In the beginning God created a skinny chick. And it was good. So I thought.
The term # BFAT began with the seed planting of a positive and kick-ass attitude in the wake of a life-changing diagnosis.
It was nearly eighteen years ago when # BFAT changed my life. Although the term hadn’t been coined yet and hashtags wouldn’t be introduced to the masses for another 10 years, the seed planting occurred in a moment I’ll never forget.
In was November, 1998. My husband and I were sitting on a hospital bed holding hands and staring at a blank wall. A doctor we’d never met walked in, crossed his arms and gave us the grim diagnosis.
His chat was not unlike an auto mechanic telling us the engine was shot. He provided some superficial facts but we sensed the damage report was too far over our heads for him to bother with dispensing any details. Then his prognosis; the one-two punch to the gut. Basically, he said, it’s broke and we can’t fix it. He didn’t have the decency to look us in the eye.
“Good luck. God bless,” and he gave us what we would come to call the “double handshake.” That was the conversation in a nutshell.
When he walked out the door my mind reeled in a thousand directions. At home, there were three young children. And a mortgage I could never pay on my own. At that moment the thoughts of losing the man I had adored since I was twelve, and living my life without him, crushed me in ways I could not verbalize. I never felt so alone and out of control in my life. I wasn’t awesome. I was nothing.
The grass grew five inches while my husband and I continued our silent stare.
Then he spoke up in his normal, level-headed tone: “Well, that doesn’t sound very good.”
I shuttered a bit more before facing him, but feeding off his demeanor, just as calmly replied: “I don’t think it is.”
In an instant, we allowed a total stranger to change our lives forever. Every hope and dream and goal and desire amounted to jack squat. Things would never be the same.
Until five minutes later, when my husband squeezed my hand and took control back as best he could. He said three things to plant the seed of #BFAT in my life:
- This (illness) was given to us for a purpose today.
- There are four people in this world who matter to me and they all live under my roof.
- They have no idea who they’re fucking with.
Each day gave us the chance to make the day extra awesome. And we did. Little things. Silly things that gave us power over our circumstances. We clink our coffee cups every morning and bless somebody else. Even in the darkest of days, and there were many for sure, we found the humor and passion and love to get through to the next day.
I hadn’t formulated # BFAT or a “mantra” or any such concrete thought process. But the seed had been sowed just as firmly as our declaration to fight the good fight. We’d go at it together and go at it with all the energy we could muster.
Nobody was more surprised than us when each day we’d wake up and realize we’d been given another day to be awesome. We were (are) grateful and thankful.
The seed planting for # BFAT resulted from a personal challenge. Who knew the vivid details of the day that haunted my dreams and fed my fears would bear us such great fruit? A diseased body, given the “double hand shake” more than once, healed and went on to live well. And play golf every Friday afternoon!
I’m not skinny anymore. And it’s good.
- It’s not over today until you say it’s over today.
- There is a reason your life has been spared today.
- Every day you get to wake up is your chance to be awesome. Don’t screw with it.
Stephanie DelTorchio is a blogger, copywriter and screenwriter.