Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sometimes...

Sometimes, I'm tired.

Tired of feeling the ache in my left leg every time I take a step.

Tired of not knowing what kind of body I'm going to wake up with in the morning.

Tired of feeling a twinge in my knee and wondering if my leg is going to give out on me as I walk back from class.

Tired of scanning the pavement for black ice because if I slip and break a bone, it's possible that I'll never walk independently again. And I never want to hear those words again in my life, ever. 

Tired of my ankle being sore.

Tired of dodging people, constantly having to be aware of my surroundings so I don't get knocked over.

Tired of the stares.

Tired of reflexively saying, "I'm okay," when I stumble, without actually knowing if I'm okay until I check myself over.

Tired of worrying about whether people will be inadvertently blocking the handrails on the staircases, because they take for granted that they can walk down steps without railings.

Tired of well-meaning people asking me if I need help, and answering for the billionth time: No thank you, I can do it.

Tired of wondering: Can I do it?

I know, deep down, that I can do it . . . but some weeks are harder than others. Some weeks, I'm just plain tired.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Liebster Award

A few weeks ago, Tatum over at Ain't No Roller Coaster nominated me for a Liebster Award. It completely made my day, and I've been meaning to write this post for a while now, but life keeps happening! ;-) Thank you so much for the honor, Tatum! If you haven't checked out her blog, definitely do so! Her family is awesome, and her writing alternately cracks me up and moves me to tears. 



Here are the rules regarding the Liebster Award, as copied and pasted from Tatum's blog:
  1. You must thank the person who gave you this award 
  2. You must display the Liebster heart on your blog
  3. You should nominate 3-5 up-and-coming blogs (some say 200 is small, others say 3000 is small) 
  4. Each person must post 11 things about themselves 
  5. Answer the questions given to you by the blogger who nominated you
  6. Create 11 questions for those you nominate to answer
  7. Notify your nominees and provide a link back to your post. 
  8. Don’t give the award back to the blog that gave it to you.


Eleven things about me:
  1. I love pajamas! I think I might have more PJs than regular pants . . . if it was socially acceptable to wear pajamas in public, I definitely would!! 
  2. I am addicted to cookie butter. Oh. My. Goodness. It's kind of a problem. 
  3. I make to-do lists constantly.  
  4. I am a huge animal lover! I have two dogs and two cats at home, and sometimes I miss them more than I miss my parents. 
  5. I have no sense of direction. I'm one of those people who could probably get lost in her own neighborhood. 
  6. I took Latin on a whim in high school and loved it!  
  7. When I was about two or three years old, a doctor was trying to test my intelligence, and she asked me if I was a boy or a girl. I told her that I was a boy. I thought that I was hilarious. The doctor, on the other hand, was a little bit concerned. 
  8. When I was four years old, I wanted to grow up to have one hundred children. Needless to say, I've rethought that idea. 
  9. I was born three months early. I'm thirty seconds younger than one of my brothers and a minute younger than my other brother. 
  10. One of my favorite hobbies is playing the piano. I've taken lessons for about ten years, but I am a little bit shy about playing in front of other people.  
  11. I'm not much of a party animal, contrary to the popular teenage stereotype. My version of the perfect weekend night involves cozying up with a movie, a bunch of pillows, a couple of friends, and an ungodly amount of candy.

And here are the 11 questions that Tatum asked her nominees:
  1. What made you start a blog? I love to write, and at my high school graduation dinner, my uncle mentioned that I should start a blog to show people what it's like to be a college student with CP. I can be kind of shy with regards to sharing personal details about my life, so I was skeptical at first. I kept the idea in the back of my mind though, and eventually I thought, "Why not? If I can help just one person, it will be worth it."
  2. What is your favorite season? Summertime! 
  3. If you could have one of your wishes granted, what would it be? I would wish for more tolerance in the world.
  4. Who has been one of your biggest supporters in life, how have they supported you? I am so blessed to have countless supporters in my life, so I had to think about this one. One of my biggest supporters, though, has always been my mom. I know it sounds kind of cliche, but I can always go to her if I need to vent about something, and we share the same sense of humor so we always seem to know how to make each other laugh. I can't imagine life without my mom!
  5. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? It is so ridiculously cold where I am right now that I would be happy anyplace warm! Seriously, though, I've always wanted to go to Australia. I'm not sure if I'd want to live there, but I definitely want to visit someday!
  6. What do you want to be when you grow up?  (Assuming none of us think we’re grown up yet). Oh no. I'm actually not sure yet; still exploring my options! I haven't even decided for sure what I want to major in yet . . . thinking about what I want to be makes me nervous. ;-) Originally I wanted to major in English but I'm actually considering switching to neuroscience because the subject is fascinating to me! (I just realized that I completely avoided the question! Oops.)
  7. What do you think is your best quality? Kindness. Actually, I think that if somebody is kind, that is always their best quality, regardless of their other characteristics. I was part of an acts of kindness group in my town before I went off to college. I was the only teenager in the group, but the other members (mostly mothers!) embraced me wholeheartedly, and it changed my life. I believe that a little bit of kindness can change the world, so I try to perform good deeds every day!
  8. If you could help the world understand one thing about special needs, what would you want them to know? An individual with special needs is so much more than a diagnosis. I have met people who are technically unable to speak, for instance, but I have found that they are able to communicate without words in ways that able-bodied people cannot. I wish that people would truly get to know people with special needs before jumping to conclusions. Every time I see people purposefully ignoring those with special needs, my heart aches. I want to ask these people what makes them think that they are better than those with special needs. Look them in the eyes, I want to say, and find out who they are. Discover the incredible gifts that people with special needs have to offer the world.
  9. What is your favorite book? I love to read, so it's hard for me to pick one favorite! It changes often, but right now I think it's Blackbird, an autobiography by Jennifer Lauck. Every time I read it, though, I end up crying my eyes out!
  10. What are three things that make you smile? My dogs, my friends & family, and chocolate. :-)
  11. If you could have a superpower for a day, what would it be? I would like to be able to stop time for a little while. Sometimes I feel like there aren't enough hours in the day! 
And now, here are the bloggers that I have decided to nominate. :-)

