You took on the hardships, therefore they shouldn’t have to.
This is the “world according to Stacy”.
My daughter, Kathryne, has struggled with pain and fatigue since she was 16 years old. She’s been in and out of the ER. They did surgery last August on her ovaries.
This past February, her blood work tested positive for auto immune disease.
I was not happy. (To put it mildly.)
I told God that I found this to be highly inappropriate and unnecessary. I also shared that it hurt my feelings. I went through a lot, therefore my kids should not have to. Period. End of sentence. Then I wanted to give Him the silent treatment.
He was annoying because the more I pouted and put my hand up (literally-“talk to the hand” moment), He showed me it wasn’t my battle.
I had memories of my daughter, Kathryne, running around with her play-dough, paint, and crayons. She had boundless energy. Never slept. Soooo verbal she could repeat the alphabet by 18 months.
Her and my son fought since his birth. She ran over him with her doll stroller the very first time I laid him on the floor as a newborn. They fought fiercely, laughed fiercely, and always had each other’s backs.
She always loved the garden. She loved the kitchen. She loved picking fruits and veggies out of fields and going to the farmer’s market. She loved animals. She cried for days when a tractor ran over a waterbirds nest she had discovered and checked on daily at the age of 7. The eggs were crushed. She was crushed. I knew then I probably had a vegetarian on my hands.
She was fascinated by natural medicine. Spent her money on books. Tried nutrition school, but the professor refused to accept her accommodations with her dyslexia. The reading and constant harsh grading on her spelling became too much.
She was always stubborn but loyal. Loud but sensitive. Exciting but pensive. Social but suffered from severe homesickness. Bossy but giving.
She was her own. Honestly, that’s all I ever wanted for her from the get go. To be comfortable and feel loved as her true self.
After my illness, her Dad’s illness, she and her brother were not meant to suffer anything physical. Both her parents had taken on that so they wouldn’t have to. She was raised organic with a daily requirement of going outside to “get sun on her bones”.
This is what God showed me. Of all the people to struggle with an unknown diagnosis/cure, Kathryne was out of the box with food and medicine. She was stubborn and would try things on her own and never let a “we don’t know” stop her. In all of it, she would be able to give voice to her health journey through her art.
I’m still mad about it, though. I don’t like it. It’s uncomfortable. I think it’s unfair. I can’t fix it for her, and this is a problem for me.
There’s nothing more I wouldn’t love then to keep my kids in a nice fenced area away from all harm in life. Cute and cozy. However, I know they’d be parked at the fence trying to figure out how to get over it or through it, so I have to remember to leave the gate open.
I remind them on their journey to eat and drink water, be careful about those they choose to journey with, and if they need me I’ll come get them. However as they become, adults I mostly just watch them walk. Sometimes they stumble. In this case, I feel like a boulder fell on my daughter. I can rush to help, but eventually she’ll have to choose to get up and walk with a limp on her own.
I had a bad anxiety day. I have PTSD and most days are fine but some days I get a little panicky. I’m not at the window screaming for somebody to let me out…visibly anyway….
It’s more of an inability to calm down on the inside. To sit. Think. Create. I pace a lot. Get exhausted. Can’t find peace. Talking to people is too much. I move a lot but accomplish little.
I’ve learned over the years what sets those days off for me. It was inevitable because I set myself up for it.
I’ve been working too long for the last two weeks. Some people thrive on working until 9-10 at night. I don’t. My work requires a lot of thinking in order to create and it’s eventually exhausting.
My work also requires me to be an extrovert, and I am anything but. Putting myself “out there” all the time is innately uncomfortable. I adore and love people, but I also need to be a hermit away from social media, especially.
Some people hurt themselves running marathons, fighting wars, battling blazes, or reaching up to grab a cup off the shelf. Others of us hurt ourselves falling in prairie dog holes.
I was taking my dog Hazel for a walk. Now, I know what you’re thinking:
“Why were you walking out in the open prairie.”
I wasn’t. I was less than one block from my apartment building. I live in annoyingly white suburb that has as much diversity as a typical NFL coaching staff.
Hazel and I were meandering along the sidewalk when I caught a glimpse of another dog and it’s owner ahead. I, doing the correct thing, (since my dog is crazy) stepped off the sidewalk to make way for them and proceeded to fall directly into a prairie dog hole.
I woke up to the familiar sounds of an IV and vitals machine, but the walls were different. It was my fourth time in the hospital. The infection came out of nowhere-once again.
I could tell I was on the ground floor because of the trees outside my window. I didn’t know it at the time, but those trees would be burned into my memory so clearly. On days when it snows here in Colorado, I often have flashbacks of the snow falling on those trees.
