Wow, my first post on my very own blog… One of my goals for 2018 was to start writing about what I feel and I felt that starting my own blog was the best place to start.

Thinking about what my first post should be, the first thing I thought of was to introduce myself, and it is one hell of a journey so here we go:

First, I need to start with my parents. The earliest picture I have is from their college years I believe.

Right here is Laura and Jeffrey Garden. In 2018 they will be celebrating 22 years of marriage. These two met in New Jersey where most of my family is from, and yes they all have hilarious accents (my parents don’t believe they still have them, but between us, they do). They met when they were young, my dad was best friends with my mom’s brother Joey.

After they got married in 1996, my mother tried for years to get pregnant, and then she was with me!

I came way earlier than expected, Born on July 6th, 1998 at 1 am… 3 MONTHS EARLY at 3 pounds.. so yes I am a Premature baby

Since I came so early, I was told that they haven’t even started the topics of names. Until they settled on “Zoe Alyse”

From there, I was in the NICU for three-four months with breathing issues that I have had surgeries for and no longer deal with.

Being born early gave me some challenges that I would learn that I would be struggling with for the rest of my life. Bad eyesight, speech problems (which I have since gotten over), and the biggest challenge that I am faced with is called Central Auditory Processing Disorder, otherwise known as CAPD.

If you are unfamiliar with the concept, it would be better if you googled it, but in short: my brain cannot make sense of what I hear sometimes. It affects speech, following directions (I still have to have things repeated to me at least 3 times before it sticks), and more. When I was younger, my mother would ask me things like “Zoe, do you want to go play outside?” and my response would be “Zoe likes outside.” I’ve improved with speech classes and I don’t do that anymore, but I still struggle with it every day. It is something that cannot be cured, and no one knows the cause.

I never want my disability to define me but it is unavoidable sometimes. All my life, I have been in support centers, testing has been done on me, and even in college, I still have to explain my situation to my teachers.

One thing I do appreciate about this is the perspective it has given me. I have never known anything different. It makes me unique. And, if you saw me on the street, you would never know the struggles I endure daily. It can be cliche to say something like that but I do believe it.

I was an only child until 2001 when my lovely sister, Brynna Rae, was born. WE cannot be MORE opposite. She plays all sports, I have no interest. I never stop talking, and she gets annoyed with me. She is my favorite person, which I’ve been told a lot of sisters do not have that bond that we share.

My little brother Thomas Patrick but he is TOMMY was born in 2005 and he is his own entity. Anyone who knows him will agree, he is just Tommy.

We were all born and lived in PA till about 2006 when we moved to Georgia for a year before 2008 when we finally found Rochester, MI, which we have been in ever since.

I tried a billion sports but the only thing that stuck was acting. It’s funny to think that it stuck with all of the challenges I faced and still face but I know it’s made me who I am. It forced me to work on my speech, listening (even though it won’t improve), and to speak to many at once without them knowing what I struggle with. I did it from 6th grade till my last year Senior musical doing almost 20 shows. I still miss it and the people every day.

I always did Chorus and small roles because I loved singing and seeing my friends every day. I do believe it got me out of my little bubble and to grow into who I am. Music was and STILL IS a huge part of my on-stage and off.

I also did half high school and half tech school in high school for my Junior and Senior year, learning Graphic Design. I won’t post anything on here because I don’t love it but I know it gave me new skills and more confidence in my art that I will take forever.

Writing is something I felt took me forever to get to. I always read everything I went through, and I’m the only one in my family who does. In more recent times,  I worked in my school newspaper for two years writing articles which I fell in love with. I got an internship in college writing for a place in New York, NY that I LOVE.

Now, where will this blog go? Not sure. But I’m glad I am starting one. Hope to see you again sometime.

Love always,



  1. Zoe, you are a wonderful writer and person. We miss living across the street and you still are our kids fav babysitter. Haven’t found a new one like you yet out in CA… so that means come see us this summer! Love you and your whole family. Keep chasing your dreams 🙂

  2. Hi Zoe
    I certainly enjoyed your story. It is well written and reveals your sweet personality. Even though I know most of it, it was great hearing it from your perspective. I look forward to more writings. Love, AB

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