Tag Archives: Limits

When in Ireland, hurl yourself into experiences.

21 Jul

Today I went to Dublin with my study abroad group, and it was a blast. Even though my favorite thing we visited today was definitely the Book of Kells at Trinity College, the highlight of my day was sitting with my study abroad program director, Finn, after visiting the Book of Kells and just talking.

I told Finn about my writing, my home, and just gave her a bit of a look into who I really am. She has been a wonderful person to be able to count on while I’ve been in Ireland, and I know that I wouldn’t have enjoyed myself as much if it wasn’t for how comfortable she’s made me feel and how accomadating she’s been. Anyway, during our conversation she said, “A few days ago Kevin [her husband] and I were talking, and we both mentioned how we hope that one day our kids can grow up to be just like you. You are a true inspiration.”

Cue tears. No really. It made me feel so so amazing, and I’m still in shock. I’ve heard numerous people tell me over the past few months and years and practically my whole life how much of an inspiration I am…not just to kids with disabilities, but people in all walks of life. No amount of words can express how touched those compliments make me feel. Most of all, however, it’s hard to know how to react since in my mind, I’m just being myself.

Finn went on to say this: “Amelia, not everyone in your situation would go out and take life by the balls. I know people who would just sit inside all day and list all the ways that they are limited. But Amelia, in my eyes, you’re not limited. You’re doing this…full force and without hesitation. You’ve broken down those limits a while ago.”

Though I understand what Finn is trying to say, I know deep down that I still have limits. However, even though I am limited, I still go out and do as much as I can for as long as I can….here in Ireland and in life in general. However, in terms of Ireland itself, there hasn’t been a choice. Sitting around and missing out on things isn’t even an option. I don’t know when I’ll get this opportunity again, so I’ve got to take it while I’ve got it. So I’m going out and doing as much as I can so that I can get the full feel of this experience. Opportunities like this don’t come around every day. And even though I know that one day I’ll be coming back to Ireland, I’ve got to experience as much as I can now. Right now, I want to completely hurl myself into these experiences. It’s what I’ve done so far, and it’s been absolutely amazing.

Advertisements

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