"Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destination"
We all know someone who inspires us, encourages us do better. Someone whose been through so much that we count our blessings and realize that it's not THAT bad. Here at WBH, we're always on the lookout for badass women who have overcome the odds. Women that have every right to give up, but decided to fight anyway. That's why when we heard Angelica's story, we couldn't help but ask her to tell us why she chose not to throw in the towel, but to find the silver lining to that dark cloud. Here's what she had to say:
"Months ago you asked me to write something for Wanderbeyondher and I was thrilled. I love the blog and community you ladies created. But then I got stuck. I must of sat down to write this a million times but the words just seemed to refuse to surface. I'm not sure what makes this moment different. Maybe it's because I spent the weekend with over 30 different women living with some form of heart disease or maybe its because this plane is pretty bare bones with no movie or snacks to distract me and writing is basically all I got. I'm excited to tell you my story. Ready to tell it. A year and a half ago I took the trip of a lifetime. A journey into my soul and dove head first into self discovery. It wasn't planned, it wasn't fun, definitely not easy, but I wouldn't change a single thing. Now I can't tell you everything that happened because if I did it would be a novel but I'll give ya the basics. In May of 2018 I was diagnosed with a Congenital Heart Defect called Anomalous Right Coronary and was told I needed Open Heart Surgery. I was just taking shots off an ice luge 2 days prior to this so as you can imagine I was a bit caught of guard. So much so that I bought myself a bottle of wine following this appointment... red of course because ya know it's heart healthy. On May 15, 2018 I found myself on the surgical table telling my anesthesiologist that vanilla was my favorite icecream flavor before drifting off into the sleep that was going to change my life forever. Now let me just make a side note here because I think it's important to note...I made a plan going into surgery because if I could not control anything that was happening to me, I could at least control who would be next to me when I woke up. I knew that my surgery was 8am and that it was approximately going to be 4 hours and that by the time the anesthesia wore off it would be about 4pm, which meant the sun would still be out. I planned to only have two people in the room with me when I woke up, my boyfriend at the time and my dad. Little did I know, life had a very different plan. BEEP...BEEP....BEEP.... the machines sounded like they were in my head. My eyes never felt so heavy. Open your eyes I said to myself. Slowly the world came into focus. I could see the windows behind the nurses station and immediately thought to myself "Why is it so dark outside?". BEEP...BEEP...BEEP... Slowly I looked to my left ... empty... then to my right... empty. Panic shot through my body, machines blaring, when suddenly a nurse was holding my hand and telling me everything was okay. "Where is everyone?!" I wanted to scream, suddenly becoming all too aware of the tube down my throat forcing me to breathe. Tears streamed down my face as the nurse quickly explained that there was a complication that required a second surgery, and that my family was home sleeping because it was 2 o'clock in the morning and I was placed under so much anesthesia that I was not expected to wake up so soon. Alone.... I was alone... more alone than I've ever felt in my entire life. Left with little option, I began to pray. Later in what seemed like days the tube from my throat was removed and they had me taking my first steps. You truly have no idea how much strength you have until you do not have a choice. Pain ripped through my entire body. The tubes in my chest and neck suddenly pulling at my insides, stealing my breath, and causing everything in the room to spin. I'd like to say that I handled recovery gracefully and filled with a firey passion and sense of purpose. But my recovery was anything but graceful. It was bloody and swollen and bruised and raw. Everyday I woke up feeling like I was slammed back into a body that did not work and I felt so weak. I was frustrated and angry and I couldn't even scream because I couldn't even take a God damn breath without being in pain. But I was alive. And I knew if I could just survive the day, the hour, the next 10 minutes.. I'd be okay. We all know the phrase "just take it one day at a time," but that phrase took on an entirely new meaning for me. My recovery taught me the importance of time healing all wounds. I learned to give myself time. To be patient with myself in my healing process. I learned to love the scars. The ugly, deep, dark, and painful scars that marked my body. They saved my life. They are proof that I survived. I learned that healing is not linear, it's a constant up and down process and that's okay! I didn't know this at the time, but the lessons I learned from my recovery would carry me through the rest of 2018. In the following months that succeeded my surgery I lost my relationship, I lost friendships, and my apartment. I moved back in with my parents feeling completely and utterly broken. I shed a lot of tears in 2018. I had a broken heart both emotionally and physically. I will never be the same person I was before all of this, and I don't want to be. This was a journey of self love and a spiritual journey that I almost wish I could explain, but maybe that post will be later. There's so much noise in this world that doesn't matter. Love matters, kindness matters, joy, laughter, genuine intimate moments. The wind on your cheek. The deep breath that fills your lungs with icy air on a cold December morning. We all get so caught up in society's bullshit that we forget that we are only on this planet for a limited time. And you don't know how limited. Make it count. Make every second count. We are all in this world to learn our lessons and to grow. We are always going to go through something so we can grow though it. Why do we care so much what others think about us? Our entire lives are based around the approval of others. But it doesn't matter! Do what makes you happy. Your instagram likes won't go with you when you die. But the memories you make, the small moments, the people in this life you touch, the lives you can change for the better..that's what matters. I am literally the poster child for YOLO haha. I wish I could tell you the whole story and all the incredible people I've met during all this but this post is long enough I think. Thank you for reading my story. And thank you for encouraging people to live a life worth living. I truly believe in what you are doing with Wanderbeyondher and I'm happy to be part of it. Stay wild"
Well, I guess we're all crying now. What an inspiring woman. If you're like me, you can relate to Angelica's story of bravery in some form or another. I think it's really important that we think about her story each day. SHE IS RIGHT. No matter how many pictures we post with our ass perked up or with the snapchat filter that makes our lips look bigger, it's not going to make us any better than the girl next to us on the subway. The girl in the coffee shop in sweatpants and a sweatshirt reading a self-help book. We are ALL in this together. Because truth be told, none of us are getting out of this world alive. So why not make it count? Follow us @wanderbeyondher and give us a "Like" on Facebook to follow our journey.