I was going though old pictures, and I came across this candid Matthew took of me three years ago when we weren't sure how I would get through aHUS and kidney failure. I see this picture now and I'm so glad we took so many pictures of me at the most difficult times.
This was me at my lowest. I'm bruised, tubed, and underweight, but smiling, enjoying life, and surviving. My advocacy speech is about this very picture, and helping other people find their survival tactics. I'm not perfect by any means, but I've been through a lot. I'm happy to have survived, and I regret nothing about the tactics I had that got me to this point today. I'm stubborn, bold, and I tell the truth even if it's off-putting or makes people uncomfortable. I'm an optimist, but I observe and critique everything. I always ask myself if I am getting everything I want from experiences so that I can challenge myself to drink every drop of life from each situation. There were many points in my life I wasn't sure how much I would get to do with my time left. This picture is one of those points.
Discomfort is a sign that you are being exposed to something from which you can learn. I struggle but truly enjoy being uncomfortable emotionally. After all, it's better than not getting to feel anything at all. Because of what I have been through I see and experience the world in a different way, and this can be really confusing to others. Documenting my life with pictures helps because I can go back and look at them to remember the hardest times.
There are, even today, people (new, very surprising people) that want to stop me from being ME. I find it hard to believe that I still need to defend my survival strategies, but that is why I give the speeches I give. I might get down for a few days pondering if the words spoken behind my back are true. Am I really a bad influence? Are my actions really so outlandish that a small amount of people who don't know me very well absolutely want to silence me and put me down? And is all of the push back worth it for me to express myself truthfully?
Then my head comes above the surface of doubt and I remember that every day I wake up and do my best. I simply do what I think is the best I can do for myself and others. I love advocating so much, and I will never stop doing it. And I can change the word, advocating, in that last statement to a multitude of other things: Teaching, Public Speaking, Blogging, Intimacy Coaching, Directing, Performing, Modeling, Boudoir, Pin-up, Having Fun, Living In The Moment, etc...It doesn't matter. I have put my life on the internet, so I get it that people will scrutinize and sometimes bully me. I chose all of this. But for every person trying to stop me, there are ten people who support me for who I am. It's all part of being someone who pushes the envelope.
I'm just someone who is happy to be here, and I simply want to have my little impact on the world while I am on it just like everyone else. If one door closes for me, I have a hundred other doors to walk through. Opportunities are truly everywhere, even if I have to build the door myself and walk through it.
And I have a hell of a lot of experience building those new doors. :)