Twitter / StephAntoinette

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

You see people getting sick around you, you see people lose loved ones, but you never think that will happen to you. You're 22 years old, still considered a baby, you have your entire life ahead of you, and you feel invincible. But one day, one day your life changes. The father you know and love is diagnosed with a disease that will change your lives forever. Parkinson's.

My dad has Parkinson's disease. I've been wanting to write about it, but I didn't know the right time or the place. But today feels right for some reason. I was with my father last night and I realized that it was time to express how this entire situation makes me feel. Currently, I feel confused. I long to be a little kid again, because in my mind this doesn't happen to little kids. I'm supposed to grow up and be an adult now, to face the facts and realize that my father has in incurable disease. Incurable....we are living in 2011, and there is no cure.

So what is this disease? We see Michael J Fox in interviews trembling uncontrollably, and we think that that is all there is to it. Well, I wish it was just a tremble of the hand or leg...but there is so much more to it. My father barely trembles, he has a rare condition in which the worst part of this disease deals with his blood pressure. His blood pressure reaches abnormally low levels...there are times when the blood pressure reader marks "ERROR" because it is so low that it cannot interpret a reading. My dad feels dizzy and out of breath all the time. He is weak, tired, and worn out. He looks sad, defeated, and this kills me.

Perhaps I should back track and tell you about my father.
Ever since I can remember, my father was a superhero in my eyes. He could compete in any sport. He could beat a kid half his age in tennis. He could run marathons, he could survive in the wild with a match and a pocket knife, he could spearfish and catch stingrays twice his size....he was my own personal superhero. His days consisted of morning jogs and afternoon tennis matches. He would always make us play sports and challenge us to our fullest potential. Saturday mornings consisted of me being dragged out of bed to play tennis...and "earn" my breakfast or lunch. When I was a kid he would go on bike rides that lasted forever. He would let me ride on the handlebars and I trusted him with my life. He did one handed push-ups and could open any jar, any bottle, anything that I couldn't even dream of opening...every hard task would always be passed on to dad, because we knew he would get it done. At the beach he would dive into the ocean and go on hour long swims...swims where I sometimes felt he would never make it back...eaten by a shark perhaps. But he always came back, tired, but ready for the next challenge.He was my superhero.

My father is trapped in someone else's body now. He is a far cry from what he used to be, and this hurts me more than anyone will ever know. I'm 22 years old, and all of this seems completely unfair to me. I want my dad back, I want his smile back, I want him to feel alive again.

We have been to numerous amounts of doctors, they've ran hundreds of tests, but nobody has a solution. My dad takes a cocktail of medication, but he doesn't feel any better. His local doctor has already given up on him, and has decided to drop him as a patient. Who are these people? When the going gets tough lets just give up? Who does that? We work closely with a doctor at Duke University Hospital, but he still hasn't given us any hope. We'll be visiting Emory in a couple of weeks, and other doctors to test for other diseases that may also be playing a role in dads condition. I think this has been the toughest part of the entire process. Visiting doctor after doctor, telling dad's story over and over, and seeing their faces of confusion, because "they've never seen anything like this before".

I watch these ridiculous tv shows, where patients have rare conditions and Dr. House gets a vision and solves their case. I wish Dr. House was here, I wish he could see my dad and have a solution to all of this pain. My dad is a strong man, he has a heart of gold. He cares for his family and lives for his daughters, he deserves a cure. We all deserve a cure, a remedy, the right cocktail of medications. The doctor that quit on us told my dad that he would go back to his normal self once he started his medication. He is far from his normal self, and she should have never told him that.

One thing I do know is that our family bond is what is keeping us all together. We're going to fight this one way or another. Our family has been through so much, and I know that we will stick together through all of this. So pray for my dad, and pray for all of those families out there that are dealing with this disease,


Saturday, January 15, 2011

I haven't written in ages, nor do I have the time at this very moment to write, but I have been thinking about this poem by Pablo Neruda that I absolutely adore, and I wanted to share it....enjoy!

