Strength.

8 Feb

It’s been a hard week so far, and it’s only Wednesday. Last Monday, I started writing my book on how I’ve overcome having CP and being different, and over the past few days, I’ve been writing a good bit. Though it feels good to get my emotions on paper, I feel like I’m just breaking all over again. Yes, I’ve faced a lot, and it’s made me stronger. But through the writing process of this book (and let’s face it….it’s in its super early stage), I’ve been forced to emotionally relive all the painful (both emotional and physical) things that I’ve faced in my life.

I like to say that I’ve pretty much accepted myself, but there are some experiences that never can really be accepted. There are always going to be some things that are going to hurt no matter what, and I understand that. It’s just hard that as I’ve been writing my book, I’ve cried through it….I’ve had moments where I feel like I can’t breathe…and there have been instances where I ask myself if facing all this pain again is truly worth it? But then I think of Grace, a 10-year-old girl with Cerebral Palsy that I love so much. She reminds me so much of myself as a kid that it hurts. I spent a day last year keeping her company during her physical therapy session (her physical therapist who was also my physical therapist is a good friend of mine). Anyway, as I watched Grace during her PT session, I was able to observe her more closely. I see the way she looks at life….with so much happiness and a smile that can brighten even the darkest of days. I see the flashes of pain in her eyes…but the way she tries so hard not to show it. Every once in a while, I see her strength waver ever so slightly….wondering if trying so hard is going to be worth it since “moving forward” is more of a back-and-forth action than just strictly forward. I see all the pain that she’s faced, and I can’t help but smile. She’s doing well. She’s pushing on through. But then I see the pain she has yet to face. I remember all the pain that I went through that she hasn’t experienced yet. And it breaks me. I cry sometimes, because I know that there’s nothing I can say that would convey how I feel. It hurts to watch her face all the things that I went through, but at the same time I just can’t help but look.

In a way, this book is going to be dedicated to Grace. I hope that one day she can get to a point in her life where she can look back and see all the challenges she’s overcome, while also realizing that facing those challenges has made her a much stronger person. “Stronger person” is a tricky phrase though. Throughout my life, people have called me strong. Strong for facing what I have. Strong for pushing through. Strong for coming out the other side as a better person. I understand why people would say things like that. So many people explain strength as when people are able to hold it together when everyone else is expecting them to fall apart. However, I’ve never been a fan of that explanation since it assumes that crying or giving in to your emotions is “weak,” and it’s not. See, the way I look at it, I don’t have strength because I faced the obstacles throughout my life. I faced all the shit in my life because I didn’t have a choice. I mean, what was I going to say: “Oh, I’d rather not learn to walk. Thanks though.” No. I doubt anyone would say that. I mean, pushing through it all was my only option. However, that’s not to say it was easy. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever experienced, and it still continues to be an emotional challenge. Though I’ve gotten past a good chunk of the physical pain, the emotional pain is still there. The feeling of not fitting in or belonging. Dealing with all the staring. Being judged. It’s all still there, and it always will be. But I’ve found yoga, wonderful friends, the amazing escape of books and music, writing, and ultimately, a home in the mountains. So…maybe strength is realizing that even when you’re faced with a ton of difficulty, it’s still possible to love your life.

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32 Responses to “Strength.”

  1. Katrina February 8, 2012 at 7:57 am #

    You’re a very brave woman and I think writing this book will make you even stronger and you may find after writing everything down that some of it doesn’t hurt anymore, and some other things may not hurt as much. You’re doing a great job,

    • ameliaclaire92 February 8, 2012 at 7:31 pm #

      Thank you for your support and encouragement Katrina. It means SO MUCH! 🙂

  2. Glynis Jolly February 8, 2012 at 8:35 am #

    I don’t have CP. Instead, I suffered a stroke when I was 17. I am now 57. I’ve lived most of my life with partial disability and I believe I understand what you have been conveying here. Please keep on writing. I’ll be anxious to read about your progress with it. Dedicating the book to Grace would give her such hope and confidence that she wouldn’t get any other way.

    • ameliaclaire92 February 8, 2012 at 7:32 pm #

      Thank you so much. It’s nice to know that someone “gets it.”

  3. Wondering Wanderer February 8, 2012 at 9:06 am #

    Strength! WOW! You express it so well. Please don’t think I’m being cruel, but I’ve found that “Fitting In” is highly overrated. I’ve come to realize that the people who think me strange or stare worthy are really not the sort of people I want to be part of.

