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I’m Not Trying To Be Hollywood

We Are Who We Are

The Hollywood SignTomorrow I will be 56 years old! The next thing I should probably say is something like “it seems like only yesterday…” but as I’ve advanced in age and experiences 56 seems about right.

During the first decade of my life I felt helpless, hopeless and voiceless. In my teenage years with the exception of school days, coping with depression meant I spent a lot of my time sleeping.

Despite my share of mistakes and bad decisions, big changes were on the horizon in my mid to late 20s when I had my three boys. Could it have been the need to be needed that allowed me to find my voice?

For better or worse, once we become parents, children undoubtedly change us and even as a single parent were it not for my sons I would have self-destructed. Chaos ruled in my 30s; my grandmother had a stroke then was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, my middle son had ADHD to the nth degree (here is his story), then there was my marriage to a sociopath (part of that story is here), oh, and my disabled mother had issues which required an intense battle for disability benefits (we won).

My 40’s began on a very high note which included a fabulous job, my first home purchase, marriage to a great guy and then I began having issues with my eyesight. After my legal blindness diagnosis, I had to develop a long-term plan on how to live independently with sight loss.

All of this reflection came about from a comment my mother made the other day when I visited her in the nursing home. She said “I’m not trying to be hollywood” in response to people who question her on why she wears sunglasses indoors (her eyes are light-sensitive). After she said it though I thought about how we judge people without knowing who they are or their story.

My mother has Alzheimer’s but deep down inside, at least for a time, she is still the same person. Even in the nursing home she’s started wearing her red lipstick again and wants more makeup. Like with other situations in life sometimes we are quick to write off people with Alzheimer’s as not being with it but the thing is it begins somewhere. The disease starts before an individual begins showing symptoms.

Many times we have thoughts and ideas on how we ‘think’ specific groups, like the elderly or people with disabilities should look or behave only to find out our thinking was wrong.

Looking back at my life some would say I shouldn’t be here. Heaven knows I’ve thought it many times but here I am still standing and I have a voice. There have been significant struggles but there’s also been significant high notes and through it all I am still all about using my voice to change perceptions, break down barriers and continue growing from my life’s experiences.

Have a great weekend!! ~Steph

84 thoughts on “I’m Not Trying To Be Hollywood

  1. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Here is to many great years of beautiful things ahead…. Life is so worth living 🙂
    I am sending you warm best wishes. Aquileana 😀

    1. Awe, Thank you Aquileana for your kind words. 💟💖💟

  3. Love that line by your mom, “not trying to be Hollywood” hope you had a lovely Birthday celebration!

  4. Wow. What a story,and you definitely should be here and that’s why God has kept you going! Sometimes adversities push good things out of us.

  5. What a sincere, moving and inspiring post, Steph! I’ve said it more than once, you’re truly an inspiration. Happy belated birthday! I wish you all things good always…*hugs*
    p.s. glad to hear your mom is keeping well.

    1. Hugs back at ya Khaya!! 💖

  6. Happy belated birthday! Such a thoughtful post for a birthday.

  7. Great insights about life, in general. AND…HAPPY BIRTHDAY luv! I hope it’s as GRAND as you are 😉

    1. Thank you Kathy!! Hugs 💕💖

  8. What a touching and inspirational story. You seem to possess great strength. Stay blesses.

    1. Hi Marva, thank you for coming by, I really appreciate it 💖

  9. Happy Birthday Steph. I hope you have a beautiful day, filled with love and happiness. I wish you many many more wonderful birthdays.
    You truly are amazing Steph, and so inspirational. Hugs x

    1. Thank you Lynne!! Hugs back at you 💕💖💞

  10. And happy birthday to a delightful woman who makes such an impact on the world!! 🎂

  11. Wow. You always amaze me. What an encouragement you are!!

  12. Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Stephanae, Happy Birthday to you – sung from Ireland!
    The world would be a poorer place without you.

    1. Awe thank you! Sending you warm hugs from Pittsburgh.💖

  13. It’s interesting to learn a little more about your story, Steph. You seem to have come through all your various experiences stronger and wiser.

  14. What a post. I find your courage totally inspiring Steph. Happy birthday to you.

  15. Brilliant post! And happy birthday. xx

  16. Happy Birthday Steph! This is a really beautiful post to wake up to and give me inspiration. I couldn’t agree with you more about not being to quick to judge. I have been so fortunate to get to know extraordinary elderly folks at my mom’s care facility. They all have various physical and cognitive difficulties. My younger self probably would have dismissed them. But now, sitting with them, getting to know them, and hearing their stories often makes my day. Have a great one!

    1. Thanks Caroline! 🙂 And I’m glad to hear you were inspired. I’m with you on how extraordinary elderly people are and it’s bothersome to see how some of them are treated by the staff in many of these types of facilities. I spend quite a bit of time at my mom’s nursing home in an effort to become more familiar with the staff and residents. So far it’s working out pretty well and I can understand how frustrating it can be for caregivers being asked the same thing a million times over. It breaks my heart when the residents get to the point where they can no longer speak. Some of them can only grunt or make other types of sounds. I’ll be so happy when we finally find a cure!

      You have a great one as well and thank you so much for stopping by. 💖

      1. Yes a cure!!!! Too late for our mom’s but hopefully in our lifetime or at least our kids. I would love to stop by your blog and others more often but life has been super busy.

