There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t catch myself daydreaming of being able-bodied again, always dancing in my head. Not one day that I don’t miss TOUCH the way it used to be, and that I don’t long for that feeling. Not one day that I don’t wish that this would all just go away, and I could have my body back.
Sometimes all I can do is just close my eyes, breathe, and ride the wave.
But I am figuring out more and more how to take my sadness and anger, and use them to get something done. I am learning to be kinder and more tender with myself, and to love and accept myself as I am. Man, that’s hard. It’s work everyday, but I’m finding it has to be done.
I’m learning to own my pain, and harness it for a purpose instead of suffering. In order to do this I occasionally have to step outside of myself, and take a look at my life objectively to see the bigger picture.
There is always light if there is life.
As much as we may doubt it and as hard as life can get, we can’t forget that as long as we’re breathing on this spinning rock, there is a light within us. And we hold the ability to shine no matter how dark it gets.
Although I must admit, there lies a paradox within my life that I am challenged by and learning from everyday: the balance between acceptance and defiance; presence and hope. Loving myself and living for today, while simultaneously fighting for a tomorrow without paralysis.
Maybe that’s why many of us with a spinal cord injury often feel like we must choose one side or the other. Either accept OR fight. Because straddling this abyss with half of ourselves on either side leaves a daunting unknown below. But I believe this is a challenge that TEACHES us.
Why can’t it be ‘accept AND fight’?
I don’t think acceptance signifies defeat or weakness, just as I don’t think fighting signifies avoidance or naïveté.
It’s ok to live in this dichotomous state, trudging forward with hope and purpose while adapting and finding the joy in life today. I’m beginning to suspect it is essential. Both are incredibly valuable. But it takes effort, clear eyes, delicate care and mindfulness to pull it off. It takes these vital elements of balance and grace.
Whatever our individual fight may be, this seemingly paradoxical existence doesn’t need to be feared or avoided because of its challenge and mystery. Instead we can pull back the curtain, breathe, walk into the darkness, and see what we’re made of.
Kelsey Peterson, Contributing Writer | Filmmaker
U2FP | The Cure Map
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