As I carefully looked over my thousands of followers on Facebook and thousands of hits on my blog, the little voice in me told me I wasn't worthy. Thankfully, the big voice in me, who has finally stepped up to the plate to make herself heard more regularly told the little one to shut up and reminded her of why I most certainly am worthy of so many amazing followers. I am not going to float my boat, I am not going to brag, but what I am going to do is list a few of my life credentials to help you understand why you can trust me to be your go-to girl when you're having a tough day, or a rough mom-moment, an ugly, self-loathing day, or just plain old need a safe cyber friend to lean on. If I can find the laughter in life, so can you. Trust me.
|This is true. Lucky for me, I have several inner voices. Some of them louder than others!|
I suffered a severe, rare illness. At 20 years old, in my second semester of my Junior year of college. I started getting severe headaches that lasted all day, every day, for weeks. I had my eyes checked, tried to manage my stress level, changed my diet, but nothing worked. One day, my vision went out and I fell over while working my part-time job near my university. A dozen tests and several spinal taps later, I was diagnosed with a very rare disease called Pseudotumor Cerebri. Though usually treatable, this is an awful illness that implies your body has a brain tumor by swelling of the optic nerve, and increased pressure in the skull. Take the worse headache you've every had, multiply it by 10, add ringing in your ears and dizziness every day all day for 6 months and that's what I lived through. I had a six month treatment of steroids and strong diuretics and eventually, one glorious day, I was me again. I survived it with no vision loss by some miracle, and no other scars other than that of having to leave college in such an abrupt and painful way.
|Nothing makes you appreciate life and health more than having a severe headache for 6 months straight.|
I am divorced. I married in my early twenties. I married him because I thought I could save him. I thought I could show him what happiness really was. He was sad, and put to work in a restaurant 7 days a week, 13 hours a day since he was 13. He never finished school because he was taught that he would make more money owning a restaurant than anything a degree could bring. The problem was my definition of happiness (family, laughter, simplicity, friends) was very different from his definition of happiness (money, power, cars, success). When I finally came to understand this epiphany of sorts, my son was 9 months old. I wasn't strong enough to leave him for me, but I looked at that child in the eyes and drew the strength I needed, I knew I could leave for his sake. The day of our divorce, we walked out into the parking lot side by side. I looked at him and with one big breath I told him I forgave him for everything he put me through, hugged him hard and we parted ways. Truly, it was the best gift I have ever given myself. Forgiveness. We have seen each other every other weekend for 10 years now. We are kind and respectful of each other and that is a wonderful thing. We laugh often, too. He is happy with his family and I am happy with mine. I looked at pain and fear in the eye, and I held its glance then I held my head high and moved forward one step at a time. To this day, it was the greatest gift of a life lesson I could've ever asked for.
|It seems like an oxymoron but it's not.|
I was a single mom. I was on my own with just my son for almost two years before I met my husband. I worked so hard to provide for us and take care of a home, and spend quality time with him. My self-esteem was still reeling from the divorce and I had confidence issues. One day, my company was bought out by a bigger company. The new CEO went around and did one-on-one interviews with the employees they inherited. He and I spoke for some time about the company, my job, and my daily grind. He proposed a sales job to me knowing I was a single mom and would benefit from the flexibility. I quickly said that there was no way I could sell anything. He asked me to trust him that I would and could be very successful in sales and promised me that after two weeks, if I truly hated it, I could go back to the office job. He, a complete stranger, believed in me when I didn't believe in myself. I went on to be salesman of the year, making a ludicrous amount of money my first year there - and through that success, allowed my spirit to soar in ways it hadn't in years. Through my drive and my success, I learned to love myself after so many years of finding ways to hate myself. It was at my peak of happiness that I happened to meet Hubs. I wasn't looking. I was just happy in life, happy with myself - and he was just an added gift.
|Sounds trite - but these are words to live by.|
I watched Cancer kill my friend. My husband's brother's wife had Cancer when I met her. She was in remission from breast cancer and ovarian cancer when we fell in love with each other at a family get together. Her sense of humor and mild manner instantly connected us. When Hubs and I got engaged, I asked her to be in the wedding and we were giddy as we began to make plans. Days later, a routine check up showed the Cancer was back in the form of a brain tumor. She stood tall and strong while the rest of us tried not to crumble. She chose The Capitol Grille in Boston for a huge family dinner 2 nights before her surgery and insisted we all have a ball. We laughed in the face of fear. We took that tumor by the balls and threatened it and yelled at it. We followed her lead. The morning of her surgery, when she was finally awake and alert, I went in to see her, and the first words out of her mouth were about her shaved head. I was so relieved to know that she was still the same girl she was at the restaurant. Months later, the tumor grew back and without hesitation she agreed to have another go at removing it. The night before her surgery, she emailed me her Chili recipe that I raved about so often. She wrote in the email subject line: Chili Recipe: In case I lose my mind and can't remember where I put it. Little did I know that would be the last joke we shared. The next day, the doctor had reported they got most of the tumor, but that she was not showing signs of the same girl we knew. She would talk in numbers or colors or nonsense. We were hoping it was temporary, but it wasn't. My dear friend was there but gone. I was in the final stages of planning a wedding and moving up to live with Hubs so I had stopped working. My brother -n- law- to -be was still working so I quickly offered to come a few days a week and stay with her. She was in a rehab facility for some time, suffered infections and what not, and was finally able to go home. She had to wear a helmet to protect her head since she had parts of her skull removed from infection. We bedazzled that baby right up but it was still an awful reminder of what we had lost. As I helped her bathe, I would tear up looking at her wounded body, scarred from surgeries of every kind. She fought that bastard with everything she had. She made it to our wedding and even wore her bridesmaid dress we picked out along with a beautiful pink scarf. She didn't really know what was going on the outside, but I think on the inside she was happy. She died one month later at 36 years young.
|This is an understatement.|
I could go on. But I won't. What I will say to you all if you've made it this far, is that I appreciate you. I appreciate your struggles, your past, your future. We all have a cross to bear at some point in our lives. Whether our wounds are self-inflicted or brought on by someone else; whether our lives are muddy or clear; whether we choose a road full of bumps and potholes or smooth sailing on calm waters, we are all human. We are all trying to make our way. We can all learn from each other. I'm here for you with a soft place to land, a safe place to go, a fun little corner of a crazy world. Let's laugh a little, let's support each other a little, let's make the world a smaller place.
|LET'S DO THIS!|
Wishing you blue skies and green lights now and always..
|Hold life in your hands like a precious gift...because it is just that.|