One day about 7-8 years ago, I get this random call from a young woman from Michigan. She wanted to volunteer with the CMTA. “Sure!”, I said enthusiastically. “We are always looking for volunteers-ALWAYS!” Now, compared to my loud, overly animated voice and my quick speaking conversational style, my new friend, Bethany, spoke slowly, methodically and in whispered tones. She actually takes a moment to think before she spoke – a new concept for me.
She wanted to volunteer for CMTA but she was about to have foot surgery, and she assured me that she’d get back to me during or after recovery. I had no expectations, but she did indeed get back. From this day forward, our friendship blossomed. I crept into her life like mold, and now, she’s never getting rid of me. We are stuck together like velcro. She moved to London last year, probably hoping the distance would give her some space-WRONG. We talk frequently, Facebook tons, and I’ll be seeing her next week in Miami.
Following her then boyfriend, Josh, to the Bay Area, California (a joke you’ll understand once you’ve read Bethany’s book), we got to know each other well. She really is not as quiet as you think when you first meet her. In fact, she’s quite chatty and holds her own in debates. From a shy, soft-spoken teen, to a master in digital communications, a successful fundraiser and a moving motivational speaker, Bethany has become a well known and loved figure in the world of CMT.
At 25, Bethany has published her first book, How Should a Body Be? which gives an intimate, honest and heartfelt portrayal of what it is like growing up with different abilities. She’s a wonderful writer and I am in awe of her strength and “determination” (I prefer the word stubbornness, but Bethany’s not thrilled with that word). Here are my thoughts on Bethany’s memoir:
Bethany Meloche’s thoughtful memoir—“How Should a Body Be?”— recounts the life story of a strong-willed young woman with a never-give-up, never-look-back stance to being alive in this world. In a culture that places so much emphasis on physical perfection, many are dissatisfied with their appearance and obsess over achieving unrealistic standards of beauty and fitness. Compound these everyday societal pressures with a progressive neuromuscular disease like Charcot-Marie-Tooth—which causes foot deformities, muscle weakness, tremor and breathing difficulties—and growing up with confidence and assurance becomes that much more arduous.
With wit and humor, Bethany relates the challenges of living in a world where people’s well-intentioned, but short-sighted commentary and feedback inadvertently amplify her feelings of self-doubt, uncertainty, and isolation.
Driven by a lust for knowledge and unquenchable curiosity, Bethany lives each day to the fullest, making her story both unique and inspirational. It would have been easy for Bethany to surrender, to lose hope, to fall into the depths of despair and depression, but by turning her anger outward she discovers strength, willpower, connection and success.
“How Should a Body Be?” is a personal journey toward self-acceptance, healing and living life to its fullest, despite apparent limitations. Mature beyond her years, Bethany offers nuggets of wisdom to be shared, pondered and cherished. Honest, truthful and profoundly insightful, this book is for people with CMT, their families, their friends and anyone who struggles with self-image, confidence and the fear of being seen. This is the best book to date on growing up with physical differences, obvious or not.
Bottom line: Buy it. It’s that good. Buy it here: http://amzn.to/2lBC9cz
Still not convinced? How can you say “no” to this cute face?