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Monday, July 13, 2015

Forever Gutless, Forever Grateful

mixed media -

Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.
-Gail Devers

Happy Monday!  And here's a fun start to your week...
Discover, Inspire Create #16 is out this morning - you can read my newsletter here, but be sure to go to to sign up for next week's edition!!!

Tales of a Theatre Geek...
Here's something I bet you didn't know about me...

(or maybe you did.)

I'm  musical theatre geek - I've been obsessed since childhood and always have been.
Polarities - by me, mixed media
This was a piece of art I made for myself to show the polarities I felt between my "sick self" and my "theatre loving old self".  When I awoke from my coma, I was still singing musical theatre songs in my head, yet was faced with a new tune of beeping machines and loud ventilators. The disparity was difficult for me to process.

I created a lot of art to express the two halves of me I was experiencing after  my coma.

Eventually, I was able to combine these two parts of me into a one woman show which expressed my honest journey from a coma, to the imperfect-but-fulfilled state I'm in now.  I was especially excited to write for Ms. Millennia Magazine about the makings of my autobiographical one woman show Gutless & Grateful.

 I've talked about it before, but never really elaborated on how this was a baby-dream of mine in my old hospital days - back when doctors didn't even know if I'd be able to walk or talk again.

Forever Gutless, Forever Grateful
By Amy Oestreicher July 2015
Read the full article here:

It all started with a dream...

I grew up doing musical theatre.

Let me rephrase that. I grew up thinking my life was a musical. Call it the “theatre bug”, call me a “drama queen” or a great big ham – I lived for the world of the stage. For me, singing and acting were ways I could connect with the world around me. When I took a deep, grounded breath from my gut, I sang what my heart longed to express. I found comfort in the words of my favorite composers. I read scripts like they were novels. I would play with my playbills from various shows I had seen like they were my Barbie dolls. Through theatre, I had a place in this world. I could make believe by inserting myself into characters from every era, situation and mindset, while still expressing my own individuality.
I was the kid who got sent to the principal’s office because when the teacher left the room, I would jump on her desk and start tap-dancing. I was the girl who forced every unwilling classmate to join me in a Les Miserables medley, assigning them their designated parts to pass the 30-minute school bus ride.

Amy starring in her one-woman musical, "Gutless and Grateful"
Amy starring in her one-woman musical, “Gutless and Grateful”

Even all the way up to high school, I was the theatre-girl. It was my identity, my passion, my livelihood. I sacrificed my social life and gave up many opportunities to immerse myself in what I loved.

I’ve always been warned not to put all of my eggs in one basket, but theatre ran through my veins – it was all I thought about, lived and dreamed. I’d write songs in my assignment notebook as I waited for the school bell to ring, then hop on the train to the next open call I’d read about in Backstage. When I fought with my brothers, I could only debate with them if we could do in the spirit of a musical theatre duet. They weren’t so keen on that.

So what do you do when you’ve invested everything into your passion and you can’t follow it anymore?

 I’ve always thought about what would a world-concert pianist would do if he injured his hand, or a dancer breaking a leg… 

…but sprains heal and wounds can eventually mend. 

Dire circumstances felt much more long lasting; when at 18 I awoke from a coma. Although the medical staff—that suddenly became everyday faces—was more concerned about keeping my organs and me alive, I was still trying to grapple with one frightening new concern:

Would I ever be able to sing and dance on stage again?

So that's a little teaser for you, but you can read the rest of the article HERE!

The point of my story  is that anything is possible - and not just in the inspirational poster kind of sense...
I spent months in hospitals with not only doctors telling me to basically invest in new dreams.  When nurses looked at my long legs and said "You mst have been a dancer",  corrected them with "I AM a dancer" and they looked at me sadly, laughed nervously and changed the subject.

But I didn't let that stop me.

So, I hope my article for Ms. Millennia gives someone out there hope to achieve that one thing that they - or people aroundo them - is telling them is a pipe dream.  Pipe dreams can happen if you hope hard and work harder.  Make  hope an active thing.

 When I was in a coma for months, the nurses left me on my right side for months and never turned me. As a result, I got horrible neuropathy on my right leg.  At first, I couldn't even move my leg.  Physical therapists told me to be patient because the nerves only grow a milimleter a month.

(That's worse than watching paint dry, right)
And I got my strength back in my right leg - but very slowly.  To this day,  it's a little weeker, but I've got many more months left in my and many more milimeters to grow - so it makes every day an adventure, and literally, an opportunity for growth!
Before I Go...
I did the impossible.  But that's not an impossible task.  Are you willing to believe that you can too?
You can learn more about my show Gutless & Grateful HERE.
It's true!!!

Dream it.  Do it.  And tell me about it!


  1. I absolutely LOVE coming to your blog and viewing the art. So beautiful!

  2. Love the colors in your art! Beautiful!

  3. Thank you for sharing part of yourself and your art at the #AnythingGoes Link Party.

  4. Fantastic Amy! You are a warrior a survivor, your story of struggle, motivation and self discovery inspired me to achieve new heights in life! Your art is beautiful and I will be coming back for more. Gratitude for sharing.

  5. I salute you. Such an inspirational post. I'm off to check out Gutless and Grateful.

  6. Awesome as usual! Inspirational and beautiful in on package.

  7. I love musical theater too! In college my friends and I sang all the songs from Les Mis in the cafeteria after an all nighter! Great times. Sadly, no one I know now understands my passion:( #Weekendbloghop

  8. Some intriguing work in here! I definitely understand the struggle to balance the "sick self" and the artistic self. Sounds like you are doing well to still enjoy and share your passions! Best to you.

  9. Your artwork and story are so inspiring! Thanks for sharing at the Manic Mondays blog hop!

  10. You are so right anything is possible and love your outlook here. Beautiful and gorgeous artwork, too :)

  11. You are so talented! Thanks for sharing. #ConfessionsLinkUp

  12. Great story and good for you getting back into it all. You can do anything that you put your mind to. I love musical theatre as well and in my mind I'm a star! Of course that is only in my mind LOL. Thanks for sharing with us at #AnythingGoes.

  13. I am always so inspired by your stories you share and your artwork is great! Thanks for linking up with Inspiration Thursday! Have a great week!

  14. I am in love with your artwork and your story is fantastic. Keep up the positive attitude, I love it! I hope someday you'll take these stories and your artwork and create a book with them to take the blog to the next level. Thank you for linking up with the Sunshine Life link up. Your story is wonderful to add here and I hope you'll come back to link up again.

  15. Amy, I love visiting! Your artwork is beautiful just as your are. I love this phrase,"if we can't learn to laugh from hardship, we can't learn anything." You are a wonderful inspiration, thank you! Thank you for linking up with Thankful Thursdays.

  16. Amy, I love visiting! Your artwork is beautiful just as your are. I love this phrase,"if we can't learn to laugh from hardship, we can't learn anything." You are a wonderful inspiration, thank you! Thank you for linking up with Thankful Thursdays.

  17. I'm so glad I found your blog! Your art is inspiring - so colorful and textured! I love the strong colors. Your courage and strength are also inspiring, no doubt assisted by the art you do. Art is so good - for everybody! Thanks for reminding us all of that.

  18. Thanks so much Diane! I actually just moved my entire blog onto my new site so "all of me" is in one play - I'm so touched by your kind words! Your last sentence made me think of this story that happened last weekend!