POSITIVE OUTLOOK: Blessings are everywhere . . . The Universe Knows
As the wise Steve Jobs once said,
You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well worn path, and that will make all the difference.
When I reflect on my journey and connect the dots that led me to Adalia, I am truly amazed. I met Adalia Rose at the Social Security office on August 31, 2011. Fifty-four days later, we became best friends. I fell in love with Adalia the second I laid eyes on her. In that moment, it all made perfect sense; it was in our destiny to meet that day, and I know it is fate that reunited us. Adalia has given me a new perspective on life and on what really matters. She is the greatest blessing in my life, and I truly believe she is an angel here on earth. I have learned to keep a positive outlook because the Universe continues to bless me in bigger ways when I least expect it. Our divine encounter at the Social Security office animated my belief that God has a plan for all of us, and coincidences do not exist. Live your truth, dare to dream, and most importantly, believe.
I feel like the real journey took off when I began to live my truth and conquer my deepest fears. I came out as a lesbian in June 2008. Coming out was extremely terrifying and we all have our own personal journey of replacing our fears with acceptance. It crossed my mind that I might be gay for the first time when I was 5 years old; but I never thought I would have the courage to accept it. I finally realized if people cannot accept me for who I am, then I am better off without them. I felt I deserved to be happy, as well. I came out to my gay cousin Brandon first, then to my 80-year-old grandmother, Nanu. It was an ongoing process, but every day I felt better and closer to my true self. Almost simultaneously, I dared to dream. I never watched Ellen until that summer, but watching her show helped me realize it is ok to be gay, and it is ok to be a gay talk show host. I knew in my heart I wanted to have a talk show like Oprah and Ellen so I could help other people and make dreams come true. I had no idea where to begin but I was halfway there because I believed. It was the first time I truly believed in something with all of my heart. I think accepting my truth gave me the confidence I needed to go after my wildest dream and boldly, share it with the world. The truth will set you free!
In January of 2009, I was watching Ellen, and she announced her New Year’s resolution to be on the front cover of O Magazine. I admired her for dreaming so big and I wanted to help her achieve it. I immediately thought, OoooooooooooooooprEllen. I came up with the idea to make a magazine called Oprellen because Oprellen is what I hoped to call my show in honor of my biggest inspirations. The next day I ordered a magazine cover from Walgreens with a picture of Oprah and Ellen. I had no idea how to make a magazine, but I tried my best and knew I would complete it. It was a risky decision considering I was placed on academic probation the day before, but my fear of being kicked out of school inspired me even more to go after my dream. I hoped to use the magazine as my vehicle to thank Oprah and Ellen for all they had unknowingly done for me. They’d inspired me to dream my biggest dream and helped me find the courage to accept my truth. It was the first time in my life I was intensely passionate about something that wasn’t
related to sports.
Long story short, on Monday, April the 20th, I flew to LA with my friend Meredith to deliver Oprellen Magazine and the money I had raised for the Humane Society. The magazine was too valuable to send in the mail like I originally planned, so I went with plan B and decided to hand deliver it! I showed up to Ellen’s studio and to my surprise, they let me in the door! They invited me to sit and watch the show from the riff raff room with approximately 40 other people. I was on cloud nine already. At the end of the show that day Ellen said my name and thanked me for the money I raised. The camera man rounded the corner and I stood there speechless, praying I wouldn’t faint. It was my first trip to California and I was only there for 8 hours, but it was by far the best trip of my entire life. I received tickets to Ellen’s Outdoor Bash in the mail on my birthday a couple weeks later. I jumped at the opportunity and I was back in California. Thank Goodness Meredith worked for American Airlines and let me fly stand-by both times.
The next exciting stop on this journey came at the end of 2009 when the O Magazine with Oprah and Ellen both on the cover came out. I bought out the December issue from all the Barnes and Noble in Austin and gave them as Christmas gifts to random people and my friends. I had to eat peanut butter sandwiches for a week, but it was definitely worth it. I called Barnes and Noble to see how many copies were available and they put me on hold for exactly seven minutes. Being on hold for seven minutes was a sign because seven is my lucky number. While I was on hold, Michael Buble was singing “Haven’t met you yet” in my ear. It was my first time hearing that song and the lyrics spoke right to my heart. I couldn’t help but imagine Oprah singing it to me. After we got off the phone, I typed the lyrics I could remember in to Google with hopes of finding the name of the song and the artist. Sharing the magazine with Oprah and Ellen on the cover was a lot of fun and a pleasurable experience.
