My first kidneyversary! (April 19, 2012)

Today, we’re celebrating a year since I donated my kidney to TinyMom. Thankfully, I didn’t hear anyone say “Would you shut up about your publicity stunt already?” today. It’s been amazingly supportive, to say the least. I’m overwhelmed.

I will not shut up about it. Ever. Just knowing that there’s a woman donating next month because of ME, gives me the motivation to keep going. She’s been following me on Twitter for over a year. I’m so glad that we were so vocal about it, because it’s saving another life.

The past year has changed me in a major way. Physically, I’m 100% back to normal. I have been for several months. Most of the scar tissue is gone and my clothes from last summer fit me better. I’m not tired anymore, though a nap has become a habit that I can take advantage of because I work from home.

The biggest change has been…my heart. I’ve seen people show me love who didn’t even know me. I’ve met people who are so gracious and kind, I cannot help but love them.

It’s almost as if they had to get rid of the walls I’d put up for so many years to dig inside me and pull my kidney out. I woke up in the recovery room the same person in almost every way, except for my ability to love. Learning who your real friends are isn’t easy. I still hurt, knowing the people I had expected to be there simply disappeared from my life. It’s still raw, over a year later, but then I look to who I have in my life now.

I walked through the world with a smirk on my face, knowing that most of it was a facade of who people really were. I held on to negative feelings for longer than I should have. I’ve always been a positive person, but there were some things that popped a hole in my smiley balloon more than once. I survived emotionally by putting a brick wall over that facade.

Now, I see people differently. I notice the things that most people wouldn’t. I believe in people more, too. Quirks are more acceptable because I have them, too, and wouldn’t want to be judged for them.

Having an open heart means that my feelings are more intense than most people’s. I’m more passionate about my feelings, beliefs, whatever. I let them be known.

You never know if you’re going to be here tomorrow. You need to make the best of today. Make today the best day ever. Tell people how you feel. Give that hug you’re longing to give. You’d be surprised how receptive people are, when you could have had serious doubts.

Love people. Love your neighbors. Love your friends. Love your lovers. Love a good burger. Love that TV show.

Never be afraid to show that love. To prove that love. To show people they’re special to you. Even if it’s not taken the way you want, you did it. You did something that pushed your comfort level, but that made you stronger. That made the other person think. Even a tiny thing could make that person’s day and keep them thinking about you for more than thirty seconds.

Follow your dreams. Owning my own business has always been a dream. I kind of got forced to do it, but it’s the most comfortable thing I’ve ever done in my life. There’s a lot to learn, but it’s easy. It’s coming. It’s happening. I’m my own boss. I can’t get fired. Hahahahaha!

After you read this, give someone a compliment. Mean it. “Nice tie” is fine. You don’t have to do anything major. Just. Do. It. They’ll feel good that you did, but you’ll feel even better.

Stop worrying about what others think of you. It doesn’t matter. You are who you are and should never change to accommodate someone else. That’s unfair to everyone involved. If they don’t accept you for who you are, who’s losing out? Not you. Be yourself. Do you.

Support those businesses in your community. Go to a locally-owned restaurant for a change. The extra $5 you spend there will give you better food and help a business that doesn’t have corporate backing. That money goes to THEM. Find a gift shop and buy something for your Mom there, instead of going to a megastore. They will appreciate your $10 more than WalMart.

Take your dog for a walk. We’re all busy, but think about what that beast does when you get home from work. They’re excited to see you, loyal to you no matter what your mood. Show your appreciation with a walk around the block in the evening or first thing in the morning. Dexter deserves it every day, even though there are times I just want to be lazy. What he’s given me is worth 15 minutes out of my day to make him happy.

Say thank you. I’ve been doing it for several days, because it reminds me of who’s important, but also makes people feel appreciated. I want people to know they’re important. You’ll make their day, I promise.

Fill out the donor card on your driver’s license. We don’t always think about that. I’ve always done it, and I really don’t know why. It always just seemed like the right thing to do. It is. When my cousin died in May, my family donated everything they could. Six lives were saved. SIX. Doesn’t it feel good to know that some day, you’re going to save six lives by doing absolutely nothing? How cool is that?

Talk about it. Things don’t happen by thinking about it. It happens when you talk about it. Create awareness. Show your passion. Spread the word. Nobody else is going to do it for you.

Thank you.

I love you.

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