Melissa Hevenor
Friday June 23 , 2017
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Posts Tagged ‘Self acceptance’

Marching in Search of a Cure while Finding Magic

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

While the month of March is known for the luck of the Irish, I found this March to be the luck of a lifetime. On March 16, one of my best friends, Sandra, and I headed to Orlando, Florida, to visit my friends, who are now more like family, the Castellanos. Sandra and I enjoyed the scenic drive as I told her more about Talia Joy Castellano, the sweet little angel who touched my life as I was in search of make-up tutorials, to prepare me for a large stage event. Little did I know, I would click onto a video, connecting me to a then-little girl, who would forever have a place in my heart. When Talia and I first began communicating, it was strictly about eyeliner, eyeshadow brushes, drugstore make-up vs. high-end,and things of that nature. Over time, she taught me not only about make-up, but also about life itself. In fact, as it would turn out, some of the greatest spiritual and life lessons that I live by today, were first imparted to me by taliajoy18, a make-up guru, who was in fact a spiritual guru, whether she knew it or not. Over the course of two and a half years, she taught me how to blend make-up, but also how to be proud of yourself. one of the greatest lessons we all go through is self-acceptance, and while Talia’a self-acceptance grew from battling a horrible monster known as neuroblastoma, not only did she learn to accept herself, but she also used Youtube and social media to shine like a sparkly diamond, spreading her light like a prism, embracing all colors, ethnic backgrounds and spiritual beliefs, through make-up.

I found it difficult to write this blog, because it is so hard to articulate in words the essence and beauty of Talia and her message. Then, this afternoon, I went with another best friend, to see Disney’s new version of Cinderella. That movie, in its humor, beauty and cryptic messages, gave me the inspiration to sit down and write this blog. The movie, Cinderella, addressed the lesson of self-expression and self-acceptance, and a light bulb came on in my head. Talia not only found acceptance in her circumstances, but also was able to rise above them, finding acceptance and spreading kindness. Kindness was also a repeated theme throughout Cinderella’s story, and the final ingredient in the happily ever after fairy tale was magic. Talia found her magic through make-up. In this life that we live, magic doesn’t obviously come in a bottle labeled “fairy dust.” Magic is something we have to find within ourselves and share it, through a passion that makes us happy and feel love towards ourself. Without self-love, we can not fully express who we are , and without full expression, we can not give the best of ourselves.. Therefore, because my trip to Orlando was to honor such a special person, who found her own magic, the trip itself was magical.
As we pulled up to the house, I was nervous. I wasn’t even sure why i was nervous. Perhaps, in part because of anticipation. Perhaps, in part because Talia and I had talked about me coming to visit her, several times before she passed.  Or, perhaps because I didn’t want the trip to end and I knew the minute I entered the house, the end was closer. As soon as you enter the house, you feel so much love and you understand how Talia was so extraordinary. she could not have been as confident, as talented or inspiring, if she did not have the amazing foundation of her mother, her sister and her stepfather’s shoulders to stand on. I felt as though i had been in the house so many times, recognizing all the different areas where Talia had done series
of videos. I also felt like I was coming home because Desiree, Talia’s mom had been waiting for us, and there was a delicious plate of food, with our names on them! The trip also brought up emotions for me because it had been such a long time since felt like I belonged. As we enjoyed the food, we heard stories about Talia and shared about ourselves to get to know each other even better. But, the one common factor is that we each love Talia and she had been the one who brought all of us together.
When I entered, her bedroom, I felt as though any minute she would run through the door. Her bedroom is beautiful and captures her essence perfectly, filled with tribute paintings, and portraits and, of course, and certainly not least, her make-up. the next day, as we prepared for the march, an annual fundraiser to raise money for Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital, where Talia was treated, I felt Talia with us every second as I put on my make-up, and sure enough, during a conversation about tweezers, one of Talia’s pictures fell over, a sure sign that she agreed with what we were talking about. I had planned to walk with my walker during part of the walk, but was unable to, because the pathway was too uneven, which meant that it was a team effort to push me over the course of the march. Sometimes, it was two people at once, sometimes it was Desiree who was quite familiar with a wheelchair, and sometimes it was a nice handsome gentleman, and other times, it was old and new friends lending a hand, to make sure that this member of Talia’s team was not left behind.
After the march, a group of us went to Talia’s gravesite. I have to say her headstone is by far, the most beautiful headstone I have ever seen, and it completely exemplifies what Talia was and still is. Also, there is a beautiful tree that stands guard closely to what feels like a private sanctuary. You feel nothing but peace and serenity there. I, once again, found myself emotional, not because we were at a cemetery, because as a medium, I know that Talia’s spirit is not there, but because the headstone and foot stone are so beautiful and Desiree and Mattia work endlessly to honor Talia’s memory and carry on her legacy. It made me realize how blessed she is to have such an amazing family. One can only hope, no matter how far in the future, that they are loved to such an extent that he/she is memorialized in such a way. And that brought emotions because they bring the existence of unconditional love to life. I also felt an amazing connection with the other people who were part of the team and went to the cemetery, as we all sat with our heads bowed, talking or connecting as our “No Fear, Just Faith” T-shirts were lined up around Talia’s tombstone.
After spending time there, we all went together for dinner at Talia’s favorite sushi restaurant, ordering some of her favorites. Once again, I felt her spirit as we laughed and shared stories about her extraordinary life. I also felt a huge connection with Talia’s dog, Bella. She was filled with excitement, so much love and personality. She was definitely meant to be Talia’s dog, and wanted to be in the center of everything. Just like her mother, she is tiny, but feisty. I thought I loved and respected Talia before this trip, but now the respect and love I have for her is everlasting. Her strength, happiness and talents far exceed those of most individuals twice her age. I will continue to support Talia, her legacy, and her family, until the day that the words, “childhood cancer is cured,” can be read in medical journals and shared worldwide. Until then and beyond, Talia’s Legacy will march on with a shining, magical make-up angel leading the way.