Tag Archives: Support Systems

Almost a year ago…before the writing began.

24 Dec

Since tonight is Christmas Eve and tomorrow is Christmas, I thought I’d share a picture I came across today from last Christmas.

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It’s crazy to think how much can happen in a year. This time last year, the idea of starting my memoir of living with Cerebral Palsy hadn’t come into existence quite yet, and in all actuality, that is hard for me to believe. I remember how, on a cold winter day in January, I made the quick and impulsive decision and said, “I’m going to write a book about my life!”

A few days later, after I had spent many hours just writing, writing, writing without even thinking of stopping, I emailed two very important people in my life: my writing mentor and my freshman English professor from my previous college, both of whom have always been incredibly supportive of my writing. Both of them have always been big supporters of me in general, and so I wasn’t surprised to receive positive reactions concerning my decision to write a book about my life. Though I did receive support from both of them, I sensed hesitation, and truthfully, I’m still unsure if that hesitation was just my own lack of self-confidence coming to the surface or whether it was something else entirely. Either way, at those very beginning days of my memoir, when only the first thoughts of it were being formulated in my mind, I never thought I’d reach the point where I could talk about my past with such ease. Granted, there are definitely memories that still cause me to pause simply because I haven’t quite gotten the guts to pull them out of the black box they have been hidden in for so long, but considering where I was this time last year, I’ve come very far.

Truthfully, it’s because of the support I’ve received from my mentors, friends, family and all you lovely fellow bloggers that I have made it to this point concerning my memoir. Though the amount of pages I have written is incredibly, incredibly slim considering a full year has passed since I began, most of my writing took more mental preparations than I anticipated in the beginning. Though I wrote like crazy in the beginning month of beginning my memoir, that “early fire” started to fade when the emotions of what I was doing began to fully set in. Since then, I have continued battling those emotions, and those battles have taken up more time than I anticipated….time that could’ve been spent writing. However, I needed to give attention to those battles…to all of the emotions that were being brought to the surface after essentially burying huge chunks of my life in boxes in the back of my mind. Therefore, though I don’t have very many pages to show for all that I have trudged through over the past year, if anything….I know what I have finally faced…and what I have grown from.

Therefore, I wish to say thank you for every single one of you who have been a part of the supportive hug I’ve been receiving for the past year. To family, friends, mentors, and fellow bloggers…thank you for sticking with me through the really hard writing days, the really good writing days, and all those days in between when I was either talking about my memoir or talking about a certain memory from my past. Though there is still a very, very long way to go, I know from experience that the beginning of a project…or the simple act of even starting it…is the hardest. Though there were many days throughout the last year that I either debating stopping or could no longer remember why I was putting myself through the pain of writing and reliving the hard parts of my life, I kept at it. I kept at it for you, for me, and for all the families and kids dealing with a disability who just need someone to relate to or someone who understands or someone who they can look to and say, “She made it through. So can I.”

As well as my many thanks and lots of love, I’d also like to wish all of you a happy holiday season. 🙂

Teaching “social graces” for physical disabilities in schools.

29 Aug

In my community psychology class, we have been asked to do a project on a societal problem. I’ve chosen the stigma of physical disabilities and the social consequences that are connected with physical disabilities. Obviously this topic hits home for me since I have a physical disability, and I’m excited to start researching. Plus, I feel like this project could provide me with some great material to possibly include in my memoir.

I feel like the social consequences of having a disability, physical or not, is something that isn’t brought to too much awareness. Other than my intense surgeries and intense physical therapy, being able to socially adapt is probably one of the hardest things that I’ve faced due to being someone with a physical disability. I learned very early on in life that I was going to have to be the one to initiate relationships with classmates and people in my community. Everyone wants friends and people to count on, but as I was growing up as someone who was “different,” it was the one thing I wanted more than anything. However, in a society where being different isn’t the norm, it makes things that much harder for those of us who are a bit unique.

