Dear Ms Lauper,
I have been wanting to write this letter for the past 9 years but I didn’t want to come across as a crazy fan. Yes, I danced in the 80s in neon tights and sang “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” into my hair brush with the best of them, but I wanted to thank you for a life altering moment in 2007.
At the start of 2007 I was flipping through medical catalogs in an attempt to cheer myself up. When I became truly disabled, here were all the nifty things I could buy to make my life easier. Tools to dress myself with, ramps my wheelchair could use, all the different models of wheelchairs, oh my! The honest truth was, I was trying to figure out a way to tell my husband I wanted to be euthanized, to figure out how to do it legally, and was I really brave enough to go through with it. My body was betraying me and I was pretty sure my brain was melting away.
I had recurring bouts of insomnia and was on medications to counter the side effects of other medications. On one of those nights, I sat in the dark in the living room flipping through dozens of channels on the television with nothing to watch; not that I was even able to concentrate. I must have skipped over it at least twice before I noticed a channel was playing a concert.
The back drop read “True Colors” and then you walked onto the stage. Dressed in black and singing accapella. I don’t remember when or how I got off the couch and sat on the floor, touching the screen. I just remember tears streaming down my face and then I was sobbing. Then I must have started howling loud enough to wake up the dog and my husband.
To this day, when I think back to that moment, I still choke up and my chest tightens a little. Honestly, I have started writing this letter many times over and I have always stopped at this point because I don’t know how to continue telling the story. It was a moment that was so sad, so awful and so very wonderful all at the same time. I felt that I had no words at my disposal that can do that moment justice.
I remember hearing your voice. It was gravelly from being older; it was powerful. Your hair was short and no longer neon; you were fierce. You were no longer the performer I remembered from my childhood but you were magnificent. You had become a better artist. You were in control and you redefined that piece of music. You had aged, you had evolved and it was amazing.
I had been fighting so hard to get back to “normal”, back to the life I remembered, back to the person I was that I was no longer living. In that moment, I realised I had the opportunity to be a new me but I had to say goodbye. The dam of my emotions broke and I howled and sobbed and grieved for the person that I was no longer. I sobbed for the person I was never going to be again. I mourned for the person I remembered being. I cried all the tears I was afraid to cry since being ill.
This went on for hours. Crying until I could no longer breathe, falling asleep sobbing, waking up crying all over again. My husband just held me, handed me tissue after tissue and I am pretty sure he couldn’t decide if it was cathartic or if I had finally lost it.
When I finally stopped crying and my husband asked, “what do you want to do now?”. I stared at him. He continued, “what can I do to help you?”. I am sure I rambled on for a while, but the take away message was, I wanted to fight, I wanted to play by my rules, I wanted to be in control, I wanted to be wonderful. I needed him to hold my hand through this, to be my cheer squad, to remind me to stop looking backwards.
I finished my (new) degree in Adaptive Fitness Therapy, taught myself neuroplastic protocols, I started working in care facilities and then moved into seeing private clients. Today I specialise in neurological rehabilitation, lifestyle management and I’m the Wellness Concierge to clients around the world.
You were the spark that helped change my life. For that, I will be forever thankful.
Namaste; I bow to the divine in you.