Out With The Old?

As I write this on New Year's Eve 2012 many of you are mulling over your resolutions for 2013.

My friend Laura at As Time Goes Buy pointed out that positive changes can, and should, happen anytime we're ready for them, thus escaping the pressure of the dreaded New Year's resolution. I couldn't agree more. She started her blog in March and I started this one in April. Lasting change only comes with true resolve - but that can come any day of the year.

I've always been more of a doer than a talker. When I started Spashionista Report I wanted to empower women, especially those over 40 and the physically handicapped, to look and feel beautiful and claim their own sense of self-worth. As the blog has progressed I've met many wonderful women of all ages and received far more positive feedback than negative comments. You're reading this so you're one of those women.

I hope that this blog has in some small way lifted your spirits, changed your perceptions, given you useful information or, at the very least, entertained you.  It is my intent in 2013 to try to reach out to as many of you as I can, because we're in this together. Stay with me as I grow this into a bigger and better voice for all of us.

I'll close out 2012 with this wonderful post filled with points for you to ponder when you're ready for those positive changes.

Written by Regina Brett, 90 years old, of The Plain Dealer Newspaper, Cleveland, Ohio.

"To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I've ever written. My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:

  1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

  2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

  3. Life is too short - enjoy it.

  4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.

  5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

  6. You don't have to win every argument. Stay true to yourself.

  7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

  8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

  9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye But don't worry; God never blinks.

16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful. Clutter weighs you down in many ways.

18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

19. It's never too late to be happy. But it's all up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive but don't forget.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.

35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

36. Growing old beats the alternative - dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time. Accept what you already have not what you need.

42. The best is yet to come.

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44. Yield.

45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift."


World Cerebral Palsy Day

Today, September 4th, is World Cerebral Palsy Day. According to the World CP Day website, "It will change the lives of people with cerebral palsy (CP).  The theme for this unique day is 'Change my world in 1 minute'. There are 17 million people around the world with cerebral palsy.  A further 350 million people are closely connected to a child or adult with CP. This website is a forum for people with cerebral palsy to express what they need to make their life more independent or more rewarding. "The website also gives people with CP the opportunity to make these ideas a reality...People with CP, their family and friends can visit this website and suggest ways to improve the quality of life of people with CP. Each idea is posted on the website as text or video and will only take one minute to read or watch. During September, everyone is encouraged to go online, review the ideas and vote for the concepts that will have the greatest impact on people’s lives.

"At the end of September, the World Cerebral Palsy Day Panel will select the best ideas, solutions and inventions for people with cerebral palsy."

You know, I wish I had an astounding, earth-shattering, life changing minute of an idea that would fit the bill here. But I don't. All I have to offer is the life I live every day and the two blogs I maintain (this one and my digital art showcase Gallery Celesta). I've been a student, a disabled advocate,  a journalist, an editor, an astrologer, a prognosticator, a cook, a musician, a podcaster, a web designer, an artist, a wife, and the patron saint of all lost and neglected dogs. Despite my best efforts I can't do things at anywhere near a "normal" pace, but I strive to accomplish as much as I can. Not for the sake of others, but in my own attempts to be the YOLO (You Only Live Once) queen. I've made countless mistakes, partied way too hard, pushed my luck, had many lapses in judgement, and mishandled many situations - but I've learned from those mistakes and hopefully become a better, wiser person as a result.

During the course of my 50+ years on planet Earth I have seen attitudes about Cerebral Palsy change, mostly for the better. Political Correctness has led to hushed whispers instead of direct questions and ridiculous labels that are designed to be inoffensively banal. I am more offended by averted eyes and hesitant behavior than by questions and sincere offers of assistance. Those of us with CP have to come to terms with the fact that other people can't accept us if we don't first accept ourselves. Far too many of us feel they are defective, ashamed, not good enough to be a part of the world; or bitter, angry, hostile and resentful towards the world. It's neither the world's fault nor yours that you are the way you are. It is your responsibility to handle what you've been dealt as best you can. If you think highly of yourself than others who agree will come into your life and those that don't will fall back. Most importantly, if you love yourself it won't matter; life is just easier and happier.

I suppose that's my World Cerebral Palsy Day idea. Love yourself more, be proud of who you are, and strive to be happier and wiser with each passing day. This is where true, lasting beauty begins - from the inside out.

Oh, I almost forgot, always look fabulous. Try it; you'll like it!

We Can Work It Out

And we should work it out.  I don't care how mild or how severe your CP is we Palsies deserve to look as good as anybody else.

The way you dress reflects how you feel about yourself. It doesn't determine your worth as a person, but it does determine your estimation of your own value. It lets other people know how much or how little you think about the package you're presenting to the world. I think it's really, really important for those of us with Cerebral Palsy to understand that we have the potential to be as valuable as anyone else. It's equally important to understand that we are being judged for our physical appearance far more critically than our able-bodied counterparts. It's not because people are jerks - although some people clearly are. It's because as human beings we are physiologically hardwired to notice differences in our environment and that includes people who look or move in a way that is radically different from the norm. In other words, people are going to notice you because you are handicapped. All the political correctness in the world isn't going to change that. It's just going to make others that much more hesitant to approach you for fear of saying something offensive.

Do you want someone else's first impression of you be of nothing but your disability? Are you so nicely wrapped that people are staring at you - in a GOOD way - because they'd like to interact with you? Or do you look like you either think little of yourself or wish you owned Harry Potter's cloak of invisibility?

Why deny anyone the opportunity to get to know you? Change their preconceptions with that first glance, that first impression. You can do it. I have done it, and I know that for a fact because people I've met that have become friends have told me so.

It took me far too long to come out of the shadows. Don't waste another day of your life waiting for the world to change. Change your world - today.

I want to get to know you! I want to start a movement with you. I want to recruit you as a fellow Spashionista. I want us to help each other look like we're worth our weight in gold; because we are!