What’s the Story, Just Steph?

12046798_10153114401735598_2574941476890503041_nEverybody gets to where they are via their journey or back story.  I am no different.  The path that was chosen for me, to some degree, and that which I chose has brought me right where I am today.  I want to share a fragment of my history with you.

I do not normally like to step backwards. However, to prove my point, that which my heart is telling me to communicate, it is necessary to jump into the DeLorean and go back in time.

Last October, my dear friends gathered at the St. Regis to celebrate my birthday.  They are all so wonderful, loving and accepting.  I was accompanied by my new squeeze.  We had only dated a few times, and it was a first introduction to the Buckhead Crew.

After a lovely evening of drinks, dancing and singing, it was time to head home.  As we approached the top of the grand staircase to descend to the valet, two of my guy friends approached me.  They were accompanied by another man who was obviously very tipsy.  Both guys wished me HB and introduced their friend.

everyone-has-a-story-life-no-judge-truth-Favim.com-979198I extended my right hand.  When the man took hold of my small Poland Syndrome hand, he just about jumped out of his skin.  He started moaning and groaning, very loudly, and asking me if I need help, a doctor.  He  said his sister was a nurse.  He continued for what seemed like an eternity.  My two friends discreetly backed off and headed to the bar.

I calmly said, “it’s ok. I am ok.” I tried to walk away. He continued, all this in the company of my date. I finally was able to break away and head to the valet. What I wanted to do was crawl under a rock.

Because, I dealt with this my entire childhood, I have battled a fear of public humiliation.  Funny for a girl who loves a microphone, right? I just don’t want that kind of attention. I wanted to run and hide.  Instead, when we got into the car, I looked at my date and said, “welcome to my world.” I knew if I had any chance with this guy, I had to confront my insecurities and fears with him. This is my reality.

12171993_10207853916247345_1022448391_oI struggle with tasks you wouldn’t think twice about.  However, that is not the worst part.  It is overcoming the pain of my journey.  The PTSD from a series of operations that included lengthening my arm with a vice that my mother cranked every day until it hurt, bone and skin graphs as well the kids staring at me when I returned to school with metal spikes sticking out of my arm.  I can go on and on. And, I haven’t even mentioned my family of origin (I’ll save that for another time.).

50bced9b6ece944cae246950c9a35216Why do I choose to share this with you now, today?  What good does sharing my story do? The most prevalent reason I have for my ride in the DeLorean is that people stop judging.  Stop comparing yourself to others, either thinking you are better than someone or inferior.

We all know that behaving like you are superior to anyone is out of line.  Do we know, though, that feeling inferior, for any reason, is a cop-out. It’s an escape. Saying or thinking you cannot measure up to someone says that the other person never experienced pain or suffering.  You telling yourself you are not enough is saying that person has no clue what it’s like to walk a tough journey.  Or, maybe, the person to whom you are comparing yourself may not love and accept you where you are. Scary!

For so many years I felt inferior, not enough for anybody.  Because of my limb difference, I could never be considered beautiful or worthy of true love.  How could any man really love someone who looked like this, who needed help peeling potatoes?  How could I go into my kids’ school as mystery reader? Would the kids bother them? Would I be an embarrassment to them?  What did I have to offer the people around me except brokenness.  Luckily, I have worked through all this, to a great degree.  However the pain remains buried with the memories.

Everybody has a right to claim their back story and share it.  If they choose not to share their history, it does not mean they don’t have one.  Everyone has experienced loss, pain, disappointment, frustrations, perceived failures, etc.  We are all flesh and blood.  We all have a heart that beats, that yearns to be accepted, to love and be loved.  You cannot get anymore equal than that.

Lastly, I share my story so that you know it is ok to share yours.  I will always hear you.  Know I love you all!

Tell me what’s going on in your life.  I want to hear from you.

Wishing you love, balance and peace!

Amore & Baci,

Just Steph

PS. The pics I am sharing here are from that night at The St. Regis.

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A Thriller for Your Summer Reading

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On Thursday, June 2, 2016 at eleven o’clock a.m., Liz Lazarus, Atlanta-based author of the  thriller “Free of Malice,” will be joining me in the studio. Liz will be recounting her experience as a first time author as well as her back story that led to sharing with all of us the semi-fictitious events in her book.  What’s great about “Free of Malice” is the real life information on self-defense and the mention of Atlanta’s “Second Lifer’s” favorite venues like Red Martini, Davio’s and The St. Regis.  Liz also enlisted and co-produced music with Thomas Barnette to parallel “Free of Malice,” all available on iTunes.