Today when I was talking to two of my other classmates who are also interested in the topic of the stigma of physical disabilities, I mentioned that grade school and middle school were very hard for me socially. I was picked on, stared at and didn’t feel like I had a place where I fit. Today my classmates and I were trying to think of reasons why that might be so, or why the stigma of physical disabilities may be so high. One thing I pointed out was that many kids don’t automatically grow up around someone with a physical disability. Therefore, to them, seeing a student at school who is physically disabled is something that’s “different” and “not normal.” However, what would happen if we chose to implement a kind of program in schools that taught kids the “social graces” of dealing with disabilities, while also pointing out that it’s important to “empower” the individual with the physical disability so that they feel like they matter within the classroom? Though it may seem easier said than done, I feel like today’s kids are lacking the simple awareness of the presence of physical disabilities. Since they may not be around them on a regular basis, they don’t know how to react, so of course they are going to feel uncomfortable. That’s understandable. However, as well so many other societal problems we face today, maybe education is the first step.

Though it may seem far reached, having a type of class on social acceptance is needed in today’s schools. Not all of today’s parents are going to properly teach their kids to be acceptable of all types of people, so maybe it’s something that should be brought up in the school system. As well as decreasing the level that kids with disabilities are being teased, I feel like it would help broaden other kid’s views of their society as well as help those with physical disabilities realize that they have a place where they can not only voice their own opinion, but actually be heard by their peers.

Yes, the fact that I was picked on as a kid made me stronger. However, I didn’t get stronger because I was picked on. I got stronger because I learned how to deal with being teased. However, that shouldn’t be something that kids with physical disabilities need to learn. There needs to be a certain level of respect that exists towards kids with disabilities in today’s school system. Providing today’s middle school kids with an education of “social graces” when it comes to kids with physical disabilities doesn’t necessarily mean that those kids would need to immediately befriend those with physical disabilities. However, I feel like emphasizing that kids with physical disabilities should be treated the same as those kids without physical disabilities would decrease the amount of bullying, physical and emotional, that is present in today’s schools.

I, of course, am fully supportive of decreasing the amount of bullying that is present in schools today. From my own experience, I know how much bullying hurts, especially when you are being bullied for something that you are not able to control. I feel like providing a class of social acceptance would help decrease this issue, thus allowing future kids with physical disabilities to feel comfortable among their classmates. Though I know that my school experience would hopefully have been somewhat different if a social acceptance class was provided at my school as I was growing up, I am willing to accept that I faced lots of teasing if it means that I can help future kids not have to experience it to such a high degree, or better yet, not at all.

Are You In Need Of A Writing Push?

13 Jun

“The great thing about dreams is no one else controls them.”

The above quote was told to me by one of my writing mentors 3 years ago, and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head recently. Yesterday I got some great support from the same writing mentor who told me the above quote.

Even though I haven’t touched my memoir in quite a while, the simple realization that there are people out there aching for me to share my story as much as I’m aching to get it out is enough of a push to help me to understand that I can’t stop writing. I can’t stop writing, even on the days when it hurts so much to emotionally revisit my painful past. I owe it to myself as well as those who love me to share my story of what it’s been like to live with, and ultimately overcome, Cerebral Palsy.

So here is my mantra as of today: Write On.

Have any of you recently needed a push to keep on writing? What has been your fallback when looking for something (an object or something abstract) to push you to keep digging for the words that you long to share with the world? 

Tuesday’s Tunes: A Closer Look At The Art Of Missing.

29 May

 

Yesterday I listened to this song on repeat for over an hour, letting the lyrics sink in and waiting for the painful memories that I knew would surface in time. That’s the special thing about music. Each song is unique in its power to allow all kinds of memories to rise up, ranging from childhood moments to moments that only lasted a split second in the scheme of your life, yet moments that seemed to have a stronger hold on you than you seem to have on the current life that you’re living.

