Through pain, darkness and personal struggling comes truth, bravery and strength – Ruthie Lindsey is the epitome of this. I don’t know how I discovered this magical human but I thank whatever universal forces brought me to her, her honest, beautiful soul is something I admire and have learnt so much from in such a short time. So, in her own words “when you see something beautiful in someone, speak it”, here is why I believe you need to hear her story and learn from it.
When Ruthie was in high school she was involved in a car accident that left her with a 5% chance of living and 1% chance of walking again. Part of her hip bone was fused to her neck with a metal wire and a month after surgery she was able to walk out of hospital with only a neck brace. Miracle number 1. She graduated high school and college, got married and then a year into her marriage Ruthie started to feel the most debilitating pains. The x-rays showed nothing so doctors just prescribed her very strong pain medication. This was when everything changed. She withdrew from her life, from everything that made her herself. Four years later, countless doctor’s visits, the physical and mental toll it took on her and all it took was a $50 x-ray to change her life. One of the wires from her neck surgery had broken and pierced the brain stem, somehow Ruthie was still alive. Miracle number 2. During all this, and struggling to pay for an unfunded treatment to stop possible paralysis, Ruthie’s father sadly passed away. The nightmare kept getting worse. Until a medical fund was set up in her dad’s honour, the kindness Ruthie experienced at this time was unparalleled – humankind showing their true colours and helping save someone’s life.
The surgery was a success, no paralysis but major nerve damage. In Ruthie’s words “my right side feels like it’s on fire at all times”. Soon her marriage came to an end, she started suffering panic attacks and experienced a nervous breakdown, so she moved home to live with her family. It was only in her deepest darkness that she saw the light, Ruthie knew she had to change everything, she wanted to change everything, she wanted her life back. The first change was to tackle the pain medication addiction which took 4 months, she was also single for the first time in 10 years and bills were accumulating. This is when Ruthie found her love of design and never looked back. It took years for her to become comfortable enough telling her story and letting everyone know that you can lead a happy existence while also suffering from pain everyday. But, I for one am so glad Ruthie opened her heart and her life to us, because her strength is inspiring. She has turned a string of miracles, what could’ve beens and years of pain into ensuring she is surrounded by a community of strong, vulnerable, kind, loving, fearless humans who support each other through happiness, darkness and everything in between.
Regardless of whether you’ve experienced physical pain on the scale that Ruthie has or if you haven’t, you can still learn from her and her truth. Hers is a story of true mental resilience and inner strength that everyone can take something away from. For one, we should learn to appreciate the everyday things – sunsets, flowers, laughs, tears – it is all equally as important and is what makes up life so we need to start loving it a lot more. The most important lesson I’ve personally learnt from Ruthie is honesty and transparency in life. In this social media obsessed world we are constantly focused on showing everyone the best of us, our prettiest and most perfect selves possible. But it’s all a lie and why lie? The reason Ruthie opened up about her life despite her seemingly happy, adventurous and normal life on Instagram is because her followers didn’t know why her life was so happy. The world didn’t know the nightmares she had lived through and everything she had done to change that and truly experience the happiness and magic in the world once again. So she told the world, and with her vulnerability came an abundance of courage, people whose story resonated with hers and an online following who were drawn to her honesty and strength.
“You get what you put into the world … when people leave me I want them to feel seen, to feel cared, to feel known and cared for, for them to know they have space with me. And when you put that out that’s what comes back to you. It could feel really vulnerable at first, but it’s just a reciprocal life giving”
– Ruthie Lindsey, WeWork Creator Awards, June 2017
That’s what this blog is to me, my honesty, my life, my vulnerability. I am unabashedly free for the first time in my life and there is nothing more important to me right now than that. When I started to show everyone what I loved and who I was instead of worrying how people would react I started to become truly happy for the first time in years. The friends I gained because of it and the memories I have made with them, they’re the community of strong, vulnerable, kind, loving, fearless humans that I want around me. They may live in the same village as me or in a different city or even a different country, but they allow me to be me without judgement and always with love and support. I’m 22 and still trying to discover myself in this big wide world full of life decisions, but where I’m at right now and who I’m showing to the world, she’s the most honest and transparent version yet and I think she’s pretty awesome (by the way self love is pretty darn fantastic, so feel free to jump on the bandwagon with me).
I cannot thank Ruthie enough for putting out such beauty and positivity into this world, her story, her pain, her strength, it has all inspired me to become a better person and I cannot wait to continue learning from her for many years to come. I see the beauty in her and in this world, but the most important thing I’ve learnt is that for the first time in my life I also see the beauty in myself and I’m ready to speak it, live it and love it.
If you want to know more about Ruthie and read in her own words about her life you can find more at http://www.ruthielindsey.com . You can also follow her on Twitter (@lindseyruthie) and I cannot stress this enough, you MUST follow her on Instagram (@ruthielindsey). Her words are so important and her dedication to experiencing all of life’s beauty despite her pain is something I am more and more inspired by everyday, so please get to know her, you won’t be disappointed.