Life with no ceiling

This past week, I was talking to my PT about this whole pool concept that’s been kicking around in my head for weeks.  I have my first lesson tonight, and I had been starting to feel a little overwhelmed, like I had jumped in (no pun intended) a little too quickly. Not to mention I’ve been sticking with my MO of picking some of the most difficult things to accomplish, which is tough when “patience of a saint” doesn’t quite describe who I am.

I am still constantly on that balance beam of trying to figure out how to make CP a part of my life instead of letting it mold me, and that becomes an even more of a struggle when you are constantly choosing physical challenges and physical goals for yourself.  One of the biggest downfalls of creating physical challenges (anyone remember Nickeloden’s Double Dare?! :)) is that we constantly want to make comparisons.  I say we because we are all the same in this way, disability or not, we are human. We compare. We compete. And we try our damnedest to come out on top.  This comparison always gets tricky for me though, since it’s not quite fair to me to start comparing the things I do physically to “normal” able-bodied people.  However, I can’t exactly compare myself to someone with CP, because it comes in so many different forms, you’d be hard pressed to find someone exactly the same. Okay, I know some of you are probably thinking “you shouldn’t compare at all. it’s bad. blah blah”, but I’m pretty sure we can all think of at least one time we have done that, so that option is off the table. It’s not realistic.

A ways into our conversation, my PT said to me “the sky’s the limit for you” and it got me thinking…

It’s a funny thing to think about when you take the time, isn’t it? (Which is probably why you’re not really supposed to take the time, but of course I do.) The sky being the limit to everything we want to do, try to do, or will ever do in our lives? We can never actually touch the sky. The closest I’ve ever come is being in an airplane, and even then there is still such vast, amazing space above me.

In my case, I think starting to understand that the sky is the limit begins by realizing that not being having someone else to compare to is actually one of the best gifts I could receive. It gives me no ceiling, nothing to measure up to.  It allows me to see what a can do and to never stop trying. Ever.

So for now, I’m waking up each morning and asking “What can I accomplish today?” For me. Based on my standards.

Why I don’t mind that “I’m (not) in it” for the 2011 New York City Marathon

I wasn’t sure how today was going to go when I woke up and found out that tonight’s spin class was already full before I got the chance to sign up, but things quickly started looking up when I didn’t have to work and got to go to the beach for the day. I’m not the biggest fan of the beach since it’s not quite the most accessible place in the world, but every now and then with my crutches I don’t mind.

I love the moments when I can just sit and stare out at the water and let the answers to my life’s questions float into me with the tide–and today just that happened.

Ha! Don't you wish CT beaches looked like this?? Photo: Carillon-Beach.com

I’ve obviously been doing a lot of thinking (and writing) about the things that make me happy and the things that I do for me, but I never really shared what led me to question that.  So, here’s a bit of the story…a few months back I became a member of Achilles International a group for people with disabilities who run, bike, do all sorts of sports.  I didn’t really know what I was getting into, but it sounded great. At the start, I got in touch with the head of the CT chapter of Achilles who told me about a handcycle (like a regular bike pretty much, but pedaled with your arms). We also talked about how the New York City Marathon has special spots for handcyclists/Achilles athletes. I was already getting my hopes up!

A few months later, I met Tony, an above knee amputee and all around great guy. He brought one of his handcycles for me to try out and it was pretty awesome. But let me tell you, these things are not for the faint of heart! They take some serious arm power.  I left that day feeling like I had made a pretty cool connection in the adaptive athletics world.

Tony and I right before trying out the handcycle

Fast forward to not getting a lottery pick for the 2011 NYCM and I wasn’t all that upset. Why? By the time I got home from that day, I knew the handcycle was awesome and that I liked it, but I had this tiny voice inside of my head and heart that was telling me it just wasn’t quite right for me. It wasn’t involving my legs enough, challenging them, or allowing me to tap into my true motivations.

