I have a friend who at a young age has gone through two bouts of cancer, and some other very personal life changes that should not happen to a person so young. A lot of people would bow down to that, and have a pity party for themselves.
Instead she started her own personal movement to inspire people to start and end happy. She made a video that via index cards told her story, and at times tragic story. She is one of the strongest people I know. You can google it if you would like, you’ll see her video come up.
Full disclosure, I do not know her very well; I would like to point that out. However, there are lots of things that inspire me in writing, and watching this woman’s reaction to her life, and the events in her life before and after tragedy is miraculous, awesome sauce. It is a display of nothing short of pure will, courage, and blind, stupid stubborn (meant in the best possible way). I do not think she knows how many people she will inspire. I honestly think her story, her courage, her fortitude will teach thousands, if not millions of people, to take on their challenges in their own way. I am not a bullshitter, it’s not in my nature. I say what I mean, and I do what I say.
There is not much that makes me cry or even tear. There are a few things that do: highly emotional events, friends and family support, and nature connection.
I experienced a highly emotional family event in February-my Nana died at 96 years young. I say young because she was the initial badass, and she remains an inspiration to me this day. Those that know me, know that I will do anything for my family and friends.
I am going to fast forward to six months ago. There have been a number of people on my personal growth journey that have been instrumental, and they know who they are. When my Nana died, of course my blood family came together, but two other families gave me supported that I would not have thought fathomable about a year before. My Arbonne family and my paddling family, and they were some of the first to reach out to me. Reading my facebook entries and the condolescenes made this entry crystallize. This entry has actually strayed far from my original inspiration, and it doesn’t matter. This is why I write to let stuff out and process.
I lost my way. I lost sight of the goal. I even lost my belief that I could do it for a brief period of time.
My 96-year old Nana receiving a mud mask last summer. Thank you Arbonne for giving me the time with her.
Everyone gets in those periods. And most people need a kick in the ass to get them out of it.
I had just such a kick, except it was mostly a kick from myself (yes, I had help). I re-read a lot of my entries from February and March just now, and said “what the fuck are you doing right now!? Get your ass in gear, and make Nana proud.”
Except unlike February and March, I realized it’s about making MYSELF proud. She was already proud of me. Now, it’s about changing and getting out of my own damn way.
There is something about capturing a moment in time that is magical, and almost visceral. In certain pictures you can feel the emotion being conveyed in that moment. It is a gift to be able to capture that moment, and preserve it for a lifetime of memories.
Maria Spillane being recognized for achieving National Vice President in Arbonne. Photograph taken by Alexis Krukovsky.
The record is there, and you can immerse yourself in that moment at anytime. Anyone who has lost someone close to them, you realize how important pictures are because they bring you back to that time and place. The part of that memory you hold dear is an important gateway to the soul, and it’s easy to get lost in it. The most important part is to take the memory and hold it close to you, and keep it with you as long as you need it.
It doesn’t need to be that dramatic, though. It can be sending a friend a picture when they are away, or finding a hilarious event and reposting it. It brings you back to time, place, and emotion.
There was a time not that long ago that getting dressed up with cocktail dresses and the whole ordeal of getting ready for a fancy dinner, formal affair, or just going with friends for the night almost made me have a panic attack. It was not a pretty scene.
Standard cargo pants and fleece at Island Beach State park in New Jersey. Photo taken by Looie Voorhees
I am not exaggerating about the level of tension it caused me, and it filled me with paralyzing terror. I didn’t know why it made me so uncomfortable until yesterday. I didn’t feel like I deserved the attention, the appreciation, or even a compliment. If I did get any of those, I was awkward. The idea of being worthy of attention without that feeling like it’s narcissistic is something I have been working on this year.
I didn’t put the two and two together until I had to get ready for a formal event the other day. I didn’t really feel any of that crippling anxiety because I have the self-confidence to realize that I can dress like that, and I look like I belong there. More importantly, I FEEL like I belong there. Even a few months ago when I wore a cocktail dress, I felt slightly awkward.
The dress I wore to Arbonne’s nation celebration. Photo taken by Danielle Baldassare.
I am still much happier in cargo pants, t-shirts, and sneakers. The fact that I can go to these events and feel accepted, deserving, and free is priceless. It’s also a feeling I never thought I would have. Little by little breaking down these walls I have in order to reach my full potential.