Saturday, July 25, 2015

Pursue Life With Passion


Brain surgery blues?  Been there, done that...(still doing it most days)...But there is so much more to life than that part of who I am. 

Who are you?  Who do you want to be?  What is it worth to you?   

I ask myself these questions on an almost daily basis when I have to kill the desire in me to stay in bed and nurse a headache, dizziness or vision problems...some days the pain wins, but most life wins.  I whisper to myself, "Get that rebel inside you up and moving..."  So that's what I do, and it's not easy, but I want life more than I want  to  feel comfortable.   Pain is just pain, so unless it's knocking me down...I keep myself on track for the day.  This is why I do what I do now.  I coach other women to defy pain, emotional, physical, spiritual. Breathe new vigor into their life. Resurrect their inner rebel.  Live out loud.  AND--I LOVE IT!

I love the thought that my passion for life may be inspiring to my (very grown-up) children...After sleepwalking through an unlived life for twenty years, the past 5 have been a roller coaster of passion, travel, writing, creativity, brain surgeries, moves, new frontiers and not backing down from any challenge that came along the way. I love the ‪#‎bigmagic‬ that is continually flowing through my life. My hope is that my two creative, passionate, brilliant kiddos continue to pursue their dreams & live life on their own terms with the unique gifts they each bring to the world.

So how about you? Time to #resurrectyourinnerrebel?   I'm your girl.  Visit my website to schedule a strategy session...You can transform your life.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Writing Around In Circles Until The Truth Comes Out

Each time I start to write, thinking something profound will come from my words, 
Nothing does. 

I have all of these profound thoughts to share with the world about how it feels to live with Chiari, and how it feels to live with a history of emotional abuse, 
and how it feels to just want life to be "normal".

I stare here blankly at the screen, in my dedicated writing time 
and I'm blocked. 

I realize now that the block is not caused because there is nothing to say. 
The block is because so many words can't fit through my mind hole and filter down to my fingertips. 
Like rushing waves crashing agains a dam, waiting for the spillway to open up. 

All I feel is loss. 
For a person that is upbeat on a most regular basis,
A princess that has found her prince, 
An heiress to grace, 
All I feel is loss. 

No, no loved ones have passed away. 
No further tragedies have occurred. 
My loss is deeper, graver, 
Etched into my being. 

I'm often reminded of the tragedy of the unlived life. 
I vow with all that is in me that my story will be one that is lived out in technicolor. 
As I vow, a tear rolls down my cheek 
and I wonder. 

What hinders me in living my dreams full out? 
What keeps me small and still (at times)? 
And what is my purpose really to be? 

Is it to be the mouthpiece and the spokesperson for all who suffer with my same neurological disorder? 
Is it to help carry the broken to shore while mending their limbs? 
Is it to be strong and true and keep putting myself out there in relationships with friends who will never remain friends and family that barely remains family and a public who forgets heroes as quickly as they appear? 

Should my writing be more dramatic? More factual? More autobiographical? 
And quite honestly, does anyone really care? 

Should anyone care? 
Should it matter that children are starving in our country and all over the world? 
Should it matter than an unfathomable number of pregnancies are terminated in the womb? 
Should it matter that churches oppress people to the point of abuse...While using the name of God? 

Does my voice even matter anymore? 
Am I effectively ineffective? 

Where are those who vehemently supported me in leaving an abusive marriage? 
Where are they now but in the camp of my abuser? 
Where are they who supported me through my surgeries, held my hand when I was fearful, 
Eased my pain? 
Hiding behind their own wounds I suppose. 
The ones I inflicted when the great darkness came and I fell into loss. 

These thoughts go through my head and I slay them one by one. 
I cover the transgression with love and bid it farewell, 
To be neither seen nor dealt with again. 

And that works just great until another blow hits. 
Another pain surfaces. 
Another blow that hits below the belt and crumbles me into a pile of rubble. 
Then once again it smashes down and I begin the slow march to restoration. 

So today, with a headache and blurry vision, I am digging myself again from the rubble. 
Going through the motions-Getting from A to B. 
Getting the work done...and most definitely doing the work. 
The work of living, of pushing forward, of pushing through. 
I'm grinning and bearing it (with out the grin). 

I just wish it didn't have to be so hard. 
Honestly, all I want is one day without some sort of physical pain. 
The emotional pain I can handle (I think).
I just want to have no pain...just for today. 

Aren't I selfish?
I know...I'll do what really works. 
I'll just smile and say I'm okay.

Works every time. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015


Like many people, I can be really shallow. 
I can take a situation, look at its surface, it's perceived appearance and make a quick, split-second assumption. 


Like many other people, I can be really deep. 
Actually, I sort of live in the deep end. 
I'm one of those people that dissects every aspect of my life, troubling situations and normal day-to-day activities. 

Still Dangerous. 

