Sometimes losing means winning

November 20, 2014

Wrote this before I went to bed last night. Sorry for the crappy iphone pics.

Today was a great day for me. I rode my bike to the beach for the first time in 8 weeks; two blocks there and two blocks back + a quick pitstop for some chicken. All I kept thinking was don’t fall down in the store, don’t fall down in the store. I didn’t fall down in the store.

There hasn’t been a health update here recently because I don’t want to come across as a whiny, broken record. How many times can I say my right side is weak, I’m working on it, tired, frustrated, infinity? But still, I think it’s important to remember what recovery is; what healing looks like and how it feels. Last week was a wild one (for me) so here goes.

Somehow, despite not wearing much make-up, I earned VIB status at Sephora and got invited to their 20% off event. Picture me, no clue about lipstick, meandering through throngs of cosmetic junkies trying to find a sales associate for red lipstick 411. Call it epiphany or insanity, but Taylor has me hooked on the idea of barely there makeup with a red lip. Two hours later I walked out victorious! Wind beneath my wings, I slid behind the wheel of my car and onto the freeway where my windshield got hit by a stray rock and I watched the crack spread with each passing mile. By the time I got home I felt like smushing that lipstick into the sidewalk.

Then my favorite (and only) ceramic knife snapped in half.
The dryer light went out.
The washer stopped working on the normal cycle.
The frame on the couch splintered.
And, finally, my hair accidentally got colored something between a dark brown and black.

Think Morticia Addams with an orange hue.

By the time Wednesday night rolled around, I was done. Given that my propensity for problem solving is at an all-time low, I went to bed at eight o’clock seriously contemplating if I could hide out until spring – or however long it would take for the laundry fairies to show up and the hair to remedy itself. *delusional*

The next day I came close to canceling dinner with one of my funniest friends in town from NYC. Somehow I pulled myself back from the edge, tucked my hair behind my ear and threw on some black clothes – and the red lip! With that I headed out, into the dark and on my own, for my first night out since the stroke. Shortly after arriving, someone in the party remarked that my hair made me a dead ringer for the two-headed witch on this season’s Coven. Let’s just say I went home hours later with my face and sides sore from laughing. Deciding to still go and have fun despite my feelings was a good thing.

Friday morning my hair was really bothering me so I nutted up and took it to the phone lines scoring a consultation at a top salon in LA for the very next day. Those people took one look at me, glanced knowingly at each other, and four hours later I walked out with the softest brunette hair + one hell of an amazing haircut, not to mention so much respect for the team that accomplished it. It’s got a few more steps to go, but I swear I heard angels.


The long and short of it is, eight weeks ago I couldn’t have accomplished or handled even one of these things.

That thought donned on me in the middle of all this crazy stuff happening – I guess this means I must be getting a little better because who else is going to take care of all this?

Too be clear though, all I’ve really dealt with is the hair. Tonight I chopped up kale with a pizza cutter. One step at a time.

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  • Reply Elena November 21, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    I’m so glad you’re feeling better and feeling more confident. I can relate when it comes to those “bad days”. But I always try and remind myself that without them life would be a little less interesting. Haha! I guess. Anything to turn things around right? Thinking of you! Hope you have a good Thanksgivig! ❤️

  • Reply Carlina November 21, 2014 at 5:18 am

    I’m sorry about all the bad stuff that happened…sounds like one hell of a week. ;( But your hair looks fly and those boots you got on are super sick…you look good lady.

    Hope recovery is speedy!

    xo Carlina

    • Reply This Free Bird December 31, 2014 at 4:10 am

      Thanks ladybug! I got those boots for 50% off so I love them even more. #cheapskate HAHA!!

  • Reply lena November 20, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    I’m amazed at our capacity to handle the shit that gets thrown at us, and though I’m not sure I entirely believe it, it does make me wonder if we’re all getting just enough to keep us from breaking, and so that we can keep getting stronger and stronger. Because with that badass hair and the red lip, you will.

    • Reply This Free Bird December 31, 2014 at 4:10 am

      Sometimes I actually think it’s when you’ve passed the point of being able to deal that THAT’S when the real strength shows up.

  • Reply Claire Kiefer November 20, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    You & your hair look beautiful. 🙂

    • Reply This Free Bird December 31, 2014 at 4:09 am

      Thank you, Claire. I love my hair people 🙂

  • Reply Josie November 20, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    A. I’d love to focus on how you feel rather than how you look, but you just look so darn CUTE. The hair is to freaking die for, C. And that jacket. The booties. I want to crawl into your closet (stripped down as it may be at this point) and live there.
    B. Hooray for small victories — or, in the case of the hair, the bike, and, yes, the red lip… Big ones.
    C. Pizza-cutter salad is totally a thing:

    • Reply This Free Bird December 31, 2014 at 4:08 am

      You know I’m still talking about that pizza cutter salad, right?

  • Reply Courtney November 20, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    At least hair mishaps are usually fixable in some way, right? Gotta look for that bright side! And it definitely sounds like you are making progress and seeing a lot of forward momentum (even if you are dealing with aggravating set backs…seriously, it sounds like a lot of crappy happened in quick succession).

    Courtney ~ Sartorial Sidelines

    • Reply This Free Bird December 31, 2014 at 4:08 am

      Total series of whammies and only when I was in the midst of dealing with them did I say, hey wait a minute I’m not completely keeled over in bed unable to do this. It was annoying and exhausting (given I’d only been able to stay up for a few hours at a time prior), but I did it and came out the other side. Victory! Who ever thought this is what I’d classify as a victory? oh boy.

  • Reply Rosa Loves DC November 20, 2014 at 11:50 am

    Girl, you are so inspiring. I have been going through a rough patch myself, still debating about sharing on the blog, but your writing about your recovery really has given me hope. I mean, yesterday, I had a meltdown and this morning as I saw this post in my Feedly, I realized that this what I needed to gain some strength and remain hopeful everything will work out. Please keep writing these posts, they ar eincredibly inspiring and for people like me, they bring so much hope. And in terms of the red lipstick, I say wear it all the time, it’s the best way to face the challanges life has in store for us. I also bet it looks fabulous on you!

    • Reply This Free Bird December 31, 2014 at 4:06 am

      I hope everything’s okay, Rosa. I just saw this comment so I’m going to email you. Thanks always for rooting for me! It means a lot. xo

  • Reply Jen November 20, 2014 at 10:51 am

    I’m so glad you are seeing progress! Sometimes it is so gradual. Be sure to give yourself credit for it, it sure didn’t happen without effort. I hope it inspires you to continue! Well, that and the trips to the beach, the hair and the fun red lipstick. 🙂 But seriously, it’s been very inspiring to see the pics of you out and about on the bike, etc.! Keep up the terrific work and thank you for sharing as always!

    • Reply This Free Bird December 31, 2014 at 4:05 am

      This whole experience was a turning point for me. It’s when I really realized, hey I think I actually AM getting better. It was exhausting, but a good thing.

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