Pulling up by the bootstraps

It has taken some time but I finally learned to start wearing my injuries and heartbreak as armor instead of shackles or constraints, I am so glad I did or I wouldn’t be doing what I am today. I would’ve stayed stuck in the quicksand of pain and misery but instead I am telling my story and helping others learn and see that they can move forward, they don’t have to stay stuck. Four years ago I was talking with my occupational therapist about trays, bags and other accessories I could attach to my wheelchair and then eventually my walker. It is amazing to think back on what my “normal” used to be, and where doctors told me I was going to stay permanently. Even when all the cards were stacked against me I never gave up on myself. It is not in my nature to quit. I am somewhat of a perfectionist. I will not be satisfied with less than my best. When I am passionate about something or someone I will give all of myself. Thankfully I was passionate about my recovery and getting better. And I had the best therapists who didn’t give up on me, even after my blow ups.

Finding the missing pieces:

There have been many times over the past four years where it would have been much easier to succumb to my pain and to settle with where I was, instead of tackling the obstacles that stood before me. I may have had my identity, heart and brain ripped apart on June 11, 2012 and by the events that followed that horrific day but I never lost the pieces of me. They remained buried deep down in my soul. I just had to be patient with my recovery and with myself so I could find them again. I will always hold on tightly to the memories I still retain from being at Jim Thorpe where I was lost, scared, bloody, tired and trembling trying my very best to understand what was happening. Trying my best to find the lost pieces to put myself back together. But I was a fumbling mess. I didn’t even know my name. I didn’t even recognize myself in the mirror. But even when I thought I had gone as far as I could go and I had taken all the pain I could handle, I still took another step. I kept going and stayed around to fight for another day.

I had my rough days were I felt the same sentiment as Job.. “I loathe my very life; therefore I will give free rein to my complaint and speak out in the bitterness of my soul. I say to God: Do not declare me guilty, but tell me what charges you have against me. Does it please you to oppress me, to spurn the work of your hands, while you smile on the plans of the wicked” But even when I was angry and confused about everything going on around me, I was never alone. God was always there holding my hand. He knows our frame and that we are all frail, feeble, and weak. It’s okay to question God and to not understand His path for you, as long as you don’t intend to stay stuck there. I surely didn’t understand. I was completely lost. But now I have seen His plan for me and I am continuing forward into the light.

I had no idea why everything kept piling up against me even though I was giving all of myself to try to get better. During my times of despair when I didn’t think I had enough strength or understanding to go on, I reminded myself of Isaiah 12:2.. “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation” God was always there to show me where to find the strength I needed to continue my fight.

Pushing the reset button:

When your flesh and heart fail God will be there to pick you up and give you strength. I’ve always known this but now I know firsthand that He will not cause pain without allowing something to be born new. I have been through enough pain, physically and mentally, to last a lifetime time but I have been made new. I have been given new eyes. God used my severe traumatic brain injury to reset me and my life. He used my brain injury to put me on the path He has always intended for me to walk. He put me through many obstacles during my recovery as well as many obstacles of personal matters to show me what I deserve. He had to teach me some lessons the hard way because I am stubborn and hardheaded. I used to trust some with my life but I learned that some can’t be trusted. And that is perfectly ok because without going through my heartbreaks I wouldn’t have been molded into the woman I am today. I am very proud of her. She turned her cant’s into cans and always believed in herself.

It’s times like these when I reflect back on my times in therapy or times when I couldn’t stop crying because the pain in my chest was too much, that I fully appreciate where I am today. To think back on the days when I couldn’t write, dress myself or brush my hair really gives me a new perspective on where I am today. Life has a way of testing us and our will to survive. It will have everything happen to us all at once or have nothing at all happen. In these moments it is up to us to take responsibility for ourselves and our future. Don’t forget you have the power. The battlefield of the mind is the toughest battle, our past may explain why we are suffering but we must not use it as an excuse to stay in bondage. Keep a positive attitude and the devil will soon give up once he sees you aren’t going to give in. Butterflies are proof that we can go through a great deal of darkness but still come out as something quite beautiful. Your flaws are perfect for the one that already loves you.

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