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

Published by Stephanae

👩🏾‍🦯 | INTJ | HSP | Collector of knowledge | Alpaca Fanatic “If I stop to kick every barking dog, I am not going to get where I'm going.” ~Jackie Joyner-Kersee Hi, I'm Steph! I'm a highly sensitive proud introvert and a recovering people-pleaser. These traits or quirks used to bother me because I always felt out of place until I began a recent process of self-acceptance. While I'm still a work in progress, I view my quirks as my superpowers and am grateful that they contribute to who I am today.

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.😊

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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. 💖

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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?

  16. 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!

  17. 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,


  18. 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. 😊

  19. 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.

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