Featuring Mitylene Bailey
Mitylene was born and raised in Hattieville, she loved the village life. She remembers her first culture shock moment came when she began attending high school in Belize City. High school was where she discovered her love for learning and she decided she would keep pursuing learning, in her words, “till a buck!”
We all go through seasons and I believe that each one teaches us and helps us to grow as an individual. I asked Mitylene to share what she is passionate about in this season of her life.
Mitylene: This season of my life I’m focusing on enjoying the journey that I’m on and encouraging other people to do the same for their lives. Nothing is ideal and we can find ten different things wrong with the way life is turning out for us or we focus so much on what we want to achieve that we miss the small things. We forget to read the kids’ stories at night, forget to show our family love and appreciation, and ignore the time we should be enjoying with them to “finish up this last bit of work”.
Do you guys remember the commercial with the Energizer bunny from the ’80s? They used to say “they keep going and going and going…”
Mitylene describes a time in her life when she was like that. Always going and going, spending long hours in the lab, sometimes more than 24hours at a time. She had an infant at home and every time she got home and picked up her baby, she felt heavier than the previous two days. Mitylene realized that her baby was growing and that she was missing out on so much. Something had to change.
Mitylene: I was almost done…or so I thought and my hard work was rewarded by more hard work. After seeing people who worked in the lab longer than I leave without any formal thank-you or farewell, I realized I was replaceable. I decided to put my family life first! I had to exercise the word “NO” and just be fair to family time and work time. They didn’t like it but they respected it!
Andrea: Tell me about your blog Restivida? How did that come about?
Mitylene: I was focusing on my destination: completing my PhD until…I became ill. I was physically unable to do what I liked. Then it hit me! I can be the perfect scientist for 99 days but if I had one day I couldn’t deliver, I was incompetent. I began to focus more on getting my health back together. It really hurt my feelings to know that I had taken myself away from my family and given it to people that would replace me the minute my body got cold. “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast. ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them. Under their feet, and turn again and rend you. Matthew 7:6” Here I was building someone else’s dream at the expense of my LIFE.
I was curious about the name Restivida, I had to ask Mitylene how she came up with the name.
Mitylene: Resti: tranquil, calm, serene, peaceful. Vida: life. It came to me in a dream after a few months of praying on it. I didn’t brainstorm different names. I woke up, it was on my heart, and checked for the domain name. Money was not readily available to buy it at that moment so I said if God wants me to have it, the name would still be available when I was ready to purchase it. I opened the Facebook account by faith using the name and did some side jobs to purchase the domain name six months after it was laid on my heart.
Things are slower than I’d like for the simple reason of having a chronic illness and writing about a chronic illness, learning web development plus a full-time job, and being a wonder woman at home! “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest. Ecclesiastes 9:10”
Leading up to her diagnosis, Mitylene said she did the hospital hopping for about two years. One night after suffering from chronic pain, insomnia, and a host of weird symptoms, she sat on the floor of her bathroom and said “Ok God, I’m handing this over to you. I can’t bear it anymore. I am done.” That very week she was able to see the Rheumatologist that is always booked. “I walked right into the office with no appointment ahead of everyone that waited weeks to see her. The diagnosis was given: Fibromyalgia! The nice Doctor tried to give me some pills and I decided not to take them”.
Mitylene: I went three more months researching my symptoms and the cause of the disease and possible treatment that did not involve modern medicine. I was lucky to be at a great research institute that gave me access to subscriptions to numerous scientific journals and in-person conferences with persons directly studying Fibromyalgia. I tried to look for similar info and I had to pay for downloads. This was when I decided that this would be my mission; to make all the information I have researched on Fibromyalgia (and later, other illnesses) to be completely free! Not everyone has access to these journals and not all of us like this type of reading. I can access the journals, enjoy this type of reading and I’m willing to share it for free. “To whom much is given, much will be required.” Luke 12:48
As we go through life, we learn a lot of lessons, some the hard way. Although each of us is on different journeys, we can all learn something from each other. I wanted to know what were some of the life lessons Mitylene gained over the years. Here are 5 of her life lessons:
1. Life is short but it is beautiful in all the imperfect ways. Love on the people you love and pray for the ones you do not.
2. Everyone is on his or her own journey, never take offense at the way someone reacts to you. You may have touched an open wound but you are not the cause of it.
3. Have compassion for everyone; the ones that are the hardest to love need it the most.
4.Our REAL job as adults is to protect the children. That is it! Everything else is secondary.
5. Love yourself first or there will be nothing for anyone else.
Andrea: What are some Scriptures that help you stand strong?
Mitylene: There are so many but if I had to pick one it’s Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end”. God has a plan for my life. I am made with a purpose and everything we go through and experience is for a reason. Also, “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.” Psalm 118:17. When I was a teen I got ill. My mom made me repeat this verse, even in my sleep. So when things get rough I remember, I’m not done declaring yet!
Andrea: What encouragement would you like to offer to the women in this space?
Mitylene: You’re not invisible! We often become installations in our own lives. We are expected to do so much and we just keep giving of ourselves and never allow ourselves to recover. It’s ok to have everyone eat sandwiches for lunch or cereal for breakfast while you soak your feet and give yourself a spa treatment. It’s ok to buy yourself a candy bar when you pick up the groceries or stop for coffee with a friend. Enjoy yourself, love yourself, take care of yourself and get to know yourself.
Mitylene is a researcher at the Academia Sinica and currently lives in Taipei, Taiwan with her husband and daughter. You can connect with her at any of the links below. If you know someone who is struggling with fibromyalgia, send them the links so they can also check it out. There is a ton of helpful information on her accounts.