In true Molly fashion, I ignored the voice and kept plugging along until I reached a point where that voice got so loud I could barely hear myself think. At that point, I removed myself from the 2 races I was scheduled to do with the handcycle, and went back to the drawing board.

What does all of this have to do with the beach? I’m almost there I promise. About 2 weeks ago, a friend (hey Lor! 🙂 ) approached me about helping to create an adaptive category for a 10k race she helps run in September for the Mari Hall Foundation. I jumped at the opportunity and immediately felt like everything was going to fall back into place.

What I’ve come to realize over the past few weeks is this: I don’t do races to win. I don’t even do them to place. Or for the attention, the one girl in the crowd who is overcoming this challenge known as CP. Because every single one of us has challenges; whether they’re visible or not. I do races because of the challenge; because of the mental and physical push it requires me to commit to as soon as I step on the start line and even before when I’m stretching and spinning and doing whatever else to get ready.

For me, the only way I know to tap into that challenge is on foot because, whether this is fair or not, I equate CP with my legs, not my brain. Actually, that’s not fair at all. Sorry legs, my bad!! And that’s why the handcycle didn’t feel quite right to me.

Okay, okay, back to the beach. Water. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately too. Many of you might know, how great water therapy is for people with various disabilities. Well in my own head and heart, I’m finally jumping on that bandwagon. (Sidenote: I can’t believe I even just thought, let alone wrote, this sentence given my previous detest/downright refusal to even try this for years!!) As I was watching my 2-year old niece play down by the water today, I swear I heard that same voice that told me the handcycle wasn’t right, tell me water was.

Here’s what I know:

  • I can’t “get out and train” everyday like many other runners/walkers/I don’t even know what category I consider myself do. It’s not ideal right now given that my streets have no sidewalks and tracks are freaking boring.
  • When you’re in the water, you tend to not feel fatigued as quickly, allowing you to possibly get more out of your exercise time.
  • Water holds you up, meaning that I can practice movements without worrying about falling over. Drowning? Eh, a friend once told me I have 4-5 minutes to be rescued if I drown. I’ll risk it.
  • I can walk in water. I mean really walk, without crutches or walker or anything. Do I really need to explain why this is a plus?! Come on! What are 90% of my post about? Okay, you may argue that I can totally do that on land too. I won’t disagree, it’s just way easier in water.

(Disclaimer: These aren’t facts. I’m just a 20 something blogger on a mission to make a change.)

So it looks like water will be another added method of training and therapy this summer. Thanks for sticking by me, and see you all out on the road.
Oh, and for those of you who are really good at reading between the lines: YES I’m doing a 10k in September; YES on foot; YES I already got the okay; and YES I know at least 3 people reading will try to convince me not to! Did I mention I’m really stubborn? 😉

The blessing (and curse) of Google…

I’ve come to realize lately just how much of my time is spent on Google. Sure, sometimes it’s purely out of procrastination (kindof like me writing this post right now instead of working on a take-home exam), but a lot of times I spend hours on the search engine trying to find any information on anything. I’m weird that way, I suppose.

First of all, I need to say, I’m not writing this post to look for your positive accolades about the things I may chose to do in my life. I’m writing this post to be honest. And to bring awareness to something that doesn’t get enough.

The fact that we, as a society, have the opportunity to have all this vast amount of information readily available is a pretty awesome blessing. Without google, I wouldn’t have find some of the many blogs I follow, for one. Search engines have changed our world on many levels.

Yet, they’re also a curse sometimes. What do I mean? I’ve always googled CP. You never know what new info or people have surfaced as resources. When I was younger, I would search things because I didn’t want to ask anyone else about things. Now, it’s a little different. Now, I’m a little sick of asking people and getting their “professional opinions” instead of facts. Yes, there is a difference.