In my world, the world of entrepreneurs and the world of emotional damage and the world of Chiari and the world of writers (which I've got to admit is a weirdo freakazoid mix)...

In this weird, unparalleled, totally random mix of characters...self-inspection is a vital act. Self-inspection provides the life blood, the energizing force that drives creativity, healing, forgiveness, blame, intention, sorrow, bliss, awe, control, lack of control, frustration, perfectionism and random humor. 

As an entrepreneur, I depend on this life blood, this catalyst to spark the next project or offer, as a survivor of emotional abuse...I let my experiences fuel my passion for helping others move past their scars to a life of receiving, as a woman with Chiari Malformation Type 1 and two brain surgeries under her belt,  this energy shakes me out of bed on the worst days and challenges me continually to press on regardless of what symptom might be tossed my way. And, as a writer,  this same self- inspection forces my hand every time I sit down to write.  It leads me to a place of truth regardless of pain, shame, blame, guilt or regret.  I often find I write better during these moments, they are more comforting to me than those unfamiliar thoughts/feelings  of love, security, joy, happiness. 

Sometimes, I have to reel myself in and Tame The Beast. 
That's my pet name for living life in the zone of "what if" ...
"What if I have to have another surgery?"  
"What if I don't?"
"What if my writing never sells?"
"What if it does?"
"What if the truth is that I am defective and undeserving of love?"
"What if I am?" 

Success is just as scary as failure in my world.  Honestly, it's all scary. 

From moments of feeling fine to suddenly dizzy, shaky and ready to throw up, 
Being able to exercise three days in a row to three days of being in bed. 
No headache moments to excruciating headache within seconds. 

The only thing I seem to be able to plan for is that whatever the plan is, it's sure to change. 
Then getting caught up in the horrible "What Ifs" 
This only adds to my misery and confusion. 

Yesterday, I had a Scarlett O'Hara moment.. You know, the moment when you fling yourself on the bed in a fit of tears and wail as you cry.  (If you don't know what I'm talking about...stop reading now, this blog isn't for you).

Fortunately, I had a friend talk me me through and get me back into reality about where I am in life and just what hell I've been through. 

My last 3 years....almost unbelievable.   My last 9 months...I should sell the movie rights. (my entrepreneurial mind is always at work).  

My friend suggested my current major health issue.. and infection that is being stubborn, so stubborn in fact that I am on my 8th... count 'em EIGHTth round of antibiotics, which is what sent me in to the Scarlett moment... My friend suggested that perhaps the metaphysical parallel is correct... that the infection keeps coming back to the same area because I am "pissed off" at someone. 

Some ONE?  How about Some TWENTY or so?   As we talked, I saw the faces in my mind of the people who have hurt me over the past year or so, they have abandoned me, or lied about me, or manipulated words to shed a bad light on me, or professed to love me...then when I needed them most they turned away...oooh.. or the big one---they hurt my child.  I ran the hurt roster through my head to determine just which person was the culprit.  Who am I focusing so much anger on that  I'm keeping myself sick?  Which one?  The jerk ex husband that has made up so many stories about me that even HE believes them now?  Or maybe the ex-friend that claimed and professed her undying love and friendship only to pack up all of her friend toys and get the heck out of Dodge when she saw the cowboys coming.  How about the other friend that cares so little about my condition that she can't even remember what it is...Now that would make anyone upset.  

Alas, what I realized at the end of the list of sins of others was that none of these "others" really brought up any anger in me.  Disappointment, yes. Sadness, yes. Loss, of course. 

My final conclusion (insert drumroll here), I'm mad at MYSELF. 

I closed myself off,  shut myself down, built a really sturdy wall and dared anyone to come in.   I'm upset with myself for doing that.  I'm upset with my body for not being stronger.  I'm enraged that I can't do all of the things other people can do.  No, not mad at God.  Mad at myself.   Mad that I get sucked into the "what ifs".  Mad that I am not able to continually shake it off and keep coming back for more with no ill effects.  Mad that at the end of the day I am what I feared all along:

I am merely human.

I'm not a super hero or a martyr. I'm not special or chosen or set apart. I am not indestructible or saintly.  I'm just your average, ordinary girl from Mississippi who gets scared of things that go bump in the night. 

I am neither immune to the "What If" Beast  that taunts me in my weakest moments nor am I so benevolent that I can't just continue relationships with people that have hurt me as if nothing ever happened.   

So the conclusion, the answer...the way to  sort this out in my mind.  One simple, easy word: RELEASE. 

Easy to say, hard hard hard to do. 

So today, I'm practicing releasing.  Releasing fears, expectations, guilt, blame, false beliefs, anger, bitterness. And I'm releasing myself from the constraints I put on myself to be SuperHuman.  Today, I start taking it as it comes with no pretense or anxiety.  I live in the moment. 