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way
than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

RIP Ellie Potvin

Its seems entirely confusing to me how life just goes on. People die, people get sick, but around them everything goes as planned. People move on, somehow they're supposed to just keep going. Carry the weight of the world on their shoulders, without skipping a beat. I am completely baffled with this life. How I can be perfectly healthy, while an 8 year old struggles on her deathbed with cancer. I have no idea how a family can bear this pain. I know when those we love are sick we only want their pain to go away, but the thought of them leaving us is too hard to deal with. I've been following the story of an 8 year old angel here in Charlotte. Ellie Potvin struggled with cancer for two years. She died about thirty minutes ago. I sat in my bed last night and cried for her family. Nobody should ever have to go through what the Potvin's have gone through. I sit here in my office and find it incredibly irritating that while the Potvin's are dealing with their loss, others simply go on with life and worry about things that do not matter. Too may of us have no idea how incredibly hard life can be, how your life can change in an instant. Too many of us stress the small stuff, instead of realizing that we're healthy, that we have a family that loves us, and that we have it a lot better than so many others on this earth. We struggle to get that promotion or make that extra amount of money, but that will mean nothing when we are gone. There's a quote, "Its not what you gather, but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you have lived". I think a lot of us need to realize this. When we leave this earth no one will care what's in your bank account, they will not ask what kind of car you drove or the square footage of your house. They will remember you for what you did to help others, and how you've inspired those around you. Today is an extremely sad day, but I know that Ellie has inspired millions. Her story will live on forever, she will teach us what truly matters in life. We'll think of her strength and her smile, and her love. We'll share her story with others, and remind ourselves that no amount of money could ever buy us health, or love, or happiness. Its time to get our priorities in order. RIP Ellie Potvin.

To read more about Ellie visit:


Thursday, June 3, 2010

So here I grad.

You start college thinking that when its all over you'll be at the right place. Right now, I'm completely lost. I thought I knew exactly what I wanted, I thought that somehow going to college would simplify everything and direct me exactly where I needed to go. Well, clearly I was misinformed.

I keep hearing people asking me what I want to do; I remember when I was little always saying, "When I grow up I want to be..." has that time come? Am I grown up? If anyone asks me that question right now, I don't have an honest answer.

Join the Peace Crops, fly to Haiti and help, go to grad school, get a job at a marketing firm, get a job at a Fashion PR agency....confusion after confusion.

I guess this isn't supposed to be easy, but I would appreciate some sort of sense of direction.

One thing I do know, I'm ready to start somewhere new. Charlotte is old news to me, a place where I've lost too many loved ones, and gotten my heart broken numerous times. Yes, there have been some good times, but a new start would be nice.

I think growing up is terrifying, its a right of passage, but it scares the hell out of me.

People get older, responsibilities get bigger. You can no longer wander around aimlessly, without a care in the world. This is now the time to start realizing that the rest of your life begins right now. The grown up life.

I often wonder where I'll be a year from now, even six months from now. Its scary not knowing where you'll life will go, but all the same exciting to see what lies ahead. I find myself worrying way to much about things that I can not control. I tend to pull myself out of situations and sit back and realize that the best things that I have experienced in my life have not been planned, its the unplanned moments that always end up being amazing.

I'm interning at a Marketing firm right now. I've only been here for a couple of days, but I have enjoyed it. I have to say I was worried in the beginning. I was afraid that I hadn't learned enough in school, that I would be completely lost here. I have proven myself wrong. I did learn a lot, and I am confident that I can do whatever work comes my way. Internships are for learning, but its comforting to know that I am prepared. That those four years of late nights and early mornings paid off.

Four years ago, if you would have asked me where I saw myself in four would not have been here. Expect the unexpected.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"After all, things change, so do cities, people come into your life and they go. But it's comforting to know that the ones you love are always in your heart... and if you're very lucky, a plane ride away”

You know that moment when you meet someone and the term "separated at birth" makes sense?

Tonight I'm thinking about my best friend. How I wish that others out there would be as lucky as me to have found someone who understands me completely. These things are never planned, they just happen. Like every other wonderful instance that has occurred in my life, there was never any planning involved.

