Happy Anniversary to Me!

Today marks the one-year anniversary that I have been living and pursuing my dreams of working in the Music Industry here in Hollywood, or Hollyweird as I like to call it. And honestly, looking back, so much has happened, but it all seems to have flown by in super speed.

Hollywood is a crazy place. It is also a VERY hard place to live in at times. It WILL force you to grow up and mature fast. You have to get used to being on the go at least 99.9% of the time. Believe me, being a girl who grew up in Oregon for 26 years, this was a huge adjustment for me, but I honestly would not change it for the world.

In just the last year alone, I have learned so much about myself. When I look back on the last year, I think the biggest thing that was the toughest for me to learn was on the friendship side of things. I was shown who were true friends and who were friends that over stayed their welcome. At least I know that all people who come into your life are supposed to be there for a reason, it was just their time to go, I guess. Yes, it was tough, but I am better and a stronger person because of it.

I have also learned to express myself more and be honest with my emotions and not run away from them. I am a creative person, so it is important for me to let it out, and hell, something beautiful can come out of it creativity wise. I also started going to school for Music Business and have learned a ton of interesting things just in the first two classes I have taken. Another thing I have started to dabble in is some song writing. Honestly, I never in a million years thought I would do this, but I really felt like God was calling me to be more creative lately and this is the way he wanted me to go. I don’t have a lot done, but it will get there.

One other important thing that I grew in, was my acceptance with my CP.  Over the past few months, I have gained more of an open mind with the disability world and through that this blog was born, and I am so glad it was!

When I first got to LA a year ago, the first thing I did is  what every person on the planet has probably done and gone to The Happiest Place on Earth and that basically was the kickoff to something amazing. If I could live at Disneyland I would. One of the plus sides to living where I do, I am literally only half an hour away.

Then in August I was able to go to Las Vegas for a few days with some friends. While I have had been there before with family a couple of years prior, I was really able to see The Strip and experience it a lot more than the first time. Let’s just say it was A LOT of walking and very little sleep. But it was probably one of the best trips I had taken last year.

Most recently I was able to go to a series of American Idol tapings and this really helped me network with people in the business from a business standpoint as well as personal. I met some pretty amazing people through this experience. Idol crew even called me a professional audience member. (Hey, I’ll take it!).

So in conclusion, I cannot complain with where my life is at this moment. To be completely honest, I am in the best place I have been in a very long time. And this makes me super excited to see where the next year will take me. I have some pretty awesome goals set up for myself and they are starting to look like they will all work out.

I’m off to spend this day at the beach celebrating the anniversary as well as Memorial Day! I know, life is rough when you live in sunny Southern California! 😉 Have a great holiday weekend everyone!

A Letter to the Most Influential Woman in my Life

Dear Mommy,

Words cannot describe how amazing you are. You are one of the most hardworking, caring, selfless, beautiful, smart, and funny person I know. You are always there for me when I need it, and I am forever grateful for it. Our conversations can be serious, filled with advice, or for me to be a smart ass with you, I know I can count on you for all of it.

I appreciate all the times that you have been there for me when it came to dealing with me as well as the CP. You were my cheerleader when I put my mind to something and it was going to be a little bit more difficult for me to accomplish, but you told me to pursue it anyways. You were there by my side through the surgeries and doctor’s appointments, putting your foot down with me or the doctor’s if need be. You have also been there for me if I was down on myself and beating myself up when I felt insecure.

I know life has had it’s struggles and you deal with a lot for yourself, but I just want to say that I am super proud of you for the person that you have become and are becoming. This year you found a passion of yours, one that everyone could see for years. You get to work with dogs every week. Honestly, I am surprised as all hell that you haven’t come home with every single dog yet.

Earlier, Kimmy said that you were a rock star and a legend, and I could not agree any more! Keep kicking ass, and you will become even stronger while doing that.

The Beginning of My Musical Journey

Everybody has dreams and aspirations in life. Some people may want to become a doctor, or scientist, or a teacher. Some people may even want to become an actor, Broadway star, or musician. I thought today, I would talk a little about my dreams and aspirations for my life and talk about how important music has been to my life.

For as long as I can remember, music has been that special thing in my life that was always there. There is a song out there for every situation and emotion that comes with it. Because of this, I have known since middle school that I have always wanted to work in something with music, I just wasn’t sure what exactly. I took band and choir in middle school, but band was short-lived. Choir was the one that stuck for me through all my middle school days and most of my high school days. As much as I loved it though, I knew deep down I wasn’t meant to be a singer.

