GROWING INTO A BETTER VERSION OF ME! STARTING NOW….

Lately, I've been struggling with the realization of being unhappy with how I allowed myself to become overweight. There are things I need and want to do with myself but I never seem to make time for me. Everything and everyone else ALWAYS come first.

The way I've been handling this realization is through food. I Just eat my life away. Not to mention, as I eat I’m thinking the entire time to myself, "why are you eating this? Why aren’t you following your doctors' orders knowing you have diabetes".

I know exactly what not taking care of yourself can cause yet I continue to eat and I continue to drown myself in food because it seems like the only thing that makes me happy. HOWEVER, the reality is, I AM NOT HAPPY AT ALL.

I look at myself and I don’t recognize myself. This isn't me, this is a person that would rather put others happy before her own happiness. This is a person that could once look in the mirror and smile. I understand that I can’t take care of my family if I’m not taking care of me.

I feel so bad saying this and knowing this? Why do I feel like I’m the least important person in my life? I ask myself these questions every day. I’ll tell myself that I’m going on a diet then, pick up a Pepsi. I’ll say I’m going to stop eating fried foods and here I am at KFC.

I think losing weight is the hardest journey ever. A few days ago I asked one of my homeboys what’s the first step to losing weight and he said determination and what he said was/is true. I know once I start I have to stay consistent, honest and open to the journey in order for it to be successful. I know you can’t go cold turkey, I also know I have to start somewhere. So, I decided I would start by drinking more water which I hate (insert sarcasm lolol) as well as cutting back on snacks and fried foods.

Since then I have started over several times but I didn’t quit. Picking up something unhealthy is way easier and so much cheaper to do. But if I want this for me and for my family I have to push through it.

To hold myself accountable, I will walk you through my journey and I promise to be my most authentic self so I can help someone else.

You Are Here For A Reason

Vision: The faculty or state of being able to see. The ability to think about or plan the future within the imagination or wisdom.

Wisdom: The quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; the quality of being wise.

Purpose: The reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.

I have defined three powerful words. Three words that we all need or should get familiar with. Three words that have changed my entire world: not for bad though, but for good. Because these three words have helped define my life, and helped me understand my being or as Sarah Jakes says, “My must be”.
Let me break it down for you.

Lets start with Wisdom. We all have heard it from the time we were little tiny boppers from our parents or grandparents. We all have associated that word “wisdom” with being old. But I am here to tell you that being old doesn’t make you wise or have wisdom. Just like the definition says, it is about having experience or knowledge and being of good judgment. It doesn’t say anything about being old. And I am not saying you per se are wise either.

Our experiences that we have in life from the time we come out until we die is what makes us wise, but only if we learn from them. For example, when we first learn to ride a bike, we are taught balance and if we don’t balance we will fall. This is a life lesson that will stay with us forever. You now have gained some knowledge and will make good judgment when it comes to riding a bike and staying balanced.

Life is a huge lesson that we are supposed to learn from and take those learned lessons as we get older and apply them to our life. Mistakes give us room for trial and error. But you can not make the same mistake over and over again by doing this apparently you are not learning that lesson and you are failing at having the proper knowledge therefore you are not gaining the wisdom you need to carry on in your life. I hope this is making sense. If so let’s move on.

In order to have a purpose you must have a vision. Visions usually come from God. But if you don’t quite have the knowledge or wisdom to grasp the vision God is giving you then you will never find or understand your purpose in life. Let’s use my life as an example. God blessed me with my beautiful baby boy at the ripe age of 15 years of age. Why so young? This is a question or conversation I have also had with God. Now at 39 that answer is becoming clearer, although I sometimes think but dang 15 LOL. But to be honest my son might have saved me from something that I could have never come back from if he would have never been conceived and born when he was. Ok let’s move on.

At 19 years of age I had a prophetic word spoken over my life, which then I didn’t understand but now it makes so much sense. Whether you believe it or not, our lives are already planned out from the day we are conceived. The life lessons and the knowledge that we gain is how we come to understanding those three words, Wisdom, Vision and purpose. My son gave me my purpose. To be able to be the voice he never had, which the lady who spoke the prophetic word told me that I would have a voice and when I speak people would stop and listen. Now when I share my story, people stop and listen along with chills and tears. But that word she spoke over my life was a vision that she had from God…my vision came that God gave me came from starting Qute Cosmetics along with Their voice of greater Cincinnati which both are platforms to raise awareness and funds for families affected by Cerebral Palsy. Which is my way that I am able to be the voice for my son and other families. When people inquire about my cosmetics or non-profit they listen genuinely. Why because I am passionate about it. Because it is my story, my testimony.

