fromthebirdcage

Who is your Llama-Fri? A blog about giving people the props they probably never hear.

Casey Waldner, my inspirational Llama Fri.

Casey Waldner, my inspirational Llama Fri.

n.Llama-fri def. A person like no other who has the power to bring your life more magic than you ever dreamed possible.

I have a Llama-fri who is over qualified for life and under publicized in all of her greatness, so it’s time to tell everyone who will listen about this magical person.

I think it would be kick ass if this post filled up with a thread of comments of people sharing stories about their Llama-fri’s; the people in their lives that deserve to have the rest of us shed a happy tear in their honor.

I’m going to talk about my Llama-fri, Casey Waldner. When I describe Casey, you may be inclined to think you know someone similar to her. Let me assure you, you do not. While there may be other likeminded spirits with traits like Casey’s, not one living soul could come close to being the person inside the vestibule (my favorite word circa 1992) that IS Casey Beverly Kills Waldner.

Everything she touches turns to gold. I don’t mean this in the sense of those annoyingly perfect people that make you jealous by the fact that everything comes easily to them. It’s more of an ‘everything she does inspires the people around her as they watch her work her magic’ sort of gold. Whether she is kicking ass with Houston Roller Derby as Beverly Kills, teaching kids as Coach W., playing music, making art, being an educational resource, a nurse, a mentor, contorting her gummy worm body in ways not humanly possible or giving life advice to her friends, Casey is doing it with a flare comparable to no other.

When Coach W. was on the scene, I watched her in awe as she not only taught P.E. to her students, but also coached them through some very difficult emotions.  She cared about her students on a level most educators never even come close to.  She taught kids how to empathize, how to find confidence, how to cope, how to win, how to lose, how to learn and how to embrace the quirkiness in themselves.  Most of what she did for those kids went not only unnoticed by her school, but often dismissed entirely.  I will never quite get over the sadness I feel by the fact that she was never given the encouragement she earned which kept her from pursuing a field that would give more children the opportunity to learn from her.

But the thing about Casey is that whatever career path she chooses, there are 20 more careers that will suffer immensely by not having her in them.  There is no wrong place for her to spend time shining her light because regardless of where she is working or how she is doing it, she is bringing that Llama Light with her.

A lot of people know her for her roller derby Jazz hands when she takes the track as Beverly Kills for Houston Roller Derby.  The girl can bend and run and skate and hop and skip and bounce while singing, dancing and entertaining the crowd, her teammates and even her opponents.

When her sweet father got ill, she instantly dove head first into learning about the human heart and brain and became an expert at how to help him. If she wanted to be a doctor, she’d have it in the bag.

When I was going through an emotional rollercoaster of a time, Casey was my counselor, giving me strategies to cope with life, being my support system, my best friend, my Llama-fri.

When she tackles an art project, whether it is music, painting or drawing, she comes up with ideas no one else’s brain can comprehend or even handle.  If I didn’t know her cute little mama myself, I would think she was sent here from another world.

Casey’s ability to make the craziest ideas seem entirely attainable is what inspired me to shoot this image.  She texted me a few months ago with a picture of a fish tank at her doctor’s office, saying she wanted to know if I could put her inside it. It wouldn’t be enough just to stick her inside the tank.  I needed to show the world that Casey Waldner can do impossible things.

Until she reads this, I have no idea if Casey knows this is how she makes me feel.  I hope that by writing it, you will either stop to add your Llama-fri to the comments to pay them the honor they deserve, or at the very least, take a few minutes to tell that person in your life why you think they are so freakin’ spectacular.

2 comments

  1. Enjoyed your post and am now following you, but confess that I am curious where you got the term llama-fri? googled and could not find out anything about it – closest I came was this post http://aligooro.hubpages.com/hub/makingllamafriends – where it talks about how very difficult it is to get to know a llama🙂 – how you must be very patient, persistent, etc. Surely not where you were going with this …🙂 Happy Thursday … Karen http://keeponpath.wordpress.com/2013/08/16/the-best-nest-the-importance-of-nest-building-that-i-learned-after-i-had-my-fourth-child/?preview=true&preview_id=133&preview_nonce=19c661e622

    • Karen, that is absolutely hilarious! I had never even thought of the symbolism behind a llama being difficult to love! I had a dog named Llama when it all began…who was my very best friend and was quite loved by everyone who met her….and I’m not really a dog person. Soon after that, my best friend, who this post was written about and I somehow started calling each other Llama…Llama of love….Llama Llama Red Pajama…..and I don’t know if you remember the old Be-Fri Est-End best friend heart rings from way back in the day with a heart split in two to share the words Best Friend…but we gave each other those and instead of calling each other Be-Fri….it was Llama-Fri. Way silly and ridiculous for 30 something year old women to be doing….but that is how our friendship, though beginning later in life became something that could have been as deep as a friendship rooted in childhood! I love that you made me stop to actually think about the terms I’ve used without question for so many years!

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