I have been working on this piece for a while, initially crafted on March 23rd, it was really hard for me to write. Also, as life would have it, the events in the piece to follow seemed to parallel some trying times in my personal life; ultimately delaying the timeliness of getting this completed. Despite the delay in publication, I still wanted to share it because I felt it was and still is an important story to tell.
I need to start this off with an apology to my readers. I am sorry for the things I have written about myself and my life where I allow myself to feel bad for myself or even allude to anything other than the reality that is my life.
My life is effing fantastic. No matter how I think I want to see things, or when things don’t go my way, or whatever challenge physically, emotionally, and professionally I think I am enduring—it is NOTHING compared to the reality of people with real obstacles and problems.
I am not only sorry for my lack of clarity, but I am also incredibly ashamed of myself. As of late, I have been carrying around this overwhelming sense of shame and it is truly heavy in my heart and soul. How dare I?!
Recently, my world has been seriously rocked. And while my heart is swollen with pain and sorrow; these events and people in my life have taught me invaluable lessons in what I am going to call perspective.
A dear friend of mine gave birth to beautiful baby boy in late February. Upon his arrival he struggled to breath on his own and suffered from seizures. A full term baby and deemed healthy prior to his birth, doctors couldn’t quite figure out what afflicted the child. It was agonizing to watch this horror unfold on social media as we learned that the fate of the child was grim. A GoFundMe was set up to help pay for medical expenses as this innocent child spent the entire duration of his life hooked up to machinery. Daily I not only wept, but sobbed uncontrollably while asking God to take from me and my life and give to my friend. I was angry that it appeared God didn’t hear my cries. Yet, despite the baby’s worsening condition, my friends, community, and myself kept hope alive. We had to believe the baby would survive and miracles do happen—why couldn’t we be fortunate enough to witness one?
Sadly, the baby did not make it. After 3 weeks of a short but very loved life, he passed. While I am not a mother, the hole in my heart for a child I never knew is bottomless.
The death of my friend’s child has taught me more about myself than his teeny soul could ever fathom.
What is truly important? What matters?
Love. Family. Time with the people I care about. That’s it.
In the same time that my friend’s baby was born, my college best friend and former housemate was diagnosed with a rare neurological autoimmune disease. I have watched the unfolding and unraveling of her health via Facebook for years, but never comprehended to the extent her health has degraded. Once a talented and star athlete, this woman who was our leading scorer in college, now cannot walk without assistance. As her body deteriorates at the young age of 35, she will be wheelchair bound in the very near future. What’s more is she has 2 young children and they have to move since she needs a handicapped accessible home.
In spite of her prognosis, my friend seems to be in such good spirits. Her positivity and strength are refreshing, but a stark reminder that whatever I think I am fighting, whatever I think I am grappling, whatever shit I think life is hurling at me—truly, it ain’t that bad.
Now, to be clear, I am not downplaying the things in my life, I don’t think that’s necessarily a healthy outlook either. And in due time I will unveil some other layers, but really, my life’s problems are small in comparison.
I mean, my biggest issue in my life is that I think I’m fat?!
Are you kidding me?
I’ve spent this time in reflection. Honestly searching within myself to make sense of this loss of life, but also how could I memorialize my friend’s baby? How can I keep his spirit alive? How could I be present everyday for myself physically, emotionally, and grateful? And the answer almost seemed easy. It was apparent to me that by loving myself wholly and fully, that was the first step to taking the teachings of this lesson in perspective and showing my learning.
I’ve stopped the nonsense.
I have showered myself with love. I have hugged my husband every chance I get. I call my mom everyday despite the fact she always has to jet to yoga or water aerobics and can’t talk to me (I still love ya mom, and I AM SO HAPPY that you have found bliss in your retirement!). I have stepped back to look at my life and realize that I am bountiful in more ways than can be measured. And by more ways than you can imagine, I am talking about the new-found gratitude for my physical capabilities.
Everyday now when I walk through the doors of the gym, I look around in utter amazement that this is the life I am privileged to live. I get to sweat in one of the world’s most beautiful facilities and above all—I can move my body any which way I darn please. THAT is a gift. These recent weeks have shed a light on my life that only go to show you that through darkness there really is light. And maybe you can say that this light is my friends baby, and maybe you can say it’s my friend’s undying spirit and zest for life, and maybe you can say it’s just me.
I don’t really care how you choose to see it or look at it. We ultimately see what we choose to see anyway. But what I do ask you to do is take a hard look at yourself and life today. Look through photos, strip down to your underwear and gaze upon your body in the mirror. Admire your strength, your power, and who you are in this very moment. Lovingly look at those in your life who bring you joy and seek them out. Make a plan, [one you will keep, you LA flakes] and get coffee, hit a workout, or just sit in a park on a bench and talk sans posting it on your Snap or InstaStory.
See? I bet you didn’t realize how damn blessed you are. Don’t wait for life to slap you in the face hard and sting before you wake up. Live life now.