Sing Like Dolly: Past Predicts Present & Future 🔮


At two years of age, Dolly Parton was my idol.  In fact, I should have been the creator of an American Idol genre of entertainment, as my wide eyed vision of fame and the game was futuristic and quite unreal.

When I was younger, maybe eight, I asked my Mum to take me to a general “famous” audition to be a singer or an actress.  Aside from wanting to be just like my gorgeous Mum, I loved Dolly, Pasty, Marilyn, Edie and I can’t leave out, Mary Poppins .  For as far back as I can recall, I genuinely believed that being just like them, a celebrity, would be a hop, skip and a jump (all things I thoroughly enjoyed, on a side note).  But, I figured it would be a one stop, shop type of audition.  A decision, a yes or a no and I was certain that I had what it would take.  I loved and thrived on creativity and being famous seemed like the closest thing to being an artist — something I sought out to be when I grew up.

Being the glue to my confidence, my Mum agreed to take me when I was in fifth grade to audition to be “famous”.  Never once putting down or deflating my fleeting dream, she knew that I wanted to entertain, express myself, and connect somehow artistically.  Turns out, I cannot act or sing and I did not become a star, as we all know.

Coincidently, the first time I ever lied was to my best friend, which happened to be  around the same time I asked my Mum to take me to Hollywood.  I had told my best gal, Crystal that I sounded just like Mariah Carey and gullibly she believed me.  It was only briefly, until one day we were in the parking lot of an Astro Van dealership, circa 1993 as her parents shopped for a new family vehicle.  Boldly she asked me to sing for her. I was stunned.  I hadn’t lied before and I didn’t know how to get out of it.  She saw right through me.

By the time fifth grade rolled around, my Mum kept her promise, enrolled me in acting lessons, reached out to agents, the whole kit and caboodle.  If I would have wanted her to be a stage mom, she would have gladly signed up for the job to support me in all forms of the spectrum. The thing was and still is, I’m only good at being myself.

I had been a ham since the day I was born and my life had been documented via camcorder, by the lovely and lively ladies in my life.  It was the 1980’s and quite the BIG deal to lug around a ridiculously large camera, but they did it regardless in an effort to capture my life.

Soon after my Mum’s persistence in trying to aid my flighty dream, I realized I am absolutely rubbish at being anything other than myself.  I couldn’t pretend.  I was unable to follow anyone else’s script outside of my very own.

All the while, creativity and imagination was never lost upon me.  I was just highly unaware at the time of how to channel it; how to open the pages of my fate in the creative realm.  If I were to take it back to those years, I’d say I always struggled being phoney.

As a young adult, sans/prior to the evil cancer taking residency in my insides, I came to terms with reality and realized I had to work in order to have an apartment and the things I lusted after.  My goals had shifted, my viewpoint was more mature and University and Corporate America seemed like my only option.

Strangely, in the seemingly thick of my career, unbeknownst to me that it would end in a few short  years, my Mum randomly said that she hoped that one day I would get compensated  for being one hundred percent, Britt; for being my true self, and sharing my creative mind with the world.  Of course I agreed and appreciated her love and wildly, amazing support, but I knew for a fact that a talent I was not.  I knew how to write, dress, decorate and apply makeup like a pro; but what did that all really mean in the real world? — nothing.  I still had to earn a paycheck if I wanted to dress well and I knew singing and/or acting was out of the question.  Feeling stuck was an understatement, but I didn’t see any other way of being an “artist” and was certainly not up for the “starving” bit.  I just wasn’t cut out for it and proceeded to work towards my career climbing the ladder, never looking back down until I hit a glass ceiling.

When I became sick and inevitably had to give up my career, I felt that I had lost a piece of who I was.  It was all I had known for the past ten years.  I was well groomed and manicured to continue moving on up.  The nine to five taught me savvy business lessons, yet oppositely managed to cripple my creativity, to no fault of the Company, but otherwise due to the type of industry, numbers were all that mattered.

