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Just Write…Just Live

Just Write…Just Live

Just write. That is the motto of most authors or instructors of writing. It doesn’t matter if it’s good, just write. You can always edit the work you’ve done, but you can’t edit what you didn’t write, so just write. You see the point I’m getting to here? Is it by chance, to just write? You’d be right. I can’t argue this point, because the people who say this are correct. That doesn’t always translate to the individual, especially me. I suppose that’s what makes the difference between the writers and the wannabes. I’m going to try and follow my own advice, or I suppose the advice of the professionals and just write. Before I do though, I’m going to dispense some advice for us all and I’m going to need your help and support.

What if we took this advice about writing and applied it to life. Instead of saying ‘just write’ replace it with ‘just live.’ We need not to worry about keeping up with Jones’ or worry about how we compare to others. Stop comparing your life to others and you’ll be much happier. The only person who your life needs validation from is you, so live your life. It doesn’t matter what that girl from high school who used to make fun of your clothes thinks. It doesn’t matter that your high school crush got married at 22 and you’re still single at 35. The only person you need to satisfy is you.

That does not mean not to care about people in general, because that’s what makes life so special. Sharing life’s moments with others is what life is about. If we don’t care about how we impact others we will probably have a pretty boring existence. One of the best examples of this comes from Christopher McCandless. You may know him as Alexander Supertramp or are familiar with his story from the book turned movie, ‘Into the Wild.’ A quick summary before making the point; Christopher McCandless graduates college and is unhappy with his parents and his life in general. He packs up leaves, running away and leaving his life behind. He travels west, has plenty of crazy and amazing experiences. His ultimate goal is to reach Alaska and live in the wild alone. He achieves this goal, finds the magic school bus, but a series of unfortunate events leaves him stranded and deathly ill. He succumbs to the illness and passes away. When his body is discovered his journal is found as well. One of the last things he wrote, if not the very final, “Happiness only real when shared.”

Pause and think about this for just a few moments. A young man who ran away from society to find his inner peace and true happiness realizes, “happiness only real when shared,” as he is dying. Profound irony and wisdom, if albeit extremely sad. If you’ve never read the book or seen the movie, do it. It is a true story; both sad and beautiful at the same time.

Some people say getting through life is enough. If that makes you happy, by all means do that. If you realize merely existing isn’t enough, go live. ‘Just live’ the life you’ve always wanted. Like writing you can in fact edit in life too. You may not be able to change the past, but you can start today, you can start right now to have a different future. Try new food, visit new places, see old friends, make new ones and give love without reservation all along the way. Enjoy your life; find peace and happiness and share it with others.

My ultimate point is this, just live. Quit making excuses, quit just existing and live. Find something that makes you happy and go after it. Don’t forget to share those experiences with others along the way. It doesn’t have to always be the same people, but share these moments with someone as you go through this life. After all, does it really happen if you can’t remember it with someone? The great irony for me here is that I’m on my own solo adventure for about 3 more months. You know what I’m doing though? I am including others as much as I can and the people close to me back home, I am trying to share as much as I can with them. I’ll share my adventures with you too, I’m about to start writing about them.

To close I am going to make a promise or you could call it a contract with you all. There is two parts to this contract, mine and yours.
Part 1, mine. I Coty will promise to just write.  I will pick up my drafts of books, screenplays etc I have started and will write in earnest. I also promise to release more content for my readers here and more often. Signed, ME

Part 2, yours. I (insert your name) promise to support Coty and CotyWrites by sharing his content with others; I also pledge to give Coty feedback, suggestions for new topics and will remind him he promised to write for us. Please, sign for me.

I hope you all enjoy and while I’m doing what I love, just writing, I hope you’ll find something you love. Just Live!

Much Love

 

Christopher McCandless in front of the ‘Magic School Bus’

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Defining Winning and Losing

Defining Winning and Losing

 

Traditional wisdom tells us that winning and losing are pretty clearly defined. You have a winner who wins and then you have a loser who does not win. Seems simple enough, and traditionally I would agree. Except in life there are rarely moments where there is clearly defined absolutes. The world is full of areas grey and even myself, who believes in many absolutes, sees that the shades of grey in life leave much to be wanted and learned from. With that in mind I am going to discuss something that most of us do not like to think about or much less discuss. Well two things really, death and cancer. If you are uncomfortable with either, I ask that you stick with me and allow me to share my outlook on these terrible situations.

