. When I moved to Arizona. I interviewed for a job at a nonprofit, and they just never come back to me. And then I started another job. I started working at enterprise rent a car there for like, four or five weeks, and the nonprofit called me back and they're like, we'd like to offer you the job. And I was like, literally, what is happening? But I was like, Yeah, that sounds much better than this. So I took it and then sort of like you it was like, Well, I don't know if I would have been so excited. You know, it took four or five weeks. Obviously they don't have their shit together, but it's nonprofit. So but yeah, working at enterprise and such A I don't want to say corporate, but it's just such a like structured organization where like, everyone starts at the bottom and works their way up. And there's a path for everybody. There's a plan for everybody. There's no creativity involved in that path. It's like, yeah, this is how you do it. Just even being in that and dealing with rental car customers from out of town and trying to upsell them insurance and all that shit that they didn't need just felt super out of alignment. And I was like, I don't want to be doing this. So yeah, when that came through, I was like, yep.
Yeah, yeah. Well, I think even like, after I got the job at Dana Farber, I started and then literally, like, six months later, a position in the next tier up opened. And my colleague at the time, she was like, you should apply for that. I was like, I literally just started why I'm like, good. She's like, No, you should apply for it. And I was like, Sure, okay, why not? And I ended up getting it. So like, within six months, got a significant raise, got a new title and like position with more responsibility, and that sort of thing. And I just kind of like laughs and like, another sign that I'm in the place that I'm supposed to be, you know, because those opportunities just kind of opened up.
Yeah, I'm a big believer that when you are sort of living in alignment with what is important to you, your like core values that it does become almost effortless. Yeah. Not having unforced things. So that's awesome. Yeah. So with all of this talk of being optimistic and hopeful, what is the thing that you hope for the most in life?
I think just maybe sounds cheesy, but just like happiness, whatever that looks like,
what does that look like?
I think I'm open again, just rolling with it. I think I'm open to various ways to be happy, like, I'm pretty happy right now. But like, you know, every you mentioned, like, trying to date and stuff and like, I go to like family parties and people. You're not married yet. I don't need to be married to be happy. And I don't, you know, need to be on that path, necessarily. But I think there's one side of me that's like, Yeah, I would love to be married and have kids and you know, go that path. And then there's the other side of me that's like, I can be the kooky aunt that just spoils her nieces and nephews, that's totally fine with me, too. So I think at this point in my life, I just have learned Yeah, you just kind of roll with it and see what comes your way. And I think happiness looks different day to day. And that's just kind of my goals keep growing and moving along. But like putting your happiness ahead of all else, which is a learning curve for me, but I'm trying so I don't know what happiness looks like. I just again, I think it just can be different, depending on where you're at, or what you're doing.
Yeah, I don't know who said it. Or if I read it somewhere, I guess I would still be someone saying it. But I just remember hearing at one point, happiness is a choice. And I was like, Oh, yeah, it really is. And that's not to say that like there's there aren't such things as you know, mental illness and, and health issues that really kind of throw a wrench in all of that. But at the end of the day, you can choose to, like you said, Buck up and decide, well, there's not much I can do to change it right now. So I can either enjoy this moment, or I can be upset and angry about it and be a victim. And that really resonated with me.
I agree with that. 100%. And I can again, me being a moody child. I remember being a teenager and like writing in my diary like, oh, life is so hard. But like, there was a moment I think in high school where I was like, this is in your head that people don't like you this is you're choosing to be like this moody like upset person. And people don't actually see you that way. That was kind of almost like a switch flipped, where I was like, I'm just gonna ask people to hang out with me like, why sit here and feel like people are leaving me out? Why do they have to invite me Can't I invite them and kind of taking the reins on that and like choosing to be happy choosing like, if I want to hang out with somebody if I want that person to be my friend just asking, Hey, do you want to be friends? Maybe not in that phrasing. But you know, just making those choices to Yeah, choose your own happiness, decide what is going to make you happy and just go after that. And again, I kind of say that with the caveat. I totally get their mental health struggles and things where that is harder for certain people, and they're not wired that way. But I think yeah, there's just that victim mentality of like, the world is out to get me I've never accepted that. No, I'm making these choices and I'm choosing to be happy and like be a pleasant person to be around and I definitely says Yes, exactly. Yes to choose your choices and yeah, choose to be happy. But I mean, obviously, there's always like days where you're not gonna be happy. But generally speaking,
yeah, that's a pretty big realization to have in high school though I don't think I had that realization until I was like, in my early 30s.
And then I'm an old soul. I yeah, I mean, I used to hang out with my grandma, my grandma was my best friend. So like, I think I just have always been like an eight year old woman, I just, I didn't want to be that person. I think I just wanted like friends and like people to hang out with. I hate being by myself. Like, I'm very independent. And I definitely need alone time. But like, I love being around people, even if we're not doing anything, as you know, like, just sit and sit there in silence. As long as we're together. So I think for me, I think I just realized, like, if you want to hang out with people, like you have to be pleasant. Again, that's not to say you can't have feelings. And that's my like, new thing that I'm working on is realizing that my friends, my true friends are going to be there. For me, even if I'm not totally optimistic and positive and happy all the time, my true friends are going to be okay with me having different levels of feelings, and be human.