    Your journey has been challenging thus far, to say the least, but you are an inspiration just by your choice of attitude. Thank You!

    • ameliaclaire92 February 8, 2012 at 7:35 pm #

      Oh, I don’t think that it’s cruel to say that fitting in is overrated. Honestly, I’ve found that I want to be surrounded by people who love me no matter what. So maybe “fitting in” isn’t the correct phrase to use. I guess it’s more of wanting to feel like I belong somewhere. I think, at some point, we all just want to find a place where we can completely be ourselves and not worry about holding anything back.

  4. K.S. Ballou February 8, 2012 at 10:02 am #

    I’ve started typing and have deleted a comment three times already, so I will just say this post really moved me. I admire your willingness to share even what is painful.

  5. Anita S February 8, 2012 at 11:00 am #

    You wrote, ‘I mean, what was I going to say: “Oh, I’d rather not learn to walk. Thanks though.” No.’ But some people would, I think. Maybe they wouldn’t say it as such, or even think it consciously, but they might not try as hard as they really could. You and Grace work hard because you want to achieve whatever possible.

    There have been many times I have, temporarily, given up trying. I wanted to just end it all. It is a daily struggle to keep the idea of giving up from taking root in my mind. The fact that you don’t even consider it an option is what makes you strong, in my opinion!

  6. indialeigh February 8, 2012 at 11:12 am #

    You convey what you are feeling so well. I feel sorry that you are having a hard time, emotionally, writing the book. I wondered if you could write your book as a letter to Grace. It may make it easier to go through what you will go through writing it if you have that constant connection to her. Or, write it third person. Such as a careworker or support nurse who is telling the story of YOU and your courage and strength. You could even open it up and ask fellow CP to share a bit of their story. You would have a support network that way, of people who understand, and can equally share and benefit from the collective stories. Just a thought. Keep writing, give yourself some ‘comfort’ breaks when you need them. The emotion writing is releasing can take energy so look after yourself.

    • ameliaclaire92 February 8, 2012 at 7:37 pm #

      Hm….interesting idea. I may try writing it that way for a day or two and see how I like it. Thanks for the support!

  7. Sweets and Sweaters February 8, 2012 at 11:56 am #

    “‘moving forward’ is more of a back-and-forth action than just strictly forward.” That is so true

    Thank you for your honesty. Sometimes it’s so hard you can’t breathe, like you said, and sometimes life feels good to be apart of.
    People tend to give advice when they know someone is struggling but I have none to give, as I continue to find myself in the same position- smack dabb in the ebb and flow of it all; the ever inconsistency of life. But I can tell you with utmost certainty that by continuing to share your experiences honestly you’ll help others feel less alone and you’ll help them to remember to keep going. That’s all we can really do for each other and you’re doing it.
    I can also tell you with the utmost empathy in my heart, that you are not alone.
    Wishing you well and continued general forward motion, in good company.

  8. Carrie Craig February 8, 2012 at 7:16 pm #

    “I mean, pushing through it all was my only option. … Though I’ve gotten past a good chunk of the physical pain, the emotional pain is still there. The feeling of not fitting in or belonging.”

    Amelia, these words ring with an honesty that is so familiar. I now know why I was so drawn to your blog — no two stories are ever the same but kindred spirits can be found. Belonging has always been a focus for me in my life and work. Your writing has thrown that word and feeling off balance enough for me to pay attention.

    Namaste’

  9. ameliaclaire92 February 8, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

    I’m so glad that my words touched you. I feel like so many people are able to connect in incredible ways through blogging, partly because in one way or another, we’re sharing our lives, while also encouraging others during times when the going gets tough.

  10. Mary Cowley February 8, 2012 at 7:54 pm #

    Dear Amelia, your authentic expression is a gift and inspiration to the world.

  11. thisismyeverest February 8, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

    I hadn’t been reading your blog long enough to even realize you had CP. This is such an inspirational and beautiful post, and I think the fact that you’ve decided to embark on a journey of putting it all into writing is fantastic. 🙂

  12. jilllurie February 8, 2012 at 9:00 pm #

    Amelia, your writing is real, raw, relevant and extremely important. Thank you for sharing the Truth of who you are so that we can also see a piece of ourselves in you, and be inspired by the way you have taken a crappy situation and turned it into a space to heal, help and support, or at the very least, observe from an HONEST and TRUTHFUL perspective. Clearly your blog and book are so important, and the rest of us are lucky to support and witness your unfolding, bravery and growth. I choose to not say ‘your strength’ based on what you’ve written, but you are very brave, and your sense of Belonging on a soul level is very clear, even though I’m sorry that at times it’s hard to feel you belong in your body. Your wisdom and presence is beyond your years. Many blessings to you as you steer through this week’s storm, clarity just around the corner….

