My Sentiment, Exactly

wiggles

There is this uplifting scene towards the end of How the Grinch Stole Christmas where the Grinch’s heart expands to three times its normal size. Having a kid is somewhat like having this happen-except throw frustration, sleep deprivation, anxiety and abject terror at the responsibility for keeping this totally helpless tiny human alive into the mix.

To be honest, ever since our daughter Ellie was born six weeks ago, I have walked around with a totally different perspective on motherhood. I have looked at other mothers-especially those with multiple children-and wondered just how the hell they do it.

I don’t mean how do they do it on a day to day basis.

Yes, the sleep deprivation outright sucks. But no matter how long and frustrating the nights get, things always seem a little brighter once the sun comes up (because, let’s be honest, the first few weeks are mostly just about survival).

And yes, the constant crying and occasional screaming (newborns are sort of like dachshunds – a body that tiny really shouldn’t be able to produce that loud a sound, it just can’t be natural!) is frustrating, but at some point it always passes.

No – caring for a baby is hard work for sure, but it’s something that slipped into our lives like it was supposed to, because loving our daughter just made it so. What I wondered about these other mothers-now that I am one-is how they walk around with this expanded heart. A heart filled with boundless love but also what must be boundless anxiety and a fierce sense of protection.

I wondered – how have these women managed to temper these feelings and carry on with their daily lives, appearing so nonchalant? I wanted to know the key – I wanted to know their secret to somehow resuming a relatively normal life and regaining some sense of who I was before the baby. I wanted to know once I found her-this old Jenni-how I could marry who I used to be with this new identity as a mother. I reasoned that surely this must be possible.

Everyone else seems to be able to do it.

A few weeks after Ellie was born, I got on my horse for the first time since last October. At the barn, I felt a curious blend of emotions – a brief taste of independence and its joy mixed with the absolute visceral need to get back to my baby. Still, I pressed on and enjoyed a brief ride because it’s a part of who I am.

I also recently began running again, slowly re-building my stamina. It’s just 30 minutes, but something about getting outside, pounding the pavement with my two (giant) feet and just sweating helped me to slowly start seeing that it just might be possible to still be me

Perhaps becoming a mother for me doesn’t mean that I need to accept a completely new identity – maybe it just means accepting that I am capable of having my heart expand as such.

Becoming a parent has been everything and nothing like what I expected. I expected the day to day to be exactly like the way it is – the constant nursing, the dirty diapers, the lack of sleep. But while I knew instinctually that I would love my child, I couldn’t have braced for the depth and degree.

I learn something new about Ellie literally every day. It’s amazing to watch her grow and experience the world – at times, I definitely feel like I’m fumbling my way through this, but a few days ago, she cracked her first really big smile at Paul, and I thought there is nothing I would rather see.

I wouldn’t describe myself as overtly sentimental on the surface – but, I will take that memory and store it inside my ever expanding heart.

 

 

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Heal Over

Last year as my mare recovered from a severe episode of founder, I leased a nice, (mostly) well-behaved gelding named Winslow. Over the summer, Winslow developed a nasty little sore near one of his front feet. We never figured out how he got it – probably just being a dunce in the pasture.

We (myself and his owner) would treat the sore. It would scab over and appear to heal, and then somehow he would always come in, having irritated it. It never appeared to bother him or interfere with his daily activities (admittedly, his daily activities weren’t all that demanding); it just wouldn’t go away completely.

Winslow moved on to another local barn and is enjoying being semi-retired and teaching kids and adults how to ride. I hear that the sore is still there.

station

A little over a year and a half since my accident — and over two years since losing my dad — I have found that this blog has changed and evolved with trajectory of my recovery. My recovery no longer refers solely to my physical injury; it also refers to my emotional recovery from two very different, tramautic experiences.

I have discovered that emotionally, dealing with a significant loss is much like Winslow’s sore. The acute phase of grief needs to be treated and acknowledged for what it is: a trauma. It may not be a physical trauma, but emotionally, the impact is every bit as devastating. And, much like a sore that scabs over but never seems to fully heal, grief has a lasting impact.

A few weeks ago, Paul and I finally set out to clean out the radio station building that my dad owned and get it ready to sell. Continuing to deal with the repercussions of a sudden death is a weight on the people left behind. The weight is not only dealing with the grief of the loss but also with the fact that we can’t fully move on with other aspects of our lives until the logistics of death are dealt with in full. In our case, it just happens to be a much more complex situation.

