I Don’t Have Time For A Bad Day

I Don't Have Time for a Bad Day blog post! #purpose #begreat almostherblog.com arikakaosa.com
Hey guys! It is with great privilege that I introduce to you this week’s guest blogger: Arika Kaosa. I think that what she has to say needs to be heard by so many people out there, myself included! Her story couldn’t have came at a better time for me and I hope you will find it as thought-provoking and inspirational as I did. Arika and I go all the way back to 1st grade (Mitanya Meetings) and it’s with pleasure that I get to share on my blog what she’s experienced these last several years and her positive message to all. Please share if you feel so moved and comment.


I Don't Have Time for a Bad Day blog post! #purpose #begreat almostherblog.com arikakaosa.com


I don’t have time for a bad day.


Sometimes, I wake up feeling down for no reason or I let things that happen during the length of a day to get to me.  So, I start saying a phrase out loud to myself.  Occasionally, I am nearly screaming this at the top of my lungs.  “I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR A BAD DAY! I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR A BAD DAY!”  It’s almost like I need to yell at my brain and my subconscious that I have more important things to do then be sad.  We should all have this outlook.


We all have the opportunity to be someone great, why can’t it be you?


In February 2008, I had a very serious health scare.  One that shook me to my core.  I had a staph infection which could have gone systemic.  Initially, my primary care physician gave me a prescription for a medicine called Bactrim.  I was in great health and no prior health issues.  I took my first pill and started to feel light headed and very weak.  I called my doctor’s office, told them my symptoms, and they prescribed me a new medication.  This medication is called Cipro or Ciproflaxin.  Ciproflaxin was thrust into the headlines during the 2001 anthrax attacks where anonymous letters filled with the deadly bacterial spores were sent to Senate leaders and news organizations. People who had contact with these letters had to take the medication because of its strength fighting off infections.  So, I took the first pill.  I felt very ill.  I was very hot, then very cold.  I remember I couldn’t concentrate on anything and I felt anxious.  I thought these symptoms were related to my staph infection.  The next morning, I took another pill.  This time I felt even worse.  I contacted my mother at her workplace and told her to come home because I needed to go to urgent care.  By the time she made it home I was on the floor of our condo upstairs about to blackout.  I don’t remember much about my time en route or my time spent in the emergency room.  What I do remember is lying in a hospital bed trembling out of control with three heavy blankets on top of me feeling freezing cold.  My muscles were twitching and burning beyond what I can put into words.  Have you ever put your full hand on a scorching hot stove and been electrocuted by a lightning strike all at the same time?  That’s how I felt and subsequently felt for days after.  I had a severe allergic reaction to Cipro.  I stayed at the hospital for a week undergoing tests.  One test in particular made me go through the worst pain I have ever felt in my life.  The hospital had a neurologist come in wheeling a cart which was going to record my muscle activity. This test is called an Electromyography or EMG.  My burning symptoms were everywhere.  My face, my arms, my hands but in particular in my feet, legs, and thighs.  In an EMG test, a needle is inserted directly into a muscle recording the electrical impulses of my muscle activity.


So, let’s think about that for a minute.  A needle + electricity = OMG IS THIS A JOKE.


I had a needle inserted into every place you could imagine in my feet, legs, and thighs.  A needle pushing through the heel of your foot is not the best feeling ever.  Now try a needle in the arch of your foot five times, behind your knee cap, the middle of your thigh, and everywhere, I mean everywhere, a muscle is on one leg.  I had both legs done for this test with no anesthetic.  A needle was inserted over 35 times per leg.  Unbeknownst to me, my best friend was coming to visit at the same time the test had already started.  Oh joy!  My mother already walked out of the room because I was making her hand turn purple from holding it during the test.  After about an hour the test was completed and my friend slowly walked in to what I can only imagine my face would look like if I went through child birth.  Red, sweating, crying, and not cute.  He sits down, silent, with his hand over his mouth.  He then looked over at me and said, “I could hear you screaming from the elevator down the hall.”


