Surreal sur·re·al /səˈrēəl/
Adjective: “Having the qualities of surrealism; bizarre: ‘a surreal mix of fact and fantasy.'”
Today, much like four years ago, I wake up to a new chapter in my life. Our company, my dream, Indie Lee and Co. becomes a permanent fixture in Henri Bendel’s New York City flagship store. We unveil its newest, eco-chic look. Sleek, completely sustainable and dare I saygorgeous — proving to the world: You can be every bit glamorous and stay true to being natural. Perhaps the cherry on top though is that all of this was revealed to the world in a WWD interview (Women’s Wear Daily — the A-list of the beauty and fashion world trade publication) yesterday, on Earth Day, my four-year tumorversary. Surreal
This time four years ago, I had made sure I had made amends with those I felt closure hadn’t been achieved. I had said, “I love you” to those that needed to know. I was lucky; I had time to get my affairs in order. No matter how much I knew my time wasn’t up, I wouldn’t leave the “what ifs” to chance. Tomorrow was never supposed to be in my vocabulary. Power of attorneys were signed; living wills, check; do not resuscitate, check. Notes to my kids, my family — written, painfully and lovingly written. Notes like that should never have to be written.
Fast-forward four years and the emotion I feel is indescribable. Not because of a surgical anniversary (I mean, yeah, that is pretty awesome, too), but the inspiration each of you reading this has given to me over the past four years as your gift. You have all played a role in the incredible life I am living. Some of you may not even know it. Each day, I re-read different letters, emails, notes sent personally to me. Each one saved and cherished. Each review on Facebook, our website, etc. held closely to my heart. The past four years have been lived with purpose, both personally and professionally.
It’s funny; I wasn’t really sure what I would write today. The truth is I think about my life and mortality every day. There isn’t one day over the past four years that I haven’t been grateful for. I can close my eyes as I do now and remember so many moments, not just the major “events,” but the “every days.” Each one creating an indelible memory that I don’t want to lose, ever. Even the not-so-fabulous memories… I take them all and cherish them. These are my life; these are what I want to define me.
So after writing the above it does become clear. Up until my diagnosis, I knew what the word “life” meant. I knew the word “passion.” I just didn’t understand the concept of living passionately. I can assure you, today I do. I encourage you all to stop, really stop and take stock. Make sure you are living with passion and passionately living. Surround yourself with people that raise you up, that fill your life, heart and soul with passion. As I often say, tomorrow isn’t promised, and this ain’t no dress rehearsal. While there are days that life doesn’t feel so good, the point is you are feeling. That is what I’ve learned the journey is all about. Life is meant to be experienced to the fullest in each moment.
And yet, for me — the best is yet to come, I know it. I’m not sure what it looks like, but I am so excited for it. I know so many changes are still to come, but for right now I am going to enjoy the present moment — surreal.