While listening to this song, I thought of the art of missing. It’s been an idea that has rolled around in my head for the past few days. However, I’ve been unsure as to how to bring life to it through my words. However, putting off writing just because we are stuck is not what true writers do. We move forward, muddling through the words that we know we yearn to say, waiting for the moment when they decide to allow themselves to be seen by someone other than ourselves. Anyway, the art of missing has been on my mind lately. Isn’t it a bit of a funny concept? It’s almost like a hunger for something that can only be satisfied by some kind of contact. Often times, I find myself missing people who I’ve just talked to or just seen. I think that’s probably because I
have had a habit of getting attached to people and then I have always hated any kind of goodbye. Whether it’s goodbye for a few days or a few months or even a year, it’s never any easier. However, by some miraculous twist of fate, we move forward. We place one foot in front of the other, knowing that walking ahead is our only option.

I believe that one of the most heartbreaking aspects of the art of missing is when you miss someone who may not be missing you in return. Not because they have told you that they don’t miss you, but because you no longer have the kind of relationship where it would be okay to ask that kind of question. In that instance, I’m missing someone who I used to know. Though that person is still around, they are not the same person that is etched into my childhood memories so precisely. Maybe, deep down, that person is still there. The person that I put so much trust in and looked up to for so long. The person who taught me to believe in myself and reminded me to never stop smiling. But truthfully, I probably will never know if that person from my memories still exists. That’s the tricky thing about time and the art of missing. Even though people say that distance makes the heart grow fonder, is time factored into that equation? To me, it seems like time is often the polar opposite of distance, causing the heart to ever so slowly forget the faces in one’s mind that were etched there so many years ago.

Through some recent introspection, I’ve realized that missing someone is like a hunger, but in another sense, it’s also like a sickness. A sickness that fills you internally, causing you to stop and wonder if there was ever a time that was spent not missing someone. Even though the art of missing does reflect the strong amount of love that people are able to show to one another, it’s almost as if the love is just never quite enough. The love is present, it has taken your hand. However, instead of simply having it take your hand, you want it to surround you, fill you up…and not leave you standing at a window looking out into a world that you are part of and yet isolated from. Even though missing someone shows that you care about someone and that you love them, it can also pull you under its current, leaving you to wave your hands frantically, waiting for someone to realize that you are, in fact, struggling to simply stay above water.

Pigs In Heaven By Barbara Kingsolver: A Book Review.

20 May

Earlier this week I finished a second book by Barbara Kingsolver, Pigs In Heaven. I loved The Bean Trees and Kingsolver’s writing so much that I just had to read more by her.

Pigs In Heaven is a follow-up to The Bean Trees. However, you don’t have to read The Bean Trees first to be able to follow the storyline of Pigs In Heaven. Here’s the synopsis of Pigs In Heaven (according to Amazon.com):

Six-year-old Turtle Greer witnesses a freak accident at the Hoover Dam, leading to a man’s dramatic rescue. But Turtle’s moment of celebrity draws her into a crisis of historical proportions that will envelop not only her and her mother, Taylor, but everyone else who touched their lives in a complex web connecting their future with their past. With this wise, compelling novel, the acclaimedNew York Times bestselling author of The Poisonwood Bible, The Bean Trees, and Animal Dreams vividly renders a world of heartbreak and redeeming love as she defines and defies the boundaries of family, and illuminates the many separate truths about the ties that bind us and tear us apart.

I can without a doubt say that I enjoyed Pigs In Heaven more than The Bean Trees, but honestly I think that’s because I had already gotten used to Kingsolver’s writing style and I was eager to hear more of Taylor and Turtle’s story together after first meeting them in The Bean Trees. Pigs In Heaven definitely didn’t disappoint.

Even though I was drawn most to the character of Taylor when I read The Bean Trees, when I read Pigs In Heaven, I connected most with Taylor’s mother, Alice. I think I connected with her most because her strength and strong belief in herself was evident through the fact that she left a marriage that she was unhappy in so that she could be there for a person who was struggling more, her daughter. Alice’s need to be there for her daughter, while also knowing that she had reached an age where she was expected to stand on her own to feet is something that really stuck with me. All teens go through those times with their parents. For me, the most notable was when I went off to boarding school. For most other teens, it’s when they go off to college. When I was first at boarding school, it was hard to adjust to not having my parents around. I remember the months before I left and how I was dying to get out of the house, but the second day I was away from them, I found myself sitting on my bed in my dorm room crying for a mom and dad who were three and a half hours away. Though I know that these feelings are normal, it’s not any easier when you realize you have to pack up and leave behind the people who have believed in you since before you were even born. How do you walk away from a love like that?