  13. nickiinbrazil February 8, 2012 at 10:09 pm #

    You are the definition of strength! You inspire me!

  14. Commander In Chic February 8, 2012 at 11:03 pm #

    Strength is holding it down when everyone expects you to fall.

    You seem like a wonderful girl – I am sure that Grace admires you in many ways, how kind of you to be there with her throughout these hard times. I hope that as you write this book you are not only experiencing the pain again, but releasing it.
    That’s a really healthy thing to do, so keep on keepin on.

    Ps. I would love to read your book when it is published. Cheers beautiful xoxo

    • ameliaclaire92 February 8, 2012 at 11:10 pm #

      Yes, I’ve been trying my best to release the pain, or as much as I can at this point. It’s been emotional, but I think that writing this book is the only way I’m going to be able to truly finally accept everything.

  15. Commander In Chic February 8, 2012 at 11:04 pm #

    One more thing…
    Don’t forget to give yourself credit. As crazy as it may sound to you, many people don’t have it in them to learn to walk with such obstacles in the way. xoxo

  16. littleoldme7 February 8, 2012 at 11:47 pm #

    Thank you so much for liking my post about dancing!

    When I read this post I felt so ashamed of myself, thinking that a learning disability is the worst thing that can happen to anyone; your optimism reminds me to keep my head up too, because we have to accept ourselves first before anybody else can accept us, and play with the cards that we’re dealt with.

    I’m so thankful to have found someone like you through WordPress, just when I’m about to give up blogging entirely. Stay wonderful, and see you around! Love, Pia

  17. fromcheaptherapy February 9, 2012 at 7:58 am #

    Amelia,

    this post was my introduction to you and your blog. wow! as so many others have already mentioned, i celebrate and honor your honesty and willingness to share.

    i eagerly await reading your book. i also eagerly await reading about the gifts/lessons you receive from the writing of it.
    in the meantime, i send you all that is good.

    lisa

  18. kallisays February 9, 2012 at 5:23 pm #

    Really enjoyed your post. You are an amazing writer and a very strong woman. Thanks for being an inspiration!

  19. curren1 February 9, 2012 at 7:26 pm #

    I really love the strength in your writing…great stuff

  20. belasbrightideas February 9, 2012 at 11:04 pm #

    “I remember all the pain that I went through that she hasn’t experienced yet. And it breaks me. I cry sometimes, because I know that there’s nothing I can say that would convey how I feel. It hurts to watch her face all the things that I went through, but at the same time I just can’t help but look.”

    OOF. You’ve just captured motherhood.
    Good observations, all. Keep on writing!

  21. sweetpea0944 February 11, 2012 at 12:43 am #

    Wow! I loved this post. Thank you so much for being so open and honest with your life. My son has CP and there are so many questions that people can’t or won’t answer about his condition. It is nice to hear from someone who has personally experienced the things my son faces. When you reference the pain you went through are you talking about physical or emotional pain or both? That is a question I can’t seem to get a answer to. Does he feel physical pain? I am constantly amazed by the strength, courage, and positive attitudes of children with disabilities. You are an amazing young woman who exhibits wisdom beyond her years. Keep writing that book! I want to read it!

    • ameliaclaire92 February 11, 2012 at 12:46 am #

      I experienced both physical and emotional pain. Most of the physical pain was felt during my intense therapy that I had to have after multiple surgeries. I have pain now (both ways), but now it’s more emotional than physical as I grow to fully accept and believe in myself.

      • sweetpea0944 February 11, 2012 at 12:50 am #

        Thank you so much for your honesty. My son seems to have a high tolerance for pain and I have asked adults with CP if it is painful and they skirted my questions. He never complains but I imagine that after some of his hard therapy days he has to be in pain. Thanks again!

  22. Mamas February 17, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

    I have a friend with cancer who says same thing. “I don’t have a choice but to fight.” Except you do. But your strength is so tangible; you can’t even see the alternative. I’m glad you are writing this book. C.S. Lewis once said, “We read to know we are not alone.” And someday, your honesty (and pain) will inspire someone else to be strong too.

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  1. A voice to share… « Carrie's Bench - February 8, 2012

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