Tag Archives: Beauty

To those who taught me to dream.

2 Jul

When I was little, I wanted nothing more than to be a ballerina. Around Christmastime, my grandmother would take me to see The Nutcracker at the Koger Center. As I sat up in the balcony in my checkered dress and patent leather shoes, I stared with admiration at the character of Clara. I imagined myself twirling around in my own leotard with a toy nutcracker in my hands, lost in the music and a dance that was all my own. When I got home from seeing The Nutcracker, I’d put on my leotard and tutu, grab a favorite stuffed animal at the time, and twirl in circles to the music only I could hear.

It was in those moments, in the safety of my childhood bedroom, that I began to dream, imagining doing things I knew I wouldn’t be able to do in reality due to my disability. I imagined dancing with a grace I had seen only in ballerinas. I put on my ballet shoes and twirled until my unstable balance got the best of me and I fell to the floor in frustration. I even remember asking my parents if I could take ballet lessons, determined to learn how to create the beauty I had seen in the character of Clara. The opportunity never arose though, simply because I didn’t have the balance to be a ballerina. Despite walking on my tiptoes, twirling around in circles on those same tiptoes was out of the question.

As I got older and I filled my head with more realistic dreams, I never stopped imagining doing the things I’d never be able to fully experience. I thought of dancing to the music of my world. I imagined running down the street and feeling the wind on my face as I chased the orange and red sunset I saw in the distance. I pictured myself climbing the huge oak tree in my backyard, wanting nothing more than to find a sturdy limb I could sit on so I could rest my back against the tree’s broad trunk and escape into my favorite book. The creative imagination I possessed placed me right into the worlds I dreamed, though I knew I was so far away from actually experiencing them.

I am forever grateful to the people throughout my life who have encouraged my imagination and dreams. Though I was constantly reminded by other kids around me of the things I was unable to do, so many of the adult figures in my life understood the importance of believing in my creativity. Because of those individuals, I have learned what it means to still hope and strive for the things that still seem a bit out of reach. Through my ability to dream, I developed a determination that has propelled me through my life, despite stumbling again and again. While I may not have had the chance to be a ballerina who twirls endlessly with the grace of a perfect melody, I have sung my heart out at a voice recital, capturing an entire room with the simple sound of my voice. I have participated in theatre productions, achieving my moment in the spotlight by being Glinda the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz. I have written of specific moments of pain during the months following intense operations, creating the same tears in the eyes of my readers that I possessed during my moments of defeat. Though I may not have had the chance to live the experiences I longed for, I have continued to move to the song of my own life, continuously grateful to those who taught me to dream and create my own destiny.

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A yearly dose of The Bell Jar.

22 Dec

For the past 4 years, ever since I was 16, I have read Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar around this time of year. Though I never planned to re-read it every year around the holidays, that’s just how it turned out. In all honesty, The Bell Jar is probably one of the most depressing books I have ever read, but it is also one of the most accurate portrayals of madness, or descending into madness, from a literature standpoint that I have discovered as well. I guess you could say I love it because of its psychological aspects. However, despite how depressing the novel is, there is a reason Sylvia Plath is viewed as an acclaimed poet and writer. Her words, when put together, form sentences that allow you to feel something. Granted, the feelings her words bring to light aren’t necessarily happy ones, but in all honesty, Sylvia Plath wrote about life, her life. She didn’t sugarcoat it. She didn’t pretend she was happy when she wasn’t. She threw her readers right into the darkness and the loneliness of her life and her mind, and in a strange way, it’s beautiful.

Here are some quotes from The Bell Jar I thought I’d share:

  1. “Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences.”
  2. “I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, “This is what it is to be happy.”
  3. “I wanted change and excitement and to shoot off in all directions myself, like the colored arrows from a Fourth of July rocket.”
  4. “At this rate, I’d be lucky if I wrote a page a day. Then I knew what the problem was. I needed experience. How could I write about life when I’d never had a love affair or a baby or even seen anybody die? A girl I knew had just won a prize for a short story about her adventures among the pygmies in Africa. How could I compete with that sort of thing?”
  5. “I am sure there are things that can’t be cured by a good bath but I can’t think of one.”
  6. “Piece by piece, I fed my wardrobe to the night wind, and flutteringly, like a loved one’s ashes, the gray scraps were ferried off, to settle here, there, exactly where I would never know, in the dark heart of New York.”
  7. “It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they executed the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York.”
  8. “I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant loosing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”
  9. “Secretly, in studies and attics and schoolrooms all over America, people must be writing.”
  10. “I had hoped, at my departure, I would feel sure and knowledgeable about everything that lay ahead — after all, I had been “analyzed.” Instead, all I could see were question marks.”
  11. “The sun, emerged from its gray shrouds of cloud, shone with a summer brilliance on the untouched slopes. Pausing in my work to overlook that pristine expanse, I felt the same profound thrill it gives me to see the trees and grassland waist-high under flood water—as if the usual order of the world had shifted slightly, and entered a new phase.”

Is there a specific book you make a point to read every year?

Photo Friday: First Instagram Photo.

16 Nov

The first Instagram photo taken with my iPhone!

“Perhaps some day I’ll crawl back home, beaten, defeated. But not as long as I can make stories out of my heartbreak, beauty out of sorrow.” -The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

Tuesday’s Tunes: Brandon Chase.

6 Nov

Last week when I was searching for Texas singer/songwriters on Google, I knew I wanted to find relatively “young” singer/songwriters, or at least the ones that were closer to my own age. It took some rummaging, but I finally found Brandon Chase. When I heard his song, “Most Beautiful Thing,” I sat there wondering where all the guys were like he portrayed himself in the song. More than that, though, I smiled because the song is just so sweet. Any girl who got the chance to have this song sung to her by a guy would, without a doubt, feel like the luckiest girl in the world. I know I would.