We all have a story, a purpose and we all are given a vision: throughout life we should gain knowledge, which gives us our wisdom. So stop going through life not learning. Start paying attention. Take 10-20 minutes and sit by yourself in total quiet, pray or meditate. But listen because I promise you will begin to hear, but don’t just hear, ACT on it. You are still here because YOU MUST Be____________!

Wear your Cerebral Palsy Like a badge of Courage!

I recall my adopted father, Ronald Fino telling me in one of our deep conversations that took place in our living room, one night while a movie was playing in the background. My dad is the love of life, pushing me to the max, trying to be a better person than I once had been in 2016. I had a disagreement with my mother, that leads me homeless with nowhere to go but to a women’s shelter.

Other of my family members did not respond, and I reached out to him as my last hope before I became a ward of the state. When Ronald heard of my dilemma, he offered me a place in his home in Williamsburg, Virginia, with his wife, Alla, and their son, Daniil. I immediately flew out to them.

This family's love, interest, and understanding gave me a whole new outlook on life, and the encouragement to continue writing and to become involved in the Cerebral Palsy community. I am, in essence, their adopted daughter. Ronald's career was in the Intelligence community, and law enforcement and his family have a substantial commitment to fairness and justice for all. In Ronald, whom I consider my Dad, and Alla, whom I think my Mom, I discovered how fulfilling life with Cerebral Palsy could be with the right family, activities, and unconditional love. Had there been the proper advocacy, protective laws, and services from the beginning, I would not have suffered abuse and neglect in my youth.
I can tell you anything, and everything about the 1,000 tail’s with so many details due to my long-term memory. People always said that “I have a memory of an elephant.” I can recall an event and dates playing it in my head like it just happens the other week ago. Sometimes it a blessing and sometimes it's cured. I feel like there are tons of books on bookshelves, internet blog’s, and YouTube videos, stories that one read in a Facebook group, Hollywood movies on the subject on Cerebral Palsy.
I was born with CP, so it did not affect me like a war hero losing his legs or his eyesight, though in my formative years spaned in hatred and dysfunction in our home… I was isolated in my youth by homeschooling and the bitterness of a mother that I tried to love but as always rejected/ Was it my handicap? Another reason that I am not aware of. Putting it simply, I was a rejected child. Today, I hold no bitterness or animosity against her, but it still hurts. Fortunately, with my limited capability, I earned a high school diploma with honors.

Everyone pictures people with CP or with another disabled adult as being innocent and vulnerable. They treat us, disabled adults like children. I think my story could help open people’s eyes. Having a disability does not make someone less of an adult, innocent, or unaware. I have the sexual wants and desires of a woman desiring a companion. It’s hard, hurtful and has become a thick cloud of lust, of wanting but not having.

My biological mother turned from a loving mother to someone who hated me while I grew up. This feeling locked me up through my teen years. She manipulated my thinking, such as making me unfriend Jessica, my beloved life-long best friend, and family that she had brainwashed me to hate and such. I’ve survived three murder attempts by her hand. She made me feel like an animal/monster that needed to be locked up, and she tried to get me locked me up in a mental asylum or a group home for disabled people to forget about me — acting like I was never her daughter. Sadly, to say, I don’t believe our paths will cross again. I have my own life, and she has her own life that’s isn’t web together. There is so much worse than my mom had done to me after my dad passed on that I won’t write here. I recall that night when she admitted: “I have hated you since the day I found out that you have CP.” Since that night, I lost something dear to my heart. My undying-daughterly love for her, knowing that she’ll never come to love me as me.

My biological father had this golden heart, a warn huge great smile and such a pleasant personality. I hold no antagonism against my father. Now that I’m older, I see that my dad was under her thumb and gas lit when it comes right down to it by my mom. He tried hard to please my mom with shopping money, gifts, yard work, doing what she said or wanted, even if he had to turn away from his mom, brother, and his three sisters for good. At times I never understood, but now as I type, he was like myself, brainwashed by Mom. Everyone tells me that I am just like him, carrying on his happy-go-lucky attitude.

My little sister, Hanna, who was one year and a few months younger than myself, was the "golden child” in my parents’ eyes. Hanna was on the golf team and the town's leading acting group, she was always making headlines in the town's newspaper as a teen and went to high school, unlike me. She was a star, bring home golf state titles with her golf team. She had always got the starring roles in plays, yet when Hanna was home, she used me as her punching bag, sometimes I was at fault for the fight— being the mess-up daughter of my parents — having fits of anger out in public when someone treats me like a baby.

