A role model is someone others respect and look to as a good example. They try to make good decisions, put others first and often imitated by those around them. They “think before they act….not act before they think.” They are the people we want our children to be around, whether it is a teacher, coach or family member. Your Health Journal wanted to highlight some special individuals who are good role models and allow them to share their stories here. Enjoy!
- Your name, title, and age? What do you do (or did you do) for a living?
My name is Amy Oestreicher – I’m a PTSD specialist, multidisciplinary artist, author, Huffington Post columnist, global speaker, and Audie-Award nominated playwright. I’m 32.
- Who was the person that inspired you as a child to eat healthy and stay fit? What was their relationship to you?
My grandmother! The strongest woman I’ve ever known, and a very huge part of my childhood.
- What did they do to inspire you?
She and I had amazing memories together. As a child, she’d always yell at me for going barefoot on the cold kitchen tiles. She didn’t want me to “ketch a kolt” as she’d say in her thick Czech accent. My grandmother made the most mouthwatering noodle pudding and every holiday was filled with homemade chicken soup, brisket and leftovers for weeks. She’d take me on nature walks as I gathered falling leaves, twigs and pebbles in an empty egg carton. She even helped me catch my first silkworm, hanging onto a giant maple leaf. Although her cooking may seem decadent, she always taught me to eat natural, unprocessed food, made from scratch, and to eat in moderation – while enjoying every bite! She also inspired me to take all of my fitness pursuits outdoors.
- How did their lesson change your life?
As you’ll hear in my three TEDx Talks, I’m also a survivor of sexual abuse, 27 surgeries, coma, organ failure, six years unable to eat or drink, and the PTSD that comes from ten years of complex trauma, starting from my senior year of high school. I was able to reclaim my identity, forge a path forward through the arts, even reapplying to college at age 25, and my grandmother always inspired me to be resilient, grateful, and thriving amidst adversity.
It was her strength that I channeled to get me through my own wars. And once I was physically healthy again but still struggling to get back to “normal,” I felt I was able to understand her on an even deeper level; that’s when I realized that, like her, the emotional pain of what I went through would take much longer to heal than my physical scars.
To get through the pain, I latched on to my childhood memories of her: her thick accent, homemade egg noodles, and imagined her resilience on the long boat ride to America. I started talking to family members to learn as much as I could about her. And the more I learned, the more I felt healed. I started a documentary theatre project inspired by her story and the strength she gave me to prosper again after my life-threatening illness.
- Do you convey their message to kids in your life presently?
- What would be your main message to children today to lead healthy lifestyles?
Make your own food. Homemade cooking keeps its vitamins and nourishment – literally made with love. Get outside, stay active in natural ways. And practice a healthy mindset – compassion and gratitude.
- Do you have a web site you would like to promote….web address only?