I am okay being all of the things that make up ME. 

And once again, all is right in the world. 


Sunday, July 5, 2015

Open Apology to the Chiari Community

So, you honestly may not remember me.

There was a time I posted to my blog daily, even hourly.

Then.... I....stopped.

Why did I stop? What caused me to drop off the face of the planet for several months?

Whenever this thought or question came up in my mind, I blamed  it on several things: family issues, working on my new business, moving...the list goes on and on.  All of these are very valid reasons.  The family issues you wouldn't believe if I told you...I mean, it's the stuff movies are made of...and the business-- yes, it's been difficult to transition my love of helping others into a business... and moving, well, if you've ever moved, you know the drill.

However, last night, one of the worst Chiari-symptom nights I've had in quite a own truth smacked me right in the face.

SMACK!!!   "SNAP OUT OF IT!!!"  I literally yelled at myself.

The ugly truth?  I wanted to be done.  Finished with the Chiari story.  I wanted to live above it all. I wanted to keep all of my symptoms, pain,  fear to myself.  I wanted my last surgery to be my LAST surgery.

I mean really, who cares if my depth perception is almost non-existence and I can't stand driving?  Who really wants to know that my head has been hurting for about the past 10 months straight?  Why does it matter if I'm having trouble swallowing again or if bladder issues are intermittently rearing their ugly heads?   Does it really matter  if I have tremors, numb spots and am continually saying the wrong word at the wrong time to the wrong people?

Because of all of this.. Isn't it better to  turn a blind eye to it, make everyone in my world assume I'm better and just get the hell over it?

I just wanted to make it stop!

I just wanted normal stressors to be normal stressors.

In moments of weakness, I went to doctors, I had MRI's... and I never followed up on results or even sent my MRI's to the neurosurgeon that ordered them.  Worse than that...I have never even looked at them myself.

I'm a fraud, I'm a sham, I'm a fake.

I put myself out into the world to be this Chiari Crusader...and I don't even want to face my own illness anymore.

What did I do?  I hopped on a plane every chance I got to go anywhere in the world that I could find a purpose to go.  I ran.  I dug myself in to my business... noble as it may be.. I dug in to helping others manage their lives with Chiari or A-cysts, or their lives after abuse... or their  small businesses.
I really did.. I dug in and did all of these things.

I became a champion at handling my personal anxiety surrounding the trauma in our family.  You know the drill... 2 Flexeril and a Klonopin and the anxiety just melts away... Then I could get down to business.

I could work. Work, work, work.
I could write. Write, write, write.
I could ignore. Ignore, Ignore, Ignore.
I could blame. Blame. Blame. Blame.

Yes, I could do it all...No Chiari was going to rain on my parade.  No one was going to tell me to slow down.  No one else's opinion even began to matter.

All doctors are idiots and I'm going to prove it by not needing one.

Until last night,  last night it all came crashing down.  Last night, I needed a doctor.  Last night, I needed a Chiari friend, like the ones that I used to text in the middle of the night.  The ones that quit speaking to me when I started pretending I was no longer "sick".  Last night,  my world became purple again.

Last night, honestly... I was scared. 

Last night, I realized how I had abandoned the very community I set out to help.  I was so busy being annoyed that no one reached out to me in my time of need (except for know who you are)...I realized I had shut myself down.  I was NOT serving others.  I was serving my own ego, my sense of pride and wearing my badge of martyrdom as an invisible chip on my shoulder.

SO here, I apologize to you, my tribe, my Chiari sisters and brothers and I vow to stop ignoring my condition, stop ignoring the cold hard FACT that we all need each other...and to stop ignoring the Fact that no matter how much I "say it isn't so"... things in my body are just not right.  It's time to seek to another neurosurgeon, find a local neurologist and to face what's happening.  It's time to get involved again, risk caring about people again and make amends where they are due.

To my family...You are all right.  I need to slow down.  I need to be where I am and let go of the guilt and shame that surround where I am.

No, I'm not stopping my business.  On the contrary, I'm still pursuing it with all of the gusto I can muster.  As one of my mentors, Gina DeVee often says, I'm "taking a stand for the AND".   Chiari and Coach can exist in the same body.  I do not have to forsake dealing with one in order to succeed with the other.

I am giving my health it's rightful place in my life, making finding a new set of doctors a priority and making a conscious effort to reconnect with the community I do love so very much.  I am proclaiming it to you...even though you may not know me...because I believe in going back to basics, back to the core of who I am and how I got to where I am now.  At the core, we are the same. We have the same basic struggles, basic fears.  You are my tribe.  

Thank you in advance for your understanding. Please comment any thoughts or insights below...I'll be seeing you around in all of the old familiar groups and of course at  the Conquer Chiari Walk in 2015 (not sure which location just yet).

Thank you for reading this post and for your support.