Hanna dropped out of high school because she never did her schoolwork and went and got a GED. My parents acted like that having a GED was even better than a high school diploma. I was so lonely, I had no friends at that age, and I always had dreamt about going to high school since I was little. I wanted to experience high school life and all its milestones.

All my life to this very day, I have a unique, rare bond with my grandma, who is my mom’s mother. I called her my Gragwa. She was more like a mother to me, my dear best friend, since my mother dropped me off at her house each day. Gragwa raised me to be the woman that I am today; she taught me everything. She was always there for me, helping and encouraging me never to give up and keep carrying on. Memories of her taking me for ice cream with the top down on her convertible as a little girl to our wonderful getaway, Cesare’s Palace. Gragwa always said this, “Amanda, you were meant to live an extra extraordinary life.” to me since I could remember. My mom hated the fact that I was closer to Gragwa than her. She tried to put us against each other with mind games. It never worked, I’ve always picked grandma over her.
Then the Nightmare of Scarlett had happened, My parent’s mom’s dear friend Nancy. She had a sister named Scarlett that was in her 70s. Scarlett has a grown and married daughter with a significant handicap; born with no arms or legs, making her wheelchair bound. My mom and Nancy thought that Scarlett and I would become good friends. My mom let Scarlett take me out to the movies, lunches, and such. I only had a “sleepover” once at her house. Turns out that night was the worst night of my life because she did some unspeakable things to me just after I turned 18. Did I tell my parents what she did to me? No, because they need Nancy at work, someone they must trust working for them. Yes, I hid it.

Years later, I went to see Scott, a counselor, who told me that Scarlett raped me when I told him about it in our first of many sessions. (I’ve changed his name to protect his privacy) Years later, Scott and I fell in love and started a love affair that was doomed from the start, because Scott was engaged, as well as being 32 years older than me. We had done sexual things, yet I never hold Scott until I fell him in my body.

We both wanted to make love to each other and had plans to. However, Scott got cold feet at the last minute and got married. I was so madly and deeply in love with him that I tried to take my own life. I am coping with the fact that Scott and I never had sex, and it’s painful. Having people yell at me that he raped me when they were not there in my shoes. “Did he?” I still have ambiguous about it.

My very first kiss was from a man that was well over 65, and it makes me disgusted at the very thought of it. Larry was my next-door neighbor back home. I was hanging out with Ray, fixing a computer when he asked me to make love with him, saying that he was the only man that would want to have sex with me. He eggs me on into kissing him. From then on, I was hell-bent on having sex. I even got a sex surrogate but backed out because I still not over Scott. I ended up having sex with a guy, and it was a very quickly one-night stand.

I've discovered my talent for writing at a young age. As a result, I've published six books by myself. Yet this year 2019, this past April they have picked up my first book, TIMELESS OMERTA that used to be called OMERTA AFFAIR. I’m finishing up writing my newest book telling my inner depth of emotion being a woman that has CP with a unique outlook on life. Cerebral Palsy Gal has been a work in progress; I haven't found the exact words until now. It shall be coming out sooner than later.

I'm beyond grateful and thrilled to say that I’m a member of the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities Partners in Policymaking. I'm hoping to spread Cerebral Palsy awareness and to provide a beacon of light for all disabled people, starting up this fall 2019. I’ve started an Official Newsletter of the author Amanda Fino; CPGal Reader Nest, that comes out on the 4th of each month, with book news, a Badge of Courage small article saluting Cerebral Palsy and other disability warriors.

I’m finishing up writing my newest book telling her inner depth of emotion being a woman that has CP with a unique outlook on life. Cerebral Palsy Gal has been a work in progress; I haven't found the exact words until now. It shall be coming out this year, with Deepest Elements a Novelette, that people are saying "It's worth your time."
My family encourages me to go to conventions and dinners with other professionals and well-connected people. I hope to spread Cerebral Palsy awareness and to provide a beacon of light for all disabled people. I'm wholly dedicated to making life better through proper advocacy, living environments, and medical research. Right now, I feel like there needs to be a book on adult matters of a full flesh woman that has Cerebral Palsy — expressing my deep inner emotions within myself. Having a unique person outlook on life, I am admitting that I made a lot of horrible mistakes on my behalf, and I own up to ALL of them. In hopes for other young women that has Cerebral Palsy not to make the same mistake as I did.

