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Fortitude and what it means in my life

over the last couple of years,
I use the word fortitude a lot. I will tell yall why:

Back in 2017 I had subbed for my mom’s CCD class and they were learning about the virtues and the one for that week was fortitude- doing it in fear. It was my first time doing the CCD class by myself so I was nervous- nervous the kids would try to take advantage or not-take me seriously. Which it went fine.

The next day– I had been on an online dating site and got a message from someone who would now be my fiance. asking to go on a date. Again, I was nervous and scared. But again Mom reminded me of the virtue of fortitude -doing it in fear. (and yes we did go on a date, public – La Hacienda.)

So now anytime I do something outside my comfort zone and I’m nervous as heck–what word rings in my mind. Fortitude. And if it doesn’t on its own, Mom is right there to remind me of the word.

The latest thing I have had to do with fortitude is I started public speaking. Now don’t get me wrong, there have been times I have had to public speak before learning about fortitude. Even though I was nervous about it, opportunities continually pop up as if it is like God saying “HELLO THIS IS WHAT I WANT YOU TO DO.”

In the past, before learning about fortitude, I would still do the things but I didn’t know what “doing it in fear and nervous” was as far as virtues, and after the events I did, I never pursued or looked at public speaking as a career, further.


The first time I ever did any type of public speaking was in college for my Communications class- I made C’s because of nerves and read off my cards too much.

The next time was when I was asked to do what’s called “familiarity visits” with patients coming into Shriners for Halo traction- while I was in halo traction. Familiarity visits are telling the incoming patient what to expect: pain-wise, the routine during the week, how to do “pin care,” etc. That was easy because it was just like chit-chatting with peers; was I still nervous? yes! I worried I’d forget something important to mention or something, but still, I did it.

Another public speaking opportunity while in Shriners hospital during the time I was in halo traction was when the Respiratory Department Director asked the different patients to come to say a few words at the conference about how Shriners Hospital, the Halo traction, and especially the respiratory department affected us and helped us. I was nervous and with no filter, I told everyone there about my first weeks in traction and how I compared the respiratory department director to “Hitler of Respiratory” and the consequences once word had gotten back to her about me saying that! I had the entire room in giggle fits. The director and I may have had a rough start, but now we are best buds, and it’s our inside joke now.

In 2013, one summer while my godson was down from Texas, I happened to be wearing a tank top and he saw my scar sticking out from under my straps; he then proceeded to play “20 million questions” and I answered most of them until I got tired of answering and said “okay, that’s enough. go play, you’re giving nanny a headache!”

In 2015, one of my cousins at 4 years old noticed my spine sticking out during family Christmas eve and he was sitting behind me. I feel him feeling at my spine that was sticking out (The hump) and then suddenly feel him starting to punch it. His mom freaks out “_ Don’t hit jamie!” to which baby boy replied tearfully “I’m trying to push her back back in!” So that Christmas, he got the gift of learning about Scoliosis and why “cousin Jamie’s back sticks out.”

Also in 2015, I “tested the waters” of my comfort zone when LSU-Eunice hosted a talent show, where I read an original poem titled “Don’t judge by disabilities” and got a standing ovation as well as many compliments in the halls the following week. I was so proud that I had conquered my stage fright and even placed 3rd, which I don’t blame them poetry is nice, but music always wins!

Years passed and in 2021, I was a guest blogger on someone I only know online @Ami Ireland who has a blog “Undercover Superheroes” and talked about my disabilities there and it was posted in May 2021.

Now we are in 2022, and more opportunities have popped up without even really trying to get them. In March, I went to a church function and the CCD director’s granddaughter who I taught in kindergarten for VBS had finally noticed my back and how I was shorter than many adults, and she asked questions, so I explained as best I could at a 2nd-grade level and showed her pictures, she was shocked and just hugged me “Miss Jamie I had no idea. I remember you were always smiling for VBS and you spoiled our class!”

Next came when I was talking with Guns down Power up founder and director, Eric Williams. He had mentioned he was in special ed and had mental problems or something and I messaged asking if he minded talking about what disabilities/ why he was in sp-ed. I told him I had physical disabilities, and thus he asked if I minded coming to talk about my disabilities at his program. Which will take place on May 28, 2022, at Opelousas Police Department from 11 a.m.- 3 p.m.

From there, I was just talking to another program founder, the founder of BullyBox A passion Project to combat bullying in schools and such, Ms. Shauna Sias and she asked me to go on her and her co-host Nina Irving Williams Podcast/Live TV Livestream thing on Weds nights (Which Mine was April 13- I attached my segment of the show on my Youtube.)

So God keeps giving me Opportunities and in the past, it was just “one and done” but lately they have been more frequent, so maybe it’s time to come out of the shadows and do this more. These opportunities could open more doors as I have lots of passions and ideas but don’t know who to talk to or how to implement them. Who knows what God has in store around the corner for me?

God is good all the time. Sometimes we got to practice fortitude- doing it in fear!

