Finding Your Sparkle After Tragedy

 If only it were as easy as adding a Snapchat filter!

If only it were as easy as adding a Snapchat filter!

My mother died when I was 9 after a year and a half battle with leukemia so I learned about loss at an early age. I always thought I was a "pro" at dealing with tragedy, having weathered various freak accidents, illnesses, and the like over the decades. So it totally threw me for a loop when I found myself struggling to cope after my stepmother of 30 years suffered a stroke in December 2016 and passed away in early January 2017. I pretty much dropped everything and spent those few weeks going to the hospital and later the hospice every day, mostly to be there for my dad since my mom was in various states of awareness from day-to-day. The dishes piled up, the roots went undyed, and somewhere along the way I lost my sparkle.

My girlfriend experienced the same thing after her mother lost her battle with breast cancer. The smiles no longer reached the eyes. Things previously enjoyed seemed to lose their luster. It took her years to get her sparkle back and even now, if I could measure it, I'd say it's a bit dimmer than before.

2017 was a tough year. I struggled with stress and anxiety so bad in the first half of the year that my jaw was permanently aching from grinding my teeth and I was suffering panic attacks so bad they were starting to affect my work. I felt just not myself at all. Unwilling to medicate my problems away, I sought out acupuncture and it's the best thing I've ever done for myself. Within one treatment, I was seeing dramatic improvement and after 6 months, I'm living what I'd call a "normal" life. Stress is a given in my line of work, but it's manageable and the panic attacks have mostly disappeared. Once I got the physical symptoms under control, I was able to deal with the emotional work of getting my sparkle back.

I've focused on creating web sites - first a fan site and now this site. Doing creative stuff that keeps my mind busy and let's me achieve positive results that I can be proud of does wonders for gaining sparkle back! I've started to attack the weight I gained while stressed and depressed in 2017, but I'm also not being too strict on myself. I've grown to love myself at all weights so I don't feel the "rush" to get thin as soon as possible that I often felt when I was younger. Life is too short to skip the nachos! I somehow managed to jack up my foot after a concert, but as soon as I'm back on my feet so to speak, I'm ready to start exercising. Ironically, it was the very same Steve Aoki show where I hurt my foot that got me so motivated to work out. Steve is a force to be reckoned with - if I could bottle his energy and sell it, I'd be a millionaire! I've also purchased the Pilates Chair, which just arrived and I've yet to assemble, but stay tuned for a product review of that! 

If you've lost your sparkle for whatever reason, I highly recommend finding a way to deal with the physical symptoms first. Whether you try exercise or acupuncture or seek help from a doctor, you can't get your sparkle back until you fix what's broke! Then, find the things that made you sparkle in the past and indulge in them! Try new things that make you stretch your skills. It will keep your brain busy with the challenge and will give you a sense of accomplishment at the end. And above all, treasure each day because we never know when our time here is up! If all else fails, add a scoop of glitter to your daily life until you find your sparkle again. Some days will be hard and you'll be forcing a smile while crying on the inside, but eventually you'll find that sparkle again - fake it until you make it!