An Open Letter To Myself For 2020

Dear Keisha,

Here we are in 2020! Yay! In the last year, you learned so many lessons. You gathered so many stories. Had the opportunity to participate in so many features. You did the thing and are continuing to make a name for you and your brand, Girls Chronically Rock!

Going forward, I want you to always be reminded of three very important things: your present, your past and your future. They’re all vital to consider when preparing for all the success in store for GCR.

I am trusting you to value your present. Take note of each moment and allow time to savor. Each breath, each thought, each smile – they’re all important milestones that allow you to continue to live out your purpose.  Your dream and passion for GCR depends on how you live each day. Remember to take care of yourself so that you can help to take care of others. That is your mission. This year, I trust you to stay active. A healthy life will allow you to make appearances. Make connections. Make great on the goals that you have set. Treat your body well with compassion. While I want for a healthy exercise regimen, I don’t want you to sacrifice a couple nights of wings with a side of chips and dips. You deserve that luxury! Enjoy your faves. It’s okay. When you’re feeling low or lacking kind words for yourself, speak to yourself as you would Beyoncé. Now I KNOW you wouldn’t be unkind to her – treat your mind and body with the same grace and genuine kindness.

When you think of the past, I need you to so with consideration but without dwelling. You are where you are now because you made the right decisions to get you here. When the symptoms and diagnoses creeped into your life, you didn’t fall or falter – you birthed a divine vision instead, Girls Chronically Rock. That’s a big deal, remember that. Use your story as a testimony and allow yourself to reflect on it for relatability and connection, but never to bring yourself down. Use your proven strength then, as encouragement for your next battle, for you and for your Chronically Ill Badass family. Yes, you created a family. You created a brand. You created a victory over something that tried to make you a victim. Be proud of that. I’m proud of that.

Plan to continue your legacy. Look forward to great things to come in 2020. With the changes you’re making now, this year can be the greatest start of the decade – as you hit runways, television screens, and God-willing, Oprah Magazine! (Fingers crossed!) Your story is purposed to encouraged others. Never forget that. Embrace it. Going into this year, I want you to keep in mind that movement made not be linear or constant, but you can count on it to still happen. Sales of merchandise may vary from month to month. You may get a feature one month and maybe none, for two. If you don’t get a response right away, it doesn’t signify rejection. These things could produce insecurity, but I believe in you enough to know that they will not stop you from being secure in who you are and what you’ve come to do. What matters is that you keep going anyway – telling your story and sharing your mission without ceasing.

Keisha, I am so proud of you. If no one told you today, I’ll tell you: I LOVE YOU. You are spunky, bright and full of smiles and laughter. You are a go-getter. You are an empire. You are success. The moment your mind tries to tell you otherwise, you head right back to this letter and read this over and over again until the doubt dissolves. Keep striving, badass!