They told me the hospital was full on the regular floors. I was the sickest outside of ICU, so they had moved me to the cancer ward.
The room was bigger than I was used to with tasteful wallpaper and paint. It had a serene feel. Serene for a hospital cancer ward, anyway.
The nurses were different there. They were less scurried and more present. Present enough for one of them to hold my hand when I fell apart and cried. It felt like the illness was a constant roadblock that kept me from moving forward with my life.
I was wrong. The illness would be THE thing that would give me an actual life.
The first night fell and I was alone. It was 11:20 pm when I heard it for the first time. It started as a muffled cry, then suddenly a shout. Then a wave of uncontrollable sobbing. It was from a woman down the ward.
I leaped out of bed this morning ready to contribute positive things to this world. Ok. That’s a lie. I hit my alarm for over an hour straight. Then slithered out from under the blankets begrudgingly and trudged all 4,000 miles to the kitchen for a glass of warm water.
“I just need to move around”, I thought. I finished laundry. Emptied the dishwasher. Stared out the window a lot. Then made the bed so I wouldn’t crawl back in it.
“Focus on others to get you going”, I told myself. I focused on the news. I focused on social media. I focused on how miserable I felt. When I thought, “focus on others” that wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. It was more, “focus on helping others”. That usually gets me perked up.
Hours later with an audition still to do and ½ finished script still to write, I’ve not done so great today. I have managed to go to the post office, make a smoothie, and research why your stomach gets so fat in your mid-forties. Followed by googling, “do any men like women with fat stomachs”. (Just as an FYI, don’t google stuff like that. I got a little more then I was requesting….)
You’ve been given opportunity. What are you doing with it?
Do you want to:
Further Your Education?
Start a Business?
You’ve been given opportunities other don’t have. Use it.
My kids are the first generation born in the USA on their Dad’s side. The first to have access to education, medical care, nutrition, job opportunities and in-door plumbing.
It was great because when my daughter was a teenager complaining about school I would say, “You could be married with three children at the age of 16 spending three hours a day carrying a jug of water on your head.” Why? Because that would have literally been her life.
People come to this country for opportunity and for freedom. Lay the politics aside and ask yourself the hard question, “What have I done with the freedom and opportunity I’ve been given?”
Stacy Pederson is a funny motivational speaker who has almost died a bunch.
I don’t care which side of the aisle you are on. Republican. Democrat. This isn’t about politics. This is about legacy. And a voice.
Last night when the world was tucked away in bed, I lay in awe. I now live in a time where my daughter could see a beautiful, intelligent African and South Asian American woman, speak at a Vice Presidential Debate. My daughter could see someone who looks like her.
It wasn’t her ethnicity alone that made the night memorable; it was what she said that stole the show for me. (I’ll give props to the fly, though. Best walk on roll ever.)
“Mr. Vice President, I’m speaking.”
There it was. Hundreds of years of oppression, racism, and strife. To finally be heard on a stage in a bid for one of the highest honors/positions in our country.
The women who were sold and placed on a boat. The immigrant women of a myriad of ethnicities who came by ship or plane. The women who worked the fields. The women who worked the home. The women who worked the factories. The women who had no voice. The women who had no vote.
The women who sat on a bus, who were arrested, who picketed, who shattered glass ceilings. The women who slowly but steadily started using their voice.
The women who believed in their daughters and granddaughters. Who modeled work ethic, resilience, intelligence and hope. The women who didn’t speak with words but spoke by the sweat of their brow.
Because of these women who fought to be heard in the workplace, their home, their community. Because of the women who used written words, spoken words, musical words, art that spoke for them, we heard for the first-time last night:
“Mr. Vice President, I’m speaking.” And she was heard.
Today, many of us do have a voice. But many women still don’t. From the Dalit woman in India to the sex workers in Cambodia. The young girls not allowed to have an education to the elderly women in nursing homes alone and afraid because of Covid. The women who are still seen as second class. The single mother who cleans your home or bags your groceries. The woman who is trapped in an abusive relationship. The woman who is shamed for her body being too big or too small.
The women who are afraid to raise their voice in fear of retribution, name calling, or being seen as a “b***”.
These women still have a voice that needs to be heard.
We- who have a voice-need to speak on their behalf. To model. To give hope.
We who have a voice need to-
Do the work.
Move the needle.
Cast the vote.
As the first African American and South Asian American, Kamala Harris spoke the words countless women before her worked so hard to say-
And the world heard.
Stacy Pederson is a Funny Motivational Speaker who has almost died a bunch.