Greetings Cure Warriors!
Kelsey here. Coming to you from the lovely Bay Area where we (my friend and film partner, Madeline Brown, and I) have relocated to edit our upcoming film. It’s the story of my personal journey through SCI, the power of community, and why a cure is in our hands. Hard, fun and exciting work!
In addition to this massive undertaking, I’ll be sharing my thoughts with you here on a semi-regular basis. Because I think we need more voices (mine, yours, and others) telling OUR story of what life is like with a Spinal Cord Injury.
Some of you I’ve met along this “lovely” journey with SCI. Some of you have possibly heard through the grapevine of the film project and movement I’m a part of called The Cure Map. Or maybe I’m a complete stranger. Either way, like our friend Matthew (U2FP’s Executive Director), I’m a fan of storytelling. Which is why I have chosen to use my story to make a film that will hopefully help us all find a cure faster. Wouldn’t that be nice?...
I see storytelling as an opportunity. It’s a way to relay a message, connect, and share something that others can relate to and feel inspired by in order to make a difference. Not that BS “inspiration porn” but REAL inspiration. The kind that incites action.
And it’s scary. I’m scared ALL THE TIME. Scared that I’m gonna screw it up, or miss something, or make a fool of myself, or be misunderstood, or I dare say...not find what we’re all looking for.
But screw that. Who knows what the future holds? I sure don’t. But I do know that fear isn’t going to do any of us any good, and I’m not going to let it get in the way of hope. Some say hope is dangerous. And they’re right, it can be, if you let fear override hope.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t work daily at balancing the dichotomy of fear and hope. I’m finding a way for them to coexist: joy, contentment, acceptance, adapting, fighting, hope, faith, all of it. I’m moving forward. I’m taking the risks, asking the questions, letting go of expectations, telling MY story, OUR story, and HOPING for the best. For all of us.
In the spirit of this balance beam we’re all constantly braving, here’s a little journal entry/post of mine from back in September that I think speaks to good intention for 2019.
I sat in the park today and wrote for the film, The Cure Map, for awhile. Soaking in the September sunshine, my favorite kind.
The park behind my house shares its giant lawn and basketball court with the neighborhood elementary school, where oddly enough, Madeline used to go. Life is funny that way. And as this adorable group of probably twenty 10 year-old girls ran circles around the path surrounding the park, I was reminded of those days.
After school sports. Warm-ups. Heavy legs and burning lungs. The laughter. The silliness. The teamwork. So with a warm ache in my heart, but a reminiscent smile on my face, I watched from afar as they ran by.
One girl in braids grinned ear to ear as she ran by, we locked eyes, smiled at each other and it damn near melted my heart down to my toes. I watched as they playfully giggled, occasionally lolly-gagging, and once they just straight-up stopped to look at something apparently too interesting to pass by. There were a few eye-of-the-tiger moments (yusssss), some solo mission reflective moments, and even an adorable up-dog into child’s pose duo- namaste little chicas.
But my favorite was the skipping girl. Just skipping away, doin her thang in her little blue polka dot skirt. Get it, girl.
Watching all the joy around me got me thinking about life and why we’re all here. I know, things just took a turn into deep waters...but just roll with it...
If there’s a reason why we’re here, which is pretty much for us to decide, then here’s my take on it:
- We’re here to make a difference.
- We’re here to help people.
- We’re here to take care of ourselves.
And all 3 are part of an equation to live the happiest lives we can so we can give our very best back to the world. So if you feel like skipping, f****n’ SKIP.
Kelsey Peterson, Contributing Writer | Filmmaker
U2FP | The Cure Map