Friday, December 5, 2008
I have been holding this in for over a month. And CAN'T believe that all was pulled off without a hitch for someone that is a gem of a friend!! A few months ago, one of my closest life friends, Andi Canny, let me know she was doing another photography/art show at Infusion on December 6th. In my brain I thought...Can I make it there? (here is where I would like to thank Jet Blue for the direct and rather cheap flight) You see Andrea has recently started to sell her photography, which is pretty amazing and genius! What is great about our friendship is that we met singing at Disney and when we found out that we had other talents, we encouraged one another to pursue those wholeheartedly. The past couple of years have been that for Andrea and I. Andrea was one of my friends that really supported me in my decision to leave full-time performing and work in the fight on cancer...hence the job with the Lance Armstrong Foundation and Andrea started working diligently on getting her photography onto canvas's and postcards, notecards. Her first showing earlier this year....went...well, better than great!! And so now she is being brought back for her second show and I can't wait to see what she has done! (don't worry Austinites, I am hoping I can get her to our land at some point to do a showing!!)
On top of that....Andrea flew out to Idaho for my very special day of becoming an Ironman. And she will never know what that meant to me....because I didn't want to be alone that day, and I wanted others to see what I had worked so hard for AND she has seen me climb the ladder of Triathlon. A few nights before my day, she wrote this to me:
When we're kids, what do we think we're gonna do when we grow up? Mostly we think about what we're going to BE when we grow up, not knowing that BEING and DOING are two very different things. And that we'll have so many inner dialogues debating the definition of these. While we are living our lives, we dream, we react to what else happens and sometimes never follow those dreams...leaving us feeling cheated and flat...sometimes failed. Although, where usually that spot lends good company, we don't feel any better about ourselves.
If we are lucky or blessed (whichever you prefer) we meet people we can call friends that accept us, love us and inspire us in immeasurable ways. I am such a blessed person. I've proven my mother's theory of being "lucky enough to have a handful of true friends in this life" wrong. I don't prove it out of spite or to prove any Universal law. It just IS...TRUE for me. And I am forever thankful and grateful. One of those friends is Colleen Wilson.
Colleen and I first bonded via humor as I thought she was so f$*(in' funny in the original cast of "Theme Park Diva", the brain child of my genius friend, John deHaas. Then, we ended up in Vybe, a singing group at Disney. That is where we truly bonded and began to enjoy a true mutual admiration society. We became roomies and she was the "Kate" to my "Allie" when I went to Japan and took care of my Tony Baloney in my absence...giving me the comfort of knowing he was in loving hands.
We became sisters, sharing the bathroom naked(sorry boys, no pictures), boy stories, drunkfests ("boobieeeeessss!!!"), small fights, tearfests for many reasons, big or small and slept easily knowing someone close had our back, no matter the reason or hour. You can't buy that. You could buy an employee....but you can't buy the feeling deep in your soul that knows and enjoys the beauty of true friendship. And this true friend is a CHAMPION MOTHER FUCKER!!!!!!!!! And a rockin' queen of music, but that's another blog!
Colleen is swiftly approaching the day of her first Full Ironman competition!!!!!(Sunday, June 22, my Dad's b'day!) I was there to witness the beauty & excitement of her first 1/2 Ironman here in Central Florida. The pic of her here on my page, with her medal and Bud Light is from that race! We got the beer from a stranger!! Lovely stranger! She has since done so much, including her 2nd 1/2 Ironman in Austin, her true home.
But this Sunday I will be there with the beautiful and vibrant Robin Grasso, Heidi Hanna & Heather Komorous to root Colleen on in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho during her 13+ hour race! (We will be hydrating with Mimosas and Mojitos~) A full Ironman is a 2 1/2 mile swim, followed by a 112 mile bike ride and finished with a full marathon(26.2miles)!!!!! She fucking rocks!!!!!!!!!! Seriously! Who the FUCK does that!!!!!???? Ok, so lots of other people do that, but their not my friends, so fuck 'em! No, really, I think they are great too, but I'm just so proud of my friend for following her dream.
She's trained countless hours, endured accidents resulting in injuries, altered her daily lifestyle and nutrition needed to withstand such training. All the while keeping a full & overtime job with a non-profit cancer organization. All of this is a lot but many people do it. But, not all people do this after such life trials as my friend has endured and risen above. This part of her story is not mine to tell, but there have been great burdens for her to bear, obstacles to navigate, physical and emotional. She is my CHAMPION!!!!!
I know I'm not changing the world by writing this blog. But, my life has been changed. Changed by this beautiful and wondrous friend. Her dedication, drive, constant sense of humor and thumb on reality keep me coming back time and time again for inspiration! She's not only been there for me as a friend, but just by being HER, her TRUE SELF, she has inspired me in countless ways. I will not only be at Coeur d'Alene in body but my whole spirit will be there, enjoying the bounty of her work!!!!! Reveling in her dedication to her dream! She has done this not for a charity(although she can't even count the hours she has dedicated to charity!), for a boy or for a drunken bar challenge(perhaps this is the next dream!). She has done this for HERSELF. As women, we are constantly taught to do only for others and not ourselves. This is where I bring out the oxygen mask example...put the mask on YOURSELF first and then on others you are helping!
I will be cheering on, gladly, happily and proudly while my dear friend realizes her dream!!! What a true JOY!!!! What a gift...she will be giving herself.....she will be giving me and all who love & support her!!! And all because she is living her true life......DOING what she wants to BE when she grows up....AN INSPIRATION TO ALL WOMEN!!!!!!
Love yourself and then love your friends....and if you're like me....love them hard first and keep working on loving yourself!!! Who's to say at the end of your life that the two won't meet at that lovely crossroad!!!!??
Rock on, Sister Colleen!!! See you there!!!! Andi
ok....so I have saved this letter from Andrea since my weekend in Idaho. When I start to doubt or when things get tough, I read it. The crazy thing is...or I guess the cool thing is I could say the same for her. Andrea is making the choice to live and pursue everything that truly wants from this life and I am blessed to have a front row seat to her life. (and to think that her and I were in Japan at the same time working and barely said 5 words to eachother!!! Timing truly is everything)
The move from Orlando to Austin has allowed me to open my eyes and see just who my real friends are. And Andi is right...Austin is my true home, but I will always go back for weekends of Marc Broussard, Seito Sushi, a Half Marathon (yeah, I know...I'm not right), her fabulous art show and many more memories and laughter. This is just the weekend I needed. Andi- it is YOU that inspire me and you push me the extra mile each and every day. I will laugh with you until we grow very old....so glad I could do this for you this weekend!!!