I hear this statement at least once a day, sometimes more when referring to how I juggle the overwhelming responsibility of managing a living on a veterans pension, social security disability, and child support when there are extenuating health circumstances, a fixed income + raising two teenage daughters in the most expensive county – “I Don’t Know How You Do It.” I often reply: Ï just Do it, whatever it is, whatever it takes for a given situation, I don’t hesitate, I just do what has to be done.” Sometimes in life, situations work in my favor, but more often than not, the lesson comes from the failing. I am confident that I am on the right path, but if you were to ask me where that path is taking me? I would have to answer, I do not know yet. I try to get closer to God, in order to decipher situations and feelings, but it is not always easy when confronted with everyday heavy life situations.
I started a media production certification program a couple months ago. I can’t tell you exactly ‘what’or ‘why’I selected this program at that particular time. I had already decided that my focus needed to be artistic, to help me process a couple decades of stress and trauma. All I can say is that I needed something for myself, apart from surviving cancer, apart from my daughters health struggles, something with a mission or a task that I could put my passion and energy into.
Something occurred when I made a decision to focus my energy on Eating Disorder Awareness (because it was already a central focus of every day), and the Youth Foster Care system (an older passion). My passion for reaching out to young adults in need of Home Base, and the connections that can be found in institutionalized settings and eating disorders – gave me a little direction and focus, when I was struggling to understand my purpose as a disabled veteran/retiree unable to work in the same capacity as I am used to. This was my initial focus, but like life, it evolved and changed once I brought my daughter onto the project. It took my placing a camera on my child, asking her the hard questions, and LISTENING to her answers, to see the importance of filming Life – Fairly – Adequately – Compassionately, and sometimes the Truth from a young person is much simpler than all the medical jargon and psychiatric speculations.
My daughter has impressed me beyond the words, with her candor, her courage to share her truth, and her heart for others. Disease has stolen almost 7 years of peace from our family… Cancer Treatments or Eating Disorder Treatments = can make or break a family unit if not careful. The journey we went through will be told and I hope and pray we are able to help other familys start some Difficult conversations, before they have to suffer through unnecesarily painful journeys like ours, just to see we have more than wethought because we have each other. I am grateful that life forced me to slow down (I know I would not have on my own), had I not been forced to stop raging forward like a automated decision-making machine in my parenting, I would not have been able to see what my daughter needed… for me to slow down and Hear her, See her, not the disorder.