Here’s a synopsis of your poolside read: “Laura Holland awakes in the middle of the night to see a stranger standing in her bedroom doorway. She manages to defend herself from the would-be rapist, though he threatens to return as he retreats. Traumatized with recurring nightmares, Laura seeks therapy and is exposed to a unique treatment called EMDR. She also seeks self-protection—buying a gun against the wishes of her 13087615_1715700792044771_1922255219747700100_nhusband. When Laura learns she could have gone to prison had she shot her fleeing assailant, she decides to write a hypothetical legal case using the details of that night. She enlists the help of a criminal defense lawyer, Thomas Bennett, who proves to be well versed in the justice system but has an uncanny resemblance to her attacker. As the two work together to develop the story, Laura’s discomfort escalates, particularly when Thomas seems to know more about that night than he should. Reality and fiction soon merge as her real life drama begins to mirror the fiction she’s trying to create.”

About Liz: “Liz Lazarus is the author of Free of Malice, a psychological, legal thriller loosely based on her personal experience and a series of ‘what if’ questions that trace the after effects of a foiled attack; a woman healing, and grappling with the legal system to acknowledge her right to self-defense.
She was born in Valdosta, Georgia, graduated from Georgia Tech with an engineering degree and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern with an MBA in their executive master’s program. She spent most of her career at General Electric’s Healthcare division and is currently a Managing Director at a strategic planning consulting firm in addition to being an author.
Free of Malice is her debut novel, set in Atlanta, and supplemented by extensive research with both therapists and criminal defense attorneys. She currently lives in Brookhaven, GA, with her fiancé, Richard, and their very spoiled orange tabby, Buckwheat.”

11164185_1703093249972192_5203646008726434948_oCheck Liz out on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @liz_lazarus.  Plan on adding “Free of Malice” to your summer reading list.  Summer has already started for me.

And don’t miss Liz on The Just Steph Show, Thursday, June 2, 2016 at eleven o’clock a.m.  Call in to ask Liz questions at 404-355-8699. Liz will be giving away a signed copy of “Free of Malice.”
As always, we will be live on Periscope: juststeph1 or: Listen live to my show Thursdays 11-noon
http://love860.com/listen-live/ Or watch live http://love860.com/love860-live-tv/

In the meantime hear Thomas Barnette’s “Let Me Breathe:”

Tell me what’s going on in your life.  I want to hear from you.

Wishing you love, balance and peace!

Amore & Baci,

Just Steph

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Interested in booking Just Steph?

Contact Steph or call 678.777.5859

Thank You For Being A Friend

ImageRenee Hutchinson is Atlanta’s beloved daughter.  A native Georgian, southern beauty and local realtor, Renee shines her light on everyone she meets.  Since the age of 27, she has fought various forms of cancer, including the silent killer, ovarian cancer.  As a board member of The Ovarian Cancer Institute, my gorgeous friend is instrumental in raising funds via philanthropic events to support The Lab at Georgia Tech, the place where state of the art research to combat ovarian cancer happens.

Renee and I discussed the health benefits of friendship.  I shared my quotes on intimacy, relationships and soul mates with my dear friend.  Having lived through cancer, moving out of the country, raising her son, Renee’s soft-spoken manner packs wisdom, reality and love.  Chatting with her is easy and enlightening. If you are interested in Renee’s charity, please check out the website for more information and to donate: http://ovariancancerinstitute.org/mission/

As friends running in a shared circle of friends, though Renee has many circles, we frequent the same venues.  During Living Atlanta, we shared our weekend plans as well as where to be this weekend.  Listen here for the whole story:

Coming up on The Just Steph Show:

Nov 12: Genie Burnett

Nov 19: Rusty, my brother from another mother, is back!

Dec 3: Art Eckman is back!

Coming soon Just Steph will be taking Living Atlanta on the road to all her fav venues. Stay tuned to my weekly show. Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, Instagram and my blog so you don’t miss any shows or announcements. So much coming for Atlanta from Just Steph.

12115671_10208272573480542_8937930731101045322_nAs always, I am live Thursdays 11-noon on Love 860, streamed live on love860.com, or listen later right here on juststeph.com. Call in every week to join the show and to…

Tell me what’s going on in your life. I want to hear from you.

Wishing you love, balance & peace!

Amore & Baci,

Just Steph

Check out a few other pics:

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Interested in booking Just Steph?

Contact Steph or call 678.777.5859

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