Just the Way You Are

Maybe it looks strange and too bold of me… that I challenge people’s mindset, no matter who they are.  Maybe it makes no sense that I will talk back to someone with a more profoundly visible disability than my own, because they are swallowing limitations and I refuse to.  I challenge people about their perceived limitations purely because I know where I was stuck for so long.  I know how unnecessarily wasted many years of my own life were.  Maybe my rage at the lost years makes me look crazy sometimes.

Maybe.

I won’t lie.. it ties my stomach in knots sometimes to confront a person that is wallowing.  If I don’t do it, I don’t rest.  That place leads to no good and am I so wrong for not being willing to let another human being slide into a darkness that I myself have experienced at it’s depth?  We have so many messages coming at us every day, telling us we’re not enough.  Why am I the crazy one for telling you that you are??

Until you have truly faced something catastrophic and been told by a Dr “you CAN’T”, and it’s something that burns in your heart to hold onto just knowing they must be wrong… Until you have put in the work to rekindle that fire, and found the righteous rage to scream “I WILL”, because it’s meaningful to take your life back… you just don’t get it.  Until you have stared down the looming dread that everything about the way that you live your life is going to change and become at least three times more work to accomplish, you can’t connect with what this struggle is.  More is the agony of it when it is invisible to others around you.  Having a perceived limitation though is not the same as telling that limitation to be gone from your path.  Maybe mediocrity is acceptable to some, but I have never been one to graciously accept less than the prize that I can see out there in the distance, if it’s something that I really love… honestly want.  It nearly destroyed me once to let go of the goals I set because all I heard was “you will always have to manage your pain”, “live with this injury”, “this doesn’t heal”, and that it would never be the same.. as though that meant no effort I made mattered.  I was told there was no help for one of my injuries and I just had to accept it.  I suffered (yes, I said suffered) with it for a decade while my awakening autoimmune disease repeatedly sank it’s teeth into that damage and inflamed it even more.  It tore me all the way down to the floor, quite literally, until I couldn’t even stand up for months on end.  My body just finally had enough and quit on me.  It wasn’t until 2012 that a sports medicine physical therapist said, “We can fix that.  You don’t have to live with it that way.”  For the first time I left a medical office with tears that were not fueled by sadness or fear.  That experience – the first light breaking like dawn after a long night – is one we all deserve.  Every day I see people that are lost, waiting in a night that just never seems to end for them.  So.. forgive me if I run around trying to flip light switches and yank open the blinds wherever I can.  Human resilience and adaptability deserves a lot more credit than it is given, and I am set on making sure that everyone around me knows it.  Someone may have told you what you cannot do.  The question is, did you believe them?  It’s easy to accept… I’ve done it.

I don’t know why, as stubborn as I am at my core.  It’s probably only a matter of how tired you are when you hear such a proclamation.

My entries are hitting on this topic more lately out of my own frustrations.  People are becoming more and more bold to say the ugly things they are thinking, and put them into unapologetic print.  I have spoken with everything from the perfectly healthy and haughty individuals that want to conveniently sequester us into restrictions that make us less obtrusive in their world, to the beat-down challenged, potential warriors that have accepted it.  Some don’t even know that it’s happened to them.  They honestly believe that this is how it should be.  Well… I break rules.  I trample stereotypes and misconceptions.  Without apology.  Somewhere along the way in all of this, I learned what beauty is, and it’s not in a face or a body of perfected proportions and design.  It is in the strength of friendships, and of warriors lost, and in the awakening of someone wandering in the darkness.  It is contained within that raging scream in someone’s soul that finally comes out with what they WILL do in spite of fear, in spite of what they have been told, disregarding whatever weight they have been carrying.  It is even in our frustrated tears in the middle of the night, while we deliberate on how to tackle a fight that we know is coming no matter what.  Most of all it is in that moment when we finally center on a peaceful space, reach a hard-won goal, and find our capabilities outweigh our disabilities.  Our beauty is there… in those moments.  Nothing truly treasured and worth having comes to us without effort.

People are always debating…is your glass half empty, or half full?  The clever ones point out that it is always full, even if half of it is air.  While I have a chance to enjoy it, I believe I will drink it down.  The point is that I was given SOMETHING.  I don’t need to fret over whether it is enough.. or whether I am enough.  If you find me challenging your ideas, know that it comes from a place of love.  I am sincere about taking everyone with me in that forward momentum that I found two years ago.  Maybe that’s too bold.  Maybe.  Maybe it’s just enough.

Maybe I’ve been to a few summits and I know that it is beautiful at the top… and it’s not as far away as you think it is.

T

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“You’re Beautiful” – Nate James

She watches them
Cover magazines and tv screens wishin’ she could
Be more like them in her eyes there isn’t more to life than
Becoming someone people admire for beauty and
So at night she stares out her window
Wishing she could change

You’re beautiful
You’re beautiful
You’re beautiful
You’re beautiful… just the way you are

She walks the busy streets looking for her next meet
Maybe he will be the one
’cause in her mind there isn’t more to life than being his someone
But deeper down she hasn’t found the one thing to make her feel loved
So she is looking for it in all the wrong places

You’re beautiful
You’re beautiful
You’re beautiful
You’re beautiful… Just the way you are

She still hears his words surrounding her “You’ll never be anyone”
More than just words they have faded her away
So at night she stares out her window
Wishing she could change
’cause when she catches her reflection she hopes and wants another way

You’re beautiful
You’re beautiful
You’re beautiful
You’re beautiful… Just the way you are

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