In the end, I was diagnosed with a condition called peripheral neuropathy.  In my case, because I was 21 years old and in great health I had the opportunity to reverse the effects of the allergic reaction.  I changed my diet and increased my B vitamins.  Doctors wanted to put me on more medication but at that time, and still to this day, I was terrified of taking something I hadn’t taken before.  Within 9 months the searing, burning pain was gone and I was back to normal.  I still have very small flare ups and deal with other side effects of the allergic reaction.  Ever since the day I went to the emergency room I have had to live with constant ringing in my ears.  I haven’t heard silence in seven years.  To be honest, it was inevitable.  I have been playing in loud hard rock and heavy metal bands since my teens and worked on numerous large scale tours.  Many long term touring musicians live with this condition called tinnitus and it is not reversable.  I like to think that this issue just came earlier for me.  However, I am alive and I am thankful for the physicians that have helped me get to what I now call my new 100%.


Before my health scare I was living a life that I would have never thought I would live.  I drank often, hung out with people who were horrible influences on my life, and I hated myself.  I was hurting after one of my best friends unexpectedly passed away in a car accident on his way to school in 2005.  It was a week after his 18th birthday and I drank to deal with the pain of losing him.  Not every thing was bad at this time, good things were happening as well.  I was working a full time job, playing in a band that was touring nationally, and assisting various record labels with record promotion.  After my health issue, I was lonely.  I couldn’t drink and party anymore which led to losing a large number of people who I thought were my friends.  I spiraled into an extreme bout of depression.  I couldn’t work, play guitar, or do daily tasks because of the immense pain.  My best friend drove me to doctor appointments and tests and even loaned me money to pay co-pays.  It truly was my rock bottom.  I was tired of crying, I was tired of not knowing who I was anymore.  And then it hit me.  This is a choice.  I choose every day to be sad.  It is my choice to hate myself.  Everything in MY life is MY decision.


Rock bottom was going to be my solid foundation to build off of.


It was around this time that my mother moved to Arizona to enjoy her retirement and I stayed behind in Milwaukee.  I was ok with this because if she was happy, I was happy.  I also knew it would help me grow as a person.  She was always there for me and now I was on my own.  I decided to get back in the gym and continue my fitness regimen I had when I was playing a high level of tennis.  I reached out to my industry friends and started writing for Punk Globe Magazine through my friend and editor Ginger Coyote and started working tours through my mentor Wild Bill Hill.  I found a new full time job and decided to get back into college.  It was amazing what I could do if I put my mind to it.  I had to learn the hard way that a positive mindset changes everything.  I loved learning new things and traveling to new places. I decided to stop complaining and do something with my life.


I Don't Have Time for a Bad Day blog post! #purpose #begreat almostherblog.com arikakaosa.com
Working on stage at The Rave in Milwaukee, WI in 2010 with the band Asking Alexandria performing.
We all have the opportunity to be someone great, why can’t it be you?


My health scare made me a fighter.  I found strength in self and perseverance.  Strength in self is something I talk about often.  If you find the strength within yourself, nothing will stop you.  Our culture limits us to believe we can only achieve a few things in our lifetime and that is simply not true.  In the years since 2008 I have done things I thought I never would accomplish.  I’ve gone to college for an education.  I’ve written for numerous print media organizations like Yahoo News, Examiner, AXS, and Punk Globe Magazine, interviewing some of the largest names in the industry.  I was educated in storm spotting and frequently storm chase around the US in the Spring, Summer, and Fall months.  I have been working on a new record as a solo artist after being in various touring bands as a vocalist and guitarist.  I volunteer teaching youth how to play the guitar, an instrument I have been playing for 21 years.  I have shown my artwork at various local, national, and international art shows.  If I put my mind to something I do it.  There is no questioning.  If I don’t try something, how will I know if I am good at it?  I want you to have this mindset.  I want all of you to realize your potential.  What is holding you back?  Why is it holding you back? What are you afraid of?  Let your fears be your fuel.


