Finding Determination Through Fear.

19 Oct

A few days ago I was talking with a friend of mine, and he asked me to explain my absolute worst fear in life. Though some classic answers popped into my head, like ending up alone and losing the people I love, I knew my absolute worst fear. I tried to say it, but couldn’t. I felt like I was about to cry. However, after a period of silence stretched over us like a blanket, I finally spoke.

“I’m afraid of the day when I’ll no longer be able to walk.”

I spent my entire childhood learning to walk so I could be as independent as possible, despite my Cerebral Palsy. Before my intense operations, I learned to walk in my own way, my knees knocking together as I put one foot in front of the other. During the years I spent on a t-ball team, I loved the feeling of running to first base. Even though I typically got out before making it to first base, I ran with all my heart just like everyone else on my team. I ran in my own way, but it never stopped me from trying.

After my first operation at the age of 10, I had to completely relearn to walk after having my femurs straightened out and kept in place with rods. One year later, when I got the hardware removed that was placed during my first operation, I had to relearn to walk yet again. See, not walking was never even an option for me. I wanted to be like the other kids my age, and to do that, I had to be able to walk. I had to be as normal as I possibly could. Even when I was faced with physical pain that made me want to curl into myself and give up all together, I kept going. Every day, I literally walked towards my own independence, one step at a time.

Because I spent so much of my life struggling, and ultimately succeeding, to walk, the thought of reaching the day when I’ll no longer be able to walk is completely terrifying. In so many ways, when I reach that day, it will feel like a kind of giving up. Though I plan to walk for as many more years as I can, I am scared of the day when the pain will just be too much, when walking will be putting too much strain on my body. It’s especially frightening because I know how much physical pain I’m in on a daily basis currently. The realization that I am in so much physical pain and I’m only 21 is terrifying. Trying to imagine my level of pain when I reach age 30 is nearly impossible.

That is one great thing about fear though. It has the ability to help us find the determination and strength we didn’t know we had. Yes, my worst fear is seeing the day when I will no longer be able to walk. However, I’m not there yet. I am a long way off from that day. Today, I am able to walk and do the things I love, despite being in pain. Today, I am able to push through the pain, because the result…the view at the top of the mountain…is worth it. The happiness, joy, and pure bliss of the destination weighs so much more than the pain of the journey.

The fear lingers in the back of my mind, the fear of knowing one day I won’t be able to get to the top of Max Patch, my absolute favorite place in the world. However, the fear also gives me the strength and determination I need to continue doing what I love. Yes, one day I may not be able to walk because of the amount of pain I am in. But I’m not there yet. I’ve still got plenty of fight within me.

At the top of Max Patch (October 2013)

At the top of Max Patch (October 2013)

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9 Responses to “Finding Determination Through Fear.”

  1. photosfromtheloonybin October 19, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

    You are definitely one of the strongest people I know Amelia, and I know that you will always get to the top of Max Patch one way or another!! Gorgeous picture by the way :).

    • ameliaclaire92 October 19, 2013 at 8:57 pm #

      Thank you so, so much, Cindy. Your encouragement means so much to me.

  2. alysha.greig October 19, 2013 at 9:55 pm #

    I know that we have never even met before, but I am so inspired by the honesty with which you write. In yoga, we talk a lot about how fear is the opposite of love. When people live in fear, they are unable to open up to all the possibilities waiting for them —- so cool to see you living with so much love and enthusiasm for life. Grateful to you for sharing this, and perhaps it will even inspire one of my future posts! Xo

    • ameliaclaire92 October 19, 2013 at 9:59 pm #

      Aw wow, thank you so much, Alysha! Though I don’t practice yoga as much as I should, I understand what you mean. Similar messages have been explained to me by my restorative yoga instructors. Hopefully one day we can meet and share life experiences over coffee. :)

  3. aaronpm94 October 19, 2013 at 10:27 pm #

    Amelia you are such a REALLY STRONG GIRL!!! in the whole extension of the word. :)
    I truely admire you,keep walking, keep doing at that, don’t let anything and anybody stops you, follow your dreams until you reach your goals and beyond. I’m happy to say that i’m your first fan in Ecuador hahaha. You know maybe our stories about CP are different but you do with your posts , coments, sharings etc, push me to overcome this and show that I am greater than this, You are greater than CP Amelia. Yes it is adisability and make us different but it doesn’t mean in any way that this can limit us to pursue what we want.
    Thanks Amelia
    Utterly Honoured. :)
    Aaron

    • ameliaclaire92 October 20, 2013 at 1:43 pm #

      Thanks Aaron. I’m glad talking about my experiences allows you to see that you have the same strength within you. I’m glad we have become friends. Remember that I am always here on the days when you need support. :)

  4. ashokbhatia October 20, 2013 at 12:13 pm #

    Truly inspiring! It takes real courage to be able to share this with the world!!

  5. Sherry Faulkner October 24, 2013 at 6:14 pm #

    Hi Amelia,
    I am new to your stories and enjoy reading them very much. I am 64 years old and was born with athetoid cp and deafness in both ears. I went through the braces on my legs and many years of early physical therapy to learn to walk at age 4 as well as being the first graduate of a auditory-aural program where I received hearing aids at age 4 and learned to talk at age 7 and became the first student ever to be mainstreamed into the Denver public schools at 3rd grade in my neighborhood elementary school. I am a mother of four wonderful children and grandmother to 10 lovely grandkids aged 11 and younger. You shared your fear of the day when you will no longer be able to walk. I share that fear with you now too but at age 64. I have had two chemical exposures 1996 and 2011 at my workplaces and they both were severe and exacerbated my cp. I am now on oxygen 24/7 and my life has forever been changed but I am still walking some but do have to rely on use of wheelchair for long distances and for fatigue. After the chemical exposures I have been diagnosed with irritant vocal cord dysfunction and cannot use the beautiful voice I spent so many years trying to develop because of being deaf. I am receiving massage therapy, dry needling therapy and am on a fentanyl patch for managing pain as well as baclofen. My life is not what I envisioned at this age but I want to give you hope that you have many good years ahead of you before you will no longer be able to walk. I refuse to give up and although it is painful everyday to get up and keep going there is so much we all have to live for. So you are to be commended for keeping up the fight for trying to live life to the fullest. We are only limited to what others think we cannot do!

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