It wasn’t until about three years later when I was living in Los Angeles that I got the opportunity to intern with a record label that I finally knew what I wanted to do. I love social media and I love helping artists and record labels out, so why not incorporate both of those? So that’s what I decided to do.

I ended up going back to Oregon a few short months later, but with the dream of working in the music industry still very strong inside of my heart. I had school to worry about first anyways. I tried going to my local community college at first but they didn’t have anything that would help me in the direction that I wanted to go into at all, so that ended up being a major fail. However, I did look into University of Phoenix and found a perfect major for me for my Associates Degree and quickly jumped on that train to pursue that. After 2 and a half years of doing that I finally graduated with my Associates with a 3.5 I believe.

After that I jumped right into getting my Bachelor’s Degree, which was fine for about the first year of the course. About a year after starting my Bachelor’s Degree I finally decided to take the plunge and finally move to Los Angeles full-time and pursue my dream of working in the music industry.

A few months after I made the move to LA, I decided that University of Phoenix was no longer the way to go. The area I was studying wasn’t going in the direction that I wanted to go in. I decided I wanted to go into more of the Music Business side of things. So I ended things with University of Phoenix (much to their disappointment) and applied for the Music Business Extension Program at UCLA, where I am currently attending, and love it.

Being out here almost a year, I look back on it and see that yes, there have been a lot of struggles to get to where I am today, but that it has only made me stronger. It also comes with the gig that I chose, and that is okay with me. I am still learning every day about the business and myself. I am making connections on business levels and personal levels, because I know that is one of the best ways to make my way up in this business. Yes, it is tough, and yes, it is super competitive, but I would not change it for the world. Every day is a new adventure and I love the ride.

That One Time That I Was Told I Should Have Been Aborted

It is no secret that having a child with a disability can be difficult and hard to deal with at times. I can only imagine what my parents thought process was when the doctors told them that there was a huge possibility that I may have cerebral palsy. I am sure they were scared shitless, nervous, and probably had no idea what the hell they were getting themselves into. With that being said though, they loved me and knew that they would do anything to help me live the most normal life possible.

There have been times though that people have not understood why my parents made the choice they did and not choose abortion or adoption. I remember a specific time where my mom ended up having a conversation with someone who we know about this. Now, before I continue on with my story, I just want to say that my intention is not to attack Pro Life or Pro Choice. If you believe one of those choices that is totally fine and I respect that. I also would like to add that I do not hold ill will against this person and believe that since this conversation has passed, they have changed and grown up since then.

From what I remember of the conversation it started by this person talking about how a friend was going to have tests done to make sure that their baby was healthy. They then proceeded to say that they would not be able to handle having a child with a disability and would then abort the baby if they had found out that the baby was not “normal”. My mom told them that she believed that every baby is a gift from God, no matter if there are differences or not.

This person then made it seem like my mom should have either had me aborted or given me up for adoption. To be completely honest, this pissed both my mom and I off really bad. It was also very hurtful. They made it seem like my mom and dad made a horrible choice by keeping me and attacked them on their parenting. And it made me feel like I was worthless and I did not deserve to be alive or be with my parents.

They also asked me if I was glad to be alive and be where I was even though I deal with my disability on a daily basis. My first thought was to be a complete bitch and come back with a smart ass remark, but I decided against that and took a deep breath (even though I was fuming on the inside), and told them that I may have struggles and that it may be hard some days, but I am glad to be alive and be with the family that I have. This question also really confused me and made no sense because I do not know a life without my cerebral palsy so how can I answer a question that I do not have the answer to?

I love the life I live and the life I have. Like I have said in the past, my parents have raised me to be independent and taught me how to live as much of a normal life as possible. If it was not for them, I would not be pursuing my dreams in Los Angeles and in the music industry. Because of what they taught me, nothing is off-limits.   And because of that, I can strive to make a difference to change people’s mindsets that it would be too hard to raise a child with a disability.

Overcoming Obstacles

This week I really struggled to think of a topic to write about for this blog. That was until I came across one of my friends’ blogs about overcoming obstacles. As I was reading her blog,(Side note: If you want to check out the blog post I mention the link is: https://ashleemelda.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/do-not-let-your-struggle-become-your-identity/), it was like a light bulb went on over my head and I knew exactly what I was going to talk about.

It is no secret that everyone goes through obstacles throughout their life, no matter if they are differently abled or able-bodied. It could be an obstacle of trying to find the right job, or something more serious as learning to walk again after having a major surgery, or something small as battling writers block and trying to figure out what to write for a blog post.

