Monday, May 7, 2012

Here I Go!

I really love this photo "Education = Future", because it's so true.  It's way more than what meets the eye at first glance.  One would look at this, and think along the lines of "You have to get an education to make a career for yourself, in the future".  True, very true. This is also true though, in that if people are educated on any subject or topic they then understand it better.  If there's better understanding, there's more empathy.  More compassion.  More demands to find answers and cures.  This is where I'm going to come in at.  I want to educate as many different people as I can about chronic pain and invisible illnesses.  I want to educate everyone from educators, to medical personal, to stay at home moms, to work out of home moms, to researchers, to lawyers, to students.  Pretty much anyone and everyone. 

I won't make any bones about it.  I don't have a fancy degree.  I don't have any initials behind my name.  Heck, I haven't even had a college level class on public speaking.  What I do have though, is first hand knowledge of what it's like to live a life with invisible illnesses, and being in pain every single day.  Also, I have a burning desire to educate on these topics, along with a strong will and I'm not afraid of rejection off the bat.  I know with hard work and dedication, I can do anything I set my mind to. 

My oldest daughter is 22 years old.  We aren't a rich family, but we always told our children all through their lives, that they can do anything they want to do as long as they worked hard for it.  My daughter was still 17 when she graduated high school.  She went to a nearby state university, utilizing some scholarships and student loans.  She carried 18-21 credit hours making straight A's.  She did this while also working 40-50 hours a week at night, in a factory.  After her sophomore year, she did a lot of research as to what college or universities would help give her an edge in the career path she was heading down.  She applied to University of Denver, and was accepted. Not knowing a single sole, she packed her suitcase, hopped a plane, and started a new life.  My daughter graduated with her undergrad last June.  Now, she's still at DU as a grad student.  Not only is she a grad student in economics, with focuses on both international and developmental economics, but she's also a teaching assistant for the econ department which helps her with her grad school tuition.  In addition to this, she also is a tutor for the student athlete department and the student disability department.  Nikki also does private tutoring, on the side.  To say that I'm proud of her hard work, her ethics, and her dedication is an understatement. 

With all I've personally been going through lately, Nikki sent me an email.  I want to quote something from that email.  She said: " In my personal statement I mention that while I did not grow up in a family that had very much money, in fact we had no money, you and dad always told me that I could be anything I wanted to be as long as I worked hard enough. ".  This brought a mama to tears.  To know that she was listening all the times we told her that.  To know, that is what gave her the inspiration to break the cycle of poverty.  If I could help to instill these qualities in my daughter, then how can I not live by this rule myself?  I must start practicing what I preach. 

With all this said, I must give credit to my daughter for inspiring me to start this mission of mine.  This mission of educating the public on chronic pain and invisible illnesses.  If not for Nikki, I honestly don't think I'd have the guts; the self-esteem, to move forward and pursue this.  Because of Nikki though,  I've found the contact information for the first place I'm going to contact in regards to trying to book a seminar.  It's a nearby university that has a medical school.  I'm going to contact the medical school, and the Student Life department of the campus.  I'm hoping that one or both, will give me a booking.  I'm also going to try another nearby university too, that doesn't have a medical school.  I'm sure there are many students, and faculty alike, that suffer from chronic pain and/or invisible illnesses.  I'm confident that I can provide a much needed service to many out there.  I'm nervous about finally taking this step, but I can also say that I'm excited too.  This may very well be the beginning of a brand new career for me.

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