#5. What are some significant moments/events in your life that connect to disability?
This is a toughie mainly because there are so many to choose from. I haven't exactly lived a normal, humdrum life. I am, by no choice of my own, an adrenaline junkie. Well, that's not entirely true...maybe in the beginning. I choose to make a difference in whatever I'm involved in. I'll be the spear head instead of the shaft. That's my choice.
I read about an artist who was a quadriplegic. Of course I'm talking about Joni Eareckson, now Eareckson Tada, and was inspired that even with her disability she became an artist.
Then there was Jill Kinmont, the Olympic skier, who became a
teacher despite her being paralyzed.
Who was I, a "normal" teenage with some unchangeable "disabilities." Nothing like these women faced and I could achieve my dreams also. I, like them, set out to make my own mark on life. Anything was possible with determination became my life defining, guiding star of focus.
As a teenager, I was named Junior Ambassador for the American Lung Association for Georgia. Yeah, I started early as an advocate for the underdogs in this world. Not to mention my own lung incapacitates. Who would have dreamed that later in life, I would be married to a man dying of COPD? Ironic, huh?
Later in life, I became a JRA spokesperson for the Arthritis Foundation because I had a daughter with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. Another underdog situation, I was hopping mad because there was not enough public awareness or support for these kids and their families.
I wrote article after article about it leading to my first book publication. So in the beginning, my writing career was a fluke that I came to love all because of being an advocate fighting for recognition for the underdog.
Self serving? Yes, but I took it to the ultimate levels. I didn't just sit back and take it. It taught me to be proactive no matter what came in the future. That leads me to today as a stroke survivor. I write this blog which is republished through various entities worldwide. From just the emails, I've counted ten countries so far. That's just that I know about. But by going into the analytics side of this blog, it's more like 50.
|Credit My new T-shirt|
It's encouraging to know "I'm not he only one." That's why I talk about everything on this blog regarding my stroke. Nothing is taboo. I also don't blow smoke up your wazoo, but tells it like I see it.
Life with disabilities is no picnic. But take comfort in the fact, there's always someone worse off than you. I always say things can be worse. Just look around you. While there is life-there is hope that it will get better.
About my new T-shirt...Yes, I won. Yes, I'm paralyzed, but I'm a winner. Yes, I talk funny, but I'm a winner. Yes, I'm jobless minister, but I'm a winner. Huh? How do you figure? I see y'all scratching your heads out there and the steam coming out of your ears as you work those brain cells too hard.
I won because I'm alive to tell the story. Yes, it might take a week to write one blog, but I do it. I might have no or limited use of one side of my body, but it could be worse. I could be like Joni Eareckson Tada, with no use of both arms and legs, but look at what she has achieved! The aphasia limits me in speaking, but I still can make my point by typing and speaking. Some stroke survivors are just learning to vocalize after ten years post stroke. I'm still a minister although I'm not in the pulpit again yet. My congregation is you. The down trodden looking for hope. Hope is the one thing I can still believe in and instill in others. Where there is will and hope, nothing is impossible.