I Don't Have Time for a Bad Day blog post! #purpose #begreat almostherblog.com arikakaosa.com
My favorite art piece to date, ‘Evolution’.


We all have the opportunity to be someone great, why can’t it be you?


Do you realize how amazing it is that you can be who you want to be and do whatever it is you want to do?  I’m going to share with you something that goes under the radar in our world of Kardashians, EDM shows, and Instagram posts.  The bacha posh culture in Afghanistan.  I’m sure you have heard that in some parts of the world, giving birth to a daughter is one of the most shameful things that can happen to a family.  Bacha posh in translation means ‘dressed up as a boy’.  To avoid scrutiny some families choose to dress their young girls up as boys so they can go to school without being beaten and violently attacked and to get small jobs to help their family make ends meet.


Read that again.


How do you feel?  If you are a woman, do you feel grateful that you can obtain an education freely without being persecuted for your gender?  Be thankful for all of the small things.  You are probably reading this post on a computer or on a phone.  Are you thankful for that device or do you take it for granted?  Like it is something you deserve to have to be living a normal life?  Did you drink clean water today?  Many in the world haven’t.   Before my health scare I was so greedy and ungrateful.  Now I look at everything as if it were a blessing.  I was able to walk today.  Do you know how amazing that is?  There are people in the world that pray every day for the ability to walk.  You were able to read this post. Do you know how many people in the world would love to be able to have the ability to see or have clear vision?  I look at basic things I used to take for granted and view it with a different mindset.  I am able to work. I am able to dress however I want to. I can breathe on my own ability. I live in a country where I can walk down the street without being beat for being a woman.  I am able to take a shower with clean water without assistance.  Change your perception on the way you live.  If you live with a disability, I feel for you but do not make it a sentence for sadness.  You have different abilities.  You are no different than me.  You can achieve greatness.


I Don't Have Time for a Bad Day blog post! #purpose #begreat almostherblog.com arikakaosa.com
Trying something new. Training for Mixed Martial Arts in 2015.
Another thing I learned after my health scare was that we all have a platform.  We all can make a difference.  You do not have to be a famous actor or a politician to make people take notice of something.  We all harbor the power to do something great.  Think outside of yourself.  This is another topic I talk about often.  We choose as individuals if we want to make a difference or not in others’ lives.  When I was attending college in Chicago I worked with a rape victims advocacy group.  To the men and women effected by sexual assault, it didn’t matter that I wasn’t a congresswoman or I wasn’t a world renowned athlete.  I was just Arika, giving my time and being there.  I was present.  I could be a voice for them in the community.  That’s what mattered.


We all have the opportunity to be someone great, why can’t it be you?


If you believe in something, stand for it.  Be a voice for it, whatever it is.  We all have the power to change the way people think, act, and live in this world.  Find strength in self.  Stand in your truth. Be the person you needed when you were younger.  You have a choice to be happy.  Do not have time for a bad day.  I hear people say ‘you only live once’ but really, we only die once.  Let that be a drive to do whatever you want to do today.   We all have something and my health scare was my ‘something’.  I was put through absolute hell with it but I am happy it happened to me.  I could handle it. I have seen some horrible things in my life.  I have seen a friend get stabbed.  I have seen violent tornadoes destroy entire cities.  I have seen people stuggle with alcohol or drug addiction and lose their battle.  I have been at military funerals for friends who were killed in the line of duty.  These thoughts linger in my mind when I’m having a bad day.  If you have a pulse you have a purpose and we can all do more with our lives, not only for ourselves but for others.  All of these things helped me find who I truly am and I have grown from all of my experiences into the strong, persevering fighter I am today.  I will not stop fighting to achieve greatness and to be synonymous with greatness until I take my last breath.


We all have the opportunity to be someone great, why can’t it be you?


-Arika Kaosa


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