I know that the internet isn’t always the best source but, in my opinion, it’s better to hear from someone with similar experience than someone who has spent their time only reading about things in textbooks. Lately–maybe in the past 6 months or so–the search has expanded from just CP to CP and…

  • CP and…running
  • CP and…marathons
  • CP and…exercise/Crossfit
  • CP and…walking

Okay, so maybe there is a pattern here. And maybe I am a little insane. But this is what I’ve constantly been spending my time Googling lately. And this is where the curse comes in. Sure, I’ve found some valuable contacts, like Greg and Amy, and read some amazing stories, like those of Dominique and Marissa, but there isn’t much more info out there.

For some things, it’s no big deal, but for many others it’s frustrating. Like the fact that there are no “training plans” for people with disabilities who want to run an endurance event. I get that those are often very individualized and have to be altered, but nothing?? You can’t tell me no one has ever done it. Clearly people have. Same thing with walking. Same thing with Crossfit. Okay, maybe not Crossfit, because that’s a bit of a “new” thing, but exercise certainly. People (of all abilities) exercise everyday!!

That’s when Google becomes a curse. When you’re looking through this amazing super-database, and the information is just not there.

The more time I spend on searching, and the more I try to come up with my own database for myself, the more I am introduced to a new chapter in my story and a new meaning to my struggle. Maybe I will do some of these things and maybe, when I do, I will be able to get the world out to others who are just as frustrated by this wall. Did I just say I’m going to do a marathon? I don’t know. I guess you’ll have to stay tuned! 😉

Note: this wasn’t meant to attack Google. I’m hating on all search engines equally! 🙂

If it makes you happy

…it can’t be that bad. Right?

This post has been on my mind for a while, though I don’t have the slightest idea where it’s going to end up. I’ve wanted to blog for weeks, but had papers due and sleep to take advantage of whenever I could.

Last weekend, my Dad and I went to see Elton John (for the 5th time together) at the DCU center is Worcester. It was a Christmas present for him, with the added bonus that he had to take me to get the present. 😉 He put on an amazing show, playing a mix of everything from the hits, to new music with special guest Leon Russell, and two of my favorites which he never plays live–Funeral for a Friend and Candle in the Wind! Did I mention how amazing it was??

While I was at the concert, I had one of those incredible, indescribable moments where you just find yourself thinking “wow, this is my life”. It was amazing to spend the time with my dad, something we don’t get to do very often due to our busy lives, and to be able to share this experience, for the 5th time in my 22 years, of seeing a true legend take the stage and play to a sold out crowd for 3 straight hours. He even jumped on the piano at one point and did a little handstand type thing on the keys! Such classic Elton! 🙂

Then he played “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me”.

This is one of my favorite song/lyric combinations of all time.  As I was listening and singing along, the same line that always touches me hit my heart full force. “But these cuts I have, oh they need love, to help them heal.”

These words have always rang true for me. Yet, in that arena, in that moment, it reached a whole new level.  I have cuts. I have many physical cuts. Many relating, in some way or another, to Cerebral Palsy.  These cuts have had various meanings: surgeries, injections, falls…life.  Each of these cuts was made under the guise of  betterment. To make me stand better, walk better, function better. Be better. Because, according to some logic, being better=being happier. Right? Wrong. These cuts, well, they led to a lot of scars. Not the kind of scars you can see. The hidden scars. The invisible scars. The scars on the inside, on your heart. I never understood this logic, but there was one thing I did understand. The physical cuts will heal on their own.  All that will be left will be thin scars.  These physical scars, however, will always serve as a reminder of the emotional ones. In order to heal those, you need to love and feel love. And sometimes that love comes by doing something you love.

For me, that’s working on walking by myself. (I don’t know where this openness is coming from, but I’m just going to go with it before my brain tells my heart to stop).

The past few weeks have felt like a giant answered prayer for me.  I’ve been working on walking a lot in PT and looking up all sorts of information that I think could help. In it’s own way, this has been, and continues to be, a healing process for me. It might one half hour every week (sometimes less), but for that short amount of time, I am as happy as I can imagine myself being.  With each step, I feel love and I feel healing.