I go about my daily life but always carry around a sore, just scabbed over. I cut it open much less frequently than I used to. However, it doesn’t take much to irritate it.

We had saved my dad’s office for last. I knew that under his desk were a couple of pairs of his walking shoes, left just as they were before his stroke. There were also a few items I had stored under the desk to deal with at a later date. However, when that date came, it was like getting hit with another blow.

For me, cleaning out my dad’s desk was like cutting an artery open.

Regardless, I knew that these things needed to be done. In the end, seeing the building completely emptied, I felt a curious blend of sadness and optimism. Since his death, I have longed to just be sad. I can handle the grief itself but adding insult to injury by having to deal with all the things he left behind is just too much at times.

I find it interesting how much this blog has changed over the past year and a half, and I often think my experience is not unique. I just happen to have laid it out in writing from the beginning. I don’t often write specifically about my injury anymore because it has become a part of what I have been through and not necessarily who I am. I visualize what happened to me as being completely separate from losing my dad, who was and is a part of me.

Of course, I wish that my own injury had never happened. But in a way, I am richer for it. Because I have recovered so well, I can use my experience and insight to help further research and assist other people going through similar situations. The experience also took me down a different emotional path.

Since time sort of paused at first after my injury, and I became immediately focused on recovering, I didn’t have as much time to sit and wallow in emotional despair (do I sound dramatic? Good, I mean it!). I suddenly had to become very focused on something besides the loss.

When I finally got back to a place in my physical recovery where I could re-visit my grief about my dad, I was struck by how inspired I felt by my dad and how grateful I was to have had him in my life. He had a mental fortitude that I could only hope to emulate.

Often in the past I would encounter other people who had lost significant others (whether it be a parent or other loved one) and who seemed to be carrying on like normal. I was mystified about how I could accomplish this. Of course, now I understand that coming out on the other side of loss causes you to re-define what normal is. There is no mystery involved, no secret to discover about how to carry on.

You just do.

Christmas Lists

I know that Thanksgiving is two days away and that today marks a month until Christmas. Still, I continue to exist in a state of denial. Maybe it’s because I enjoyed the summer so much this year, and fall–while still my favorite season–just sort of crept in without my knowing it. Now it seems as though time is passing by faster than I’d like.

Still, getting into the holiday spirit wasn’t hard for advertisers, it seems. I can picture company ad executives just chomping at the bit for November 1st, as it seems that holiday avertising trumps all things Thanksgiving-related anyway.

The other night, Paul and I were enjoying a lazy evening on the couch, watching TV. Among the numerous commercials advertising Black Friday specials (on Thursday, mind you), one commercial stuck out at me. It was an ad for a fancy espresso maker that cost something like $150. Don’t have the cash? No worries, just buy it on a payment plan, and pay only $12.50 per month for a year!…Or something like that. I started thinking about how many people are going to fall for it, thinking it’s such a great deal, and how much stuff they would likely buy in this same frame of mind.

I used to have absolutely no issue making a Christmas list. My favorite thing to do when I was young was to chuck open the latest JC Penny catalog or Toys R Us gift guide and go to town, circling my selections with a giant highlighter. I would dog-ear the pages and make lists for my parents, and then I would anxiously wait for Christmas morning to see what gifts Santa had felt fit to bring. Creeping down the stairs and taking in the vista of gifts before me was a magical feeling.

Years later, I find myself thinking about what made those Christmas mornings so special. Sure, I enjoyed tearing through the gifts under the tree. But was it really the gifts I ended up cherishing, or the memories we made as a family?

I can smell the coffee brewing; I can hear the bacon popping (my dad always made it in the microwave). If I think about it hard enough, I can even taste the slightly burned bacon (crispier was always better, anyway). I never became a coffee drinker, and I rarely eat bacon now, but every time I catch a waft those two smells, an overwhelming sense of nostalgia washes over me.

Inevitably, I would put some new toy on my wish list with complicated assembly instructions. So, my poor dad (whom I awakened with my mom before 6 AM, most likely) and I would spend hours putting together Mouse Trap and the latest Barbie Dream House.

What did I cherish most, in the end? Playing with the toy or the jokes and funny stories we must have told each other while putting it together?