The reality we face in life when decreeing something as an absolute win or loss is it doesn’t leave room for anything else. And many times in life defining winning and losing is very subjective. Life isn’t a sporting event, and heck even in sports that becomes an area of grey too. If a team is projected to be one of the worst teams in their respective sports and exceeds expectations tenfold that season is considered a success even if they fall short of winning a championship. In sports and life, it is all a matter of perception. You’ll see the reason for the sports metaphor a little later.

Perception is what brings me to my cause for this piece tonight. I have been thinking and working my thoughts on this for over a month, and prior to that the general concept has been in my head for a couple of months now. When addressing the death of someone who has passed away due to cancer we have a tendency to say, “Jane Doe after a long battle with cancer lost their fight this morning.” I have used this phrase myself. I began to change my thoughts on this after watching my friend Kelly fight for years and ultimately succumbing to cancer. Then somewhat recently my mom’s first cousin Arlene also passed away from cancer after a long hard fight. We all know people personally who have fought and lived their lives in the face of this dreaded disease. So we remember them by saying they lost? Of course not we remember them for how they lived and how they fought bravely, no matter how long or how short that battle was.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand people are using this turn of phrase as a polite way to acknowledge someone’s fight and untimely passing, I get that. I also understand people do not truly think people who die from such diseases are losers. However, that is technically what they are saying, unintentionally and with kindness I admit. Nothing about the struggles the brave souls we all have known says anything remotely close to losing. Their fights are usually nothing less than inspiring and awe inducing. I don’t know how these people handle all the hardships they face, it is truly super human feats to endure it all.

My point is, these people, our loved ones, are not anything close to losers and they do not lose to cancer. Let me repeat THEY DO NOT LOSE TO CANCER. They may no longer be with us here on this Earth, but I believe they continue their fight from their heavenly homes or through those they touched here while they were still with us. How these heroes respond to unspeakable pain and suffering should be the measure enough of their wins. I have never once seen those diagnosed with a terrible prognosis not rise to face the challenges waiting in front of them. I’ve seen people told they have mere months to live fight for four to five years and beyond. They literally fight and increase their lifespan tenfold. No I can’t say these people lose, not by a mile.

My feelings can probably be best described by someone else’s words. On July 16, 2014 Stuart Scott accepted the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at that year’s ESPY’s. Although, I never personally met or knew Stuart Scott or anyone from ESPN, I have felt such a connection to his words, especially after he passed on January 4, 2015, less than six months after his famous speech. You see January 4, is a special day to me it is the birthday of my friend Kelly who won her battle against cancer and departed this Earth on March 2, 2013. These words are just a portion of what Mr. Scott said that night, and if you have 10 or so minutes go to YouTube and watch the full speech.
“….When you die it does not mean you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and in the manner in which you live. So live…live, fight like hell, and when you get too tired to fight then lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you.”
As I mentioned a moment ago he departed this life less than 6 months later, so in hindsight his words seem prophetic. Maybe he sensed his last days were drawing closer, but his words stood tall and powerful and will live an eternity at least to me as a rallying cry for all those touched by cancer.

The first person I ever realized was fighting against cancer was a kid named Marcus Parsley who in elementary school was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Even at the time, I didn’t truly understand the aspects of what he was enduring, but it is my first real memory of a battle against cancer, and has stuck with me since. I believe it was fourth grade and his prognosis was not good, that young man fought for over three years before winning his battle and leaving us behind on Earth. My friend Kelly who I’ve mentioned a few times in this piece, and if you have read some of my previous works you know all about, battled for many years so beautifully and with such courage. My aunt Arlene who passed just a few months ago after many years of battling and fighting, saw her children and grandchildren grow; these people just to name a few lived those words spoken by Stuart Scott and exemplified what it meant to fight and live with cancer. These people are WINNERS in every facet of the word.

I’m sure for those of you who read this, you know someone near and dear to you or even distant that has battled cancer and touched you in some way. These brave people we all know in our everyday lives are nothing less than true heroes. Their battles and struggles inspire us all and we should remember them for how they lived and fought. Next time someone you know passes away to cancer or any other disease or injury, that is outside of their control, I hope you join me not in suffering of their loss, but celebrating their victory! No more pain and peace is what they have now. This is for you Stuart, Marcus, Kelly and Arlene and all of the million others; you can lay down and rest now, we’ll continue your fight from here. Thank you for your love and touching all of us, you’re the inspiration we should all aspire to me.

