This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you.

Oh, what a month.

Last night, a memorial service was held for Beautiful. I was fortunate enough to attend with the lovely Slow J… Gosh, she is just one of the easiest persons to talk to, I am so grateful to count her as one of my friends and to have her on my side. I wish I saw more of her, but school and work keep her sufficiently busy, and I am proud. Although seeing her was bittersweet under these circumstances, having each other there was a bit of a blessing.

I learned much about Beautiful last night from people who knew her beyond the two years that I did. It warmed my heart that she met two of her close friends, both of whom spoke during her memorial, by volunteering with Animal Connection of Texas. This is the same group I have been a member of for the past several years, the group I attend most protests with. I had NO idea that she was once involved with them as well! Of course she was, though. It should come as no surprise.

I go through life hoping to meet other individuals who love animals as I do. It’s easy to love pets, it’s easy to love one’s patients if one works in the veterinary field, it’s easy to express anger when a companion animal is mistreated. I know a great number of folks who fall into these groups, not surprisingly since I work in veterinary medicine myself.

But to go beyond that and volunteer for them, to refuse to eat them, to be vocal about encouraging others to have more compassion towards them, to march around in the nude during the cold winter months (as I found out she did!) in order to make a statement for them? That, to me, is a true love for animals. That is hard to find. We are a small group. In this great city, we have maybe dozens show up for animals at our demonstrations. She was one of them, though.

I found her.

And now she is gone. I hate it.

I wish I had known her longer. I wish I had spent more time with her. I wish I knew these facts about her before so that we could talk about them. I wish she would bake more banana nut bread with apple sauce in place of eggs for me. I wish I could share more cheeseless pizza with her. I wish for so much, and it makes me feel selfish at times.

So, I decide to give.

I will give back to the world and honor Beautiful by volunteering with a local group called Foundation 45. Their mission statement is as follows:

We’re here to start a conversation to break down the stigma and reinforce the strength and connectivity in our community.

We’re not your typical suicide, addiction and mental health awareness group.

We’re musicians, artists, Deep Ellum neighbors looking to support those struggling with mental illness, suicidal thoughts, addiction, depression and anxiety. Foundation 45 funds the Interlude 45 Support Group, free group counseling supervised by Licensed Professional Counselors in Deep Ellum. We also provide support services for those left struggling with the collateral damage of losing a loved one to suicide.”

My first meeting with them is scheduled for Saturday, July 8th. By my own admission, I do not believe I have much to offer in the form of conversation. As I have stated before, I myself have never struggled with these issues. Life has been a bit of a breeze and when curveballs have been thrown my way, I have always either knocked them out of the park or come back up to the plate immediately (with help from the most amazing support system a girl could ever hope for). I can simply tell myself to dust it off and keep going. I know I cannot tell or expect others to do the same. Quite frankly, I have no idea what to say, really.

I am going through with it regardless, however. I will contribute what I can. This may mean helping more in the backscene, but it will be helping nonetheless.

Also, after learning of Beautiful’s involvement with A.C.T., I am motivated to continue to be involved and participate with them more frequently than I currently do. The animals need us. I know it, and she knew it. That is why she fought for them.

I was recently at a rally for social justice and a speaker announced that we may not live to see the results of our efforts, just as others before us have not survived to see the change they struggled for finally take place. Change takes time, the work is arduous, the impact is gradual. I am happy Beautiful lived to see Ringling Brothers shut down, I bet she loved it, I bet she was overjoyed. She will not see other results now, but who’s to say that I will? I have to simply keep going. She would encourage that, I trust. I really do. ❤

That is all I care to write for the moment.

Love your friends. Express your gratitude for them. Nurture your friendship with them.

Live fast, die slow.

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Inspiration Station

Making like Gaston, because the wheels in my head have been turning.

As far as work goes – let’s be real – I will likely stay in Oncology and have to move downstairs away from the people I adore so much. I am not allowing myself to be bummed about it, though, because realistically, the move will not be happening for a few months anyhow. There is still time to be spent with my crew – I just have to make it count and enjoy their company and camaraderie while I can. Once the move does happen, we will be forced to somehow spend time together outside of work, something that I am not opposed to at all. All will be well, without a doubt, whether I am in Cardiology or not.

There is no denying that one of the reasons I was so enthusiastic and pumped (pun intended) to join Cardiology was because it would have been an entirely different field, and I enjoy the challenge of learning something completely new. Well, why not simply learn as much about Oncology as I possibly can? How can I motivate myself to do this? What exactly should my goal be?

Answer: Get my license (as I was already planning to do) and become a Technician Specialist in Oncology.