This year, I have spent a lot of time thinking about what I want for Christmas, and I have found over the past couple of years, the things I want most can’t be placed on a list. There is no catalog for the things I want. No gift guide to thumb through and circle; no page numbers to write down. I can’t send my list to Santa because the things I want are not tangible.

I want time. Time with my dad, trading funny stories. I want his advice on certain things in life that only he could give, and unfortunately, I will never get it. He didn’t always tell me what I wanted to hear, but he always told me what I needed to hear.

I want time with my mom where I am not thinking about the empty seat at the table.

I would love to have an argument with my dad about political topics even (he was quite conservative). And really, that’s saying a lot.

At any rate, as I watched this commercial imploring people who cannot afford a $150 coffee maker to go ahead and buy it anyway, I found myself thinking about how focused we get on the things that ultimately don’t really matter. Gifts are supposed to be fun, and things that you buy for other people you care about because you want to, not because you have to.

Sometimes, less really IS more.

I don’t know where the toys and clothes and other things I accumulated over the years ended up (well, that’s a lie – I am fairly certain my parents hoarded them away in boxes, but that’s a completely different story). But, I certainly carry the memories with me every day.

Waffle-ology

Maybe it was 2003, or it could have been 2004. Regardless, around that time, my college boyfriend introduced me to a little TV show called Ed. We would eat pizza dip that his mom fixed and watch new episodes each week. The series didn’t last long (for some reason, most of the shows that I enjoy, even now, don’t seem to make it long term), but I quickly became invested in its quirky sense of humor and idealistic approach toward love. After all, it makes total sense to go back to your hometown, open up a bowling alley/law office and pine after your high school sweetheart (conveniently still living there, obviously).

In one scene, Ed went to the aforementioned sweetheart’s house and threw frozen waffles at her window (the other five people out there who might be reading this will surely remember the back story here). Why do I remember this in such detail? For whatever reason, this became some totally unrealistic standard of romantic gestures. Let’s be realistic – how many people do you know who have actually thrown waffles (or any other frozen object, for that matter) at their beloved’s house? First, waffles are too tasty to waste (depending on the quality of the waffle). Second, while I guess it’s slightly less stalker-ish than blasting Peter Gabriel at someone’s window, throwing anything at someone’s house (at least in my neck of woods) is sort of asking for a call to the police.

No matter – when you’re young, and your biggest problem is whether or not you’ll make enough in tips at your waitressing job to cover your cell phone bill, this sort of gesture was a high bar for future relationships. I guess it wasn’t surprising – we are inundated with this sort of unrealistic expectation regarding love and relationships every day. In the movies, on the radio, online, and of course on TV.

Here’s the truth – in a way, wanting grand, undying and passionate love is admirable and something to strive for. Everyone deserves to really, truly love and to be equally loved. However, it’s unlikely to come via waffle.

Instead, love – and really, I don’t mean to refer only to the romantic sense of love, but bear with me – is insidious. It creeps up on you. It sneaks in with small gestures and with large acts of selflessness. In order to really appreciate it, we need to be realistic.

This is why I find shows like The Bachelor so irritating. Sure, it can be entertaining, if that’s what you’re into. But I can’t really fathom that anyone could believe the show is anything OTHER than entertainment. Love isn’t sustained by pomp and flash. We might be a lot happier if we all got regular all-expenses paid vacations to tropical islands, but at some point, real life has to go on.

Here’s what happens when it does – you find out in no short order that life can be beautiful and devastating all at once, and there are two truths here.

The first is that you can only ever REALLY depend on yourself – and I don’t mean because you can’t depend on your friend or your husband or your father. I only say that because life isn’t fair, and sometimes the person you look up to and have depended on all of your life can be taken away rather suddenly. One unyielding truth about love is that you must first appreciate and love yourself, because you will have to get yourself through many difficult situations in life. You can have all the love and support in the world, but ultimately, you have to decide to (fill in the blank with the act of your choice) get up in the morning and go on living life.

That being said, love really and truly won’t let you do this alone. Love waits for you to decide that you want to pick yourself up, and it offers you a hand when you’re ready.

In the past two years, I have learned this. I have also learned that love has many facets – sometimes, it’s literally cleaning up the crap of the person you love. Don’t ask how I know this. Love doesn’t hesitate to put its hand in the dirt.