Below is Stuart Scott’s ESPY speech.

 

With Love

 

M. Coty Myers

 

 

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We All Need Someone There

I started this piece back in September, and took a leave from writing. I am back now, and figured this piece was as good as any to start back with. It is is partially inspired by the Wonder Years, but mainly from a conversation with a dear friend. My hope is to bring you new  content at least once a week. I would very much appreciate your feedback and suggestions for new pieces or improvement. Thank you everyone and Happy New Year!

 

We All Need Someone There

 

When discussing with a friend recently about a tough time her significant other was experiencing she said something I found so basic yet profound at the same time.  Before we get there a little context first; Her and the aforementioned significant other had a 2 to 3 hour phone call, but she said there was only maybe 20 to 30 minutes of actual talking, it was mainly just silence. Back to her thought that hit me hard, it was, “I guess we all just need somebody to be there sometimes.” That put this idea in my head about a month ago. Then in the past week I was watching some videos of ‘The Wonder Years’ cast in recent years giving interviews. (Side note if you read me regularly you know my love of the Wonder Years, if not read some of my older stuff.) Most of the clips had the 3 main characters, Kevin, Winnie, and Paul (Fred Savage, Danica McKellar, Josh Saviano) discussing their experiences of life and the show. One in particular was a town hall type interview in an auditorium. The host posed the question, “you all three were going through similar life events and struggles growing up off screen, did you lean on each other for support?” Fred Savage (Kevin) answered first, “I mean we were friends, and I’m sure we discussed those things. I think more than anything we were just there for each other just because we were there, and that brought me a lot of comfort.”

That lays the concept of my thoughts for this piece. Even though it seems so basic, isn’t it still profoundly basic and true that ultimately sometimes we all just need someone there, to honestly just be there. Whether it’s providing advice, being a shoulder to cry on, or just listening to someone express their frustrations, we all need someone there sometimes. People often look back to their past and think they don’t have friends like they did when they were children. I think we fail to realize the obligations of adult life. For those of us who have those close friends you see and talk to nearly every day, you need to realize the gift you have. For most of us I feel we don’t have that in our adult lives. It’s not a bad thing though, and it doesn’t mean we don’t have those close friends either. The realities of adulthood between full-time jobs, families, and other commitments limits the time we have to share with our friends. Because of these realities, I believe that is why so many become such great friends and close to co-workers, they are simply just there every day.

Getting back to the point of looking back to our youth as a measuring stick of our friendships, at these young ages we are thrown in with countless others, and we grow together. In school we are just simply there every day. That is why so often we look back and think we never have friends like the ones we had in our youth. However, if we pause for a minute and really take stock of our current friendships it isn’t about daily interaction, but the quality of the time we have with the ones closest to us. We all have those friends we don’t see for four or five years and for the couple of hours or days we do spend with them, it’s like no time has passed. That is how friendship works in our adult lives. Beyond that we still communicate with our friends whether it is daily or not, we know they are there for us when we need them.

I know I have friends that I haven’t seen in ages, but if I pick up a phone or send them a message they will be there ready to listen my problems. Sometimes that is all we need, just someone there. I know many of you out there, can probably handle your issues all your own, but for everyone there comes a point when we just need someone else. I hope to everyone who reads this, you have that person or people who you know will be there when you need them.

Even the strongest of us will go through times that will test the very fiber of our beings, and those times are made easier if we have someone who is there to share the load with us. Whether it is a spouse, sibling, friend, or whoever it may be it helps to have someone just be there for us. For those of you who think you can handle anything on your own, I envy you, and I used to consider myself in the same light. It is true each person goes through their own struggles; it isn’t ours to judge who has it worse. Obviously those who are dealing with extreme sickness or injury will probably feel they have a worse situation than someone who has lost a job, but that is the concept of what I am talking about. No one wants to face either issue alone, and no one should face these obstacles alone. From time to time we all need someone there, just so we know they are.

I’ll conclude with this, it doesn’t make any of us less of person to want to have someone there for us. We all need someone there from time to time even if it is only to hear us voice our frustration and pain. We shouldn’t fear that we are burdening someone with our problems, because we are all in this life together. Be there for someone people, you never know when just listening or the simplest of help may make a world of difference to someone who really needs it. You also never know, when you may need someone to be there for you. In the end I think we all want the best for everyone, and we can help each other achieve that. Let’s start helping and being there for each other, after all I think we all long to ultimately just have someone there or to share it with. What does it matter if we gain all the successes we can if we have no one to share it with? That my friends is what life is about human interaction, the experiences, the people, the emotions, not the material. I hope you all have someone to be there.