The process will be long (a year of work) and arduous (hours and hours of continuing education, submission of case studies, a brutal exam to pass, and much more), but I want to do this. As it currently stands, there are only fifteen Oncology members in the country! That’s it. It goes to show that this is not a task that many would uptake, it is no easy venture. This, of course, only makes me want to do it more. Just as it was when I decided to train to run a marathon, the thought of all the work ahead of me and the amount of dedication required actually thrills me. It motivates me!

I also received extra motivation from OncoDoc. On Friday, he and I were the only ones who remained on a slow afternoon, waiting for a few of our patients to be picked up and taken home. He noticed that I was researching the requirements to become specialized, seemed pleased with the idea, and let me know that he would help me in any way he could. Awesome. I will take all the help I can get!

Now, unfortunately, I cannot start the application process until October. In the meantime, however, I am taking online courses in Oncology, courses offered through the company that I work for. The oncologist presenting the courses is based in New York – howdy, by the way, I’m in Texas – but includes his LinkedIn information in his webinars. I immediately asked to connect and he thankfully accepted. Aaawww, yeah. Something else to do between now and October: make connections, build a network of possible mentors, know people with influence. Let’s get things going!

I must admit, I sometimes focus so much on my personal growth that I neglect my professional life. None of that anymore. I am making things happen this year and next. And I am excited! As always, stay tuned!

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Oh, but personal growth and fulfillment matter so much to me!

Things are going quite well in that aspect of life. Sometimes I feel that I cannot find inspiration, but really, it is everywhere if we only make the effort to find it. There are also times that it is waved right in our faces, clear as can be, making matters pleasantly straightforward. In the last month or so, I was fortunate enough to attend two events that served as obvious incentives to grow and make the most of my time, and my life.

The first occurred late in March. One of my dear coworkers – I will call her Kay – invited me to see and listen to the incredible Jane Goodall speak at the University of Arlington. What can I say about Jane? No amount of eloquent words can suffice in describing what an extraordinary human being the woman is. She is in her eighties and continues to travel the world, advocating not only for her beloved chimpanzees, but ALL animals, nature, and the environment.

I was especially pleased, though, because Jane devoted a part of her lecture to speak on behalf of the animals that tug my heartstrings the most: “food” animals. I preemptively cheered as soon as I realized that she was turning the focus of her speech to the animals raised to be consumed as food. She spoke briefly about them, but was concise and said everything that needed to be said. I cheered, I applauded, I wanted to thank her for raising awareness and encouraging others to be compassionate and mindful. Luckily, after the lecture, we were able to meet Jane and get her autograph. All I was able to say to her was all that I wanted to say to her:

“Thank you.” 

It was a lovely experience, one that left me filled with joy and a strong desire to continue my pursuit of making life better for animals. She’s done it decade after decade; I would love to do the same.

How?

That question was answered during the second inspiring event, which happened less than two weeks ago. Early in the week, I received a message from the gentleman who was once the director of The Humane League’s Dallas office. This is the same organization that I ran my marathon for, raising over $1,000 in doing so. The group was hosting a gala in downtown Dallas in celebration of their ten-year anniversary. I never bought a ticket to attend, but was told that I would be placed on the guest list for the gala anyhow. No ticket required due to all that I did as a member of Team Humane. Isn’t that great? I was so flattered that they thought of little ol’ me and appreciated my efforts, I immediately agreed to go, and became all sorts of stupid-excited.

The night was delightful.

Delicious vegan food was served, along with local craft beer. There was a silent auction, music, and my favorite… dessert! I recognized many faces in the crowd, including Fashion Veggie and Cykochik, both wonderful local ladies making an impact by advocating for vegan/cruelty-free fashion. At the end of the evening, we watched a presentation highlighting all the accomplishments The Humane League has made locally and nationwide. They are putting up an aggressive, successful fight and I am overwhelmingly proud to have contributed to their efforts by raising funds for them.

The best part, though? Simply being in a room full of people who are not only vegan, but are so active in their efforts to help our fellow earthlings. It is reassuring to know that I am not alone in my views and my desires to end animal cruelty. There is a vibrant community of compassionate souls right here in my hometown! And guess what: I can be one of them!

That very night I decided that raising money is not enough; I have to get out there, protest, leaflet, make phone calls, march, and whatever else it takes. It is all I want to do. It is where I will find fulfillment. It will give my life more meaning than what it already has and – cliche, cliche – I will grow as a person. I may never be as successful as Jane Goodall, but every little bit helps. It truly does, I am confident of it.

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I suppose I have my work cut out for me, but I would not have things any other way. Life is short, I have drive, there are improvements to be made. Once again, I just hope I can maintain my focus. I should be able to. I am constantly surrounded by sweet, furry faces that can serve as reminders of why I do what I do, and I have wonderful friends and family who consistently encourage me and wish me the best.

What more do I need?   ❤