The Legacy of Poofaloop

Posted by Kristin Beale in Life After Paralysis on February 16, 2022 # Lifestyle

Kristen holding her book "Date Me"I sometimes think about the memories I leave with and the impression I leave on other people. If you’re old enough to remember AOL screen names, you’ll appreciate that there are some friends from my grade school past that had such bizarre or silly AOL screen names that they’re stuck in my head 20 years later. I wonder if my friend “lovebugkm” looks at me and sees “cheeringchic23” before she sees “Kristin.” What about “poofaloop2000?”

The screen name example is silly, but my bigger point is the importance of mindfulness around your words and actions. How you carry yourself and the impressions you make on people will likely live on after you through either the people in your life or the legacy you leave. More simply: that stuff sticks. Don’t get me wrong – people can change, and hopefully, you’re constantly showing up as a better version of yourself, but some things just stick. Pay attention to what you put out in the world.

  1. Be deliberate with everything. I’m talking about how you treat people, how you carry yourself, and what, as a person, you want to represent. I can hear my father telling me to “think before you speak, Kristin” in the background of my entire childhood and, no surprise, it’s pretty good advice. I just didn’t have the wisdom to take his advice until I got older. Your choice of words and actions toward other people is the best and most advantageous way to practice being deliberate.
  2. Make good habits, and repeat them. Habits can be a slippery slope because way easier than it is to form healthy ones, unhealthy habits are hiding in every corner. I currently have some bad habits of stopping for craisins whenever I pass the pantry, no matter how full I feel; I look in the tissue after I blow my nose; and when someone sneezes or farts around me, I hold my breath for 15 seconds “until the germs float away.” My habits are all silly and small, but suppose I were to turn those silly, small habits into undeniably healthy ones? Instead of a craisin, I could put away one of the 500 things on my kitchen counter? Instead of looking at my snot, I could say “pardon me” and throw it away? Or, instead of holding my breath, I could spray from a tiny aerosol fragrance bottle? My point is, people are always watching, so it’s up to you to lead by example. If an impressionable kid saw me putting away junk on the counter instead of eating a craisin, he might learn from my example, and I’d never have clutter again. I’m kidding, but only kind of.
  3. Talk about yourself and what you go through. The best way we learn is from others, so don’t hesitate to share your struggle, victories, and apprehensions with whoever will listen. The skill, though, is to know when to stop. Before, I’ve wanted to throw a weighted blanket at people giving me unsolicited and unwanted help (see: choosing a college, raising my dog, planning a wedding, etc.). Share your acquired wisdom with others, but be cognizant of when to put a lid on it.

The mindfulness you practice, if done right, has the added benefit of your joy and happiness. When you’re mindful, you start to gain insight into the world around you, how it affects your psyche, and how you want to navigate through it. This is something I learned to work on when I was in college – much too late to start standing up for myself, but better late than never. I became more aware of the way things made me feel and act, and I gave my energy to eliminating the negativity in my life. I’m only talking about having awareness and respecting the needs of your body, but it was a hard lesson for me. My mindfulness and respect for myself is the most prominent and life-giving skill I’ve learned in my adulthood and, my friends, it’s the reason I’m able to achieve the happiness I have.

I hope that when I’m gone from the world – or the room – I’ll leave a good impression on everyone, and maybe even be a solid example to follow. There’s so much negativity and hate in the world, so I can only hope to be a vessel for happiness, love, and all good things. Practicing mindfulness is a certain way to upgrade the image you put into the world, and to bring you into your happiness.

I also wouldn’t be mad, though, if “poofaloop2000” follows me to my grave.

Kristin Beale is a native of Richmond, Virginia. She is the author of two books, Greater Things and A Million Suns, and a comic book, Date Me. Check them out and read an excerpt at Her comics can be found on Instagram @Greater.Things.Comics.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.