 

With Love

Coty Myers

 

The 3 main Wonder Years characters then and now.

The 3 main Wonder Years characters then and now.

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Soul Mates

Soul Mates

Webster’s defines a soul mate in two ways . 1) A close friend who completely understands you and 2) A person who has the same beliefs and opinions as another person. 

I introduce these definitions to you to take a possibly unconventional look at what most of us may define soul mates as. Special thanks to Rebecca (Pooh) Gray for helping bring this idea to me. When jokingly saying Pooh and I were soul mates, because of our nearly always being of the same opinions, she said something so profound it nearly knocked my socks off.  (At the time we were soul mates because I had just found out we wanted the same candy, Peanut Butter M & M’s.) Pooh says, “I believe there are many soul mates for each and every one. A soul is too complex to only have one.” After a short discussion she threw another gem out there, “And once a soul mate doesn’t mean always a soul mate.” Mind equals blown at this point. 

Why was my mind blown though? My traditional thoughts on a soul mate are probably similar to the majority of you reading this. A soul mate is the love of your life, that forever person from now until infinity. Then I started thinking, maybe my friend has a valid point here. Then I looked up Webster’s definition. If you look at the second definition my friend and I are definitely soul mates. However, I am one that says if you never change your mind or opinion on a belief, then you aren’t truly thinking. What does that mean, if I or someone else changes our belief system or some of the bonding opinions we shared with another? Then my dear friend Pooh is correct someone who was once my soul mate no longer has that connection. I am not advocating for kicking this person out of your life forever, but we have all been there. That best friend we had when were 8 is probably still not your best friend at 48. If it is that is truly amazing. I’m not even factoring in marriage here, just true friends. We have all lost that friend or friends that used to be “our person” that we went to for everything, or that group of friends that had nearly all the same beliefs. These are all types of soul mates. Some soul mates just happened to both come into and out of our lives at different times.

The first definition, a close friend who completely understands you. Don’t we all need at least one person who completely understand us, or close to completely. There is nothing like having someone or a couple of people you can turn to that knows your emotions, likes, dislikes, your hopes and dreams, and your reactions. There is just something reassuring know that someone just gets you. That person at just a glimpse of you, reads you like a book instantly. That person who can see through your walls and fake smiles, they see straight through to your soul. Whether your soul is filled with happiness or hurt, they are there to reassure you and pick you back up.

However, when most of think of soul mates we think of someone who is there forever and never leave us. If this is our true definition, only our parents and older relatives would really be our soul mates, and we wouldn’t be theirs. There are very few people who are there from birth. That is a crazy example, but you see my point. Maybe you do meet a best friend on your first day of kindergarten and you spend the rest of your lives being there for each other, which is great. Most of us however, won’t carry those friendships through all the years. We will find those as we find ourselves that are there for us and us them, regardless of the circumstances. They may fade with time, or they may be tethered to us no matter the distance and time we go without speaking to seeing them. The crazy thing about soul mates is no one is the same, nor are we represent the exact thing to any two people. We may the keeper of secrets for one friend, or the shoulder to cry on for another. Whatever it is we need to remember to be the best person we can be to the ones closest to us. Too often we only see people for what they can do for us, instead we should be asking what we can do for them. If we all spent more time building others the world would be a better place, and the people of it kinder.

Let’s look at soul mates through the traditional definition in terms of relationships. When I think of my idea of a soul mate, I think of someone not that I can’t live without, but something more. Someone I want to be around. I want my soul mate to be a confidant, someone who shares my sense of humor, someone I would call a best friend. Does that mean we have to agree on everything or have the same opinion on all subjects? Of course not, it’s good to be challenged by the one’s closest to us, and make us reassess where we stand. At the end of the day though, I want someone who can comfort me even when I appear fine, someone to laugh at me when I mess up and with me when I’m be silly. More than that, I want to be that person for my soul mate. Does this mean if we have soul mate that develops from a relationship they will be the one we spend the rest of our life with? Absolutely not. Just because a relationship doesn’t last, doesn’t mean the person meant any less to us, they just weren’t meant to be there forever. When we someone who we believe is that person for us, our soul mate, we need to remember certain things. We need to remember it isn’t always going to be easy, regardless of what others may tell us. Love requires hard work, dedication, and sacrifice. Most of us want that, no, we need that love, and we will find if we truly try to make it work, it is ultimately worth it.