Walking used to be about normal.

It used to be about a cure.

It used to be about forgetting CP.

It used to be about proving so many people wrong. (Okay, I can’t lie. Ir’s still a little about that.)

Today? Today it’s about that feeling on the inside.

It’s about believing in where I am and who I am and my strength and determination to be going after something that is so not easy.

It’s about making every one of those scars on the outside mean something, and making the one’s on the inside slowly start to close.

It’s about knowing I can, and knowing that when I do, someone else out there will believe they can too.

It’s about love, and happiness, and healing.

A lesson in getting out of my own way

It’s been a little bit since I wrote an exercise and PT related post about myself so, I figured, why not tonight? My love/hate relationship with anything having to do with exercise has always stemmed from the inconsistency I tend to often see in my abilities as a person with CP. Some days I’m extremely tight, some days I’m only slightly tight. There is no loose in my vocabulary lately, due to taking the better part of sophomore-senior year of college off in the PT department. Some days, the task I worked on yesterday that I accomplished with ease seems completely foreign and not possible. I know that everyone faces day to day challenges, especially in exercise settings, but when you’re working toward such a huge goal, you look for those consistences to prove you’re doing something right and they don’t always come. Until now.

Tonight I was talking a friend who’s currently studying abroad for the semester in Cork, Ireland. We were catching up on random pieces of eachother’s lives, when she said something that struck me so much I really needed to make it a part of a post. “You know what I’ve come to realize? Life’s not that hard. And it’s not that complicated.” At first I laughed. But then I thought, “you know, I think I agree with that”.

I’ve been consistently working on exercise and things at home for 3 weeks. 3 weeks and 1 day to be exact.  While it was an adjustment at first, it hasn’t really been that hard. Life isn’t that hard or that complicated. All it’s taken is a little planning (I’ve spent about 2 hours a day so far working), a little determination, and some journaling to keep myself on track.

I’m really proud of myself and, while I don’t try to think about seeing any results as a sort of denfense mechanism for not being let down, I have a PT appointment on Monday and I’d love to see if any of the things I’ve been working on are helping when I have a real session (it’s hard for me to gauge at home).

I think it’s all about knowing when to get out of your own way and just go for something. Put the effort in, call it yours, and go get it. For me, that time has come. It came a few weeks ago when I was sent that Crossfit article and video that I blogged about a few posts back. It was my “wake up call”; that somehow I got stuck on exist, rather than live when it comes to my goals, that there was so much I could do (no matter how small to start), and most importantly, that this is not a lost cause. There is hope. And there is proof, in an amazing women named Marissa, that this can happen! (Please take the time to click the link above and go watch the video if you haven’t. It might change you, too.)

I’m stepping out of my own way and knowing at the end of the day…no matter what happens, I did all I could on that day. That’s what I’m feeling 3 weeks in anyway, and this feeling seems long-lasting.

In the end, life isn’t that hard, or that complicated. Thanks Joce! 🙂

10 for 2010, 11 for 2011

I’m currently sitting on my bedroom floor marveling at the amount of wonderful things (read: things I don’t need and clothes that don’t fit) that are packed up to go to Goodwill, along with a huge garbage bag full of garbage.

I, quite randomly, chose yesterday and today to clean out my room, and I mean my ENTIRE room; 2 dressers, closet, desk, junk drawer, and window cabinet. It’s taken me all day yesterday and today, it’s done!

This cleaning rampage came on the heels of last night spin class. It was a “best of 2010” theme with some of the top hits from this year, and 2010 inspired drills. The last drill of the class was 20 20-second sprints with 10 second breaks in between. 10 seconds doesn’t sound like a lot of break time and, let me tell you, it’s even quicker when you’re on the bike. The goal of these sprints was to start with everything from 2010 on sprint #1 and, by the time we got to sprint #20, to leave all the negative baggage and have a mindset to carry with us into 2011. It definitely was worth all the pain! I tired to pick one specific “thing” from 2010 to shred for each 20 seconds and honestly felt lighter by the time we hit 20.  I got inspired to make my room and all my belongings a little lighter, too.

