Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Beyond the Crutches

The personal struggles of others are often not apparent to us.  We sometimes meet someone who exhibits strength, determination and a sense of purpose.  It’s easy to assume they are one of the lucky ones; born with all the right attributes.  The reality is people, like tempered steel, are often forged in the fires of turmoil.

So it is with Kristen, who needed to overcome a huge setback to become the amazing lady she is today.    She writes:

11 years ago I was in the best shape of my life. I worked out 2 times a day.  I taught hip hop, and ran.  I also played baseball on 2 different teams. Then one night 11 years ago it all changed. I just stumbled and fell. Moments later my legs were in massive pain and I could not move them. It all seemed so impossible.

I always played baseball and was just swinging the bat when my legs gave way. Next thing I knew, they were saying I would never walk again. How could that be?  

I was in the hospital for 6 months. The treatment center in the city was too far for my family to travel regularly.  I felt deserted and alone. Depression was setting in and I needed to get past that. I was not ready to just give up.

So after fighting and fighting with all the strength and determination that I had, we started to see tiny signs of progress.  It was soooo slow but I was able to start walking with a walker. Then 2 years later I progressed to a cane, then from there - walking slowly without it. It took about 7 years before I was able to walk somewhat normal again.

It was 5 years after that accident, during my long recovery that I chose to get a hummingbird tattoo as a token of my progress towards recovery. They are such a strong willed bird and they were my inspiration to keep fighting harder and encouraged me to get to the point where I am today.

Walking was not the only issue. I gained massive amounts of weight and was not happy with myself. I went from 115 pounds to 190, all in about 6 months.
I went from being so active and loving life to lying in a hospital bed for months at a time. With low self-esteem and my family away for much of the recovery period I was in a very dark hard place. It was just one bad thing after another, and at one point I tried to end my life. I had to reach deep inside myself to find strength I was not sure I had. 

Today I have 2 other tattoos that commemorate my struggles.  The one on my arm (with the words  love faith strength) and on my rib cage (always remember). They remind me of those inner demons I fought about 2 years ago.  

I chose the words on my arm (love faith strength) as my new life’s motto.  These are so significant to me.

I need to always remember how important it is for me to love myself, have faith in myself and reach for the inner strength to do this when things are not perfect.

Today I see the world as a different place now.  I remember the struggles and know setbacks can and do happen. It is up to me to rise above them. I look back and see how far I’ve come.

This truly was a life changing experience. 

For anyone reading this, know that others can’t be aware of your own inner demons and personal challenges. We all have personal crutches of one sort of another.  We lean on others, past experiences and various excuses;  telling ourselves we can't go further.  Look beyond these. Look inside yourself, deep inside, and you will see strength and resolve you never knew you possessed.