My mom has always told me that I have a story to tell. A book to write. Of course, she's my mom so she has to say that. Incredibly, this spur-of-the-moment blog I created has been well-received. I wasn't even sure if I was going to put it out there, but I've gotten such encouragement and even praise that I'm driven to continue. Somehow, my thoughts out there on the 'net have been validated by the people in my life who took a moment to read something I wrote, for whatever reason. I'm a terrible critic of myself, so it is no wonder I find it surreal to experience such positivity out of the rubble and ashes and ramblings of my exhausted, incoherent mind.
Honesty is so important. This is a lesson I learned from my mom. Many parents of her generation have detached themselves from sharing who they are with their children. On the other hand, my mom has told me everything from the tragedies in her life to the greatest joys and triumphs. When Ayla grows up, I want to do the same thing. I want her to be able to see me as a person because moms aren't perfect. As a child, my mom was perfect in my mind, and even now that I know she isn't, she is the greatest example of authenticity in my life. Out of the tragedy of losing both parents to a drunk driver and the devastation that a negligent store's freezer cost her family, she brings to the world around her kindness and humor and light. If it weren't for her, I don't know if I would have come back from the brink of despair in the darkest days of my illness.
RSD. Perhaps this is the struggle in my life that has shaped me so much. July 8, 1996. When I was 12 years old, I was shopping in a grocery store with my mom. She asked me to grab a couple boxes of popsicles from a spot merchandise freezer. In the moment it took the four fingers on my violin-playing, callused left hand to graze the side, our family's life...my life...changed forever. As bizarre as it sounds, and as strange as it is for me to tell the story, my fingers got stuck to the side of that freezer for an undetermined amount of time. It could have been years, as it felt to me with the sensation of all the warmth being sucked out of my hand, the sensation of my fingers being sucked into the black hole of the side of that freezer. That sole event caused my central nervous system to break, essentially. I lost the reality of normal that day because every day of my life since then, my body has never been the same. The first several years of my illness were the worst. Losing my scholarship to a private and prestigious university. Losing my friends. Watching the agony and strife it caused those around me to not be able to help. Doctors that said, "You know girls this age," and dismissed me as a mental case.
Fast forward to October 2002. After many years and many stories later, my family moved to Florida. My mother was the driving force, and shockingly, her and my father purchased a house in Palm Bay just miles from mine, my brother's, and my sister's future schools. Just minutes away from my brother's future love of his life. They did this in just 3 days, in a town they'd never been in.
I can't say that I would take it back. I have many years of my life that have been lost, but look at what I have now. I have health better than I could have hoped for-I'm no longer headed towards a future in a wheelchair, for now. Suicidal thoughts don't fill the mind of the little girl I once was, full of suffering and loss. My family is beautiful, my friends are amazing, and I had the chance to rewrite my story. That's why I don't tell my story because I feel like the person I am should speak more so than the story of what happened to me. From all the events that transpired from the moment I got hurt, I have arrived where I am. Where I'm meant to be. None of these blessings would have existed without first losing so much.
Surreal, isn't it?