There will be no resolutions for me this year. I’m usually the girl who makes a lengthy list and ends up beating herself up far too much for not accomplishing or “getting around to them”. Well, except blogging!! That was one of mine last year, and I’ve stuick to it! And thanks for sticking with me!

This year, it’s living, loving, and believing every dream and every goal.

So, as I close out 2010 with a bit more cleaning and celebrations with my family, here’s 10 things I did in 2010 and 11 I hope to do in 2011.

10 for 2010:

(in no particular order)

  1. Graduated from college
  2. Wrote a 65 page thesis
  3. Competed in 3 5Ks
  4. Took a vacation to Disney
  5. Grew deeper in my Faith
  6. Got a job
  7. Had some amazing times with amazing college friends
  8. Started this blog! (and really took pride in it!)
  9. Gave up my walker!! (mostly)
  10. Started truly believing in everything I’m setting out to accomplish

11 for 2011:

(again, no order)

  1. Travel, either alone or with a friend
  2. Compete in at least 2 more 5Ks than those already on my schedule
  3. Get my license
  4. Meet Prince Charming…a girl can dream can’t she?!
  5. Ride a bike, a real one, not a spin bike!
  6. Become even more passionate about my blog
  7. Read some good books
  8. See a professional bike race (see #1)
  9. Grow deeper in my Faith
  10. KEEP truly believing in everything I’m setting out to accomplish
  11. The big W. (see #10 and almost every other blog post I’ve written)

What are some of the things you’re hoping to do in 2011?

Happy New Year Everyone! Be safe and enjoy!

Big Picture

I’ve always prided myself on being a “look at the big picture” kind of girl. For the most part. I mean, except for the whole, “I want to accomplish this and I want to accomplish it RIGHT NOW” attitude I sometimes find myself having. But who doesn’t experience that feeling sometime of another in their life?

I had a Crossroads appointment Monday, that I happened to squeeze into at the last minute. I’ve been so happy with how things are going, and still am. I wake up every morning–no joke–and thank God for bringing me to this place and to these therapists; because for the first time in, honestly ever, it feels right. It’s difficult for me to explain to anyone who hasn’t experienced it, why Crossroads is so amazing and why it has worked for me when so many people didn’t think it would and so many other therapies really haven’t. But the more I go for appointments, the more I realize I don’t need to explain anything, because I know it, and I feel it. 

Like I said in a few post back, I was struggling recently with feeling like I’m not doing enough for myself outside of PT and one my own. I talked, at length, about it with my PT Anthony yesterday and his answer was one that I didn’t expect. So I thought I’d share his insights here, for any interested readers.

I basically said that I didn’t feel like I was doing anything because I may work on standing for 3 minutes a day, or stretching and that’s it. And, while I know those things are all helpful, they don’t feel like enough because I’m so used to the mindset of “okay, do these 5 exercises and cross them off your list everyday”. Anthony laughed, and we had a long conversation about how your body isn’t made to work that way. We don’t do things in isolated movements. We don’t lift a box by simply curling our biceps. We are dynamic movers. We use our movement systems and our postural systems together. They feed off of each other. So, why would we want to intentionally seperate something that doesn’t work seperately? Good point.

The second question I asked was sort of more specific to me, but can also be useful to anyone reading–disability or not. More about the brain and thinking through a task and why, sometimes,  you seem to get caught up on some part of the task. Anthony told me when I’m working on something to focus on what I’m trying to accomplish only, not every step, because our bodies do all of that extra thinking at a level below our consciousness so that we don’t have to; and when we try to over think or work against that, it becomes harder. Makes complete sense.