DIVA & LAVA

Making friends can be tough for our Diva.  She loves to touch and hug and pull on people.  This doesn’t always go over well with everyone.  Two years ago our family was given the opportunity to meet Lava, a Canine Companion who hasn’t left her side since day one.

Some of the programs that offer Service Canines are expensive and have extremely long waiting list.  Usually 5 or more years.   Some canines are specifically trained to detect seizures, low sugar, and self-injurious behaviors.  Each program is different and should be researched for individual needs.
Our family applied to www.CCI.org (Canine Companions for Independence). After two years of waiting we were blessed with our newest family member Miss Lava. 

Lava continues to amaze our family on how smart she is when it comes to our Diva.  When she initially came to our family she knew well over 80 commands.  Since arriving in our home, our non-verbal daughter now commands her to eat and drink in a language all her own. Watching these two will have you in stitches some days. Diva is always getting into trouble whether its with flour from the kitchen or unrolling tissue from the bathroom. Lava is always right beside her.

To our amazement and delight Lava will now find mom & dad if Diva is not safe. We didn’t teach Lava that she has developed this connection with our daughter over the years. During what I call “hospital 101” period in our lives. There was a year our family seem to always be at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Whether it was for tests, therapy, operations or an emergency admittance, Lava laid right beside our girl on the floor as she slept in her hospital bed. Any time Diva would move Lava would stand and check on her.

During our hospital stays the medical staff taking care of our daughter didn’t even realize Lava was in the room until she stood or moved. Which is exactly how a service canine should be. I love how these two are in sync with one another which melts my heart.

Lava participates in all things Diva. I do mean EVERYTHING. Halloween costumes (yes we put Lava in a ridiculous outfit), opening birthday presents, bath time, dinner time, Thanksgiving & Christmas. Our Diva expects her friend to be with her as soon as her eyes pop open in the morning . Lava expects to be with Diva. That type of love can’t be taught.

Lava relaxing by the pool as she waits for DIVA to finish therapy

AS Told by Tylia ​: if you want my handicap parking take my disability

I can’t tell you how many times over the years in my childhood that I had some pretty interesting encounters when it comes to handicapped parking and the people that I’ve gotten to me through my experiences with handicap parking.

My opinion about handicap parking spots is that they’re great and it’s being for people like us who have a wheelchair and let who have a disability get you to need to get to quickly but and some cases people that aren’t handicapped still parked in a handicap spot.

for example a few years ago, I was living in a condominium type of community and to give you a picture on how the parking lot as they only had one handicap parking for the whole community which in my opinion was stupid because there was more than one handicapped person living in the same condominium complex.

so one day, I was coming back from physical therapy and I noticed this flooring company van parked in the handicapped spot and as I saw a man coming out I went up to him and I told him some very unfriendly things and I said to him why did you park in my handicap knowing that my mom was trying to get that parking for us so that she can get me out faster and he said all because the office told me to park here sir if you really want this parking then you should take my disability just for a

day so you can see how hard it is for a citizen like me to transfer in and out of vehicles then you will think twice about parking in the handicapped spot when you’re definitely able to get up and walk.

That’s like people that park close to handicap assessable Vans to point where they can’t get in the vans because people park so close to the vehicle cause people park so close to the vehicles
So please be considerate if you’re able body person parking the handicap and just think about this if you’re willing to take a handicap parking would you want our disabilities.

#SelfCare

 

Self-care is a difficult task when you are a parent.  It's hard to get 5 minutes to just breathe without little people needing you.  The name you were born with no longer is used, yet replaced with the new term "mom or mommy".

We forget how to love ourselves because we spend so much time loving the children we care for.

Unfortunately, this isn't ok.  If you don't care for yourself, who will?  How will your children learn to care for themselves if they don't see the example of what that looks like?

It's important to take time for yourself and engage in things that made you happy.  Things that you've given up for your children should still be a factor in your life.  Get back to doing the things that make you happy so that you can have an outlet.

As parents we deserve happiness, and whatever that looks like for you is what you should do.  If you like to paint, go paint, if you like to sing, go sing just make it a point to get back to you without compromise.  Yes, we must nurture and raise our children, however, we reserve the right to be happy within ourselves as well.

Our children mimic what they see.  Show them that happiness starts within so they will follow suit.  Being a happy parent is apart of being a good parent that's raising children.

Self-care is important for your sanity.  Do it by any means necessary.