Once I gave up that part of my life, I began to gain my creative power back and realized that even if you do have a regular 9 to 5, it doesn’t mean you should ever give up on YOURSELF, or what makes YOU happy and ultimately charges your soulful creativity.

Being sick, my mind often wanders off to far away places. Not necessarily Neverland, but rather memories from as early as I can recall.  I think back to the little girl who thought anything was possible, who fearlessly shared her creative self without any doubt or resistance towards caring what others opinions were.

Many may see cancer as a death sentence, but I see it as a destiny.  A journey.  A life that I may not have otherwise had the complete freedom to be who I am to my absolute core.

Nostalgia is a funny thing and history is just as important as the present, as  well as  whatever the future may hold.  Without gagging with cheesedom, the best thing you can do for yourself is to be your own muse, celebrate your own sense of self and celebrity (not literally), but I know you are picking up what I am laying down.  Stay true, be you, as everything unites and comes full circle in the end.

I’m not here to find fame, fortune or anything of the sort.  I’m here to be myself in hopes that I can inspire someone, perhaps expand my social ability to connect with people on deeper levels and tell my story along the way.

As I work on a project, a walk down memory lane has been an interesting one (not sure of the ETA — probably forever).  Finding out what makes me, me, brings great hope to share that with anyone that feels they want to experience the wonderful life I have lived and will continue to live on my journey as a cancer survivor and fighter, amongst other things I am blessed with.

It may not be blogging as often as I’d liked to, although that is my New Year’s resolution, but life. Am I right?  

Follow along on @bestillmyheartblog on Instagram and Be Still My Heart Blog on Facebook for everyday updates on my happenings.



Love forever and talk soon,

Britt x 

Let Me Be Clear:


When I was a child, maybe six or seven, I told my cousin that my favorite color was clear. He argued with me, exclaiming that clear was in fact not a color.   We pretty much grew up as brother and sister, loving and arguing as such. Rumor has it, I was an extremely bossy and demanding child, in which case not much has altered. Nevertheless, my beloved cousin and I made it through my dictator phase and recently reminisced over the phone about that brief, clear conversation during our adolescence. Cracking up at the transparent ridiculousness of it all, we ended the call. The urge to suddenly psycho analyze myself came over me.  

What was it about this quirky “favorite color” of mine and why would it make sense throughout the common theme of my life?

I was on it.

Clear.  Clear?  Clear!  Suddenly everything seemed clear as day.  Throughout my entire life I have craved clarity and even more so now that I am on a journey of finding my true self.  Understanding my story and the purpose of my set of circumstances, has become one of the driving forces that continues to keep up my resiliency.

Without going into too much detail, there were some befogging things about my youth.  An American with a British accent — Great Britt, my loved ones would call me.  My Mum was a teenager when she brought me into this world and just a short while later my biological father died at a very young age. Heartbreakingly, my Granddad soon followed, passing away from cancer that rapidly took him at forty-nine, leaving him to depart in a matter of months.

Cancer, son of a bitch.

Because I didn’t have a father in my younger years, before my Dad adopted me, my Granddad was my first love and his death was both devastating and confusing all at once. Many tragedies took place in the short amount of time I had been on earth and I didn’t realize at the time how much all of these events would shape me as a human.

Material items were abundantly gifted to me from the strong women that raised me; never leaving me without anything, especially love.  Even still, I always felt a pinch unclear about a lot.

Around the same time I had originally professed my favorite color to my cousin, I met my very best friend, Crystal.  Coincidence in her name? Perhaps. Or perhaps it was shimmering kismet.  My attraction to her from the very beginning was her ability to be completely transparent, even to this day.  She is the person that I can count on to tell me when I am making reckless decisions, or make me cry because she gives it to me straight instead of blowing smoke up my ass.  Tough love at its finest and as always, crystal clear.

Fast forward twenty plus years and my life’s mission is to expose myself; as open as the air.  Make the most out of myself, while welcoming people along for the ride.  I’m working everyday for a clear vision as to why I am here and a purpose as to how I have been blessed time and time again after coming so intensely close to death.