But love can also cut deep. When you have been through the wringer, very often you hurt. Sometimes, the people you love the most feel the fallout – maybe it’s more that you want someone to hurt WITH you more than it is that you actually want to HURT them. Regardless, love can be painful. Sometimes you have to put your own goals and dreams aside because, as we all know, life often doesn’t seem to cooperate with our plans. Maybe you put your dreams aside in order to care for someone you love.

It’s not guaranteed that person will be able to return the favor, but love will try.

You’re the Problem

When you have a goal, how do you measure progress?

In my personal and working life, I tend to be goal oriented. I like to have well defined, measurable goals and an idea of how to mark my progress toward those goals. I don’t need someone to hold my hand, and I prefer not to be micro-managed. I much prefer for someone to tell me what they want and when they expect it, and then let me do it. Consistency is my safe, happy place, and I tend to get flustered and somewhat crotchety with change. My dad was the same way. Every time I can recall ever needing his help with something, I got the same response, “Just tell me what you need.”

Recently, I accomplished a short term goal of running 5 miles in the Bull City Race Fest. When I picked up running again back in the summer, I thought I was pretty bad ass when I was able to run five full minutes again. At the time, I just wanted to make it through the Couch 2 5K app and call it a day. As I progressed in my fitness and stamina, I began to actually enjoy running again. As I’ve written here before, pounding the pavement with just my legs and my music became somewhat addicting. That’s not to say that every run was easy, but most were enjoyable. I found the more I got into running, the more I got the same high I get after a great ride on my horse – the high of not thinking about anything else in the world except what I am doing right at that moment. It’s really a high of nothingness – just being purely in the moment. Since I am always thinking, rushing and planning, I value these moments – this time of nothingness.

On my horse, it could be focusing on not collapsing my hip so I can achieve a perfect leg yield, or it could be working to ensure that I sit back and patiently wait for my horse to jump instead of attempting to get ahead of myself (which I often do). When I’m running, it’s all about just putting one foot in front of the other, literally. Sometimes, I think about my alignment – making sure that I don’t swing my foot out too wide and hurt my knee. Or making sure that I keep picking my feet up for a clear stride even when I’m tired. Other than that, it’s just me and the road and my music.

Riding and running goals are very measurable and allow for constant progress. In riding, you never stop learning. I’ve been riding for 11 years, and I feel like I’m just now scratching the surface of learning to ride effectively.

In jumping, you can set your goals as high as you’re willing to jump. I’ve set a low bar and consider any time I come away from my jumping lessons still on the horse a wonderful achievement. However, the same goes for dressage, my other passion in riding. I can measure my progress and how well my mare and I are doing by competing from level to level and determining if our scores are on the right track. Similarly, running allows for endless goal setting – now that I have accomplished the 5 mile race, I’ve set my sights on the Tar Heel 10 Miler next April, which seems reasonable. Who knows – maybe this time next year, I can aim for the half-marathon. Never did I think that would be possible, and now it doesn’t seem so unfathomable.

And yet, I am back to my original question, this time with a twist.

When you have a goal, how do you measure progress – when the outcome is nebulous?

What do I mean by this?

Like I said, certain activities and goals in life are solid, well defined – easy to assess progress and whether or not you ultimately achieve your goal. Either you showed you horse at First Level and achieved your goal of scoring 65% or not. Either you ran the entire 5 mile race without walking or you didn’t. This suits people like me who thrive on consistency and a definite outcome.

After my injury, there was no question that I wanted to get back to being 100%. My goal was to speak and feel as if I had never been injured. I thought for sure I could accomplish this in six months. After all, I am young, in decent physical shape, and more than that – I work hard when I want something.

When that “deadline” came and went, I set my sights on a year. The twelve month mark seemed do-able; moreover, it was a very neat, clean timeline. As if my body would re-set itself after a year like the calendar re-sets every New Year’s Day.

Clearly, I wasn’t being realistic, and I wasn’t being fair to myself. It took me a long time to realize that other, more meaningful milestones were passing me by as I kept my focus so very narrow. I thought setting the goal to return to 100% was admirable, but in reality, I was setting myself up for disappointment if I never achieved it.

And what exactly is 100%, anyway? I guess it means different things to different people. But for a time, I was like Sisyphus – rolling my boulder up the hill every day and feeling run over every time I perceived myself to be making an error.

I finally realized that my problem, really, wasn’t my injury. It wasn’t my speech. It wasn’t the wonky sensory issues on my right side. It was me. When was I going to stop and let myself be enough?