What prompted that? I don't
know when that started, maybe only like a couple of years ago, where I think I was in certain situations where I was trying so hard to be happy and be the strong friend for like everybody else. But I wasn't getting that back from other people. And I think I realized it's okay for me to have other feelings and to cut out people that aren't going to be supportive of those other feelings. Like I need to, like for my own mental health, and you know, all of that, like, I need to be okay with not being okay. Because I've talked a lot like today, like about being strong, it's always being positive. And I think there's a cultural shift to that has helped me be like, okay, it's okay. Not to be okay. Like, I think that's a meme or graphic somewhere. And I think that's just a realization, and maybe being 31. Now, so like, hitting 30, you realize, like, life is just different. And I say that sarcastically but like, some, I think that's true. Like, I'm just in a different point in my life where like, I want good friends. Not a lot of friends,
huh? Yeah, it was interesting. You said at some point, if you wanted to have friends, you needed to be pleasant. Yes. What was the shift to where you were like, oh, pleasant and positive are different things? Um,
that's a good question. I don't know that. It was like one moment, I had a group of friends in college who were pretty toxic. And I tried so hard to like, keep in touch with them when I left New York City and sending, as you mentioned, like all the cards and got nothing in return. And it was kind of this moment where I was like, why am I putting all this energy in to these people who don't want it, you can be pleasant and see them in social events and be nice and friendly, and that sort of thing. But like, you don't need to go out of your way to make their life more positive. I guess, by being in it. I don't know if that like yeah, just coming to that realization and just again, being older, maybe sitting with my feelings of grief more, as I've gotten further away from, you know, my mom and my grandmother's passing, you know, you can think more about that. And like how you see your life as you move through that grief process. So I feel like it's maybe a combination of things of just, you know, really trying to like put myself first and be okay with and this is like a strong phrasing of this. But like, it's okay to be like the bad guy and people's perspective of me. I can't control everybody's perspective of me, I'm going to be the bad guy in some situations, which I think is just makes me uncomfortable. But like, I try not to think about it too much.
So I like that, because it's so true. First of all, you can't be everything to everyone. And there's so many people on this earth, you're never going to be friends with all of them. So you might as well choose the ones who can offer you something in return. And there was another conversation, I believe it was on Derek's episode where we were talking about the difference between being nice and being kind. And sometimes the kind thing to do is to be honest with somebody even when they're not gonna like it. Right. So sometimes that person might choose to move on. And that's okay. Yeah, that's hard and in real time.
Yeah, it's definitely it's hard to I think you talked about this in another one of your episodes too, is like your own ego realizing that me wanting everybody to like me is my own ego. And if somebody doesn't like me, like that's more about them than about me and like being confident and that I am a good person. I'm a good friend. If somebody makes me feel otherwise it's probably something going on with them and they're like perspective and less so about me and I think that too, like I you know, I was talking about the friends from college and one of the many reasons why we're not friends is that they painted me out to be This bad guy in this like one situation. And from my perspective, I was like, Well, actually, you guys were really shitty friends. I just lost my mom and I, like reacted and like and what was they thought was a bad way. And I was like, I fucking just lost my mom. So I think I'm allowed to be in a bad mood. I don't know. That's fine. But they painted me out to be this bad guy. And I like looked back on that. And I was trying so hard to be like, No, I'm not the bad guy like still like me. Yeah. But now I realized kind of flipping that and be like, I actually wasn't the bad guy, you were at the bat. And this is all very black and white. And I realized that it's not real life. But in that situation, I was, quote, unquote, innocent, but they were painting me to be this like, bad person. And, and as I've gotten older, I'm like, I'm not a bad person. Whatever was going on there had more to do with them than me. And kind of letting that go.
Good. People are still humans and yes, are allowed to make mistakes. And fuck up. And yeah, like you said, if you just lost your mom, I think not that that's an excuse to do any of that you got damn well, please. But at the same time, it's like, come on, have a heart. Yeah, he's obviously going through something. It probably wasn't your intention to make anyone feel bad. You just were dealing with some stuff. So yeah, that's
Yeah. And letting Yeah. I think like having friends that allow you the grace to have good days and bad days. That's important to friendship. Totally.
I would not have any friends didn't allow me to make mistakes and have bad days. Yeah. Well, I think that you're probably aware that you have this sort of optimistic view of life. And that's something that you either naturally call upon every day or intentionally call upon in your life. But is there anything that we talked about today that that sort of sparked any realizations? Or did you learn anything different about your optimism today?
I guess it was nice to like, have it called out because it is something that I work on, I think I realized I will continue to like work on that and choose to be optimistic and happy. But also I want to continue setting those boundaries and like being okay, without being okay. Again, just use that cliche. But yeah, no, I really appreciate it. It just flatters me. I love that you see me that way? Because, again, my egos like, great. I'm so optimistic. Yeah,
I do see that way. And I think it's funny earlier that you called yourself dramatic, because I have never seen you be dramatic about anything.
