I’ve been writing this post for three days.
I can write a good blog post. I can pull all the facts and tell you that it is heart health awareness month and that, as a woman, I am WELL aware that heart disease is the NUMBER ONE KILLER of women. PERIOD. I could tell you all the foods to eat, the exercises to do and techniques to help keep your stress down. However, if you don’t do them, they don’t work. They didn’t always work for me.
I’m 40 years old and I’ve been sent home from work before because my blood pressure was too high. I’ve had an EKG or two in my lifetime and I have seen the rooms of urgent care and the emergency room because I thought was having a heart attack. I exercise almost daily, follow a plant based diet and yet I’ve had to visit a cardiologist and have a stress test because of what I ignored.
I’ve been writing this blog post for three days. And then I saw this picture….
And it all came together for me.
That’s my daughter. I have to fight for this thing….for me and her and everyone who comes behind us.
I didn’t go forward with the #OurHeartsMatter movement because I needed something to do. I went forward with the #OurHeartsMatter movement because education AND community can change lives. With access to more everything more than ever, it’s time to stop telling people what to do and show them AND walk with them. When one of us makes a choice that makes us better it helps us all.
It crossed my mind a couple of Sundays to challenge a few of my friends during the month of February to do their best to do everything they could to protect their heart and encourage others with their progress. Before I knew it, I had tagged one hundred of my Facebook friends and asked them to join me in this “thing” that was still developing.
I wasn’t sure I knew what I was doing. They trusted me. I needed them to help me reach people. I trusted them. We decided together we were going to do “this.”
One hundred fifty plus women later and just two days into February, I am OVERWHELMED at what had happened.
See, high blood pressure “runs” in my family. I don’t know if it’s our habits or just our fate. As a girl, I remember my grandmother having a heart attack. And then she had another one. And another one. As a young woman, I remember my mother calling me in a tone I’ve never heard since when she told me her best friend, my godmother, had died in her sleep from heart attack. She was only 45. I remember coming home last summer and literally going numb when they told me my aunt had died from a massive heart attack. That’s real stuff. That’s just MY life. In just MY life, I know hundreds of people who are super stressed, eat super unhealthy and do NO kind of exercise. I had to wonder who else had people like this in their lives? How could we influence people? How could we influence change, in others and ourselves?
These are questions we are still asking ourselves. We are just choosing NOT to stand still why we are asking them. We are working in, working out, challenging each other, challenging the thoughts and behaviors of others. We can make a change. We are making a change. Because we are making a change, my daughter, your daughter and young women everywhere will be more aware and at the forefront of this movement. That’s important. That’s major.
So when you see us coming through with our #OurHeartsMatter hashtag, know that it’s more than a “trend.” This is life; our life, your life. You don’t have to be part of a group, have Instagram, wear red, eat oatmeal or run ten miles to be part of a movement. You just have to choose to NOT stand still. Whose heart can you save because you chose to take care of your own?