At the beginning of 2010, I was on Facebook like always, and I received a notification that Paolo Presta also commented on a status I commented on. I thought to myself, “Paolo? Paolo Presta? From Oprah’s Wildest Dreams?” I sent him a message immediately to let him know how much I loved his inspirational story. In addition, I told him all about the Oprellen Magazine journey and my dream of being a talk show host. He wrote me back that night and we have been friends ever since! His response was heartfelt and sincere, and I will never forget the way he made me feel. I am so proud of Paolo for going after his dreams and never giving up. He is currently the host of A Spoonful of Paolo and continues to inspire me every day. He recently interviewed Oprah’s BFF Gayle King and President of OWN, Sheri Salata. Way to go Paolo!
A few months after Paolo and I intersected, I learned of the “Your Own Show” competition. It was mid-April and I was running errands around Austin with two of my friends. They suggested I get my start in television on a reality show like Real World because I would be very entertaining. Reality shows have never interested me, and I try my best to avoid watching them at all times. That night, I was doing research online about the Oprah Winfrey Network and I came across an article that mentioned the “Your Own Show” competition, a reality show, coming to OWN. Just when I said I would never do reality TV, I heard about a reality show on Oprah’s network. (Signs!) I was ecstatic and anxiously awaited the details.
I was on schedule to graduate in May, but I made a “D” in a psychology class about serial killers and I needed a “B” to graduate. My birthday was the day before graduation so we had a joint celebration on Saturday after the ceremony. Oprah made her BIG announcement the following Friday on May 13th. I watched Oprah by myself that day and cried my eyes out. It was surreal. I could not believe the opportunity to have my own talk show on Oprah’s network was right before my eyes. It gave me a positive outlook and the ounce of hope I needed after not getting my diploma. I submitted a video and traveled to Dallas to audition in person. Paolo and I were excited to share our videos with each other and I think the competition brought us closer. We kept in touch the whole day of my audition and his as well. It was great receiving support from someone whom I admire so much.
After not receiving my diploma, I talked to my school counselor at the end of July and she informed me I had to enroll in a 3 hour class in the fall and make a “B” to successfully complete my degree in Psychology. I enrolled in three 1 hour sports classes but I decided to try for an internship at a radio station. I sent a tweet to a DJ in Austin and he gave me the e-mail address to inquire about internship opportunities. I sent an e-mail sharing my dreams of working in entertainment, and I received a reply the very next day. The following week I had an interview with Tracy Walker at Clear Channel Radio. I met Tracy backstage at a Blake Shelton concert a few months prior to my interview and she happened to remember me. Small world! I found out that day I would soon be Bucky and Bob’s newest intern. I was so excited! It reminded me that everything happens for a reason and not graduating was another blessing in disguise. I finished my work at the radio every day at 10 a.m., so I wanted a job to fill up my afternoons. It was a long time dream of mine to be a Starbucks barista because coffee and meeting new people are two of my favorite things. My dream came true and I began my career at Starbucks on October 4, 2010. As fate would have it, I unexpectedly got fired on July 4th, 2011. I did not understand or agree with it, but I tried my best to believe it happened for a reason.
I lost my Social Security card when I was a junior in college and postponed getting a new one because I thought it would eventually turn up somewhere. I never thought a careless mistake like losing my card would bring me the greatest blessing of my life four years later. When I got fired my Dad told me to go get a new SS card because my next place of employment would most likely need it. A month later my Dad learned of a job opportunity for me on the railroad. This resulted in him calling every day and reminding me to get a new card. I was frightened at the idea, but I knew I needed a job in the worst way. My Dad printed off directions for me to the Georgetown location because he figured there would be less people. I picked up the directions from my Dad’s house but I still put off going for a couple of weeks. He was beginning to take it personally and made a comment to me that I was intentionally trying to upset him. Only God knows why I waited so long but, I did. I woke up on August 31, 2011 and drove approximately one hour to Georgetown, Texas. Since Dad is usually right, so I took his advice and made the decision to avoid the madness that was expected at the Austin location. I checked in at the computer when I arrived and proceeded to find a seat and wait my turn. I remember looking up at the wall to see a flat screen and a framed picture of President Obama. I found it amusing, so I decided to take a picture of it and post it to facebook. I am glad that I did because that is how I remember the exact day I met Adalia, also known as, “Lil Baller.”