With love,

Keisha Greaves

Published by girlschronicallyrock

I was born and raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts. My personality is friendly, strong work ethic, and great professional skills that makes her the hustler she is today. I graduated from Framingham State University with Bachelor’s in Fashion Design and Merchandising, a year after I graduated from Cambridge College with a Master’s degree in Business Management. While earning my degree I gained invaluable experience in the business/financial and Fashion Industry with working at different departments at Cambridge Savings Bank and many merchandising companies such as Motherhood Maternity, Tommy John, Spanx, Echo Design and Fossil Group. While in Framingham State University, I was in the Fashion Club and Black Student Union Club where I was able to meet new people and gain and learn a new experience in both groups with a different diverse of people. I knew I always had a passion for fashion from in middle school and new I wanted to be a Fashion Designer. I looked up to Fashion Designers like Kimora Lee Simmons and Betsey Johnson. I love their unique different styles and just two successful entrepreneurs who are making it in the fashion world and continuing to grow. My dream is to possibly meet both of them one day, even maybe do some business together. At the present time, I am working as a Merchandise Coordinator for Tommy John inside of Macy’s and Nordstrom within the Boston Area. I also owned my own t-shirt line business called Girls Chronically Rock which was inspired by myself because I was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy back in graduate school so I wanted to make something inspirational, motivating for people who may have a chronic illness like myself or may be battling anything in their life, to let them know that they rock no matter what. With the wonderful work experiences over the years, I am really just an easy-going person where sometimes I love to be at home watching lifetime movies or many of my tv shows that I love to watch on a daily basis. I like spending time with family and friends whether its traveling, going out to eat and going to special events. Through my education and work experience, I have gained the knowledge and skills necessary to excel as a Fashion Designer and Visual Merchandiser. I am both qualified and eager to strive at my business Girls Chronically Rock and continue with dedication, and I know my hard work will pay off and I will reach my goals. I will soon hope to have my t-shirt line sold in department stores such as: local boutique stores, Macy’s, Karmaloop Foot Locker and many more. Here is a little more in depth detail about how I was diagnosed with Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy: I have Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy (MD); I was diagnosed at the age 24. I was born and raised in Cambridge, MA and went to high school in Cambridge. I received my bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design and Merchandising and then furthered my education in getting my Master’s degree in Business. When I first discovered my symptoms of my MD, it was crazy to me because I started to get symptoms around 2009. While in graduate school I began to repeatedly fall, and my leg would just give out on me without notice. I would fall to the ground and not be able to pick myself back up, I would need assistance from someone to lift me up with all their might, because it was something I just wasn’t capable of doing on my own. I also began notice when I tried to reach for certain things in the kitchen cabinets or try to exercise I was unable to lift my right arm up all the way. I kind of just thought to myself maybe I need to go on a diet and lose weight, but in the back of my mind I knew it something more. So I went to see an orthopedic, but I was told that this was more of a neuro-muscular issue, so I then went to see a Neurologist. Once I saw the Neurologist, she then tested me and gave me muscle biopsy, MRI, an EMG and every other test you can think of. So after multiple tests, I was finally diagnosed with Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy. Limb-Girdle is a form of MD that affects the limb of the shoulders all the way down to the legs, which progressively over time eventually gets worse. The first thing I thought was how long am I going to live will I be in a wheelchair soon, and what is my life going to be like from now on. I knew I had to be strong and continue to do what I have to do so I started doing some research on it and read what eating healthy and exercising would help. I joined weight watchers with my cousin and I lost over 36 pounds and I felt great. I’ve able to keep half the weight still off, and I am still determined to lose more. They have multiple types of Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy, and 5 years later my doctor’s are still trying to figure which type I have exactly. The only thing they know at this point is from the types I may have can affect my heart which is why I often have to go get a echo-cardiogram test that tests my heart to make sure everything is ok. Living with Limb-Girdle Muscular dystrophy is still new to me every day. I wake up every day not knowing how my legs are going to feel or what pain I may have when leaving my house. I try to be very careful when walking because I don’t want to fall, because I won’t be able to pick myself back up. Although I am on my feet a lot for work, after a certain amount of hours, my legs start to weaken. I am currently a visual merchandiser at different locations a very popular clothing store. I enjoy my job because it keeps me and my legs active and I enjoy traveling to the different store locations and doing what I love and my part in the fashion industry. I have the wonderful support from my family and friends but at the ending of the day, they have NO IDEA what I go through on daily basis or what I’m feeling. I try to explain to them how my legs feel, but it’s just so hard to explain. I still go out and enjoy my life as normal, but sometimes I always have certain things in the back of my mind. When going out I find myself researching about where I am going first, like does this place have stairs?, does it have an elevator?, do they accommodate handicap people? So all of these things I worry about when I go out and my friends and family have no idea. Living with MD has made me realize how strong I am and knowing I have no choice but to deal with this. I sometimes get stares because people wonder what a young girl like me is doing either walking with a limp, with a cane, or parking in a handicap parking spot. But I don’t mind because they just don’t know me or know what I have. Although my MD has progressed over the years and getting worse, I have learned to except it and make certain changes in to my life such as now walking with a cane in order to keep my balance and helping me not to fall. At this point I am just taking everything day by day and staying strong. But there is one thing I want people to know by reading this quote. "There’s no “cure” or a pill will “fix it”, but at one point I thought it may help. And I thought the same with therapy and food. But it’s my endless support from family and friend that helps. It is hardest thing that I have ever done, and I found myself much stronger for doing it. Never, ever underestimate the power of your desire. If you want to live badly enough, you can live. The greater question, at least for me was: How do I decide I want to live? That is the question I’m still working on?" AS SEEN IN...

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