One thing is clear for certain; clarity comes from within, as well as the people you surround yourself with and exploring your core being. From there, life becomes as clear as the sunniest day you ever did see.


Britt xx

PS:  Thanks for the memories, Aust.  Clear for life. xx

Are you there God, it’s me, Britt…

#Spirituality #Cancer #Life #Death #quotes #BSMHB #BrittOchoa #BeStillMyHeartBlog I I

I struggle to say this aloud as well as typing it, propelling my thoughts and beliefs into the universe.  For those who I know personally, you would realize that I did not grow up in a religious setting.  My Mum was of the belief that I could make up my own mind about spirituality, religion and who I define as my God.  Holding all of the cards as to who I presume God to be, I have been an extensively spiritual person. There are many things and experiences that I could share in an effort to better outline or host my level of spirituality, but I will spare you of the gritty details.  Lets just say that there have been a number of incidents as to which I was met with my spirituality.

During difficult times, many people cling to what it is they decipher God to be, as well as how they define death in the ended phase of immortalization.  For me, I have remained in tact with my spiritual resolutions, trumping specific identification for which I believe my God to be.  In fact, the spirits that I feel have guided me through this life thus far are the family members with whom have passed onto the other side.  I’m not saying I pray to them in an effort to save my life, but I listen to them deep within my heart and soul and look to my gut feelings on what they would say if they were alive today, as I believe they are marching me through this challenging time.

Just the other night, I lay in bed from the time I rested my head on the pillow, alongside the glimmer of the nearly full moon, and did not sleep the entire night through as I watched the sun arrive with the following day.  As I lay in bed with the slight murmur of my husband and dog’s snores, I thought deeply about everyone who has been in my life, going from the start of my twenty-eight years, all the way through those that are in my life today.  Relying on my faint memories all the way through my large, life impacting recollections, I spent a moment or two on every memory that could be relived inside of my chemo infused mind. Particular and distinct aspects of my reminiscence struck a smile, enticed my nerves and in some cases brought tears to my eyes.  Realizing that every single person I have been lucky to meet and carry a relationship with has made my life up to this point and each held impacts, some more significant than others but nevertheless appreciated and important.

This cinematic approach to my life so far distracted me through the night and inevitably begged the question as to why I was inventorying life, my life.  I have mentioned before that thoughts about the afterlife and dying was a real thought process when battling and balancing life with Stage IV cancer, or any stage of cancer for that matter.  Of course I do my best to put on a smile and tell myself and convince others that I am still the happy go lucky person I once was, believing that I held all the cards for my life and death was a formidable postscript.  However, in the deep, dark hours of the night leaves you discerning things that you wouldn’t dare share with the world, speak aloud or even think of during daylight.  I know that despite my diagnosis, it is not a death sentence, yet it surely comes in the form of a pink slip.  Similar to the dreaded pink slip, cancer clambers itself into your life and you’re left feeling as though you are getting fired in this job that we refer to as life and livelihood.  Suddenly your only job is to rid yourself of the cancer, some are able to find a new “job” and others remain “jobless” and unable to work at being alive anymore.

As the morning approached from the sky up above, the lingering image of myself was in a casket.  It was such an organic and real image that it left me shaking in my boots, or rather my bed.  The representation of that train of thought caught me off guard.  Was it healthy to be having these thoughts, was I giving in and giving up?  Those were some of the questions I asked myself as the thought was imprinted in my mind, almost as though I was soring above myself and found that I was rationalizing as to what I thought my deceased loved ones would advise me, I felt their presence.  Somehow it was an uncomfortable reaction with the thought of them and the feeling of their company.  Frantically attempting to imagine anything else became a difficult task.  I was now confronting my thoughts of the night and reasoning as to WHY I traveled down memory lane.  They say your life passes before your eyes and when you are about to meet your maker, your life’s theatre debut takes place in the cognizance of your mind.  By my own grasp, the momentous sensation of my loved ones that passed were in attendance left me bursting into tears.  In my own, painstaking mind, I viewed their attendance as homage to my significant spirituality, but also a fear that with all of my retention in the night and weighty reminiscence, the loved ones were here to “collect me”.