P.S. I Love….Ireland!

12 Jun

My dream of wanting to go to Ireland began before I saw P.S. I Love You. However, once I saw the movie, I KNEW I had to go. Through the whole movie….I sat looking at all the incredible scenery and kept picturing myself there. The realization that I’ll be able to experience the beauty of Ireland for myself in exactly one week seems truly unreal, and I have no doubt that once I’m there, I’ll be reflecting back on the movie and realizing that I’m experiencing all the beauty of Ireland not through a movie, but through my own eyes….creating memories that I’ll reflect back on for my entire life.

Magical. There’s no other word for it.

Tuesday’s Tunes: What Makes You Beautiful.

22 May

Even though this video by One Direction is cheesy and so much like a “boy band,” I feel like it gives a good message: finding beauty in yourself and the world around you.

To Grace.

15 Apr

Grace,

I’ve been thinking about you a lot today. Even though I won’t be able to spend time writing my book until this semester is over in 2 weeks, I’ve been thinking about all the things that I want to tell you…all the things I want you (and other kids with CP) to realize. But at 19, I don’t know what they all are. I’m still learning a good many of them myself.

The truth is, I’m scared. I’m scared of how my CP is going to affect me as I get older. It’s limiting now, but I’m afraid of how it’ll limit me further on down the road. At 19, my back pain is what bothers me the most. Sometimes I have to completely stop in my tracks when my back spasms. It’s different from the spasms that I had in my legs after all of my surgeries. It’s not as jerky as the spasms were in my legs, but it still hurts enough to cause to me stop, place my hand on my lower back, and try to breathe through the pain. I’m afraid this pain will only get worse, and that scares me. There is so much I want to do in my lifetime. I want to travel, be a counselor, write more books, have a family….all of it. Granted, most of that is a ways away, but at this point I can’t tell myself that it’s not a possibility. I just can’t.

Even though I know I will cross the hurdles when I come to them, it’s no less scary. I know that you know this. However, ever since I’ve known you, I’ve never seen fear in your eyes. I don’t know if, like me, you’ve placed that fear in a box in the back of your mind, but either way, I sit and wonder what you’re thinking, what you’re feeling. Even though you’re 11, I’ve wanted to sit with you and talk to you about how you feel about having CP. But honestly, I don’t know how I would phrase the question, and I don’t know if I could bear to hear the answer. I don’t even know if I’d be able to get the question out fully before I started crying. If you sat and told me that you’re scared and it hurts and you don’t understand why you’re different and how you wish you could be like everyone else, I’d cry. Not because I’d feel sorry for you, but because I’d be able to say that I know exactly how you feel. I still feel some of those emotions. Not always, but they creep up every now and then.

I don’t doubt that you’d say something about how you’ve stayed strong through your faith and through God. Though I am happy that you have your belief in God to turn to, I don’t have that. Not because I can’t have it, but because I don’t want it. It took me a long time to figure out why. I knew there was a reason that I didn’t believe in God, but I just couldn’t place my finger on it. After some insight from my best friend Skidmore, I realized that it’s because I don’t see how someone (God) could allow me to face so much emotional and physical pain at such a young age. I’ve been enduring struggles ever since I was born, and I can’t “praise” someone who is okay causing me so much physical and emotional pain. I went through phases where I went to church, but then I just realized that I wasn’t getting anything out of it. However, I know that you get so much out of your faith, and I’m glad. Hang on to that. I get that kind of strength through my own writing, and it’s a strength I have rediscovered over the past five months. And honestly, it has brought me so far. I have never been able to talk as openly about my CP as I have in the last five months.

Last month, during a discussion I had with my uncle and his girlfriend, I described myself as a firecracker. At the time, I didn’t really understand why I made the connection between myself and a firecracker, but now it makes perfect sense. When you light a firecracker, it has to build up lots of pressure before the beauty can be released. I feel like this describes our situation so well, Grace. We have to endure all these struggles (pressure) before we can reach the point of recognizing our inner strength and true passion in life. I want you to know that I love you, and I love the gorgeous smile that you give me whenever you see me. Even though my heart aches when I see you struggle or when I realize all the hardships that you have yet to face, I also know that it’s something you have to face on your own. However, I only hope that one day my words can help you as you have helped me.

I remember one day when I came over to watch you while your Mom took David to Columbia, and you wanted to go upstairs to play on the computer. While I had been there, I was silently hoping that you would want to stay downstairs, because I had no idea how I was going to help you if you wanted to go upstairs. Like me, you have trouble with stairs. However, I normally use my upper body strength as my main support, but since you don’t have that, you’ve got to use your legs as much as you can (which leads to needing help with balance). You told me that I needed to get behind you to make sure you didn’t fall, but as you said this, I laughed because I could picture me trying to keep you from falling and then hitting the ground myself. I knew I wouldn’t be able to fully support you because I needed one hand in order to get up the stairs myself. Eventually, due to you practically crawling up the steps, we both made it without falling. I was so relieved. I had been so worried about falling myself, and the thought of you falling with me was just too much to handle.

Through that experience though, you looked up to me. Since I was older, even though we both were limited, I had to be the one to help you. However, realizing that I couldn’t do much due to my own limitations hurt. I wanted to help you so much, but I just couldn’t. I think writing this book is my way of helping you in the only way that I know how. I’ve gained so much insight and strength since starting this book, and I want you to know one day that you have that same strength within you. We’ve both faced so much, Grace…way more than people our own age have faced yet. And even though that really sucks, it’s also kind of cool because it means that when people we know get to the point where they are scared or in pain, we can say that we understand. We can say that even though things hurt a lot now, in time they will be released, just like a firecracker on the Fourth of July.

Keep on smiling.

Love,

Amelia