I have to say it.
This is the shoe from my left foot. The foot always labeled "healthy, strong, normal". The foot without the need for surgeries. The "good" leg, not the Cerebral Palsy leg.
I had been wondering why rocks kept showing up in my shoe, this is why... the hole has been made already. 4 months in. My strong leg is tired, and I got lazy in correcting it over and over again. My fault for trying to fit in...accepting the facts is a still a daily battle...
Yesterday: I was walking down the hall, a favorite 1st grader of mine smiled SO big, waved and said "Hi Ms. Brittany"...then, as soon as I walked past, he turned to his adult aid and said "What's wrong with her? She walks really reallllyyy bad".
I clenched my teeth, and told myself to keep my head up...you know he just doesn't know, you're not actually upset with his response, just with the idea that the effort you put forth isn't recognized right now.
But why couldn't he have asked me?
A couple days ago: I found myself at church, it was a prayer/worship rally & the seats on the bottom floor had all been taken out for standing room only. The stairs were ridiculous, and even if I used them, the seating was arranged with nowhere for me to hold onto in order to stand up.
I panicked, and found myself wisely choosing to sit on the sideline, (where everyone had laid their bags) on the one row of seats that created the boundary line for the standing area.
I cried about it, sitting down, for 15 minutes. Then I closed my eyes, got to a place of acceptance, and imagined everyone sitting in a chair with me... I never opened my eyes again... until it was required for fear of crying again.
Most people were probably thinking I was getting rocked by God...nope, I was just crying& asking Him why I couldn't stand for 2 hours too.
Why the excitement over the night felt like a daydream?...why hadn't I thought about them doing this setup and set my expectations for inclusion correctly? Why wasn't I prepared? Why couldn't I see over people's heads at least?
I eventually accepted it and got over my "right to be apart of______", but those moments still come. Less often for certain, but never gone forever.
Tuesday: A new friend told me she was going to a healthcare conference that would be talking about people with disabilities aging into adulthood. She asked me my thoughts. I replied honestly and hope-filled. But I was also shocked within myself...to be honest, I forgot that not everyone has as many obstacles trying to stay healthy and live by themselves as I do...
Some people don't have to plan for how to get heavy mailed packages from the front door inside with 1 hand.
All of these things are normal experiences for me...the ups and downs of my reality. I realized this week that yes, I may have walked on the treadmill or did my exercises and walked to church the same day, but the truth is: I know I can't let up.
I really can't stop because if I stop doing what I must, I begin thinking too hard and say to myself:
Why do I have to do this when____
I don't even see any difference!
I did PT for 15+ years and what do I have to show for it, nothing- because I still have so far to go.
While these thoughts aren't TRUTH, they happen.
And I think today, while I love sharing in the triumphs of my lifelong recovery and improvement plan with others, I also wanted to share in the realities. That little things like having to go through the shoe buying process/all the "CP shoe requirements" again, make me want to be ok with going to work with holes in my shoes.
The reality that sometimes being gracious to where people are at & at some level being responsible for educating people on disabilities, is really hard and unending.
Sometimes I'd like to feel like church was a place I could show up and feel like I fit in every time. Not just when I get the right seat or attend the right type of events.
This is not me bashing on my church, or first graders, or the shoe company for shoes that can't handle me. This is none of that. This is simply me acknowledging that these experiences hit a chord deep in my soul. A place in my soul that lies dormant most days, as I continue to commit to (always) adjusting to a world that's not in agreement with my body.
This is me saying: Hi pain, hi experience, you hurt me today and you are crazy& weird... but I am not those things. I am ok. I am loved. I am an overcomer.
This is me not pacifying my feeling or disregarding them because "I need to cut these people some slack"... because I truly know none of these painful experiences were because of the people who created/spoke them...they were painful because of a body I can't control or design.
So, I will leave these experiences here in writing to validate the challenge they are, and I will move on from them now.I will close my eyes and imagine the hope I will always have, of better days ahead with my community of (willing and kind) "disability education" learners.
And I will remember the poem I wrote to myself in 3rd grade, during Occupational Therapy:
Is it a good thing or a bad?
It depends on how you put it, but to me it's not that bad
Sometimes it can make you very, very sad
But as long as you believe, believe, believe in yourself and your worth
Everything is going to be okay
I know, my poem is probably worth millions ;) (kidding!)
Love Always and Forever