      2. There’s promising news on a drug thats currently in trials so a cure may be onbthe way although they said it will take years before doctors are able to prescribe it. We’re all in the same boat with wanting to visit more blogs but as you say life is way too busy. I’ve about given up on catching up and just doing the best I can. Thank you for stopping through its always a pleasure.😊

  17. Have a wonderful birthday and super nice weekend.

    1. Thank you so much!!😀😃😄💞

  18. Birthday Greetings. My birthday is 10th September and I’m seventy-six. Hope you have a great day like I have.

    1. Woo Hoo!! Happy Birthday to you too my friend!! 😀🎂🎉🎊

  19. Happy Birthday! You are a lovely person.

    1. 😊Thank you so much! 💕

  20. Wishing you a very Happy Birthday. Thanks for sharing some of what you’ve packed into 56 years—good and bad. Hugs to you and your mum. Poor John’s maiden aunt lived with us for eight years—from age 89 to 97—and then went into aged care. She had Alzheimer’s too and the last 4 years she was with us were especially challenging.

    1. Thank you Peggy. I remember you mentioning about Poor John’s aunt and how she lived with you until she had to go into a facility. My struggle is the roller coaster of mood swings. During good days it seems like we’re having normal conversation but on the bad days it all goes out the window. The thing that’s most bothersome isI begin to question my sanity. I’ve heard there are Alzheimer’s support groups which i want to attend to learn how others manage. It seems there is still so much we don’t understand about this disease.

      1. There is so much to learn about Alzheimers. And I know what you mean about your own sanity. It took a lot of effort to remind myself that I was the one who WASN’T crazy. Often the easy way out was just to agree with whatever outlandish thing she said or did. Hang in there.

      2. Yes, that’s exactly what one of the dept of aging reps said to do b/c doing otherwise only causes more agitation.

  21. Thanks for sharing from your knowledge, experience and love.

    1. Hi Oneta, thank you for taking the time to read. 💖

  22. A real roller coaster ride of a life Steph, I’m glad you seem to be running on the flat now.Time to catch your breath a bit. You’ve so much to be proud of yourself for and it’s wonderful you chose to share your story with us. Thank you.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    1. Massive HUGS back at you David although with my moms situation its still a little touch and go it’s much smoother than in years past. Thank you for swinging by my way. 😘

  23. Happy birthday Steph! What a lovely thoughtful post too.

    One thing in particular resonated with me – how quick we are sometimes to stereotype others without knowing their back story.

    I think we all do it at times but I’d like to think I’m more forgiving these days. I try to imagine what might have brought that person to their current life space.

    Someone once said to me that most people are doing the best they can with what they have at a given time. I think this is true.

    Thank you for giving me food for thought on my last post on bees. I have referenced your blog.

    1. Thank you Robyn. Yes I agree with you that we all stereotype without knowing a person’s backstory. Of late iI intentionally give people a break b/c everyone is dealing with something and we all have our unique way of getting through the day. I just heard a bit on TV about what you mentioned in your post about the massive killing of bumble bees due to the use of pesticides used to kill mosquitos in the hopes of getting a better handle on the zika virus. It’s a huge problem that needs addressed.

      1. Yes, Steph. It brings to mind ‘for every action, there is a reaction’. Was that Einstein? Probably wasn’t talking specifically about bees or Zika virus but it still applies.

      2. I think it wa Einstein and yes sad to say it’s definitely applicable for this scenario.

  24. Your message encourages my heart. Thank you so much for sharing it.

    Love and blessings,
    Theresa

    1. Thank you for reading it Theresa.

  25. Happy Birthday! Glad you had the strength and courage to make it this far.

    1. Thank you Katelon! 💖💖💖

  26. Your post left me a bit speechless. I want to say “I am proud of you,” but feel we don’t know each other good enough (yet).
    I wish you a very Happy Birthday, may tomorrow and the coming year be filled with laughter and joy.
    Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thank you so much for your very sweet comment. Hugs 😊

  27. That’s a terrific post. And, Happy Birthday, early. 😃

      1. You’re very welcome! 😊

  28. best wishes for Mom. have a wonderful weekend sweetie.

    1. Awe thank you Jim!! How are you? It’s been a while since I’ve swung by your place.

      1. I’m OK. hope you’re OK. you’re looking good at 56.

      2. Good to hear. Thank you for the compliment. 😊

      3. no worries. hope you have a great weekend. be strong for your Mom.

      4. Will do 🙂 You have a great weekend as well Jim!

  29. Keep on climbing, Stephanae <3

  30. Hey Steph,
    Wonderful post; I’m glad you talked about your life in the past 56 years! Just keep on trudging on and you will always make progress. I’m so glad to hear Mom is having a good day. Happy Birthday and enjoy the weekend.
    Love you,

    Sherribad

    1. Love you too Sherri!! Thank you!! ❤💜💛

  31. Happy birthday lovely X

  32. Happy early birthday, enjoy your weekend!

  33. Happy birthday, Steph. xo

  34. First and foremost, I have to applaud you for sharing the major hurdles in your life, and secondly, I once again applaud you for overcoming the set backs. 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 No doubt, you’re stronger for it and I say, well done for all that you’ve achieved. You’re one heck of a lady and you are definitely ‘Hollywood!’ 😊 You have moved on with dignity and strength. Thank you for sharing your journey Steph and bless you.

    1. Hey Wendy, how are you? Oh my goodness I’ve missed you. I’ve been playing catch up in a major way what with my mother’s situation and all. Thank you for stopping through. 😊

  35. Thank you for sharing such courageous details. So you work with teens by any chance?

    1. You’re welcome. Thank you for reading. I haven’t worked with teens except for when my boys were in their teens. Do you have a specific question?

      1. No. I work with a middle school girls’ club, and you would be such a motivating speaker.

      2. That’s wonderful!! I wish I would have had the courage to join that type of club when I was middle/high school. Middle school was a struggle with bullying but it got considerably easier in high school. What types of things does the club do?

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