“I wish he was a Virgo, the same sign as me; And know how to show me love, cause I’ve been hurt by a Pisces”
– Beyonce, Signs
Another year has passed, and 33 came with a bang. I celebrated this milestone surrounded by family and close friends at Tuscan Kitchen—a restaurant I was excited to finally try. As I sat down to reflect on the last 32 years, it occurred to me how much has happened since last year. I made the best out of living with Muscular Dystrophy and continued spreading awareness, connected with new friends, partners and supporters, and kept dreaming beyond the scope of how my body was feeling. I launched my own business, Girls Chronically Rock. I initiated the first Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy Awareness Day and had the governor of Massachusetts and the mayor of Cambridge to sign the LMD Awareness Day proclamation.
I always knew I wanted to be a business owner, but I never thought I would have MD. After going through denial, my diagnosis really inspired and motivated me to start my business. Looking forward, I’d love to build my business from where it is now to an empire from clothing brand to movement.
Though I’m grateful for the progress I’ve made, I still have big dreams. I’d love to find love and get married one day. I want to grow my brand, extend its reach, increase profits and get on major talk shows. My ultimate birthday wish is to find a cure for Limb-girdle Muscular Dystrophy, of course.
I’m excited for what year 33 will bring, but before I jump ahead, I want to share some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned at 32:
Life can take you by surprise
You never know what’s going to happen next. This was the case when I was diagnosed with MD, but I didn’t let that stop me. Life is full of surprises. We can’t just stop because life hits us with the unexpected.
Realizing who my true friends are
I realized in year 32 that family is everything. If it wasn’t for my family and friends, I wouldn’t be as mobile, independent and comfortable while living with a chronic illness. My family and friends are empathetic, patient and present for when I need them no matter what my need is. That’s what community is all about—people who have your back.
Surround yourself with positive business peers
Starting my own business has not only opened doors of opportunity, but also doors of purpose by connecting with other like-minded business owners. It’s great to have a group of peers all in the same boat of making intentional steps towards growing our brand and spreading our message one day at a time. I have enjoyed the process and am learning that the biggest tool you can have is not just another online course or product, but a real, reachable business buddy to talk shop with when everyone else just doesn’t get the entrepreneur hustle.
Along with every lesson always comes a few words of wisdom I’d like to leave with you, whether you are in your 20s, 30s, teens or 80s.
- Connecting with others with a similar chronic illness will make life so much more bearable as you share information, experiences and even pain.
- Don’t let life pass you by. Just go for it. A diagnosis is not a reason to stop living.
- Your chronic illness gives you a unique angle for your brand, business or product idea. Go for it. Use everything you have, including your chronic illness, to help you realize your dream.
I can’t wait to see what happens in year 33. Have you had a birthday recently? What were some of your “aha!” moments? Reply below.
Author: Keisha Greaves
Your Bio: Keisha Greaves is a motivational speaker, the founder of Girls Chronically Rock, and the Massachusetts State Ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). Girls Chronically Rock (www.girlschronicallyrock.com) offers inspired fashion celebrating Muscular Dystrophy and other chronic illnesses. Over the past few years, Keisha has been featured in Improper Bostonian, Boston Voyager, Herself 360, Liz on Biz, among other outlets on and offline. She’s lent her voice to audiences at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Center in Charlestown, Massachusetts General Hospital, the Boston Muscle Walk, local “Fill the Boot” events, Cambridge City Hall, and, most recently, Girl’s Night Out for Muscular Dystrophy – a Boston-area fundraising event held by NextonScene. Keisha spearheaded fruitful collaborations with other notable fashion influencers which resulted in thousands of dollars raised for MDA – the most successful collaborations being with renown designer Sara Campbell and Althea Blackford, the woman behind Caribbean Fashion Week. One of Keisha’s proudest moments happened after working and meeting with Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker: Keisha got September 30 officially proclaimed Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy Awareness Day. She also received the proclamation from Mayor Marc McGovern from the city of Cambridge. To book Keisha for your organization, simply email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Link to website: https://www.girlschronicallyrock.com/