I've lived with aspects of my condition all of my life, but for most of my life, the condition was unnamed, I was told over and over again that it was in my head, that I was faking it, by doctors, by teachers, by many of the people who should have been listening. I knew it was not in my head though, that bladder issues, that weakness, that falling, were just not some psychosomatic thing, that I was not just imagining it all. I had one teacher who always thought I was faking it no matter what I did, that teacher to this day is one of the teachers that stand out in a negative way, not positive, yet strangely I do not remember her name, maybe that's my way of dealing with the way she made me feel. I was a sophomore, fifteen or sixteen at the time, and I did not need her making me feel even more confused than I already was, but as vividly as some of the things this teacher said, the ones who offered me support, who actually taught me things, beyond the school learning, beyond the books as important as they are to me especially as a writer, the gifts that they gave me that I carry with me are great, and I cherish those gifts, those were the teachers who made a difference in me.
In a strange way my disability itself has been a teacher, or perhaps it is not so strange, the fact is the condition has taught me things I might not otherwise learn.
I am certainly more empathetic to others, I have learned to be more understanding, to be more patient, and it has taught me to slow down and enjoy life a little, because tomorrow is not a promise, but if we do have tomorrow it is a gift, a gift from God, a gift that we should not take for granted.
Living with a disability has also made me realize that there are others a lot worse off than I am. I have a neuromuscular condition, but I can still walk, and do many of the things I did before, I just have to give myself more time, than before, and have to prepare myself before. Granted there are times when I need the aide of cane, or I use my AFO's probably a lot less often than I should, but to me those things do not confine me, nor do they define me they allow me the freedom I need, they are the tools that have allowed me to be independent, that have allowed me to do the things I want to do, and I thank God for that. Whether its playing with my nieces and nephews or my friends children, taking care of my thirteen year old niece Amber, or taking care of my dog and cat.
I've learned through this that I have to be patient with myself, and that I have to be patient with others, it has taught me to listen better and understand better. I am not saying that I am perfect, that I don't make mistakes that I don't grow frustrated, and ask myself why me, because the fact is I do, but I have learned to be more understanding, and I have learned to accept what this condition entails. What my life entails, and I try my best, to live my life to its fullest, and live for the Lord. This condition and the faith I have in the Lord has taught me to embrace the moment, not take it for granted.