People always want to put me in boxes: Female, CP patient, Political Scientist, Christian, and on and on. The truth is I’m all those things at once. I never stop being a political scientist, or someone living with CP, or anything I else am for that matter. I don’t have one hat. I have endless hats. I wear them all at once. My faith is at my core it informs the way I live my life everyday. I pray without really thinking I’m doing it. I don’t mean that as it sounds. I mean every time I go through big and small stuff I talk to God. I talk to chosen brother/ journey partner the same way. It’s my grounding.
I’m complex, and simple at once. I can’t go a day without my chair, or the braces I wear on my legs. I don’t really give thought to either unless my chair needs repairs or my braces hurt. They’re just necessary. That’s all it is. People tell me I’m amazing. Yeah, I’m an amazing mess. I cry easily. In fact, my anger comes out my tear ducts. I just don’t cry in front of most people. I can have a really smart mouth.
I have nothing figured out. Nothing has gone as I thought it would. At the same time, I don’t know if I could go back & change my one true regret if I would. It changed me and made me even more human. I have had my heart broken. Both by boys & by people I thought were my friends. They both hurt. Out of those ashes, I learned what I need & want. I learned who I am. I’m learning to be brave even when I’m uncomfortable. I’m learning to speak up. I am growing into my adult shoes. However, none of this easy. None of it makes sense most of the time. I just do the best I can. Just trying to embrace the in between.
Two phrases define my life: play ball and crazy/beautiful. Play ball is about never giving up even when it’s hard. Crazy/beautiful is a brother/sister thing, but the definition that doesn’t break the brother/sister code is that life is crazy & beautiful at once. The shattered pieces are where the beauty lies. It means I was here. It means I matter. it means I fought with everything in me. When I’m eighty, I want to look at my chosen brother/journey partner and say, “We did it, bro. We changed the world. We used everything we’ve been given. If this is as good as it gets, it’s extraordinary.”
In the meantime, I want to embrace the in between, the not knowing, the messy. I want to do it with unshakable faith. I want to do it with extravagant love & forgiveness. I want to do it bravely. I want to make everybody who loves me proud & prove everybody who thinks I won’t amount to anything wrong. I want to quiet the voice in my head who says “You’ll never be good enough.” I’m still learning how to all of these, and I have a feeling it will be a lifelong process.