Over the past few months I have had an issue with getting my balance down in the car port and near my friend’s car. For months I would feel like I could not walk without holding onto anything, or else I would lose my balance and fall, when I have been able to do this many times all by myself in the past. This became a constant thing and also became very frustrating. It was like there was an invisible wall there and I kept running into it.

After so many times, and many countless talks with my friend on what the hang up was, I realized that it was all a mental thing. Something switched in my brain to let me know that I could not do it without an aid, when I know I am very capable with walking without anything.

So how have I overcome this obstacle you ask? Well, to be honest, I still struggle with it, but it has gotten better. When I go downstairs I just make sure that I do not focus so much on holding on to anything, because I have noticed that is what screws me up in the first place. I also tell myself that it is only about a 100 ft. walk and that I can do it and that I am strong enough to do it.

If you are struggling with an obstacle in your life and you feel like it will never go away, I would like to encourage you to keep pushing forward. You may be struggling right now, but that does not mean that it will last forever (even though it may feel like it sometimes). Talk to family or friends about your obstacle and see if they have any advice on how to overcome it. I know that if I did not have the support of my friend who wanted to see me overcome it because she knew I could, I would not be where I am today.

Mythbusters Disability Edition: Diseased and Needs Help 24/7

All of my life I have heard, “Can I help you with that?” “Here, let me get that for you.” Or one of my favorites one yet, “So, are you helping out that disabled girl?” This is the type of things I get on a semi regular basis when it comes to people and dealing with my cerebral palsy.

Ever since I moved to Los Angeles almost a year ago, I have been pushed out of my comfort zone on a daily basis and have done things that I did not think that I could do, especially when it came to things dealing with my cerebral palsy. Although, I will say that the hardest and most eye-opening thing that I have had to deal with is people’s perceptions of me. And there have been a multitude of things that have come up in the last month or so that have really gotten under my skin, that I believe people need to be aware and mindful of.

What is that you ask? Well, let me tell you: Not all disabled people need a caretaker, and just because we have a disability does not mean we are diseased and the person I am going to be standing next to is going to get it. Now, you may be asking, “Katy, where in the world is this rant coming from?” Well I am going to tell you of two different instances that literally happened on the same day about a month ago.

The first incident happened when I had gotten an email to come in for an interview for an internship. To say that I was excited for this opportunity was an understatement. Sure, it wouldn’t be a paid internship, but it would at least help me get my foot in the door in the music industry. But as I continued to email with this person, the whole situation began to feel off. They wanted me to come in on Monday’s, Wednesday’s and Thursday’s until six, and the place where the internship was a good half hour away from where I live in Hollywood. I would do it, but I also had school to worry about as well and I told them that I couldn’t work until six on two of the days because of school. They of course fought back saying that I had ample time to get to class, and I was put in a position where I felt like I was backed into a corner where I had to mention my cerebral palsy. Now, I will be open and honest with anyone about my disability, that’s not an issue. I mean for crying out loud if I had an issue with it, I wouldn’t be writing this blog. But I do not tell jobs that I am disabled because I do not want that to be a defining factor in whether I get hired or not. I had to tell them that it takes me longer to get to places because of my disability and I have to leave enough time for that. This is the part that bugged me: They emailed me back and said, “I’m so sorry you suffer from this disease.” Um, last time I checked I wasn’t dying. To me I always looked at a disease as something you can die from, not a disability like mine, where it just hard for me to keep my balance and walk. However, according  to online resources, cerebral palsy is considered a disease, just not one that is considered deadly. I was unaware of this until just recently. Even I am still learning things from my disability, even after 27 years.  I ended up still setting up an appointment to have an interview, but after a couple of days I cancelled it because it just didn’t feel right going after everything that happened.

While I was dealing with the email situation, my roommate and I were doing laundry. After going to go check on the clothes, my roommate came back in and had told me of a conversation that she had with one of the other people in the apartment building while she was down there. They had actually asked about me. They had seen me around with my roommate and they thought that my roommate was my caretaker. Now, this is not the first time that this has happened. We will be out and about and people will just assume that she is my caretaker. I am setting the record straight right now. She is my best friend and roommate, not my caretaker. I do not and have I never needed a caretaker to take care of me in all my 27 years of life. My parents raised me to be strong and independent and I believe that they did a pretty damn good job. It can be very upsetting for me, as well as my roommate, and other people who I am close to because we can see what I am capable of and to have people assume that I cannot do things can be hurtful.