I spoke with her tonight, and I truly miss her. She lives miles and miles away, and there are times when a phone call just isn't enough. I realize I must never be selfish, I am lucky enough to have found someone like her. My whole life I have been wondering what a best friend is. Asking myself the very question over and over whenever I think I have found a real friend. But after meeting my real best friend, I realized that those others were simply bumps in the road, obstacles that made me stronger and led me to this.

The presence of a real friend is a feeling too large for words. Even if words are not exchanged, there is no awkward feeling, the whole world makes sense. We could sit for hours without saying a word, and be completely satisfied with our day. We laugh together, but I think we cry even more. The disappointments of life are what lead you to recognize the fact that without a shoulder to lean on, it would get very tricky. Although thousands of miles separate us, I know that we are forever bonded. That nothing can break us apart.

Life's bittersweet like that; I find a best friend and then we are forced to move apart. Its like nothing will ever be completely perfect. Like these obstacles that lie between us are what make it all worthwhile. If something was extremely easy, we would never understand exactly how much it was truly worth. And I completely understand this. Too many of us take people for granted. We use people, we hurt people, and we easily dispose of them. We build walls in order to not get attached, we make up lies, we cheat, we lie to ourselves. We run away from tough situations, and at times of great crisis we turn away. We only deserve the things we work hard for, the friendships we put effort in. Everything we have, we have earned.

So many people lose their way. They get caught up in things that don't matter. They surround themselves with expensive things, and change the channel when they see news of another tragedy. In their minds they have done nothing wrong, they have worked hard for their belongings and deserve everything they have. But they have forgotten what truly matters. They have forgotten that they could lose everything tomorrow. They have forgotten that money can't buy health, or love, or friendship.

Before I stray too far off topic, I wish to remind everyone to appreciate your friends. To treat others exactly how you would like to be treated. To cherish those moments that you have with each other. Those moments that could so easily be taken away from you. Sometimes I miss my best friend so much it hurts; there's times when I need her to be here to tell me that everything will be okay. But nights like tonight make me realize that although she's not here, she is a phone call away, and a plane ride away. And after all we've gone through together, I am anxious to see what the future holds. I know she'll always be there, and thats what matter most.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

John Lennon once said," Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans". I find myself having to stop for a minute and remember this quote. Lately I've been extremely busy with school and work, and I've been very stressed with the whole aspect of making plans. I have one more trimester left in college, and then I have no idea what will happen next. I keep trying to make plans for myself. Make sure I end up where I think I belong. But the truth of the matter is, I will most likely end up somewhere I could have never imagined. Somewhere that fits me perfectly, somewhere new and refreshing. And I'll have some sort of master plan, and it will ultimately be thrown away. No matter how hard we try, we can not plan out our lives. We may have an idea of how we wish for our life to be, but we can not foresee into our future. Our lives come together little by little. At times they make absolutely no sense at all, but in the end I know that everything will have a purpose. I'm only 21 years old, and I can already look back on my life and find meaning in a lot of things. There were instances when I felt so incredibly happy, like i truly belonged at the place and in that situation forever. Whenever an instance like this got shattered, I was upset, disappointed, lost...but now I realize exactly why things occurred the way they did. We all need to remind ourselves that our future will not turn out as we had planned, so just enjoy the ride. Take every situation and make the very best of it. And realize that if you are not happy at that moment, it will certainly all make sense in the end. And like they say...if it doesn't make sense, its not the end.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

"Why are we here, and where do we go, and how come it's so hard?"

