My Life In A Chair
Every person on earth has the ability to enjoy life in spite of adversity. Before I explain how/why I know this, a little about me.
In 2010, I was in a car accident that left me paralysed below the neck. I lost the ability to play my beloved basketball, continue my budding career in animation or live any semblance of what I considered a normal life and all before my 21st birthday. I had to relearn to breath, function in society and love myself. But with a lot of work and support I’ve since completed an undergraduate degree, a Masters, I manage my own care team and now have a career in disability awareness.
So I’ve been disabled now for seven years and counting. I live my life to the best of my ability in spite of disability. And I’ve gotten all too used to hearing things like: “You’re so strong”; “I don’t know how you do it”; and “You inspire me to keep going no matter what”. All well meaning and positive statements… but therein lies the problem. These type of statements highlight a flaw in how we view ourselves and our issues. Someone just living their life well should not be a surprising sight. Yes, a life well lived in spite of adversity should be celebrated and maybe even inspire, but because that’s how every life “well lived” should be viewed, REGARDLESS of adversity, not because of it. If my achievements make me “inspirational” then anyone with the same achievements as me should also be seen as inspirational even if they didn’t have my disability. Adversity does not automatically render a good life impossible. I am happy that others can draw positivity from situations like mine, but just seeing something or someone “inspirational” doesn’t actually solve or change your problems, just how you see them. So maybe the issue is not just the problems we face but how we’ve been looking at them. After I first got injured I went through all the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Probably not in that order but the point is, I’m now in a place where I understand and am at peace with my life. And you could argue that I only got here because of the initial adversity. Yes, that was probably a trigger to point me in the right direction, but that direction was not towards realising that I am “strong” or “inspirational” BECAUSE I overcame my adversity but instead; I have always been strong and inspirational so that when adversity came knocking, I may not have been ready at first, but overcoming it was always on the table.
In the same way, you all have that strength in you right now; you are all inspirational right now. You don’t have to be tested for any of that to be manifested, you can be that “strong”, “inspirational” person right now. And if you are currently facing adversity, don’t fret, just keep going, because all you need is already within you.
If you would like to know more about me and my life you can follow me on my blog.