Yet, it’s not something we ever think about because we’re all taught that working out the “right way”, again disability or not, means to do a certain number of this or that so many times a week. But in reality, it’s all about the big picture. Because how often when you’re functioning on a daily basis are you really going to stop and say, “Okay, now I have to shift my weight to my right foot”? Never. Or hardly ever. So, why start that habit when practicing to do something?

I think, in a way, (for my parent readers out there especially!) kids have it right. For many children with and without special needs, anything they do is trial and error. And it’s also done without higher order thinking. Okay, mainly because they haven’t developed that yet, but still! There are some things worth overanalyzing, but I’m starting to learn that the movement of your or your child’s body isn’t one of them. You can aid it in ways that might be easier or more efficient, but really it’s taking the time to work through itself, even if it’s a slow pace.

It’s all becoming much more clear why everyone’s body is made to go through the developmental sequence. There’s a reason we roll, crawl, sit, etc. in the order we do. Forgive me if I don’t know the correct order, still haven’t gotten through the whole sequence at 22. 🙂 It’s also becoming more clear that, if I want the end of that sequence: walking, the stages I’ve “missed out” on are what I should be working on.

Like I said, now it’s all making sense as to why this might take years to accomplish. Just some food for thought.

Learning to walk shoes

Sometimes I seriously think coming up with a title for a blog post is the hardest part. Anyone else with me on this? I can’t think of anything right now, so I’ll just write and see where I end up!

Things have been c-r-a-z-y around here, hence my lack of adequate blogging. Last week of classes is this week, so I’ll definitely be more consistent over the next month. I can’t promise to be more interesting though, sorry! 😛

I know that last “real” post I wrote I said I was going to be doing the Mitten Run 5k. That didn’t happen, but for some good reasons. First off, I went spinning on Tuesday of last week and nearly had a heart attack from being so out of shape. Okay, I’m not that out of shape, but it definitely felt like it! That was my first indication that, without having trained, and especially in the cold weather, sneaking in one more race just wasn’t all that worth it.

The more I started thinking about it, it just didn’t seem to be a good fit. I couldn’t help but feel like the “right” reason just wasn’t there. I’ve been thinking about walking a lot more lately and I really miss putting all my time, energy, and thought into it as a dream and a goal. I sat down one day last week determined to figure out why I was so quick to pick up races to sort of replace walking. It didn’t take me all that long to figure out it’s all about the feeling.

Walking for me has always been a chase. And if it wasn’t a chase, I’d get just close enough to actually achieving the goal, then I’d run away–for so many reasons I can’t even get into. Even though it was amazing, and hard work, and the best feeling ever when I did take one step, or two, or…a lot, it always was such a long and unpredictable road when it did happen, that I’d often throw it to the back-burner and play the “I don’t care” card when really it was killing me inside because I felt like I was extinguishing my own fire just as it was reaching its brightest moments.

Then running started. As painful and unfamiliar as it was to me at first, it produced close to that same feeling that walking did for me. Note: almost, not quite. But it was the chase, seeing it right there in front of me, and the sense of accomplishment.  There was one difference though, time.

Even though 5ks have taken me on average 2 hours, that’s still a hell of a lot shorter than the (okay, if we’re going to be honest and say that actual amount of time I’ve really worked hard) ehhh 1.5 years I’ve actually been trying to accomplish walking. Running races was the high for me because it was a stronger sense of “instant” gratification than I was getting from walking at the time.

All of that started to change Friday when I was at Crossroads working on balance and standing and, somehow the Big Man said, “What the heck, let me remind Molly just how much more gratifying walking by herself is than running, and that’s what it’s worth the wait.”

