I pushed myself up from my wheelchair and climbed into the hospital bed, immediately reaching for my journal next to my pillow. As I started, tears wet the paper I was writing on…

✓  Learn to walk again

✓  Become stronger (Forever in progress)

✓  Become wiser (Forever in progress)

✓  Starting a business/Be my own employer (Still in process)

✓  Give an inspirational speech or become a public speaker

✓  Stand on a stage as a TEDx speaker

✓  Get a car/Transportation

  ⃣    Create my own home

  ⃣     Find love

  ⃣     Write my biography

I could walk with two crutches by then. Like a drunken monkey I would throw one feet in front of the other, determined I would grin and sigh and catching every swing with one of my two crutches as my physical therapist stayed close by. This strength was new to me. I always considered myself as weak and insecure, Although I wanted to be strong, I doubted everything I did. The only thing for certain, I was passionate and no matter what, that passion always came afloat. During the physical rehabilitation process, I rehabilitated more than just my body. My mind, was the most crippled part.

I’m still not sure what that passion was about. What for? Why? And why did it come back in everything I had done so far. Well, I figured why. Life. Challenges. I like to conquer challenges. Beating the fear. Not every one, but every one that I considered worthy. Since my standards of worth had changed, elevated by witnessing death. Losing yet another person that I loved. I now wanted to conquer any single doubt I ever had and make my life mine! In honor of her.

Learning to walk, that was just the beginning. Standing one day on a stage telling my story, that would be completion. But why just aim for that, I knew what would come after the sugar rush, emptiness. We are humans, satisfaction is not one of our virtues. So I wrote my list and achieved 7 of the listed topics one by one in four years time. The list has grown, it has been adapted, it has improved, specified. And I have a better vision of how and what I want realized. I’m actually just starting.

Last year standing on a stage at Teatro Luna Blou, telling my story for the very first time, opening the Superando Documentary Concert for Levi Silvanie was my big break, mentally, physically and socially. I don’t like crowds, I can’t stand loud noises (anymore) and having constant physical discomfort I felt like I conquered a mountain the size of Everest, and then again, and again, and again… New challenges kept coming and I kept working on overcoming them. Grow stronger. Grow wiser. Grow into who you want to become!

Rosabella Chuchi Illes visit at 2ndLife Curaçao workshop

A couple of months ago I was visited by an Aruban poet, Rosabella Chuchi Illes, to be part of a video clip she was filming for her book release on Curaçao. I cancelled my plans to be at the book release due to physical pains and not being able to deal with the noise and crowd and yet, her follow-up blew my top off. “Would you be interested to be one of the speakers for TEDx Aruba?” she asked.
And I saw the next bucket list item check mark before I said yes.

September 23rd 2016 I finally had the honor to stand on that red dot and within fifteen minutes I would be able to call myself a TEDx speaker as I had envisioned four years earlier. My body being cold from three days too much air-conditioning, bad sleep due to unknown territory and a noisy hotel and just before I had to go up there was a mic issue…

My heart started raising as I felt the spasms in my left leg return while being wired for the mic. “Not now, not now, breathe, calm, you’ve got this.” Diego Acevedo announced me and the clicker was pressed in my hands and there I went to accomplish another bucket list item. There was no wrong or right, just stand on the dot, control the spasms and look at the crowd…


The TEDx Aruba Experience Full Viewing:

The video starts with one of the speakers from last year. I start at 2.50, however, every speaker is worth listening to so I chose not to edit it yet. I’m absurdly honored to be talking on stage in the midst of these speakers that all have something in common. Talking about something they’re passionate about.

Music of choice: Levi Silvanie – Give It Your Best Shot

This is your life
This is your chance
This is the moment you’ve been waiting for
So give it your best shot
Bring out the best in you
This could be it
Don’t you forget my words and
Don’t you quit
This is your moment
What you’ve been dreaming of
Let it in your heart
And never let it go

Life is wonderful for those who make wonders out of life
Life is wonderful for those who believe
Life is wonderful for those who dare to cross the open seas
Where eyes will see that life is wonderful so give it your best shot

What if…
(Question and film by Seantje Salmon)