1505532_10202483758126966_2138554636_nWe all have stories. And I am honored to be given the opportunity to share mine in an upcoming issue of O&P Edge. There’s no greater gift than knowing that my story brings value to humanity.

Be good. Do good. And let the goodness that comes from it sustain you.

1959296_10202457261224560_1369180549_nApproximately 3 years, 10 months, 7 weeks, 4 days, and 19 hours ago, I had my mid-life crisis. Rushing from work to the gas station and then off to God-only remembers where, I was sitting at a stop light at the intersection of blase boredom and rueful reality when it hit me: My life is whizzing by and I’ve done nothing.

Sure, on paper, I had it all: happily married; well-educated; good career; confidently in my 40’s; and the ability to come and go as I pleased. And then I got a random text from my long-lost college boyfriend, Miguel.

Him: RUSTY! How the hell are ya? (Yes, after all these years, he still calls me Rusty, but that’s another story…)

Me: Fine. I think. Okay. Not fine. I think I’m having a mid-life crisis.

Him: But you’re too young to have a MLC. Are you thinking of running off with your pool boy?

Me: Sadly, I’m not too young. And no, I’m not thinking of running off with my pool boy. I don’t have a pool.

Even if I had a pool and the “boy” to tend to its needs, the thought of running off with him was the thing I desired least. I wanted to run away, if only in the proverbial sense, and I only wanted to run away from my then present sense of doom into something diferent. And after briefly entertaining the notion of joining an all-female rock band; getting an “I am bad ass” tat; and climbing aboard a cross-country tour bus, I realized that wouldn’t cure my MLC.

I needed more substance in my life. Didn’t know what. Didn’t know how.  But I did know I needed more meaning.

Fast forward 3 years, 10 months, 7 weeks, 4 days, and 19 hours later to Minneapolis, Minnesota on February 23, 2014. Now, well into my 40’s, I am still good on paper. And as I sit here with the energy that only comes from French-pressed coffee and scrambled eggs, I see that I am exactly where I’m supposed to be. I am here and and I am on my way to where I want to be.

Now, at the intersection of “my company is moving to Texas by the end of the year” and “where the hell am I going to go?”, I know to go confidently in the direction of my dreams. And what’s wonderful is my heart and my head are on the same path. Maybe that’s into something new and wonderfully different. Maybe that’s leaving what is known into the unknown. Maybe that is leaving something comfortable. But regardless of the journey about which I will soon embark, it’s all in the direction of my steadfast desire to do my part to change the world.

It’s now or never.  Let’s go!

10bw_touchupcrop3.jpgCliches about beauty.  If it isn’t one thing to be beautiful on the inside, it’s another to be beautiful in the eye of whomever is beholding us.  And if beauty is only skin deep, then why should physical beauty or appearance even matter?

It does matter.  And it matters because we are inundated with images of what is considered physically beautiful.  Based on the the images that dominate mainstream media, beauty is manifested in women with impossibly languid figures, structured facial features, and perfectly poreless skin.

Because a prosthetic leg is part of my “physicality”, I’ve gratefully believed that physical beauty is individually unique and not to be compared to others.  And growing up female in a society where looks do matter, I clung to this notion because the images of women walking the runways or covering the magazines did not equal my own physicality.

But times are changing and so too will the perceptions of what is considered  beautiful.  Thanks to Sheryl Sandberg and her Lean-In organization, together with Getty Images, they are launching the ‘Lean In Collection’ of stock photos.  Ranging from the stock photos that fill magazines, catalogs, advertisments, and other media, the new collection intends to replace the “cliched, sterilized images of women and girls”.

And with the Huffington Post’s recent headline reminding us that ‘Disabled’ Mannequins represent that beauty does not equal perfection,  we are introduced to images that portray the beauty of the human spirit.  The human condition.  The visual manifestations of people accepting the lives they’ve been given.

A woman comfortable in her own skin:  what could be more beautiful than that?