Needless to say, that 40 minutes of work on Friday did remind me. Unexpectedly (to me anyway), we took that last 10 minutes or so to work on walking in the most serious sense, for the first time in a while. Nothing around me to hold onto in case of a moment of panic, just Dan there to catch me if I looked like I was going down. It was and is the most amazing feeling I have ever experienced and can’t accurately explain. So, for now, it’s time to hang up the running shoes and lace up the learning to walk shoes! Okay, so they’re the same shoes, but who wouldn’t want to wear Nike Frees all the time?? I’m back on the path that makes me the happiest, and we’ll see where it leads.

Walker

About 3 weeks ago I finally ordered a new walker. I’d had my old one for almost 10 years, but had to get rid of it when one of the back wheels got sliced by a rock and the other literally stopped turning. (Another reference to the blog title…)It was getting really squeaky and annoying and I just wanted to be rid of it, but when the new one arrived I couldn’t help but feel almost a little bit nostalgic, as ridiculous as that may sound. I just started thinking about all the “memories” i had with this walker and I’ll the things I’ve gone through with it. Okay, so I’ve had walkers since I was two years old, you wouldn’t think it would really matter that much when I got a new one, but this time it did. I’d recently named him Texas Ranger, get it? WALKER, Texas Ranger. And this was a tough goodbye.
My old walker has been a part of my life since around about 8th grade. Big changing years for any kid. The decisions of where to go to high school, countless friend trials and tribulations, unbelievably disgusting crushes on boys who would grow up to be…well, they’d never grow up. This walker was with me as I went to public high school with all my close friends, while my best friend made the decision to go to private high school, our first time apart since we were born. It was there as I found my way through my teenage years, both gaining and losing along the way. It was there to hold me up, literally and figuratively, as I lost both of my grandmothers. It was there crossing the graduation stage with me and as I stepped into a whole new world of college life and it has been there through three amazing, and at times crazy heartbreaking, college years.
For me, looking back, there was only one decision and moment in life that is most difficult to realize this walker was there for, and that all decision completely centered around my walker itself. Toward the end of my 8th grade year, I started realizing that this walker was a real pain in the ass. It was heavy, and metal, and even though at times it was a great buffer, the fact that I couldn’t get closer than a foot to something at any given time made thing difficult. I decided that I didn’t want the walker anymore, that I was going to teach myself (with the help of PT, of course) not to need it. At first I thought it was going to be easy, I mean babies do it at like a year old, so how hard could it be right? As time when on though, I knew there was no way I could handle this on my own padding my bedroom floor incase I fell.
Funny the bit of a memory that stick with you. I remember the first person, or people actually that I told, were my family friends Jenny & Erin. (I’ve always refered to them as my cousins, but really, we’re friends. And good ones! :)) I remember running into them at the mall and telling Jenny that I had a talk to her about something and I’d call her when I got home. I remember sitting in my living room, the farthest room from where my parents were, and telling her how badly I wanted to do this. I didn’t care what it would take. And I remember her telling me that she believed I could. She was the first person to tell me that. For years, and I really mean years, they were the only two people that knew. In fact, up until last year. The walker was there for that moment; that life-changing moment that has shaped the past eight or nine years of my life.
This walker has been there as a tried, quit, tried again, had people tell me I was attempting the impossible, and changed Physical Therapist many times. Most importantly, it was there when that moment finally arrived on July 21 2005, almost 4 years ago to the day. I took at least 10 steps on my own that day and I thank God that I happened to have my camera with me that day, otherwise I wouldn’t have believed it.
I have not taken steps by myself since that day, for reasons I don’t fully understand, but that walker was there as I’ve continued to try over the past 4 years–never willing to give up. So, as I sat in my kitchen staring at the old walker ready to be recycled, and the new one ready to embark on another journey through the years, it was tough. I felt like I was letting go of the part of my life I’ve been trying to get rid of for so long, only to see a new bright shiny replacement. But most of all I felt like I was letting go of the last remaining physical reminder of that amazing day that replays in my head everytime I drift off to sleep. I can only hope that this new walker can hold up through just as much and provide me with another opportunity to feel as though I don’t need it.