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Life update: Passed my College Class of Leadership Communication!

I am not sure if I put on here that I was taking an online class for the Fall 2021 semester at UL Lafayette. I decided to take Leadership Communication thinking I would learn how to speak like a leader; Instead it was reading news articles and writing case studies, and learning different leadership styles; which can be helpful too I guess.

I was disappointed at first that it wasn’t what I expected, but I still tried my absolute hardest in it. In fact for my first case study, I didn’t understand the directions and was overly anxious about it: constantly emailing my professor and asking “is this right? am I on the right track?” Eventually they told me “you are doing fine, stop doubting yourself so much!”

For the end of the semester, we had an extra credit assignment where we studied 2 cases of Hate crimes against People of color (blacks) and against Asians in regards to Covid pandemic. I emailed my professor, asking if I could also include hate crimes against disabilities, they emailed back “While thats a great idea, I’d prefer we stick with the ones I assigned, but thats a great idea to include for my future classes. Thank you for bringing awareness.” I felt extra proud in that moment.

I managed to make A’s on every assignment. I made an A average through the entire semester! something I had never ever ever done in my history of college (maintain straight A’s through the course, sure I had occasional A’s in some assignments and my end grade was sometimes A’s, but never maintained/constant through the entire course!)

So apparently, I need to go into Communication! LOL. Im just so proud of this accomplishment!

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Genetics update: I DO NOT HAVE EDS; I Have Marfan Syndrome! οΏΌ

Β Talk about turning my world upside down!! LMAO..30 years thinking I had one diagnosis ( Ehlers Danlos syndrome).. Come to find out it’s a different connective tissue disorder, Marfan syndrome. LMAO 🀣🀣

My life is never dull.. it’s a roller coaster.. another loop de loop, turn in my life lol πŸ˜†
I just got the diagnosis from the genetic testing, today!!! I am still in shock..30 years of lies! LMAO.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1QC4vfqgw-UddjMb-HZU29fi16j9oWARK/view

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Life update: 30th Birthday!!!

 So yesterday, May 5, I officially turned 30 years old! Gosh how am I already 30?! time flies! 

We really didn’t do much to celebrate it. The weather was rather ugly outside, my mom’s knee was bugging her, Bae (David) was working, etc. My parents got a sign and a banner to put in the front yard, Bae (David) came after work, Dad made one of my favorite meals (it’s called “greasy chicken”- basically a chicken in a gravy type thing..It is really good and yummy!) 

Earlier in the week, Mom and Dad had invested in a really fancy office chair for me since I do a lot of computer stuff and sitting at a desk; it was highly recommended for people with Scoliosis and back problems for good posture. They also got me some Fine-Tip ink pens in various colors since I do a lot of journaling and note-taking while doing my daily religious readings and such. Those surprises were before my birthday: For my birthday, They invested in a Cricut Explore Air 2 in my birthstone color: Emerald! The day before my birthday, one of my best friends, one I been friends with since we were in preschool together, came to drop off a 30 wine glass and a “cheers to 30 years” purple shirt for me to wear on my birthday (which I did wear, and it’s the shirt I am photographed in the slideshow video down below).

Today, May 6, Mom was feeling better so she made up the fact she couldn’t make me a special birthday breakfast by going to Waffle House while I was asleep and ordering what we usually split together- The all-star breakfast: Pecan Waffle, Country Ham, Hashbrowns, etc. and brought it home for me! I am so spoiled, but I am the youngest child and I have had a rough life, so I deserve a little spoiling every now and then LMAO! 

This weekend, our local performing theatre is doing a talent show- so we will go to that, maybe go do a little shopping and go get my “birthday freebies,” from stores and stuff I have rewards memberships with. Don’t know, Time will tell what we actually do; Having disabilities kill my stamina levels so I gotta just see how I am feeling and “play by ear,” but oh how I wish I could “be Normal,” and have normal stamina levels and such, but eh, Tis my life- can’t change it so might as well accept it. *shrugs* 

But anyway, Overwell, it was a pretty good birthday. πŸ™‚Β 

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Life Update: Resuming College, Registering Fall 2021 classes

Based on my current stamina level, I decided to only resume college part-time: 9 credit hours-3 classes scheduled: I will be taking Eng359:Advanced English writing for social sciences class (Monday and Wed. 1-2:15 p.m.), Socio364: Juvenile Delinquency (Because I feel like that would be interesting- on Mon, Wed., and Friday 10 a.m.-10:50 a.m.), and CMCN307: Communication in leadership class (online). I still have many many many choices in classes I want to eventually take but they were either full or not available this semester. I am just so eager to start back in the fall and I hope I don’t get burnt out, able to keep up and try my best and get something out of these classes πŸ™‚ I’m very optimistic and I think I chose some pretty good classes. Let’s see how long that optimism stays. πŸ˜› haha.

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Life Update: Fall 2021 Resuming College, Close to Bachelors Degree!!!!

