Alice in Wonderland

The thoughts flit through my mind at a dizzying pace, a kaleidoscope of colors and frenzied impressions that dance around the idea of what could be and what already is. We are in New Orleans. The Big Easy. A city that has no shortage of whimsy and magic in its own right but to be here to present to the world our writing? To be given a platform in which we can shout our truths in the hopes of reaching others on our path to deep, meaningful and lasting change?…that’s surreal.
It wasn’t an accident that I chose “Alice” for my pseudonym. As a child, Alice in Wonderland was my least favorite fairytale. It made no sense. I much preferred Robin Hood. Now THAT was a story I could sink my teeth into. So, it came as a quite a surprise to me that after a great amount of life experience, I awoke one day in my mid thirties only to realize that my LIFE was wonderland and I am indeed Alice.
Call it fate, providence or synchronicity, I never believed it was an accident that I crossed paths with Yang and May. The odds of meeting two like minded caregivers across the country with such an amazing talent for writing and dedication to expressing truth and impacting change would be slim in any case, but the fact that we have worked together fluidly for two years without meeting one another until this week? The fact that our different styles and voices flow together in a way that is harmonious rather than clashing? The odds of us being offered such an opportunity by the Pioneer Network to speak out and reach others? No. That is more than coincidental.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle said that if you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. The truth, as I see it, is this: We are on a path that is uniquely suited to us. We have not only the opportunity but the obligation to follow through to wherever this journey may lead and in doing so, we will impact the lives of the most vulnerable among us for the better. We will impact our OWN lives for the better and what we learn on the way will forever enrich us in ways that we cannot imagine. This I know to be true.
Lasting change may not happen on my timeframe but it does happen. I cannot properly express how grateful I am to the Pioneer Network, everyone involved and all who attended, for seeing in us the message that fits so perfectly with their vision or Yang and May for being such a vital part of my life or how much hope our collaboration has brought me these past two years. I only know that the three of us will continue to speak our truths, shouting it when necessary and as much as we can, be the voice for those locked in this deeply flawed system. We will never give up. Of that, I am absolutely certain.
As I sit outside, watching this whimsical city in all its wonders, I feel bittersweet about leaving in the morning. This conference has been the biggest and most fulfilling achievement of my life and it’s sad that it’s almost over. But in my heart of hearts I know it is but the first step of a journey that is sure to be a thousand miles and I am so excited to be a part of whatever comes next. In the meantime, we will continue to write and remind you, our readers…our friends, that each and every one of you matter and each and every one of you can and do make a difference. So don’t ever let the world convince you otherwise. Shine on, my friends!

5 thoughts on “Alice in Wonderland

  1. Yang

    From our friend and supporter, Minstrel:

    “You’ve heard from Alice and May about the Pioneer Network conference that they and Yang, aka CNA Edge, just attended. To say they ‘attended’ or participated doesn’t begin to describe the presence they had at the conference, their effect. They enlivened it! They lit a fire. They were a powerhouse of passion and compassion. They brought the room of more than 700 people to their feet. To express their solidarity with the picture they painted of CNA life. To cheer them for their vivid, honest portrayal of life in the CNA trenches. And to agree with them that CNAs need to be more valued, more respected, and better paid!”

    “One leader in the culture change movement said she thought this was the best plenary session she’s seen at any Pioneer Network conference. (This is a big deal!) Others also had admiring comments. I was driven to attend this conference mostly because I wanted to meet Alice, May and Yang and hear their presentation. As an outsider I can say what Amy, Alice and Yang might not: they had an unparalleled impact on those who heard them. I hope they’re all feeling very gratified by the reception they received at the conference.”

    “This week in New Orleans, CNAs were heard! As a CNA, I’m so grateful to CNA Edge for what they’re doing.”

    1. Hannah

      Minstrel, it is always so awesome to hear from you. I love your contributions to this blog and I cannot tell you how precious it was to me that you were there with us.

  2. minstrel

    Hannah, your generous-spirited, gracious reply is so characteristic of you. It’s an honor to be called a friend of CNA Edge. You area a seed of hope! See you in Chicago!

  3. coreyannerotella2015

    Minstrel, one of the absolute highlights of this experience was the opportunity to meet you. You are brave and I am absoluty honored to know you. The very idea that you decided to become a CNA in your sixties despite opposition, despite naysayers and against the odds is testimony to the kind of courage to which I aspire. Your wisdom, humor and life experience shines and the world is truly better because of it. Thank thank thank you for being a voice with us❤️


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