Hey GRRRLS hey! It’s your GRRRL Spunky and I’m excited to be back with some fresh new stories for the GRRRL Talk column!
We’re finding ourselves amidst some strange and scary times as the COVD19 virus makes its way across the world. People are in a panic, people are upset and I’m glad that I can share some positive stories here at GRRRL to help brighten your day. I’ve been talking to Addie Decter from Los Angeles, CA and she has a story that will do just that.
Many of us know Addie on instagram because she happens to be one of the most supportive and encouraging women out there when it comes to cheering on her GRRRLS. She has a way of brightening many of our feeds in her own special way and It always makes me smile.
I met Addie almost a year ago at GRRRL Live 19 ( wow has it already been a year since vegas?) her aunt pulled me aside and asked me to interview her niece on the GRRRL live stream. Addie’s aunt was incredibly proud of this young woman’s accomplishments and she wanted the world to know it. The more I talked to them, the more I understood why.
Addie now in her early twenties was diagnosed at just 18 months old with Lennox- gastaut Syndrome – A very severe and rare form of Epilepsy that presents itself during early childhood or infancy.
ADDIE: “A lot of the doctors said that when I grew up I could be wheelchair bound, have memory loss and not even recognize my own parents. I will never forget the story of my dad collapsing to the floor when he was given this news.”
By the young age of 6. Addie was struggling with the severity of the side effects caused by her medications. She was deeply depressed and contemplating suicide. As a young girl regular life was often very confusing for her, and being way behind her schoolmates didn’t help. There were times when she would wake up on the principals couch and not understand why she was there, or how she got there. The memory loss was taking its toll
ADDIE: “I was frustrated that I should be learning to do math easily and I wasn’t. Nothing came easily”
Growing up, Addie found her safe place with horses. She is a self proclaimed horse nerd still to this day. She loved and connected with horses from an early age and her favorite movie was Spirit. Her mom, a lawyer recognizing this passion in her daughter, decided that she hated working long hours and wanted to do something that brought happiness to her family. Inspired by Addie, she founded a non profit organization called the Children’s Ranch Foundation. The Children’s Ranch Foundation is an extracurricular animal care taking program for kids with learning/social and developmental challenges.
ADDIE : “At that time I did not talk alot, but I do have this very vivid memory while riding my welsh pony being led by my mom and I just remember saying. “Mom, I love you” Horses really helped me find my voice.”
Now, as a young woman of 23 Addie has been seizure free since the age of 10. Largely due to the development of a new medication that changed her life. She was given the opportunity to visit the pharmaceutical company that developed her medication. While visiting, she spoke to a group of children and encouraged them that a normal life can be possible. That experience inspired her to continue reaching out to children like her.
Addie graduated highschool and is now thriving in community college. She also works on the ranch with her mother, teaching and helping children find their own voice and healing with animals, much like she did. She finds a lot of satisfaction in seeing struggling young kids connect with the horses.
During her teen years, Addie was not exempt from having body image issues and she struggled with being a little different than her peers.
ADDIE: “My highschool boyfriend compared me to an anime character and said that if I looked more like this character he would love me more. It only made me stronger, I had started boxing at that time and boxing really had given me the confidence boost I needed”
Since then Addie is also training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and lifting. When I asked how she sees herself in the future she responded with her beautiful, infectious Addie smile with this :
ADDIE: “ I see myself being like KO 2.0 and doing something crazy like starting a girls empowerment program in schools or a podcast for young women. I know that society will throw all those BS things at you. But, take pride in yourself and be your own leader and your own inspiration. If people say you can’t do it, then give them a big smile and say watch me! As K.O would say, YOU are ENOUGH. I am ENOUGH, WE are all ENOUGH. Just keep on fighting, keep on owning who you are and don’t listen to any of the crap that society tries to throw at you”
Spoken like the true badass she is. I’m inspired by Addie. There are a lot of people having bad days right now with everything going on, you might be one of them. But, it doesn’t mean things can’t change. We can overcome and thrive and make amazing things happen from what seems like impossible circumstances. I don’t know about you GRRRLS, but I’m hanging on to that today because we all need more of it. Thank you Addie for sharing your beautiful story with us.
Peace, Love and lollipops from your GRRRL