What girl is resuming college in the fall semester and only 28 credits from bachelor’s degree in general studies with a concentration in behavioral studies…? πŸ™‹β€β™€οΈπŸ™‹β€β™€οΈπŸ™‹β€β™€οΈ this girl, right here! Woot woot.

However, being I have 28 hours left: All I have left is an Advanced English writing class, some general electives, and enrichment (concentration) classes. While I think if I do 2 semesters of full time-each one will be about 15 credit hours, (which is about 5 classes if its a 3-day class)- more if its a 2-day class.) that will be 2 extra credit hours in the end run, but then I will be done by end of next spring if I am able to keep my grades up.

However, I been out for a while and I get stressed and overwhelmed easily, so maybe Instead of setting myself up to fail and burned out, I only do a few part-time, even though I am thinking these will be “Easy” classes.

I don’t know what the workloads entail for these classes. Plus my stamina isn’t great right now. So looking at my energy level now, it’d probably be safest to do part-time in the fall, and then in spring, I can work my way up to more credit hours. (although maybe not, since spring starts in January and that’s still cold…unless it’s mostly online during that time. I don’t know. Time will tell.) Any advice is greatly appreciated. πŸ™‚

Many people on my Facebook suggested only taking 1-2 other classes besides the advanced writing class because for most people, advanced writing classes take up a lot of time.

The next biggest issues while registering for classes:

1.) When going to the course description, some descriptions only say “will have an additional cost,” It doesn’t say anything about what the course is about or the workload expectancy: Like how is a student supposed to figure out if that class is a good fit with another class they are taking? UGH!

2.) Most of the classes I am looking at either is full to capacity, not a good fit with the advanced writing class, and some just aren’t available/an option for this semester.

So right now, the only class I can schedule is advanced writing: Could that be a sign from God? Like “Hello, all you need to take is this one class for right now.” Only time will tell.

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Planning a Q and A video…with mom….Need questions!

I am planning on doing a Q and A type video with mom for my youtube channel sometime this week. Is there anything yall would like to know?

Any questions about raising a child with disabilities?

Any questions about what I was like as a child?

Any questions about me in general?

Her thoughts/ feelings/opinions about raising a child with disabilities?

Her thoughts/feelings/opinions about society now a days? 

Anything…There are no Dumb questions.

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Life in Slideshows

I made more slideshows about my life in pictures. I added all my slideshows to a playlist on my youtube. 

Link to playlist:Β My Life Slideshows – YouTube

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disability journey: Broken rods – facing my parents and such…

 As we are aware, I had re-broke my spinal fusion rods and was dreading facing my parents about it. This weekend, my parents came in off the truck. As soon as they saw me, Dad asked “what happened to your forehead” because that was the first thing he noticed. “Well, you see, there was a incident in the backyard on the steps. I fell…and re-broke my rods.” They didn’t look happy, but didn’t say anything, later they mellowed out and we joked about it. Then I gave them some candy bars I had bought at the store on Thursday after the incident, before they came in, with the joke to David, “I’ll get their favorite candy bars so when I deliver the bad news about my rods, it will be less of a blow…Like…’look, I got yall favorite candy, oh by the way, my rods are re-broke. Oh just eat your candy bars before you reply.” hahaha. To which I recounted that story to them and they laughed. I am so lucky to have understanding and supportive parents with good senses of humor. πŸ™‚ #Blessed. 

I also sent the Xrays to Dr. Kelly on friday through “snail mail” with post office saying it should be delivered/recieved on monday. So I will call monday to tell his office and hopefully by tuesday or wed, I will have some news on what Dr. Kelly had to say. I also hope I hear from the genetics doctor soon as well. 

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Disability Journey: Broken rods again..What does it mean?

As we know, my rods are broken once again, but until Dr. Kelly receives my Xrays from OGH and I hear back from him and go to my appointment in Septemeber, we do not know what will happen. Will I have another surgery? More than likely- I mean my rods can’t stay broken. What does that mean?  Well, more than likely it means another surgery, recovery all over again, push back college again, postpone the wedding again, having to raise money or apply for hardship case again since St Louis Barnes Jewish doesn’t take out of state Medicaid, and the talks of David and I starting a Food truck business will also be put on the backburner. 

I am tired of the rods breaking; this is the 2nd time! Maybe I should just put myself in a plastic bubble or “ground myself” permanently into a wheelchair and say “Fuck walking” – maybe I won’t injure myself, since I can’t seem to not be a klutz. I don’t know what the answer is. 

I am just dreading it. Dreading facing my parents about it, dreading facing doctor kelly about it, I know accidents happen, but I feel like I am a disappointment and let everyone down even though I did everything right this time: I didn’t get on inflatables again (I learned my lesson from last time), I was cautious when picking up on my niece or stuff, I was cautious and didn’t bend- instead I squatted or got on my hands and knees,) and yet, I still broke my rods. I wonder if my Ehlers Danlos has something to do with it? Hmm. Guess that’s a question for when I do see that EDS genetics doctor.