Sparks of inspiration
It's really quite easy to fall into the "grass is greener on the other side" mentality. A Libra myself, astrology sites and books dictate that this is one of my signs weakest traits. Vanity and always wishing for things I don't have. To some degree yes, this is true, but don't we all? Don't we all wish for things we see others have. We might say to ourselves "wait, I want that, why can't I have that, not fair!" We always think other people have it all or have it figured out to a better extent than we do. We see them out in public put together, rocking some cool outfit or driving a shiny new car. What we don't see is the process of getting to that point. All the work or even the struggle of leaving the house. You never know what lies beneath a person's surface, even if you might know them. The saying, "don't judge a book by its cover" is vastly underrated.
If this past year has taught me one thing, it's actually taught me a lot and still is but what I've got out of this ride so far is to enjoy it. I feel like we're always told to get to our goal quickly. To do it promptly, we forget or don't even realize that we should enjoy the path to our goals. Taking a beat or two and pausing, breathing in all the hiccups and mess-ups. During new obstacles is where I believe life happens. It's when it's messy that we grow the most. That we dig deep into ourselves and find a new part of our personality that comes out on top. In these moments the goals can change and for the better, sometimes taking a hard right is better than that hill you had your eye on for a few years. Change is your friend not your enemy.
This could not be truer than for where Rima and I are right now. For years I had my eye on a certain career, a type of life and then a curve ball was hurled my way. At the start of this new journey I was stressed, overwhelmed at times and anxious that I was not doing all that I could for Rima. It's a lot of pressure when you look up to your younger sister and want to do all that is right by her. I want to give her the world, I want to give her all the puppies, as she likes to request at times. I was trying so hard that some days I forgot to enjoy the silly car ride chats or the slow struggle to get out of the house. I have a rare opportunity here, not many get to be a part of or see. I get to see and be there for the struggle, the process and the completed product that people see when Rima is in pictures or out in public. I get to stand next to the woman who people meet and are inspired by. I get to see it in all it's glory day in and day out.
To the general public it may look like through our social media and our blog pictures that Rima is quite mobile. That even though she is waiting for new lungs and sick she is still able to go out and adventure around Minneapolis. Yes we do a lot, but it's what's behind the pictures you don't see. The early morning IVs, the breathing treatments. The handicapped parking. The drop off and pick up point so we can get that "perfect" picture. The sloth like movement to and from destinations. The back aches from carrying oxygen. The constant cough attacks and gasping for air while side-glances are shot Rima's way. The way her stomach decides to have gross and sick feelings that come out of nowhere and derails a day's plans. The constant courage it takes for her to not care what others think or brushing off the stares and questions from strangers. I know Wonder Woman and she wears a nasal cannula and has the most infectious laugh.
The CF community understands this constant struggle extremely well. This past Saturday we were very humbled and honored to have this struggle and courage recognized and very publicly. The nonprofit organization that we found our transplant home from With One Breath threw their annual benefit to raise money and awareness for CF. They dedicated the night to Rima. We felt like mini celebrities upon arrival to picking up our coats at the end of the night. The whole evening we felt so much love from people who we had never met but had been following our journey through our blog or social media or even word of mouth. We did not realize exactly what we were walking into but boy oh boy was it beautiful.
The energy of everyone at the event was contagious. People from all over, families fighting for a cure, post transplant rock stars and friends exchanging inspiring stories. They outdid themselves, they had games like bingo, beer, wine, and tequila tasting tables. They had a large silent auction, live music and a food truck. It was at a cool event center in downtown. They even had these super cute pins for CFers, CF families and post transplant survivors. Rima will be rocking the transplant survivor pin next year for sure! Our two wonderful friends were able to share this amazing night with us, Kim and Tessie. We got to try the beer tasting and sip on local brews around the state while chatting with people about our story and blog. They had a big screen behind the stage and had projections on it all night. Rima's face kept appearing out of the corner of my eye throughout the night. It was such a cool moment and feeling. This woman rocks!
We were asked to create a short video to talk about our journey and how we ended up renting Theo's Place, our current home up here. At around 9:45pm they turned off the music and directed everyone's attention to the screen. Right before Rima and I had to "run" out to the car that was luckily right out front, to fill up her portable oxygen tank. We had VIP parking, right in front of the food truck. It saved for us for this reason specifically and boy did it work out well. We got back and to our table right in the nick of time to see our faces pop up on the very large screen. We must have been in a loud part of the venue because we could barely hear our voices over the nearby chatter and happily intoxicated folks. Picture after picture flashed on the screen of us all over Colorado and Minnesota. If I did not know us I would have thought we were always on the move and going on adventures.
After our part was over some other local CF families told their stories. The whole video was just leaking with love and happiness. Truly inspirational to see and hear others talk about similar obstacles and milestones that they have reached. After the video was done Jill, who is our main contact and one of the heads of With One Breath took to the stage. In between her thanks and shoutouts, Rima and I came up. She talked a little about us and how Theo's place, their organizations house came to our rescue. It really did save our little butts. Without it and without them we would have been shit out of luck, stuck in a small apartment paying an absurd amount of rent money.
During Jill's shoutout to us she said something that Rima and I will probably never forget. "When I grow up I want to be just like Rima and Laima." We were both very humbled and honored by this statement. A woman who we look up to and admire thinks the same about us, that my friends is girl power at it's best! After speeches were complete Roger Clyne came on stage and began to perform. Remember the show King of the Hill? Well that's the band that did the theme song. Apparently the lead singer lost his close friend to CF and performs at the benefit yearly. This amazing night was coming to an end for us. Rima and I walked around to say our thank you's to Jill and a few others. The amount of love and support that was expressed to us during the whole evening left our heads spinning, but in the best way.
On our drive home we obviously had a recap meeting as per usual. We both agreed that the night was remarkable! Never had we expected to find a community like this while going through Rima's transplant. We felt so unbelievably lucky not to have just attended but to have been honored that night. To see so many others come together and celebrate life. To see and hear stories of other CFers kicking butt and enjoying all that life has to offer. To see how much good With One Breath does. The entire night provoked feelings of motivation and ignited sparks of inspiration, hope and togetherness for us.
During the evening I made mental notes to stop and observe at times. To enjoy my surroundings and to soak in what was happening. I remembered to take my advice from earlier. At one point in the night Rima was talking to someone about our journey and thanking them for expressing their love and support for us. Out of the corner of my eye her face flashed up on the screen. She was up there and in front of me all at once. Double the dose of awesome standing in the flesh! All while hearing a stranger tells her, "you're amazing and such an inspiration!" A huge smile crossed my face at that point, what a surreal moment. My sister...how did I get so damn lucky?