The day I remembered, there it was….staring me in the face, the memory of my ten year old self laying flat out on the ice cream parlor floor, in pain, after falling for the umpteenth time that week.
I was talking to a friend the other day and said I now understand why life always seemed like more of an effort for me than for everyone else and it felt like I couldn’t keep up. It was in that moment, on the floor, that I remember saying to myself….this isn’t normal….”no one else I know keeps falling down like I do” and there it was…I KNEW I was different….at, ten years old but more likely at eight…my earliest memory of feeling pain that I couldn’t explain. But, after that, I just pushed on, trying and doing, to be like most everyone else, in essence, denying my reality.
And, yet, because of my ‘denial’, I pushed out the pain, I achieved a lot, did so many wonderful things and have some incredible memories from my entire life of growing up, then marrying and living with the man of my dreams and raising his children and helping them reach their goals and dreams, and fulfilling many a dream of our own. I also had a very successful career of impacting the lives of elementary and young children, first in social work, and then in teaching for over 20 years. So, denial isn’t all bad 🙂
It was a few weeks back, when I had been working on some research, that prompted this memory to pop up.
I thrive on happy memories and try to grab the lessons in them but this research had been stirring things up in my soul that I had forgotten were there. I have never been a person to focus on regrets. But, yet, that is what I was doing as I continued my research. Regrets that maybe I hadn’t done as much as others in life. For me, it’s always been more about pushing through, working on, and achieving at life. Of course, that definition is different for everyone and, that is what I soon discovered when the memory resurfaced.
I think the memory made itself known now because I definitely can’t keep up these days. Today, it is about pacing myself, picking and choosing. The reality has finally set in as it is impossible to ignore and deny that I WAS ALWAYS DIFFERENT….and, always had a different journey to walk. And, that’s okay! It’s like the song ‘This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman. Some of us are born into bodies that are different than the norm. The ‘challenge’ is to be proud of ME! Challenge accepted 🙂
About four years ago, I was ‘doing all things life’ by pushing my body on, doing and achieving as much as I possibly could. Even the voice of the doctor telling me I was living in an 80 year old body at a much younger age, didn’t break the concrete wall that held the memory at bay. Nor did the diagnosis last year that I had been living most of my life with a silent disease that decided to show it’s identity. But, I am glad that the realization hadn’t hit until now because what an amazing life it has been this far and continues to be and a wonderful discovery that I have done so much and probably a lot more than I realized because I overcompensated thinking I wasn’t doing enough. 🙂
There is also another positive side to all of it, with this new reality, I no longer feel inadequate in any way, I don’t feel inept or less than, because….I am different…THIS IS ME! I now know that I do not walk the same path as many who are able bodied and that’s okay, we all have different paths we must take. I walk MY path now and it is a joyous path where I am not taking anything for granted anymore.
We are working on our 3rd Act out here in the country, we are working on building more community time with family and friends and focusing on valuing others and my time I have with them. We are working on businesses that we will build on and enjoy throughout retirement years, and we are working on being better people each and every day because, in the end, it is not our bodies that will carry on, but our beautiful souls and the memories we have made and left behind.