I’ve Come a Long Way, Baby! Reflecting on the Journey.

“In moments of quiet reflection our minds embrace the sea that we have crossed.”

~ Holmes

Big news my friends!

October is my birthday month! Yep, I’m one of those people that likes to celebrate all month long! Packing in as much fun and opportunity for shenanigans to be had as is possible! How do you like to celebrate? All month long like me, or pack all the festivities into the exact special day? One of the ways I love to celebrate is through music – and I’ve created a special birthday playlist to accompany my celebration. Click here to check it out!

Taking the opportunity..

I have always enjoyed every aspect of my birthday! When I was younger it was all about how much fun I could cram into the month. As I have gotten older, and especially as I have begun the journey that is Dragonfly Paradigm, I find myself reflecting often on where I have been, and just how far I’ve come.

Nobody said it would be easy..

Growing up as I did, with a bilateral cleft lip and palate, the struggles were real. There were many surgeries and many emotional hard times. They populate my memories as I look back on my soon to be 44 years on this beautiful Earth. Life in and of itself is hard. Living with a facial deformity makes it even more so. Those of you in the cleft community know what I’m talking about. In those times of great challenge, it felt completely overwhelming and isolating for me, and at times I thought it would never get better. Oh, how I was wrong.

One step at a time..

With the encouragement of my parents, I took one step at a time into the big world that was waiting for me. I found activities that I enjoyed such as piano and dance. Through those activities I grew more confident in myself. With each piano recital or dance performance, I faced my fears of being in front of a crowd. I proved to myself that I could indeed stand on my own two feet. The confidence gained from these early experiences helped to carry me through my young adulthood years. Although my fears of what people may say about my face remained, I didn’t let the fear get so ingrained that it stopped me from living my life and to try the things I wanted to try.

Older and Wiser..

As I look back now with much older eyes, and as a parent, I can see that it wasn’t in the big moments that I became the strong and capable person that I am today. It was through the small, less significant events that my resilience was shaped. The close bond I had with my parents. The friendships I formed when I was young, with several still lasting to this day. The courage I felt in knowing that if I stepped out of my comfort zone and failed, I had a safe place to return to and receive the support, encouragement, and acknowledgment I needed. Resilience is formed through the experience of adversity, and living with a cleft lip and palate definitely gave me the opportunities to experience quite a bit of adversity.

Paying it forward..

Now, as I embark on yet another year, and another “out of my comfort zone” journey, I am hopeful and excited. As I share my stories and experiences of living with a cleft I hope that it will resonate. I aim to instill in my own daughter the skills of self awareness and empathy that will serve her well as she continues on her own path in this big bold world.

Looking back and moving forward..

So I am going to take this month of October to not only celebrate another trip around the sun for me, but also take the time to recognize and appreciate just how much I have overcome. No one said life would be easy, and I certainly agree with that. But life is also wonderful and beautiful. It is full of rich experiences that we have to be courageous enough to try. So let’s be brave! Celebrate all that we are! All that we have overcome! And all that we can do with this one precious life we have.

~Vickie