Day Job: Marketing Coordinator
Side Hustle: Patient advocate, hyperhidrosis trailblazer and founder of the blog My Life as a Puddle
What did you want to be when you were a little girl?
A psychologist or a librarian
What are some different jobs you’ve had in your life?
Cashier at K-Mart, Certified Pharmacy Technician (I still maintain my credentials), Medical Editor, Medical Writing Web Specialist, Communications Coordinator, Managing Editor
What do you work toward in your spare time?
I’m growing my reach as a hyperhidrosis trailblazer and actively seeking partnerships with brands, non-profits and individuals in order to spread the word about excessive sweating – a condition that affects five percent of the global population. This year, my goal is to have a draft of my first book written by December 31.
I also am a member of the Letter Writers Alliance (LWA). I have three pen pals whom I send handwritten letters to about once a month. I’m also nerdy and write cards to random people. I’ve got one going out this week to the store manager of my local Bath & Body Works who gave me stellar customer service and had my preferred candle scents pegged within two minutes of speaking with me.
I also have a weakness for local craft beer, something the amazing state of Colorado can certainly brag about. My friends and I like to enjoy a good beer together on the weekends.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
I’m more of a mid-day person. First coffee, then talk-y. I’m in bed by 10.
What are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of my hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) activism. This condition affects so many people, but it’s under-recognized and undertreated largely in part because of the shame and embarrassment those who have it may feel. I am a voice for those who are suffering in silence.
What are you known for?
My kind and courageous heart, and my brave authenticity. I wear my heart on my sleeve. When people make a difference in my life, I tell them no matter how much I’m shaking, sweating, or crying when I do so. Life’s short. Make people feel good.
What inspires you?
I love to be out in nature. It helps me get out of my own head and slow down to embrace the present moment. I’m also a bibliophile. I love the written word. I read voraciously; my Good Reads want-to-read list is gigantic. My favorite writer is Maya Angelou. My favorite quote of hers? “I can be changed by my circumstances, but I refuse to be reduced by them.” And Oprah inspires me, of course. Love her!
Tell me something about you that most people don’t know.
In the spring of 2016, I went through what they call The Dark Night of the Soul. I was in the middle of a raging ulcerative colitis flare, was hospitalized over Easter weekend, and became suicidal. The gut/brain connection is a real thing. My body was not producing enough serotonin to keep my brain “happy.” But I did the work and got better. Eighteen months of psychiatric and talk therapy allowed me to dig myself out of the pits of my own personal hell. I am now medication-free and healthy. Mine was situational depression, not chronic or clinical depression.
Part of this crap experience resurfaced for me on the inaugural Share the Adventure Alaskan cruise with O, the Oprah Magazine and Holland America Line. Less than 24 hours on board and the Universe shoved it right in my face that I still had some stuff to deal with. As I stood in the auditorium punching away my limitations, motivational coach and Soul Cycle founder Angela Davis said, “Stop cheating on your future with your past.” I was crying in front of a roomful of strangers. I released my shame that day, and that’s when the still, small voice in me started getting louder. It pounded on the door of my psyche until I opened it. What resulted was the bravest piece of writing I’ve ever done. It’s called Just Stay.
This time in my life gave me what performance coach Brendon Burchard (who, incidentally, just happens to be a member of Oprah’s Super Soul 100) calls mortality motivation. I almost didn’t make it. Now, I feel the Universe’s call on my life even stronger and am more determined to get my messages out into the world.
Why did you apply to be an O Mag Insider?
Gosh, how much time do you have? I applied for so many reasons. Oprah has been a staple in my life since age 10, when I’d rush home from school so I wouldn’t miss a single minute of The Oprah Winfrey Show. I saw her when she came to Denver in 2004 and again in Houston in 2014. I’ve subscribed to the print magazine since its inaugural issue in 2000. When I saw the ad in the February 2017 edition, I said yes. Anything to give me more Oprah! A few weeks later, I nearly had a heart attack when I got the email I was one of just 50 people selected. I couldn’t sleep for weeks, I was so excited! I now lovingly refer to it as Oprah drunk. I hope to meet her one day, although I did give a handwritten card for her to Gayle’s assistant Joseph while onboard the cruise. I hope she received it.
That was the first yes I said in 2017, and it rocked my entire year. I’ve met so many amazing people through O Mag Insiders, some of whom I can now call lifelong friends.
How do you live your best life?
By waking up every day with the intent to slay whatever comes my way. As long as I can say at the end of every day I did my very best, that’s enough. I also surround myself with people who only lift me higher. (That’s an Oprah quote!) Last year taught me about the importance of saying yes—to myself. Thanks to all the yeses I said last year, I have a newfound sense of confidence. My word this year is fearless.
What are you reading now?
I just finished The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr, and now I’m reading her memoir Lit. I’m slowly enjoying the March edition of O, The Oprah Magazine. I pace myself because I never want it to end (dork alert).
What’s a day in the life of Maria Thomas like?
I wake up around 5:45 and listen to podcasts as I’m getting ready for work, usually Super Soul Conversations, The School of Greatness, The Brendon Show, The Beautiful Writers Podcast or Quote of the Day Show. Before I leave, I give myself three minutes with my N.O.W. by Solu meditation speakers. After work, I usually try to work on my blog and social media content for a bit, eat dinner with my husband (we just discovered the Instant Pot, sent directly from the gods), and then Netflix and chill. I love to read in bed before going to sleep, too.
This is part of an ongoing series, introducing you to the dynamic individuals who make up O, The Oprah Magazine’s Brand Ambassadors known as the O Mag Insiders. For more information on the program or to apply, click HERE.