Thank you very much for tuning in again and staying with us, we couldn’t do this without you guy’s support!
First I’d like to mention someone who is very important to me: my soulmate, Rich.
Just having lunch with him is enough to bring me back to center, to ground me. He is the core of my being, the still waters I can sit by and just breathe. So if I ever get nervous or emotional about something, no matter what is thrown at me, he balances me out with a calming emotion. While other people may use valium, I just spend time with Rich. Whatever it is I need, he’s the perfect answer for, and I’m beyond grateful and blessed to have him in my life.
Watching my speech from the Grace Project was emotional; it brought back the feelings I felt standing at that podium. It meant so much to me because I knew I was going to be in a room with women who were hurting and dealing with so many negative emotions. Women who were going to be afraid. I wanted to be for them what Rich is for me; I wanted to bring them that balance, show them that no matter what it is you feel today or in this moment, it gets better.
Hope exists. For all of us. For me one of the biggest words is “Hope.” When I said I wanted to give them that hope I meant it. I wanted them to know that tomorrow the sun is going to come up, and it’ll be another day to use our courage to accept who we are with all of our faults, flaws and handicaps. It will also be another day to count all of the blessings that we have in our lives. I wanted them to know that the HIV Positive diagnosis does not define them; it is not the end of their story. HIV doesn’t have to be another negative label they gave themselves. With my speech, I wanted to help make them aware of the positive labels that they may have forgotten about during the very stressful times while dealing with their diagnosis. I wanted to remind them that they are all beautiful creatures of God, Angels, and Strong Women.
I couldn’t be more grateful for how my speech was received. I felt like God was allowing me to use His spirit to speak to these women in a special way. I wanted my words to come from Him and speak from my heart. I didn’t want it to be a technical speech, cold and strategic. I didn’t want it to be a Friday night football pep speech. I just wanted to tell each and everyone of them that they are loved, worthy, and powerful. It was less of a speech but more of a conversation that, not only, these women might need to hear, but I needed it to hear as well. We all, as women, need to be reminded on a daily basis that we are all wonderful, beautiful beings. For so many of us, it’s so easy to choose the negative labels. I wanted to show them that it’s just as easy to choose positive ones.
During my speech, I noticed a woman who was newly diagnosed, who couldn’t stop crying. I kept looking at her, feeling a yearning to hug and hold her. It was torture not being able to comfort her, so I looked over at my other half: Tiffany. Without words and only a look between her and that woman, she knew that I was saying, "Comfort her." Tiffany stood up and walked over to the woman and embraced her. That moment broke my heart and Tiffany’s heart, but we both knew that healing needed to be done. One of the biggest things that happened from the speech that day was that Melissa Grove with Legacy Counseling contacted me later and said that the newly diagnosed woman from the Grace Project had sought out counseling "because of something LeeAnne said." I just pray that that woman’s life begins to change for the better.
Now onto my lunch with Brandi.
I was 100 percent surprised that she called me to meet up. So much time had gone by between when Brandi first sat me on the couch to the lunch meeting. I honestly didn’t think it was every going to happen and I was so sad about that, especially after hearing about her brother. I didn’t think I’d ever get that moment with her because I was too afraid to reach out, thinking it would do more harm than good. After what I know about PTSD through Rich, my heart immediately wanted to talk to Brandi, so I was beyond thankful when she called.
I laughed when I saw how she has me under “Loud Mouth” in her phone. Really, though – I did laugh because I now know that that is just Brandi’s sense of humor. I know I’m not the only one in her phone under a silly name. Who knows? Maybe she has Stephanie as “Fart Queen?” Lol, and I truly thought it was good natured humor, especially after getting to know Brandi better, I see that and can appreciate that about her.
I was very nervous going into the lunch meeting; I didn’t know what to expect. I had already come to the realization at that point that she’s good at pushing people’s buttons, and I thought she’d try pushing mine again. So you can imagine that when she started apologizing, my heart leapt out of my chest and went out to her. The fact that she took time to realize and consider the potential of our friendship meant a lot to me. We both came to realize that the petty and immature B.S. wasn’t worth losing sight of the more important things. This was an opportunity for us both to have a mature AND immature relationship together. I don’t mind having an immature relationship with someone, where we giggle about silly stuff – that’s part of a healthy, well-rounded relationship. But if you can’t have the mature part, well that’s when you never know if they’re being sincere or just joking. So when WE apologized, it gave me hope that we could get to that mature-immature relationship.
Afterward, I felt hopeful. Obviously, you see a theme in my life: I’m always looking for things to be hopeful about, so when I left, I could really see our relationship going forward. We also discussed her brother and his PTSD. I wanted her to know that there are people I know in Dallas along with organizations dedicated to cutting edge therapies to help others. I have made an offer to her on behalf of me and Rich that we’d love to fly Michael to Dallas to get involved with one of these programs. Thankfully, she said he is getting help at the veterans’ hospital and doing better. But the offer still stands and will always be there. Our military deserve a chance after what they give for us. They all deserve a chance and attention to fight back against something like PTSD. They should not be alone in this.
Now, onto Cary. Whew. Ugh.
“Keep your enemies closer?” Bleh. This is the perfect example of WHY I think Cary HATES me. Earlier in the episode, Cary said that Stephanie was falling for my "B.S." and believing in my B.S. Now she’s calling me her enemy. These are not things you do if you are trying to give someone a chance, trying to get to know them. There has never been a chance for Cary and I to get to know one another because of these actions. Here’s the bottom line: Cary believes I’m full of sh--. I’m a liar. And Cary has now called me her enemy. What’s different with me? I feel NONE of these things toward her.
But I have ALWAYS felt those things from her, and that makes me put my guard up, naturally. So, in turn, she has never had the chance to see the real LeeAnne because she doesn’t WANT to. And she’d like it if Stephanie and Brandi would never give me a chance. That is one of the saddest things. You know, just for a silly, light example, when Mark was critiquing Cary on their daughter’s birthday cake, I was actually thinking, ‘Dude! Mark, chill.’ I was on her side. But I feel like I’ll never get Cary to take my side. I feel like every time I share my story in front of Cary, she thinks I’m fake crying or doing it for attention. I’ve only ever wanted understanding. Watching Cary call me her enemy is heartbreaking, and I feel like there’s a wedge now; I don’t know how to resolve it.
But life is full of bumps in the road.
If you have been hurt or you are suffering and in pain, please reach out to a local agency to get help. There are so many people in this world who are dedicated to helping others. I never want to see a human suffer. No matter your injury or difficulty- SEEK HELP!! And never forget, someone out there ALWAYS CARES ABOUT YOU!!
Stay tuned, you guys, and follow me on Twitter if you have questions or need encouragement!