When was I going to let life be enough?

I had a very striking moment of humility (again) yesterday. Paul and I went to a tasty local bakery for breakfast. Even though there was not much of a wait to order, there were no tables available. It was a cold, blustery day – fairly fitting for the first day of November – and our prospects for enjoying our biscuits inside were looking dim. As Paul opened the door to go outside and sit, I dropped the butter on my plate (it went crashing ceremoniously to the floor) and seemingly my ability to be a mature adult.

After muttering a couple of expletives (under my breath or so I thought), I made it clear to Paul that I did not want to sit outside. This was not the vision I had in my head when I suggested breakfast out on this gray November morning. Instead, I envisioned Paul and I sipping on hot chocolate at a cozy table, eating warm biscuits and watching the leaves dance outside – this reality did NOT match what I had wanted. I felt like a temperamental five year old.

As soon as we set our plates down outside, an older lady got up and stuck her head outside. “Come on inside, it’s too cold to sit outside, and we’re just leaving.”

I literally felt my head hang in shame at this act of kindness – perhaps they were really about to leave anyway, but it didn’t matter. I got the picture.

Reality – it doesn’t always meet our expectations. Actually, it frequently doesn’t. But mostly, we’re the problem when it doesn’t, because we have the choice of how to proceed when our goals or hopes don’t align with reality.

That doesn’t mean it’s easy to accept, it just means we shouldn’t be so narrow in our focus. I will always strive to improve in whatever I do, and I’ll also always just be human and prone to imperfection. But, I will resolve to appreciate again the doors that have been opened for me.

Stage 5: Acceptance

At some point over the winter, I stopped wearing makeup. Now, I never wore a ton to begin with, but I still felt naked leaving the house without at least a swipe of powder. I never had the best complexion, and I was self-conscious.

Just after New Years, my face was angry. My body was angry. And my mind was angry. I had accomplished some big milestones–I flew to Texas for a work meeting and presented in front of a large group of (sometimes intimidating) people. Paul and I finally got my parents’ old house cleaned out and listed for sale. And I had competed in my first dressage show in almost three years.

But I was tired. Really, really tired. Not from a lack of sleep, really, but just from being bone tired. I had been carrying around so much stress internally that I felt like I was going to lose it, and it showed, both in the way I felt and the way I looked.

I’ve never been afraid to ask for help, but I’ve always tried to do things on my own first. I actually think considering the past year and a half, I did pretty damn well. But, it was time to wave the white flag. I got to work making some appointments for myself.

So somewhere along the way, as I stopped to take care of my body and mind, I stopped wearing makeup. It was weird at first. It had always just been a part of my routine. Shower, get dressed, makeup, go. Suddenly, my routine got a lot simpler. And that was odd at first.

But then it became natural. Sure, there is absolutely nothing wrong with makeup. But suddenly, I was enough. I didn’t need it to feel put together.

Acceptance. It’s not just about accepting other people. It’s also about accepting who you are.

For me, it’s been a long process.

I am now a girl with a speech disorder, and that’s alright. Please note, I didn’t say it was fun. But it’s okay. It’s just who I am.

Many people wear their physical scars proudly–as a testament to strength and recovery from some traumatic event. I think of my apraxia in the same fashion. The fact that I can mostly control it at this point just symbolizes how much I have been kicking its ass over the past 11 months.

I am also a girl without a father, at least in the sense that I no longer have my dad to call on when things get tough. Or to surprise on birthdays. Or simply hug. That new identity has been much harder to accept. And yet, I have been working on it.

Acceptance doesn’t mean forgetting.

I accept that these facts are immutable. There is nothing I can do about it. But after one of the longest winters I can remember (or at least it felt that way), I, too, am changing with the season.

Do you think that the little caterpillar is always ready to break free of his cocoon and fly? In truth, he probably doesn’t really think about it. He just does.

Well, however we work our way out – does it really matter?

 

Reality Shows

The infamous recovery board.

The infamous recovery board.

I haven’t written or recorded a video in almost two months.

Today, a friend at work asked if I was still writing.

I have sat down countless times over the past two months, and sometimes, I even started a post. But they were never good enough. Never telling enough. The issue is not a lack of things to write about – the issue is where to begin.

