I hope everyone had a great weekend!
It was an amazing weekend for me, for so many reasons. I decided to get myself out there, and attend Bookcon 2015 at the Javitz Center yesterday. Best decision I ever made. Along with getting a crap load of free books, I also met one of my idols, Michelle Visage.
For those who don’t know, Michelle Visage was a member of the music group Seduction, and she is currently a judge on Rupaul’s Drag Race. She also cohosts a podcast with Rupaul, where they discuss everything under the sun, including her own battle with an autoimmune disease. It turns out she is living with Hashimoto Thyroiditis, much like me. I should also mention, she has a book coming out in November.
I was fourth on a line of at least 200 people to meet her. When I told her that I had Hashimoto, she took my hand and brought me over to the autograph table. We spent at least 10-15 minutes talking about everything from medications, to nutrition, to having a good support team around you. She was so caring and warm, gave me hugs, posed for a picture and even filmed a short video with me. I cannot even express how encouraging her words of support meant to me. And honestly, she helped me find the strength within.
Which brings me to my blog for the week…
I have always lived by the guise that people should build each other up. I have promoted other people’s ventures, including performances, websites, and projects. And I am extremely vocal when I am proud of someone, or think somebody did an amazing job. And I will continue to do so.
Anybody who has ever had a conversation with me, or even read my Facebook page over the years, will tell you that some of the proudest moments of my life were seeing my siblings get married, have children and become the amazing grown-ups they are. In fact, I literally beam every time I see my brother Harrison with his kids, because he is such a great dad. And I couldn’t help but brag when my best friend Pam finished school, and got her nursing license.
It also is public knowledge about how proud I was to be with my ex. I encouraged him to follow all his dreams, even when others told him otherwise. I boasted when he got his job, a raise, bought his second house and even when he returned to the stage after a long period away. In fact, according to him, that opening night was the closest he ever felt to me.
I wish I could say that I have always felt that feeling of proudness sent my way. Throughout my life, I did everything I could to make people proud: got good grades, was the first person in my family to go to college, worked hard, was overly supportive and tried to be a good person. But I never got the feeling that people were proud of me. I’m not saying people didn’t feel it, but it was never really vocalized. And to be honest, in some cases, that would have made such a big difference.
The only time I can remember being able to say I was proud of myself was the day I graduated college. As I mentioned before, I was the first member of my family to go to college, let alone graduate. But I managed to graduate with honors, and was even awarded my first year of grad school for free. I worked my ass off to get my Bachelor’s Degree, and nobody can ever take that away from me. It was a great day.
This past weekend, I was asked to contribute my story to the website Thyroid Nation. At first, I was hesitant. I didn’t see myself as brave, or strong, or a “Thyroid Thriver.” But then I decided to do it, which was quite a daunting task. From my blogs and now this, I’ve come to understand what they say on any of the Housewives reunions. You live everything, and then time passes. But when you sit down and look back, you start to relive it, and all those old feelings return.
But as I sat and worked on my story, something else happened as well. I realized that this nobody from Staten Island was asked to write something for a very public website that will be seen by many people. I didn’t seek it out, it came about because somebody read a blog on my website. The same website I had dreamed about starting, and didn’t think much would happen with. Well guess what? People are actually reading it, and something of mine will be published. How do you like them apples?
When I finally finished writing out the story of my journey, the only feeling I had was one of being proud. I did something good that can help others, and I realized that my voice matters. And with that realization, I also thought about this past week and everything that transpired. I could have completely gone to the dark side. In fact, I almost did. After my Sonogram and CT Scan on Wednesday, I thought I would never come back from them. I heard my mother lose it on the phone when I spoke to her, and I lost it because I knew I was responsible for that. But I survived that day, and I woke up the next day… and the day after that. And I even managed to smile again. I was proud of myself for making it through what was probably the hardest day of my life.
I’ve come to realize that it’s great to have people be proud of you, and it really is great to hear it. My friends have all told me how proud they are of me, and the opportunity I’ve been given this weekend. I will be honest and say that when my Mom told me she loved my website, read my blogs and was proud of me, I was over the moon.
But as great as all that is, there is no better feeling than being proud of myself. And today, in this moment in time, I can say with 100% certainty that I am so proud of who I am and all my accomplishments, big or small. I’m a fucking amazing person with so much to offer, and anyone who can’t or doesn’t want to see that can go scratch.
And it really doesn’t get any better than that. So what have you done today to make yourself feel proud?