Angela and I had a very interesting morning today. We were invited by Our Sisters School to talk to the students about our journey in life. OSS is an all girl middle school (grades 5-8) in New Bedford that focuses on the intellectual, moral, social and physical development of its students. We got to meet a couple of the girls as they took us on a tour of their school, and I must say I was impressed! The classes are small, the girls are bright, and the faculty is devoted. The only hiccup I had with talking to these young ladies is that it quickly becomes very emotional to me. I can tell you here because you can’t see me if I shed a tear;) Also, if it’s worth mentioning to help inspire young girls, then it’s worth mentioning to help inspire you.
You may not know this about me (although some of you are quite familiar), but when I was a kid I was very sick. For a while we didn’t know what was wrong. ‘It may be nightmares, it may be anxiety… let’s try counseling.’ Well, that didn’t work. Eventually my family saw first hand what was happening during my ‘episodes’ and we soon found out I had a brain tumor. My nightmares were actually seizures. By this point I had become a terribly awkward kid with the worst social phobia. I struggled to make friends and get involved in activities. I was just so different from everyone. Luckily I have the best sister and cousins ever! They were and still are my best friends… but I digress.
I was nine years old when the seizures started getting really bad and I was ten years old when we finally scheduled my surgery. I was admitted into Boston Children’s Hospital on July 10, 1989 (my 11the birthday) and the wonderful Dr. Michael Scott saved my life on July 11, 1989. It wasn’t until the surgery was over that my family got the news that the tumor was benign. Holy manoly – they did such a fantastic job convincing me not to worry. After all, I wouldn’t have seizures anymore and I could be a normal kid. Luckily the surgery was a huge success and I have been tumor/seizure free for over 22 years. However, I was not exactly a normal kid…
As I got older, my anxiety turned more and more into rage. I hated feeling so weak and vulnerable around people, although you probably couldn’t guess that’s how I was feeling. Then one day it struck me that it all boiled down to a decision. I could decide to be a victim, or I could decide to change my attitude. Luckily, I changed my attitude (or there would be a lot more people in NB with wine thrown in their faces. lol)
I did everything I could think of to come out of my shell. Books, audios, exercise…I even took a public speaking class just for the heck of it!
There’s so much more I can say about all this, but I’ll get to the point. If you are not happy with yourself, then make the decision to change. It doesn’t matter if it’s your job, your apartment, or your relationship – if you don’t focus on improving YOU (body & mind), you’ll never be content.
As for me, just meeting an 11 year old kid makes me super emotional and reminds me of this crazy journey I’ve been on. The year my little brother Alex turned 11 I was a nervous wreck… silly but true.
I don’t wish hardship on anybody, even though mine taught me so much. I do wish more people would get out of their own way and make the life they want for themselves. Like I said, it starts with working on you.