The positive that I take out of both of these situations is that I have a chance to share my story and show people who I am not some sick person who cannot do anything for themselves. I was able to tell the person I was emailing that there was no need or reason to feel sorry for me, that I am still the same Katy that will work her ass off when it comes to a job and that I do not give up easily.

I just want to encourage anybody that does see somebody who is disabled to not automatically jump to conclusions about whether they are sick, or cannot do things for themselves. Yes, there are people out there who have diseases, which make them not feel well on a daily basis, and yes, there are people out there who do need some extra help and do need a caretaker, but that does not mean that everyone does. I encourage you to get to know the persons story before you jump to such conclusions. I can tell you that it would make the persons day if you did something just as simple as that. Who knows you may make a new friend just by getting to know them.

#DearMe

Dear Me,

Oh boy, where do I begin? Right now you are just a teenage girl with so many dreams and aspirations, even dreams and aspirations that you know nothing about yet. I am sure that you are scared shitless of what the future holds and for what it looks like, but guess what I am here to tell you that that is okay. You will survive.

First thing to remember, life gets so much better after school. Like Brad Paisley says in his song Letter to Me, “They say that high school is the best years of your life…well I’m proof that they are wrong.” This is so true. Yes, you will have great times in high school, but you will have an even better time after school. Sure you may take a little bit longer to finish, but you will get there and it will be beyond glorious and exciting when you do.

You may struggle with wanting to be “normal” because of your CP, and I won’t lie to you, it will be a struggle for years to come, but you will get to the point where you become more open-minded in quite a few different ways with your disability. You will learn that you are just fine the way you are with your disability, even if people will want to “cure” you and make you believe that there is something wrong with you. You will also start an awesome blog telling people of your story and your struggles and highlights of your journey. You will also meet some pretty awesome people, as well as some not so awesome people throughout the years dealing with your cerebral palsy.

Speaking of finding your voice, you will become more honest with time. Probably so much so, that people will want you to shut the hell up and wish you weren’t right all the time. Trust me, you will hear this many times from your family and friends. This will eventually be coined “Honest Abe” and it will be hilarious.

When it comes to your family, you are probably dealing with a lot when it comes to them at this point. I get that it was stressful, and you cried a lot when it came to things with them. Your parents end up getting divorced, and that will probably be the hardest and darkest time in your life, but don’t worry too much, things will start to look up in a few years and your relationship with both your parents individually will be better because of it.

Speaking of better relationships, you and Kimmy will have a stronger bond over the years. Maybe it was the divorce that made you guys’ get stronger, or just the fact that you two grew up and matured and stopped fighting like five-year olds. The important thing is your sister will become one of your best friends and someone who you know you can go to with anything no matter how small or stupid it is.

As for relationships with guys…don’t worry so much about needing a boyfriend during school, you have too much going on during that time to even focus on that. Sure, you will have big crushes on guys, but those will fade over time, some quicker than others, but you will find the right guy for you in the future. Spoiler Alert: You’re still looking and he’s still hiding, but he can’t hide forever right?

When it comes to friendships with your friends in school, most of them will still be your friends for a very long time, others not so much. There will be friends that you had been friends with for years that you just have to cut ties with and be done with the friendship to better yourself, but there will also be friends that you may lose contact with and get reconnected and have a stronger friendship after the fact. Cherish every single friendship though, because every single one gives you a lesson to learn.

You will eventually move to Los Angeles and this will be a great learning lesson for you that you need to grow up. Through this, you will gain a stronger relationship with God, and learn not just a lot about yourself, but how the world can be. It will be hard, and you will get knocked down quite a few times, but you will stand back up and be stronger after the fact. You will also start to believe in your gut a lot more. Trust me, it is Hollywood after all. This is also around the time that you realize that you want to work in the Music Industry, and through that you are able to work with a record label. Through this you will meet your best friend and start a friendship that you will cherish for a long time, even to this day.

As for other inspirations, you will have a special place in your heart for a little known band called The Jonas Brothers and they will help you get through a lot of personal stuff, even if they don’t know about it yet. But just a warning, they will break up and go their separate ways, but don’t worry too much, they ARE still brothers and they won’t disappear altogether. Also, while you may think Zac Efron is a beautiful person as Troy Bolton in High School Musical, trust me, he gets better with age.

Most importantly, know that you are loved, funny, confident, strong, beautiful, as well as very stubborn, but that will help you not back down with what you want to do in life. If anything that shows how much you refuse to give up. So keep shining your light. You will change lives, trust me.