What I’ve realized, and what was discussed in Pigs In Heaven, is that even when it’s hard to leave home and go out on your own, you can still look back to your parents for guidance and support. In Pigs In Heaven Taylor relied heavily on Alice when she was in a really difficult spot, but yet Alice was the one to pull away when she realized that Taylor had to walk ahead alone with her own daughter that she loved as much as Alice loved Taylor. It was touching to see the support that Taylor and Alice had for each other, while also seeing how much they trusted that each of them would be okay. Even though I’m not a parent, I know from the standpoint of a daughter how hard it is to realize that it’s finally time to take your own responsibility for things, rather than relying on your parents. However, for me, my parents will be here to support me no matter what, and yet they’ve given me the wings that I need to fly.

I definitely, definitely recommend this book. Go read it! Now!

For Those Who Love Quotes…And Grey’s Anatomy!

17 May

Since tonight is the season finale of season 8 of Grey’s Anatomy, I thought I’d post some quotes from season 8. Enjoy!

  • I love you. It’s like you’re a disease.-Lexie
  • It’s one of those things that people say, you can’t move on until you let go of the past. Letting go is the easy part, it’s the moving on that’s painful. So sometimes we fight it, try and keep things the same. Things can’t stay the same though. At some point, you just have to let go. Move on. Because no matter how painful it is, it’s the only way we grow.Meredith
  • The human body is made up of systems that keep it alive. The one that keeps you breathing, the one that keeps you standing, the one that makes you hungry, and the one that makes you happy. They’re all connected, take a piece out and everything else falls apart. And it’s only when our support systems look like they might fail us that you realize how much we depended on them all along.-Meredith
  • I’m supposed to be studying for my boards, the most important exam of my life. And instead, I’m locked in the bathroom crying over a boy.Cristina
  • We’ve all heard the warnings and we’ve ignored them. We push our luck. We roll the dice. We play with fire. It’s human nature. When we’re told not to touch something, we usually do, even if we know better. Maybe because deep down, we’re just asking for trouble.-Meredith
  • You can seek the advice of others, surround yourself with trusted advisors. But in the end, the decision is always yours and yours alone. And when it’s time to act and you’re all alone with your back against the wall, the only voice that matters is the one in your head. The one telling you what you already knew. The one that’s almost always right.-Meredith
  • We are always looking for ways to ease the pain. Sometimes we ease the pain by making the best of what we have, sometimes is by losing ourselves in the moment, and sometimes all we need to do to ease the pain is.. call a simple truce.-Meredith
  • There are times in our lives when love really does conquer all.-Meredith
  • You get to a point in your life when you realize you have more yesterdays than tomorrows-Richard
  • You can’t prepare for a sudden impact. You can’t brace yourself. It just hits you. Out of nowhere.-Meredith
  • Sometimes, it takes a huge loss to remind you of what you care about the most. Sometimes, you find yourself becoming stronger as a result, wiser, better equipped to deal with the next big disaster that comes along. Sometimes, but not always.-Meredith
  • You have to go back to the beginning to understand the end.-Teddy
  • Sometimes it happens in an instance. We step up, we see a path forward. We see a path and we take it. Even when we have no idea where we’re going.-Meredith
  • Okay, do you know what will happen to Christina if she has a kid that she doesn’t want? It will almost kill her. Trying to pretend that she loves a kid as much as she loves surgery will almost kill her, and it’ll almost kill your kid. Do you know what it’s like to be raised by someone who didn’t want you? I do. To know you stood in the way of your mother’s career? I do. I was raised by a Christina. My mother was a Christina. And as the child she didn’t want, I am telling you, don’t do this to her, because she’s kind and she cares and she won’t make it. The guilt of resenting her own kid will eat her alive.-Meredith
  • I wish I wanted a kid, I wish I wanted one so bad.-Cristina
Who will be watching the finale tonight? 🙂