These lyrics to a popular song could easily describe what is going on in my mind at this very moment. It is not that I am regretting life or anything, I am currently thinking about others. The earthquake in Haiti has devastated all of us, yet some Americans feel that we should be more focused on our own country and victims from Katrina still need our help. I feel that this is a fair argument, and I do not wish to argue with others about issues such as these. However, my mother has spoken to a close friend who went to help in Haiti as well as Katrina, and she told my mother that Haiti is a nightmare. She thought Katrina was bad, and she had no idea what Haiti would bring. Victims screaming in the streets due to critical amputations done without any anesthesia, babies crying in the streets without a parent to ease their pain, mass graves with those forgotten buried with hundreds of others. So I always ask myself "How come it's so hard?" Why must these people suffer? Haven't they suffered enough? Why do bad things happen to good people? To innocent people. These people who have been fortunate enough to survive the quake are now homeless, they have no idea what their future holds. Their fight is not over yet, there is still a risk of infection, dehydration, aftershocks... They live in the moment knowing that their lives could be taken in any instant. But why? Why are there children sleeping alone at night? Why are there people without limbs? Without food? Without shelter? Without hope? This makes me so angry at times, these people will grow up with nightmares. With vanished relatives, no time to say good bye. They will feel empty inside, like the life has been sucked out of them. Their homes destroyed, forced to sleep on the streets. Their country in ruins. Their churches, their schools, their Royal Palace....dust. This world is so cruel, so misunderstood, so confusing. It makes me open my eyes and open my heart. It makes me realize that I am extremely lucky. That I should never complain, I should never feel the need to want more. I am healthy, my family is alive, there will be food at the table this evening, and tonight I will have a bed to sleep in and a roof over my head. Those in Haiti are not so lucky. Their hearts are hurting more than anyone could ever imagine. They have completely lost their way. They have imagines engraved in their minds that they will never be able to escape. They have seen dead bodies, they have seen orphaned children, they have heard the cries of those in pain and the screams of those in agony. All while I sit here typing on my laptop with no immediate worry or pain. These moments are what make me stronger, they make me want to help and change my ways. They make me realize that if I could change one life, or make one person smile, I will be a better person for that. At times we get away from ourselves, but we need to focus on what truly matters in this life. Love others, cherish memories, and live like today is your last day.


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Not quite sure how to start off this blog...but theres something that has been bugging me lately. As you may or may not know I am a fashion major. And, as you may or may not know I need an internship to graduate. Lately I find myself thinking a lot about this. I've applied to several fashion houses in New York City, I've applied to Elle Magazine, Teen Vogue...etc. But I'm not 100% sure that this is what I want. Ever since high school I have kept myself up to date on issues occurring around the world. The genocide in Darfur, the war, the starving children, the AIDs virus...the poverty. I have had a passion for helping people ever since I was a little girl. I feel that I have been extremely fortunate, and it is my duty to help others who are not as fortunate. I feel that we should all give back to this world. We have been given life, now it is our turn to help our crumbling world. And yes, it is crumbling.
Almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day
At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day.
25,000 children die each day due to poverty
An estimated 40 million people are living with HIV/AIDS
Every year there are 350–500 million cases of malaria, with 1 million fatalities
1.6 billion people — a quarter of humanity — live without electricity
Approximately 790 million people in the developing world are still chronically undernourished

So this is where I tend to get confused...

I am blessed...I am healthy...I have a roof over my head...I have food on my table..and I can make a difference. Do I want to go work for a fashion house? Or do I want to go help these people? I feel so selfish...moving to New York attempting to live a fabulous life while there are so many hurting around me. This is probably one of the biggest crossroads that I have approached so far. I am so confused I can not get myself together. As the days pass by I know I have applications to send out and living arrangements to prepare. But I want to make the right decision. I feel like this is such a huge decision. If I choose fashion...I have to stick with it and bust my ass. If I choose philanthropy, I have to love it, I know the pay will not be great, but the emotional pay will be priceless. But I have to love it and life for it. I think I need to take a couple of days and study both sides....and somewhere someway I'll know what I need to do.


Monday, December 14, 2009

It's almost midnight and once again I find myself unable to sleep.

I'm trying to put together exactly what I hoped to portray in this blog, but I can't quite get my thoughts together.

I currently watched several episodes of Sex and the City, and a certain instance in one of the shows caught me off guard.


I know I'm young and I have my whole life ahead of me, but right now I'm extremely confused as to what that entails. I feel as though my life has flashed before me. A mixture of school days and trips and nights with friends. But nothing significant. I have worked extremely hard to achieve what I have in school, but looking back now its simply a blur of restless nights, studying and wondering what I got on that exam.