I was sitting in my chair twiddling my thumbs when I looked up and saw the most beautiful angel across the room. I never believed in love at first sight until then. I saw Adalia and her Mother walking towards the exit and I knew I had to go say hi. I trust my intuition, so I hopped out of line and went outside to say hello. It was short and sweet, but I told Adalia how beautiful she was and briefly talked with her Mother. She told Adalia to say hi and we went our separate ways. I knew her name was Adalia, but that was all I was able to gather from our short-lived encounter. I tried to hold it together, but the second I walked back in the SS office the tears began to fall like rain. All I could think about was Adalia and how special she was. I hoped and prayed I would meet her again but the chances of that happening seemed so small. I cried my eyes out to the lady that helped me, and I apologized for getting upset. I explained to her that a little girl touched my life in a way that I could not even describe in words. I remember, she said, “Yeah, you meet people from all walks of life here and it can be really tough sometimes.” I understood where she was coming from, but something inside of me sensed that Adalia was different and very, very special. I kept my faith and fate brought us back together, sooner than I ever imagined.
I called my Dad as soon as I left Georgetown to tell him I finally did what he had been asking me to do for months. I went on to say how I met the most beautiful little girl while I was there whom I believed had changed my life. I could barely talk because I was still very emotional, but I tried my best to tell him about Adalia. Seeing her reminded me to be thankful for all I have, even the little things like hair and eyebrows. He brilliantly suggested she might have the ageing disease like Mickey Hays, a boy from my hometown, who was well known for his distinct appearance. Later that day, I went to my cousin Kady’s house to have a movie and wine night. All I could think about was Adalia and the ageing disease. Kady and I were both intrigued by the disease and decided to research it online. We quickly learned that the ageing disease is Progeria, one of the rarest diseases in the world, only affecting 1 in 8 million newborns. Kady continued doing research while I sat on the couch rambling about Adalia. I specifically remember saying, “God, I just pray that I meet Adalia again” 10 minutes before, the unimaginable happened. Kady turned the computer towards me and said, “Oh my God. Brittney, is this her?” It was the Facebook page of Adalia’s mom; I almost had a heart attack. I literally thought I was dreaming. Kady was on the Progeria Research Foundation website and clicked on the link that said, “Meet The Kids.” To our surprise, Adalia was the first of 15 kids featured on the Progeria website. I contacted Adalia’s mom on Facebook and the next day we were on the phone making plans to meet. Sadly, they fell through because her boyfriend took the car to work that day. At the end of October, Natalie (Adalia’s mom) sent me an e-mail telling me about a fundraiser for Adalia, in which they sell lip gloss to raise money. The next day I was at their house picking up lip gloss for the fundraiser and bonding with Adalia. It went better than I ever imagined and we instantly became best friends. I went to see Adalia every day after that and every day, I fell more and more in love.
Today, we are the best of friends and I am doing everything I can to make all of her dreams come true. Adalia brings me so much joy and I can’t imagine life without her. She is the first thing on my mind when I wake up and the last thing on my mind before I go to sleep. I am so incredibly thankful to have her in my life. I do not think anyone has ever loved and appreciated me as much as she does. In addition to making her dreams come true, I am planning a benefit concert and silent auction in an effort to raise money for her family and the Progeria Research Foundation. There is not yet a known cure for Progeria but they are making progress towards one every day. Adalia has changed my life in so many ways and I am living my dream because I met her. She is without a doubt, the most positive person I have ever met. I am inspired every day by her enthusiasm and zest for life.
In closing, I hope my journey has inspired you to keep a positive outlook and believe in your wildest dream. In retrospect, the dots will always connect and I truly believe that, because I met Adalia. Thank you Gene Manuel, and The Whirling Blog for being a light to so many and for inviting me to share my journey. I am truly honored to a part of something so positive.
Brittney Cammack is an aspiring talk show host with a passion for helping others. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from St. Edward’s University in December of 2010. While she works towards her talk-show host goals, she can be found dispensing coffee with a dash of hope and a smile at her local coffee shop.
Follow Brittney on Twitter: @OprellenMag
For more information on Progeria, please visit and support The Progeria Research Foundation