I believe the first sentence in any piece of writing is important.

Charles Dickens’ first sentence

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

in “A Tale of Two Cities” truly shaped my love of reading if not my life.

I also believe that everyone and their brother has a blog AND that there is nothing original left to be written or said.

But that belief is more of an untrue thought because I don’t (didn’t) have a blog, most of my relatives don’t have blogs, neither do most my college or high school classmates.

Is there really nothing original left to say or write? Since I’m always looking for and finding new articles, essays, and books to enjoy – maybe not. So here is my contribution to the Internet, the World Wide Web, the Blog-o-sphere, to you.

I am doing this for several reasons. My best WHY is me.

If I may get on a soapbox for a moment (and since this is my space I can – I’m liking the blogging thing already!) I think that everyone’s best WHY should be themselves. However, that’s not to say when I lost a bunch of weight to fit into a bridesmaid dress my WHY for doing so was me. In that case, my WHY was so I wasn’t the fat one in the bridal party standing at the front of the church next to three Skinny-Mini’s. Although my WHY for that situation may not have been the politically correct reason of health or fitness, it was still for me. To feel accepted, to blend in, to not stand out. Which are actually related to my other WHYs for starting to blog.

I want to be more courageous.

Somewhere in my life journey I’ve lost my roar. We all have our transformative experiences. Mine, that I want to be more brave about sharing, involve my manic-depression. Call it bi-polar disorder, call it mental illness, call it crazy – it is mine and I am here to own it!

Once I asked my friends why they didn’t call when I was out sick recovering from a manic-depressive episode.

They told me they didn’t think I’d want them to do so. When I had cancer there was never a hesitation. No judgement or blame from me because I never talked about having manic-depression like I did about having cancer.  (Not enough people talk about or treat mental illness in same way as cancer even though they are both life-threatening illnesses.)

When I learned a loved one was hospitalized in the psychiatric ward my first thoughts were, ‘I know how that feels. I know what I’d want. I know I can help her. What can I do? I don’t know what I can do.’ I felt concerned, helpless, and small. I imagined this was how my friends felt.

Shame = Stigma.

I have felt ashamed because I live with manic-depression. I logically know it is a medical illness like diabetes or cancer; that it not curable but can be treated and managed. However I know embarrassment for things I have done while manic and for things I have done while depressed. I know the pain of being shunned (AKA snubbed, given the cold shoulder, ignored, rejected, rebuffed, spurned, ostracized, given the brush-off, frozen out by others) after episodes or when people just hear I have a mental illness.

I am sick and tired of it. It is time to rise and be heard. No more apologies for speaking my mind.

Your vibe attracts your tribe.

I have recently joined a “Courage Collective” of brave and incredible women in my city. We have banded together to encourage and support each other as we banish fear from our vocabulary and lives. Join us by facing one of your fears on August 28th “The Day of Courage“. My fear is

letting myself be seen‘ and by August 28th I am going to be facing this fear by starting a blog. In so doing, I will not only step into my courage but I will also be sharing my story in the documentary: Day of Courage and will be contributing $10 to build homes in Nicaragua, wells in Africa, a school in Tanzania, and a wish granted through I Am Genie for someone who is terminally ill to give them a beautiful once-in-a-lifetime experience. The goal with this Day of Courage is 1 million stories of courage shared, 1 million fears faced and $1 million dollars raised for charities.

About Stephanie

I am old enough to know better and still too young to care. I like to look at the world through rose-colored glasses. I believe in eating cake, buying shoes, and taking trips.
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