My mom has warned me about this, days when I'm way too stressed for my age, caring way too much about a grade or a paper. But the truth of the matter is, it makes me feel like I mean something. At the end of the day, when I don't have any other accomplishments, at least I can look back and say I managed to keep a 4.0 throughout my college career. Does that sound pathetic?

I've been stressing out lately because I like to plan things...I like to know what to expect. These past four years I've been able to recognize what's coming my way. Accounting, marketing, psychology, qualitative research...they're all planned out. But come May I have no itinerary. I will walk across that stage and I will not have any sort of map or direction. And I admit I am terrified.

I'm extremely afraid of failing, of letting my family down, of letting myself down. I have these picture perfect plans in mind, but no way of knowing if its in the cards.

I do understand that I am a survivor, that whatever comes my way will work itself out. But I'm 21 years old, and the upcoming years are extremely significant to me. They will mold me. Show me a glimpse of what's coming up next.

I guess bottom line I'm feeling a little homesick already.

Not technically homesick for my home or for my family, but for this familiar ground. This comfortable schedule. Wake up, go to school, come home, do homework, go to work, sleep. I've grown accustomed to this plan, no curve balls, just classes and homework.

I have a chance to interview at Valentino in New York City. I've been keeping this quiet because I'm terrified. Sitting in a room interviewing with one of the top fashion houses in the world... it's bittersweet really. Its an amazing opportunity. Its a dream come true. But I'm terrified.

What if they completely rip me apart?

What if they hate me?

What if......

What if they love me?

What if I get the internship and move up to New York City and my life completely turns around?

What if its destiny. My calling. My new plan.

What if every part of this uneventful, stressful, 4.0 life of mine has led me to this?


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Although a dreadful subject, for some reason or another I feel that its time for me to experience new heights in this blog and write about things like....death.

No one wants to talk about it, no one wants to think about it, no one wants to come to terms with it, but its part of life.

The other night I had a mother passed away. It was one of those nightmares that felt so real, that inside it all I could not come back to reality. It was so detailed, so painful, I awoke and felt tears in my eyes. I called my mother immediately to tell her what had happened while I slept, to tell her the pain I felt, to tell her I loved her of course.

Sadly, everyone dies. At one point or another we will all perish from this earth whether we like it or not. No matter how healthy you are, how many vitamins you take, how cautious you are, no matter how much you try to escape it, death will come. I know this sounds awful and terrible and why the hell am I writing about this?!

I've experienced several losses in my life, and this blog is simply here to notify everyone that there is no real way to deal with a loss. After that nightmare I thought about my parents and how both of them have lost their parents. I thought about how painful it was, and how I have no idea how people handle it. Death is so hard because of the uncertainty of it all. Often times I wonder if there is something more, after death. Its crazy to think about, of course we hear tales of heaven and hell and an afterlife. But death puts fear in all of us because there's no way of really knowing what's next. So with this we must realize one extremely important thing about life. Cherish it. Live it. Experience every detail of it. Take chances. Fall in love. LIVE.

So many of us walk around with the fear of death that we forget to live. Not only this, but so many of us are so into planning and figuring things out that we lose track of where we are in this moment. Life has no instruction booklet, there is no guide to tell us what to do or how to do it. There is no money-back guarantee. We've been handed this life, and everything that comes with it. Now we must simply go with it. So many people put things off for tomorrow, or stay in jobs that they absolutely can't stand. People stay in relationships due to fear. People don't take chances because they are afraid of failure. But what all of us need to realize is that these are all paths of life. Without the pain and fear, we wouldn't be able to feel the good things. Without a heartbreak we wouldn't be able to recognize love.

So go for it. Live your life. Take chances. Fail. Fall down. Get your heart broken.....from all these ventures you will learn so much. You will learn to cherish so much. And you will essentially realize that this life you have been given has been lived to the fullest. That you have taken chances, and you will be remembered long after you're gone. Remember "A life is worth nothing but the impact it has on other lives". So stop reading this blog....go experience the world out there.