So remember friends, soul mates aren’t reserved for a lifetime. They are gifts from God to help us at different points in our lives. There are those both friend and romantic loves that will be our soul mates at different times. Remember it takes work to keep those relationships and we need them, but more importantly maybe they need us more. Hopefully you all have a soul mate when you need them the most, and work to be one for the ones closest to you when they need one.

With Love

M. Coty Myers

Soulmate

Soulmate1

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Scars

Scars

 

Scars, I am sure most of us have scars that dot our bodies, I know I do. I have one on my right thigh that has almost all but disappeared from a bicycle crash I had when I was 9 or 10 years old. There is a somewhat visible scar on my chin from yet another bicycle wreck around the same age. Then there is a scar that you probably wouldn’t notice, but I can see every time I look at my right knee. It’s from ACL reconstructive surgery I had in January 2010; I can’t believe it has been that long, since that surgery. Much like physical scars, most of us also have emotional scars. Seeing the girl in the blue prom dress coming down her stairs, and wondering why I hadn’t asked her still has its scar on me. Similarities between the two cannot be denied. I’ll introduce different ideas with some quotes.

“Sometimes it’s the scars that remind you that you survived. Sometimes the scars tell you that you have healed”- Ashley D. Walls
Our physical scars remind us nearly every day of some event, or injury that we endured. The sight of a scar can conjure all the pain we felt when the injury occurred. The injuries with time however heal, and when the scars form we are reminded of our healing. With even more time the scars often begin to fade, some of the deeper scars will remain with us for the rest of our lives. When I look down and see the scar on my right knee, I’m reminded of how far I’ve come since that surgery. Even when I make a step from time to time, and my knee gives out, that scar reminds me that I’m much better than I was. I’m still getting better all the time.

There are those other scars however, the emotional and mental scars. These aren’t visible on the outside, yet so often take longer to heal than their physical counterparts. Something about memories that haunt you forever or leaves that impression for our lifetimes’ are often the things that hurt us the most. No one’s emotional scars are necessarily greater than the next person’s, but we all have scars we bare. Much like the physical scars some people recover from the emotional wounds quicker, and some are slower to heal. All we can do is move on and let time mend our hearts like it does our scars.

There are those deep emotional scars that feel like they cut us like a knife; losing your best friend before their time, standing in the back of a church when your first love walks down the aisle to marry another man, or maybe being betrayed by the person you thought would always be there. The pain of these scars feel worse than any of the physical scars that cross our bodies, yet to most they will never be seen. Is it fair that our deepest scars are the scars people can’t see? Or is it better, because those scars are often so deep, strangers would just stare.

“But not all scars showed did they?”- Eileen Wilks
Like the physical scars our emotional scars start to fade with time though. Much like rubbing an old scar on your arm and smiling thinking about the crazy bike crash that caused it; our emotional scars remind us of what we have survived. It’s not all bad, and it’s definitely not all good. It’s a mixed bag. So when you sip that drink at you and your ex’s old spot eventually a smile will crease your face instead of the tear that used to trace your cheek. Maybe she broke your heart, but the burning flame of that heated romance makes you forever remember her. You could spend the rest of your time searching for that same feeling, or you could just smile at the memory and look for something new.

You see ladies and gentlemen whether our scars be physical or emotional we will always have the memories and stories that go with them. The stories, our memories are often better because of the scars. Those scars remind us something significant transpired, and leave those unforgettable moments in our minds. That scar on my chin from the bike wreck? Yeah it hurt and I thought I was seriously hurt, but I don’t know if I would take it back. Those fleeting seconds of steaming down that hill full speed on that bike, I’ll never forget that feeling, and that was over 20 years ago now. I’m sure my cousins Dave and Jennifer from Indiana may never forget my reaction after either, through tears and hysterical crying, I yelled, “Call 911!” Ha, but just my mom putting pressure on it made the bleeding stop eventually. The next day it didn’t even really hurt, and when I went back to school that August I had a cool scar from a bike wreck.

