One year ago today I launched my website and thought I’d be published within a couple months.

This year maybe I’ve finally learned that patience and acceptance are equal to hope and writing things in pen in my day planner. Yes, I still have a day planner. 24 years ago today I lay in an Intensive Care Unit, in a hospital that had been my home for months already, in a town that was not where I grew up, in a community where lots of people I didn’t know were invested in me and had already taken ownership of me even though we hadn’t met.

That’s one piece to my story. (Insert reminder that my book comes out tomorrow here)

24 years ago today my breathing tube was removed. My vocal chords were bruised and broken after relying on a vent for 47 days; My lungs scarred and weak, unable to fully support my breath. I had been an athlete, a singer and a confident little lady. Who was I now?

I didn’t get out of the hospital for several months after this moment. The rest of my body was also ravaged and compromised. But the inability to use my voice, create sound, ask on my own for what I needed or wanted was utterly terrifying and far more than humbling. It took almost 8 years before the voice I knew that lived in me physically worked in a way that didn’t leave me with pain or exhaustion. And it took years still to access the belief in myself to use my voice as a tool and a gift. Throughout this phase of my life I had to explain to people that I was not getting over a cold.

My raspy voice is here to stay. The voice I had as a child is not gone. But it has changed.

This last week people I love – on all sides and opposite ends of the political spectrum, belief in Ghandi to Google, have used their voices.
On this day, I want to thank all of you. For me it isn’t about agreeing with what you are saying but that you are using what you have to say it. I ask that you think before you speak, if only for a moment, to remember that this thing you have called a voice, is incredibly powerful and uniquely yours. Not all people have a voice and not all people feel safe or able to use theirs.

I promise my next post will be of my lunch or a sunset.

Happy Monday. Thanks for reading.

kate-d-mahoney-misfit-miracle-girlKate D. Mahoney is a professional storyteller, actorvist and author who travels the country to share anecdotes from life as patient and caregiver- it’s crisis, but with jazz hands. Please email kate@katedmahoney.com to schedule a speaking engagement.

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