Well, that's good, because I can be dramatic short story. I this past weekend hosted a virtual baby shower for a friend of mine. And the week before I saw my friend and her husband, and I said to her husband, I can't wait to see you guys next weekend. He was like, what's next weekend? And I turned around, I was like, I'm gonna murder you. You don't remember that this is happening. And I forgot I said that until I saw him last weekend. We're setting up for the baby shower. And he's like, are you gonna murder me today? And I was like, why would I murder you? I've never like I love you Like, I would never murder you. And he's like, you literally just said that a week ago. I'm like, well, that's just me being dramatic. You need to like, Don't pay attention to that stuff. I appreciate you don't think I'm dramatic. But I can be?
No, I don't think so. I don't know how detailed I want to be in this story. Because I don't want to call any names out. But we met when I lived with a friend of yours. And you would come to visit and stay at our house. And then I would go out with you guys. And that's kind of sort of how we got to know each other. And then yeah, remember one night I guess it was when you were interviewing for jobs. Maybe you came to stay with us and just wasn't there? Right. So she had left you at key or we left the door open prayers. Yes. But one of the other roommates had a little too much fun that night and had passed out in the front like port. There's like a screen in porch before you come or like a storm room kind of before you come into the the main front door of the house. And she was like, she was like on the floor and they're like, step over.
Yeah, well, I actually like who are Yeah, yeah, she woke up screaming because she didn't know like, she didn't recognize me. And so I helped her inside and she was just Yeah, like, incoherent. I was like, Oh, my goodness. Like this. This.
This was the I mean, I always thought you were nice and kind. But that was the moment where I was like, I mean, you couldn't have rolled with the punches anymore. She was probably like literally swinging at you. And you're like, let me help you inside. It's just me.
I'm just the stranger staying in your house. Let me help you inside. Yeah, that was a very interesting evening. I also think I had a lot of experience with intoxicated had people at that point with my friends in college again, like taking care of them. So that was just, I won't say it was nothing because she literally screamed in my face and I thought your neighbors were gonna like call 911 it was Yeah, it was very intense. But Jess and I were actually talking about the first time I met you, I think I came to like, help just move in or like we came so that she had somebody to like, hang out with in this new apartment. And Jess and I were talking about how I remember so vividly being in your dining room and chatting with you about like, you'd lived in Arizona and what brought you to Boston and like all this stuff, and Jess, and I like, just the other day, we're like, Yeah, I just remember how like, Cool Meredith was, and like, how we just want to be friends with you. Because we're just like, She's so nice. And just like, you have this very calm energy. You're just very like, if anybody personifies the word like, cool. I feel like it's you. Like, just so cool.
Wow. Well, that is Thank you. That is a huge compliment. And a thing I've probably been wanting to hear my entire life. Anytime someone tells me that I'm like, I don't believe you. It's true. That's true. But thanks. I am working on feeling that way about myself. So yeah, I am cool.
Okay. Own it. I think it's, I think it's this like, to me again, this is my perception of you. Like, I feel like you're just very comfortable and like who you are and what you like. And that to me is like the ultimate goal is just being like, yeah, this is who I am. And this is what I'm gonna do. And yeah, that's it.
It's all decayed. That's a joke. I know the word is. It's a movie. Anyway. Okay. Well, I love you. I'm so glad you're here today. Where can people find you if they want to connect with you?
Probably the best way is on LinkedIn. My name is Alison with one l kronzek. Which I can spell for you. It's very polish. It's KR a w. c is in cat z is in zebra. Y k. Well, so much. I love you. I miss you so much.
Yeah, you know, we'll have to have a reunion soon, I guess. Yeah. I'm done before justice wedding, preferably. Yeah. And I would love to see miles. Yeah. Good boy.
He's so cute. I miss him like crawling up on the couch and like just kind of putting his butt down as if he's gonna sit on me. But he's pretending I'm not there. Like those moments.
Yeah, yeah, he's very inconsiderate. But in the cutest way? Yes. Well, thank you again. Bye, Alison.
So good. If you want to connect with Alison, you can find her on LinkedIn. That's Alison with one L. And her last name is K-R-A-W-C-Z-Y-K. Alison would also like to share this. Everyone has been touched by cancer. While treatments are becoming more effective and less toxic. There's still a lot of work to be done to defy cancer. Dana Farber Cancer Institute is one of the world's leading research and clinical cancer hospitals. By supporting Dana Farber with a philanthropic gift you are directly contributing to the work of the faculty and staff advancing the care and treatment of cancer patients in Boston and around the world. You can donate online at Dana Farber dot Jimmy fund.org. The full link to support cancer care and research specifically is in the show notes for this episode. If you want to follow me, Meredith McCreight You can find me on Instagram Pinterest, and Facebook with the handle at create without bounds. You can visit the podcast page at meaning to share.com and check out more stuff from my brain at create without bounds dot com. You can find all of Alison's info, my info all the social links the link to donate to Dana Farber and more in the full show notes where I've also posted some photos of Alison with me and several other friends. If you loved this episode, please consider going over to Apple podcasts and leaving a five star review. This really helps us connect with the more listeners who might find our show meaningful. Thanks for tuning into this episode. share something meaningful this week friends. See you next time.