“Our scars make us who we are. Some scars are just deeper than others.”- Alex Rosa
Much like those stories of our physical scars, our emotional ones take us back to times that may not have ended the best, but we wouldn’t trade for anything. Would you take back years of friendship, just because your best friend eventually just lost touch? There is a quote from Dr. Seuss that can be applied to the memories of our scars, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” Don’t get me wrong I understand there are some scars both physical and emotional that we wish we didn’t remember or have to endure, but they serve as reminders of what we can survive, and how far we have come.

I will leave you with this; can we truly enjoy the happy without knowing the pain? I don’t wish pain on anyone, but knowing pain helps us truly recognize and enjoy the good. Our wounds and injuries eventually begin to heal, we may not even notice at first, but change will come. The injuries and pain eventually heal and are replaced by scars that remind us of the battles we fought and the heartbreaks we suffered. Again, all we can do is move on and let time mend our hearts as it does our scars.

“Change, like healing, takes time.”- Veronica Roth

With Love,

M. Coty Myers

 

scar quote

Post Knee Surgery

Post Knee Surgery 2010

My knee now

My knee now 2015

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Inspiration: Kelly

Inspiration

 

My Inspiration

Inspiration can come from anywhere. It can be divine intervention, a teacher who touches your heart, a song lyric, inspiration can come from anywhere. Most spiritual people will say inspiration is Heaven sent or something to that effect. I couldn’t agree more, and we all receive inspiration at different times from many different things. I want to take some time tonight, to talk about one of the, if not the biggest inspiration of my life thus far. Mine was a young woman who embodied what it meant to live, to fight, and to give love freely.

Kelly Harty, I only knew a fraction of the time I have spent on this Earth, but since she won her fight and traveled home, not a day goes by when she doesn’t come to mind. I met Kelly before she even knew who I was. I was at EKU working for Campus Rec when Kelly and 2 of her sorority sisters walked into one of our gyms. I scanned her student ID, and made it a point to remember her name. While watching that small gym while her and her sisters were in there, I couldn’t help but notice her infectious smile and how she had so much joy. I asked a friend who was also a Chi Omega, about her. My friend got back to me and let me know she was freshman, and other information. I never saw Kelly again, until to my surprise we hired her at Campus Rec. Kelly was always quick to make me smile or challenge wits, and just make mine or anyone’s day better.

Fast forward and it’s spring semester and Kelly has a spot removed from her knee, says it’s no big deal. Kelly went home to New Jersey that summer, and I was giddy for her return when we returned in August for staff training. Kelly was noticeably absent one morning and I talked to Beth Keith, who told me what Kelly had found out the day before. Kelly had learned of her diagnosis. My heart sank, and I have often wondered how she must have felt in that moment. I don’t know, but the next time I saw her you would have never known anything was wrong. I saw her jeep outside the gym and made a mad dash inside. Without really looking I ran into Beth’s office and said, “IS KELLY, OH KELLY IT IS YOU!” I was so excited she might be there in haste I didn’t check my surroundings to see she was right there. It was a funny moment.

Kelly’s prognosis wasn’t the best to put it mildly, but she was determined to kick cancer’s butt, and man did she. She never wavered, I don’t think she ever doubted even for a moment she would win this battle, and just saw it as another obstacle to overcome. She had to make trips to hospitals all over, and she stayed in school, and kept working, it was mind blowing what this young woman could do. Nothing could slow her down; much less stop her from achieving her goals. She finished her degree and graduated on time. This was a real wake up for me.

The first time I saw Kelly, I was in what I would later coin as my first senior year. I stayed at EKU for another 4 years, and had yet to graduate. I moved back to my home in January 2011 feeling defeated from not completing my degree. Things in life seem so small compared to others. I still spoke to Kelly on facebook, an occasional text, or when I randomly popped up at my old home the Campus Rec gym. I missed many folks from Campus Rec, but the one I missed the most was Kelly. We just clicked, and I’ve come to learn, it wasn’t a special thing for just me. It was special, because that’s who Kelly was. Everyone who met and got to know Kelly say the same things, it was like a sister or best friend they had all their life’s except they had only known her a month, or whatever short amount of time it was. That’s just who Kelly was, she loved everyone with all her heart. One of my biggest regrets was not making more of an effort to stay close with Kelly the last year or so, we can’t go back in life, and I use it as a reminder to tell the one’s closest to me how much they mean to me.