When I first started this blog, I did so in hopes of sharing my journey in recovery. While the way in which I lost my voice was rather unique, there was nothing unique about the end result: I was lost without my voice, and I would do anything I could to make myself heard, like the numerous other people blindsided every day by accidents, strokes, heart attacks – the list goes on.

I just wanted someone to HEAR me, and in turn, I hoped that I could help others going through a similar journey. For those of you who have not gone through a similar journey, well – I hoped that I could help you to understand just what it’s like. I lost my speech. Others may have lost something else. In the end, the recovery process is similar anyway. We’re all starting from scratch and clawing our way back to the life we once knew.

But what happens when you get there? Or some version of what you once knew? I haven’t recorded a video in a long time, and to be honest, it was because initially the progress I made each week was readily audible. As time progressed, it got harder and harder to hear a noticeable difference on the tapes.

I started to ask myself, “Is this it?”

“Is this as good as it gets?”

People who don’t completely understand hear me ask that, and their response is usually something like, “Well, look at how you started! The difference is huge. You should be so thankful!”

Friends, let’s not make any mistake. I am SO thankful. I am thankful to everyone who has helped me to this point. I will take how I am today for the rest of my life compared to the life I knew on June 5, 2013 when I woke up, speechless and aphasic. I have worked so hard to get to this point, that I would be amiss to not appreciate what I have now.

That being said, when you get to the point in the recovery process where you find yourself asking if that’s the best things are going to get, it can be difficult. And the precise reason why I have made so much progress is the blame – I am a Type-A, OCD, perseverating, perfectionist. I am my own worst critic. And while I have the insight to understand that, it’s hard to change.

I was watching a documentary called Sole Survivor–ironically before I took my first plane trip after my injury–about people who were the only ones to survive a horrible plane crash. Many of them shared the same feeling that I have felt but struggled to pinpoint: after surviving and returning to relative normalcy after something so horrible, you find yourself wondering whether you deserve it.

You feel as if you should be doing something SO great with your life. So meaningful. Like you should be single-handedly changing the world.

This second chance at life has been given to you. Why are you not DOING anything with it?

The thing is, immediately after an injury or other catastrophe, time seems to slow down. Like those action movie previews, when the bass goes way up and the camera pans out to a car exploding in slow motion, or something of the like. At least, that’s how the few months felt subsequent to my accident. My days were punctuated by naps, speech and occupational therapy sessions and the focus was a sole objective: get it back – life – get it ALL back.

And then somehow, as I got better, life resumed its normal pace and in fact, sped up. The thing was, all the things that I got to put aside for a few months came rushing back – all the things that I wanted to get away from, though I could think of about 500 other ways I would have preferred to escape.

My dad was still gone. No, scratch that. Dead. I don’t like to say it, THAT word. But it is what it is. And a year and a half and a TBI later, I still can’t believe it.

I still can’t believe that I can’t call him and tell him all about the past seven months and what I’ve done. I can’t call and tell him that I just flew to Texas and presented at an important work function. Something absolutely unthinkable seven months ago.

I can’t tell him that I am really enjoying riding my “half horse” and that my own horse is on her way to recovery. I get to put tack on her next month, again. Finally.

And I certainly can’t tell him how stressful moving my mom closer to us has been. Finally, finally she is closer, and I’m so glad. But packing up the house and knowing that I still have to go back down and clear out what’s left is, well, completely surreal and also, agonizing.

So, it occurred to me that I have finally reached the goal I so badly wanted to achieve last summer. I made it back to my life, as I knew it before. Except, there were so many parts of it that I didn’t want to re-visit. Reality shows, and it’s not like the crappy, vacant shows I enjoy watching (much to Paul’s disdain) on the Bravo channel.

I started this blog, as I said before, to help others to relate or to understand. But really, I’m the one who has gained the most benefit.

I don’t have to be defined by what happened to me. The fact that I survived a horse kick to the head and a fractured skull doesn’t earn me any badges of honor, and it shouldn’t. The fact that I regained my speech well enough to fly to a work function and speak in front of a group of raters and medical professionals doesn’t mean I deserve a ribbon. It’s just life, and it just is.

Yet, it does mean that I will always wonder why. Not why did this happen to me, but the “why” of why I’m still invested in thinking about my life and what I want to do with it. Am I doing enough to help other people? To pursue happiness? To appreciate the moments I’ve been given, despite the stresses of reality?

I’m still thinking about it, and in the mean time, I’m still writing.