Carol at The Blessing Counter: I love this blog! Carol is a mother of four awesome kids, including triplets, and her sons have CP. She writes beautifully and honestly, and I look forward to reading her words every day. 

Claire at Claire's Calico Corner. Claire is the daughter of the blogger above, and I was so excited to find out that she had a blog of her own! At fifteen years old, she is so incredibly wise, and she has a wonderful way with words. She also advocates for orphans with special needs. Claire is awesome, and her blog is definitely worth a visit! :-)

Tracey at Trousdell Five: Tracey is an amazing writer with an amazing family to match. She has three-year-old twins who have cerebral palsy, and her blog is both witty and heartfelt, hilarious and inspiring. 

Kelli at Miles of Smiles with Team Ari: Kelli is just starting out on her blogging adventure, and she has an awesome story to tell! Her daughter, Ari, is a twelve-year-old with cerebral palsy. Kelli is a marathon runner, and as she explains in one of her blog posts, one day Ari said to her, "I want to run with you." Ever since that moment, Kelli and Ari have been doing marathons together. Their story is truly inspiring.

Jacquelyn at The Girl in the Wheelchair: I just found Jacquelyn's blog and I love it!! Jacquelyn is an incredible individual with cerebral palsy, and her words touch my heart.

Here are the questions that I have for my nominees, if they decide to accept the award:
  1. What is your favorite meal? 
  2. If you could go on vacation anywhere, where would you go? 
  3. What is one thing that you have learned from special needs?
  4. Do you have a favorite quote? If so, what is it? 
  5. What is one movie that you could watch over and over again without getting bored? 
  6. What is one skill that you wish you had? 
  7. When you were a child, what was your favorite toy? 
  8. What is your favorite animal? 
  9. What is your favorite candy? 
  10. If you could teach the world one lesson, what would it be? 
  11. What is your earliest memory?

:-)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Masterpiece

I am six months old. "Before you turn the video camera off, I have a prediction," my dad says to my mom. "Someday she'll be on the field hockey team." 

I am six years old. "You can't catch me!" I shout, and laughter dances in my voice as I stumble through the grass. My dad follows, careful to keep a few steps behind me as he pretends to be trying his hardest. 

I take a break to catch my breath and he waits beside me. 

"Every night," he murmurs, "I prayed that you would run someday." 

Sometimes I can't help but wonder...do my parents mourn the daughter that they might have had? Does my dad miss the field hockey player, the track runner that he never was given? Were they sad when my six-year-old brothers donned soccer uniforms while I sat on the sidelines and cheered?

Maybe. But I also know that my disability gave them a daughter that they wouldn't otherwise have, a daughter who helped them to celebrate the moments that other parents might overlook. They rejoiced when I stepped up on a curb, cheered when I learned how to climb the stairs...and when I finally skied down that hill, you should have seen the look on my dad's face. 

I will never be on the field hockey team, and I won't be running footraces anytime soon. Sometimes, life isn't the way we envisioned it to be. After all, when an artist paints a masterpiece, it never turns out exactly as he pictured. When he is finished, though, he might look at his work and see the beauty in it anyway, even if it isn't what he had in mind.

And that's what life is all about...life is the masterpiece that we learn to love through all its flaws and imperfections, regardless of the expectations or predictions we may have formed. If we do that, we might just find that it's more beautiful than we ever imagined it to be.




Friday, February 8, 2013

Scars

My hands are covered in tiny white dots, barely noticeable unless you are looking for them. These scars serve as a reminder of the struggles I faced in order to stay in this world when I arrived three months before my due date.

My legs, too, are covered in scars; there are four on my left leg and three on my right leg. Six of them have been a part of me for as long as I can remember; they are the marks of a surgery that I underwent when I was two and a half years old. I used to be self-conscious about them whenever I wore shorts. I was convinced that the people walking behind me were staring at those scars, wondering about them. But those scars, the scars on my legs, symbolize what I have had to endure in order to walk on my own two feet.

The extra scar on my left leg is my newest souvenir, one that I got five years ago when my surgeon told me that I might never walk independently again. That scar reminds me that I proved my surgeon wrong.

Some people are ashamed of their scars, but I'm not one of those people. Whenever I'm having a difficult day, my scars remind me, You can do this. You've been through worse. 

I am proud of my scars.