I returned to the academic life in the Fall 2012 semester, and I was still not the best student. January 4th came, and I wished Kelly a Happy Birthday, I saw her status on facebook in February about watching the Oscar’s. Then I was preparing to go see George Strait on Saturday March 2nd 2013. My phone rings, and it’s from my old boss Beth. I answer, and Beth is crying, I was trying to console her, and I didn’t even know what for, and then Beth said I wanted to call and tell you, Kelly isn’t with us anymore. I don’t know if I had ever felt emptier before or since. I have lost distant relatives, acquaintances and old friends I had nearly lost complete contact with, but I just couldn’t believe it with Kelly. Kelly the fighter, I knew she was going to win and be with us forever. She was the first person I was truly close to, to leave us, and so it was a new experience.

As much as my heart ached, I couldn’t really believe it. I was unable to make it to the memorial service they had in Richmond with her Chi Omega’s sisters and her beloved KA Boys. Then one night in April, I listened to “Forever Young” sang by Joan Baez, and I sobbed like a young child, but it was a good moment. Now I listen to that song 2 or 3 times a week and smile, I will always remember Kelly and I will always associate that song with her.

Back to inspiration though, Kelly inspired everyone she ever met. It seemed people all over the country and world were touched somehow by this young woman so full of life and love. At the end of spring semester in May 2013 there was a Celebration of Life ceremony for Kelly on campus. I was able to make it. I saw all my old friends and bosses from campus rec, and I felt almost whole again. Kelly brought me back to the people who had become my second family for many years. When we entered the auditorium, although it was somber, it was also refreshing. With all the pictures and stories, I fully felt Kelly was there with us and my heart was full once again. At the end of the ceremony there was plaque dedicated to Kelly on the recreation fields. A great spot for the girl who loved to have fun and enjoyed cheering on her Chi O’s and KA’s on the fields.

Several of us went to catch up and celebrate Kelly after the ceremony that night, May 5, Cinco de Mayo! We were in the mood for Mexican, so it was a long wait, but it was good to catch up. One of my old bosses, Mark Howard, asked me how everything was going, and I told him I was attending school again, and was going to graduate in December. He asked me what had made me go back and graduate, and I just smiled. I said, “The reason was today Mark. Kelly inspired me to go back and finish. If she can graduate with all she endured, I have nothing holding me back, besides myself.” Mark said very cool man, I’m happy for you.

A day doesn’t go by where I don’t think of Kelly, I keep a picture from her celebration service in my room to see every day. I don’t really need it, I can still close my eyes and see her, and I hope I always can. Words cannot always do someone justice and are never enough. However in the summer of 2014, Stuart Scott at the ESPY’s said some words that could not more perfectly fit Kelly’s fight. He said, “When you die, that does not mean you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live. So live, live, fight like hell. And when you get too tired, lie down, rest and let someone else fight for you.”

I try to live my life the best that I can, and I want to achieve so many things, because that is what Kelly would want. I want to live a great life, because Kelly lived the fullest life anyone could in 23 years, and she exemplified what it means to live, to fight, and to love with everything we have inside of us. Synovial Cell Sarcoma, is not a widely known form of cancer, but Kelly raised its profile tremendously. If you read this take a moment and donate to the research fund, find an article about it and share, we need to continue to raise awareness.

Anyone who says that when you leave this Earth that you lose never met Kelly. Kelly kicked cancer’s butt, and kicked it hard. She WON! She is just continuing the battle from her Heavenly home now. We will fight for you on Earth now Kelly. So here is to my inspiration a true Southern Belle, from New Jersey, I miss and love you more every day, and I hope you stay forever young.

With Love

M. Coty Myers

in my heart 1

Kelly & I

Kelly Cheering on her KA’s

 

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Unfinished

Unfinished

 

October 27th, 2005. I was a sophomore at EKU. I was still living at home attending the extended campus in Corbin. It was a Thursday, and the Student Activities Council was having a concert at the Richmond campus. Not a concert I would typically attend, a rap concert, and Fat Joe at that. However, several people said they wanted to go, so I decided to go. I had a friend, Adam Duvall, who met me at Alumni Coliseum in Richmond. The opening act who I can’t even remember opened up, and performed for quite a while. Eventually it was announced Fat Joe was running late. He showed up around 10, Adam and I listened to about 2 songs and left. We hung out for a while and went our separate ways. I went and spent a couple of hours with another friend, and started home a little after 2 am. Now the drive from Richmond to Corbin is only about an hour long, and I had no worries. I was blaring some Garth “Double Live” if I’m not mistaken it was the first CD.