After catching my breath, I escaped to my bathroom, rinsed my face and told myself that my gut feelings were due to lack of sleep.  Perhaps I needed to relive some of my fondest memories to realize how truly fortunate I have been all of my life.  I was raised with love and care from my family, my friends and now a connection with beautiful peers battling the same disease.  I then chose to stop thinking about death and enjoy what I have in front of me.

This week, Steve decided to take time off of work to comfort me and spend some quality time going on small adventures and enjoying this thing we call life.  They say life is a matter of arrangement and matter.  I am choosing to simply “arrange” my feelings from focusing on what the afterlife is and realized that all that “matters” is that I live everyday to the fullest and compartmentalize thoughts of death to the far corner of my mind.  Feeling refreshed after my optimization of each and every memory and feeling, I have adopted a mantra to get me through.  An object in motion tends to stay in motion; an object at rest tends to stay at rest.”  So, for today and the days ahead, I vow to myself that the key is to stay in motion, keep fighting and assure myself that I can rest when I am dead.


Britt x

Curves and Good Fortune 🔮

 I  #BSMHB  #BeStillMyHeartBlog I

Curves exist in the most atypical forms.  They take shape in many diverse ways and when least expected, the curve manifests itself into your world.  Occasionally, the initial antiphon of the unanticipated life curve ball may leave you feeling uncertain, even perhaps viewing the curve as an undesirable, unconstructive additive to your life.

Just the other day, whilst getting some ice cream with my sugar sweet husband, I got a fortune cookie atop of my fruity pebbles ice cream, scooped in a tiny Chinese takeaway container.  While I typically find fortune cookies delicious in their Americanized entirety, I do not take the thinly printed white fortune too seriously.  However, as I cracked open the soft, sugary cookie, awaiting my vague prophecy and list of lucky numbers, I did not expect the words to resonate with me so deeply.

May life throw you a pleasant curve.”  Simple.  The words so understatedly represented my life, my current situation and the curve in which I was thrown through means of cancer.  While I might have taken my cancer diagnosis and grasped onto all of the negative aspects, I have spun it into a positive and truly could not picture my life without this so called pleasant curve.

Keeping on with my mission for good fortunes and seeking out answers to the bigger picture, I spent Tuesday afternoon with two women who have always helped me on my spiritual quest, my Mum and spiritual guidance counselor, Katie.  Heading north for a day in the brisk fall weather, my Mum and I met with Katie to get intact with our spiritual side and what the cards had to offer.

Nearly a decade ago, Katie advised me that at the age of twenty-seven, life would throw me a curve and something life altering would happen to me.  To say that this beautiful, wise woman isn’t gifted would be a sizable untruth.  Here I am, twenty-seven with the most life altering event that could have possibly happened.

It was almost immediate that Katie picked up on my disease and sense of health problems.  The wonderful news is that she informed me that death was not in the cards and while I have a lifetime of work ahead of me, I will be fortunate enough to live a quality life, with many pleasant curves along the way.  Picking up where we left off from years past, she filled me in on my spiritual state and that my current life events will bring forth great prosperity, knowledge and all around happiness.  My writing was debriefed and foreseen to become something larger than I will ever anticipate, even making it into a magazine at some point, to share my story and journey.  Most importantly, Katie’s calculation of my future was that my experience will be helpful to others and if all else fails, helping others through my journey is all that matters to me.

Whether you deem yourself religious, spiritual or neither, it is always good to know that good fortune lies ahead, whether in a free fortune cookie or a Native American spiritual counselor.  Just remember, even though all curves may not seem pleasant, the curve is there to align you with your vocation and while it may not always look like sunshine and rainbows, you need a little rain to see the rainbow and the feel the sunshine cast upon your face.  So, my wish for you and yours is that you find pleasantry in each curve that life throws you.

May life throw you a pleasant curve.” 


Britt x