Ever wondered what results from reaching out to someone whose story inspires you? A new friendship can form and you find strength to persevere. I'm excited that today, Tara Fall, is “Speaking From the Heart” and sharing her experiences with all of us. I found her through her blog (http://findingstrengthtostandagain.wordpress.com/) by chance last year and am so blessed to have connected with her. I think her story is so inspiring and should be shared with others. She has really inspired me to go after my dream, to persevere, and to overcome obstacles with optimism. Check out the video of her story below before you read her interview to see what I mean.
As Tara says,
"While in my early teens, I experienced my first “spell”. This was later diagnosed as epilepsy. At twenty-seven, I underwent surgery to remove scar tissue from my brain in hopes of ending the seizure disorder. This was successful in curing epilepsy; however, there was a complication near the end of surgery – a stroke. This stroke allowed me to experience the frustrating struggles and unexpected joys of learning, once again, how to walk the same week my youngest daughter was also beginning to learn this skill. The end result was a much deeper understanding of the gifts we hold within our lives. I still have weakness in the left half of my body. I have lost half of my eyesight. My left peripheral has disappeared completely resulting in hemianopia. Having a condition known as prosopagnosia, I no longer recognize faces I see each day. Even my own face and faces within my family are now strangers. Even with this, I would not give back a single day of the experiences I was able to endure. From these, I learned so much about myself. I also have a much deeper understanding for the value simple pleasures in life can give each of us. Remember, it is not about a disability; rather, it’s about our ability!
Read her interview below. Thank you Tara for teaching us all about perseverance!
Why do you believe self-expression (speaking from the heart) is important?
I whole-heartedly believe this is the only way we can grow. With honesty to ourselves, we can learn so much. We can heal and we can grow when we’re willing to offer thoughts spoken from our hearts.
How has writing empowered you in other areas of your life?
I think writing has allowed me to find ways to grow. When I know lesson’s life has taught me can help teach others, it is a very empowering thing. Writing has fulfilled a need to reach out to others. Through practicing and improving my writing skills I know I am doing something very important, I am touching lives.
How did you find your authentic voice through writing?
I tried. It is that simple, I tried. I sat down and I worked at writing. Then, I got asked to go visit places, and I worked at speaking. I tried and tried again. I grew to understand that I not only wanted to share my voice of hope with other people, but I also needed to do this. Writing is a challenge for me. It takes me hours if not days to write a short blog post. I challenge myself every time I sit down at the computer. But I never give up. I try, and with each concerted effort my voice gets stronger and my ability to share lessons and help touch lives grows stronger.
How did you develop the courage to stand tall (i.e., get the courage to share your writing)?
Thankfully, courage was not something I had to go in search of. The power to stand tall and share my message was delivered to me without awareness. I was in a hospital bed. I was paralyzed and nearly blind. I was being told messages of stroke recovery, but every pamphlet I was shown had a picture or message written for older individuals. I was in my 20’s. I instantly felt a call that when, not if, I recovered it was my duty share knowledge and my vision of hope with others.
When you have a hard time writing, what do you do to work through it?
I still have half of my eyesight gone. When I look at a word, for example "word", I see the r and the d. I have to read backwards to find the o and the w. I have had to learn to slow down and pay attention to all the letters when I am proofreading. At times, I even find myself needing to reread my writings line by line, right to left. It is very easy for me to skip words or replace existing words with what I know should be written. My brain helps replace what my eyes no longer fully see. I always have a hard time writing. The pay-off? The reward in knowing what others can gain will always outweigh the struggles I endure. Challenges are part of my life now. I refuse to hide living a life dominated by my challenges. I allow myself nothing less than a fully lived life. Isn’t that what everyone’s ultimate goal should be?
How did you find your support group?
I create my support groups. Fortunately, I am quite good at doing this. The combinations of my conditions are quite unique. I have not found anyone yet who has had a similar experience as me. Besides, we move too often to make this type of long-term connections in a face-to-face setting of a traditional support groups. For these reason, I find a lot of smaller groups of great friends to connect with. I find people who will challenge me mentally and physically. Most important, these people relate to me and not to my disabilities. These individuals stay treasured friends. Regardless of where we move, we stay connected through the telephone and internet.
Every time someone comes up to talk to me after my lectures are included immediately into my “support group”. I know I am lucky. My circle of friends and support is always growing.
Any advice for new writers/authors?
Be true to yourself. Write right: Don’t write what you think other people want or expect from you. Write what your heart is calling out to you. This voice, this authentic self, this is how you speak from the heart.
Thanks for speaking from your heart and empowering others around the world, Tara! Keep up the fantastic work! If you have any specific questions for Tara about her writing process, please feel free to write her at: findingstrength at rocketmail.com.
One question that came to my mind after reflecting on what Tara said was "How has writing helped you grow?" Many people struggle with this, so I'm reaching out to you all and asking for your input. Looking forward to hearing your suggestions!
Thank you for reading and your presence at this beach retreat. You Rock! I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts in the comment section below.
See you at the beach!