You may possibly be asking what in the world does this have to do with anything? Well this is what happened about one-third of my way home.

This Happened

This Happened

This did too

This did too

This was about a mile past the concrete barrier around mile marker 67-68ish, and before the crossover cables were installed. I was traveling south bound at about 77 miles per hour. I dozed off and when I looked up I was about to rear-end a semi. Instead of hitting the brakes, I cut my wheel hard, and went into a spin. My car spun through the grass median that had a little ditch in the middle. When I reached the other side of the median, my car popped and began to roll, I rolled about 4 times, eventually landing on my top, and continuing on my southernly course. When my car finally stopped, I was conscious, not noticeably injured, and hanging upside down. After realizing all these things, I decided it would be best to stay in my car, in the median until help arrived. Then a car buzzed by me, and I realized I was in the middle of the north bound lanes. Panicking I tried to get out of my car by kicking out my back window. When that failed, I took notice of my surroundings and all my side windows were busted out, so I climbed out my passenger side window which was facing the north bound traffic.

I don’t talk about religion or God much here, but I know a higher power, a heavenly power, my God was watching over me that night. Because of the time of night/ early morning, I didn’t involve any other vehicles; no one from Corbin decided to go, so I had no passengers, no one but me. Also because of the time no one was traveling north bound at the time that could have stricken my car. As usual I was wearing my seatbelt which prevented me from being ejected, but all these things still don’t explain how I walked away unharmed. That is why I say God brought me through it. When thinking about writing this for the past couple of weeks, I didn’t know where I was going to go with this exactly, but the one thing that kept coming back to me is unfinished. I gave you the background to get to this point, unfinished.

I thought 9 years ago I would be somewhere different in my life than I am now, but that’s ok. Life is what happens to us while we are making plans. I don’t know if I would change a single thing from that night to now, because it has led to me where I am now. I do know the one thing that hasn’t changed from then until now, is I want to help and inspire people. I’m still looking for the way to do that, and hopefully reading this may inspire someone out there.

People say your life flashes before your eyes in a near death experience, maybe that was the first sign I was going to be fine. The only thing running through my mind was I can’t believe my broken bone streak is going to be over, and I just became another statistic for over-correcting that turned into a rollover accident. In the years since I’ve decided there is a reason I walked away unharmed, that my life didn’t end that night. I may know not know what that reason is yet, but I’m still searching. What I do know now is I am still unfinished. My life, my story is unfinished, and I look at this as a blessing. We should all strive to live life day to day as unfinished. Every day we have a chance to start a new, to make a new beginning, and to write a new end to our own fairytale.

My challenge not just to myself, but to everyone is to live life unfinished. Every day is a chance to doing something exciting, learn something we didn’t know the day before, or to make a memory we will never forget. What would you do if today would be your last? Obviously there are things like spend time with your family, etc, but what would truly want to do? Tim McGraw sings the song, “Live Like You Were Dying.” What would be all the things you would want to do before you die? Better question what’s stopping you? We need to realize the only thing that limits us is ourselves.

Make each day a mission to live it to its fullest. Some days we will be tired, tried, and at the end of our sanity, but we have the next day to start over and make it better. We all share this earth together, and we all have our own journeys, but there is no reason we can’t lend a helping hand to one another along the way. We can’t go through this world without emotions, our days are full of so many different emotions. We need to remember our impact on others, whether it is a simple hello or loving embrace you never know what impact you may have on someone on any given day.

When my days are at their end and I look in the mirror I want to remember that I made the effort, that I didn’t settle for status quo; I took each day as a gift, and lived life as unfinished. How do you want to be remembered? How will you measure your success? You’re here and yes you are alive, but are you truly living? Or have you already settled for the circumstances as they are. Don’t take my word on it, listen to that voice in your mind, quit pushing it back, and truly listen. You can do it; you just have to give the effort. Never be afraid to show emotion, and never apologize for being you. Love freely, give without motive, and be brave.  Never forget every second of every minute is a chance to make a successful new start, you just have to accept that nothing is final, and your life is always unfinished.

I'm still here

I’m still here

 

And I'm going to live life as unfinished

And I’m going to live life as unfinished

With Love

M. Coty Myers

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