When I was a teenager I had this weird thought that everyone could read my mind and knew exactly what I was thinking and feeling. I thought the whole world existed to push me down because “they” didn’t understand me. I guess I just got used to the feeling, given a lot of people I was around those were habits and behaviors I was used to. Then when I went to a new place, I never really seemed to fit in because I was so tired of introducing myself only to realize very shortly I would be on the move once again. I didn’t realize it was ME making it difficult to be who I really am.
Today I don’t hide who I am and I have also come to the understanding (finally) who that person actually is. I now have a slim knee brace that fits under my jeans so I’m actually going to wear it. My pain was once beyond intolerable and I turned to alcohol and readily available narcotics. Those were terrible days. After my latest rounds of dye shots & MRIs my surgeon is finally considering surgery. “No more sparring until I see you again in six weeks.” She smiled and slid my handicap tag paperwork into my hand along with my follow-up appointment slip. She told me to stop torturing myself because of pride. I really like this Doc.
The quality of care I receive through the VA system is not perfect but I am doing miles above that time in my life before I retired. I am able to finally manage my pain and I have been working on further redeveloping my cognitive abilities. I realize I get stares when I park in a handicapped spot. I tell myself these people don’t care about what has happened in my life or how it has affected me. And they shouldn’t. They don’t know you, Dom. They are going to make up their minds about what a “handicapped” person looks like to them. I realize these people are simply acting that way based off how they feel. Not me. They don’t feel my pain. And God bless them.
A few weeks ago I was at Anhueser-Busch at an event with my brewclub and I decided to do what I love doing best and go talk to strangers. I chatted with this girl for a bit and got my picture taken with her. She was having a blast with her friend as she sank into this giant chair and the time to laugh with a random stranger was now. She was AWESOME! Everywhere around us are random amazing people just waiting for something exciting to happen.
This week I begin my second semester of my Ph.D! I belong here! I am taking myself more serious everyday. I don’t know why but the entire first semester I kept waiting for someone to tell me I wasn’t good enough. That I didn’t belong here. It took me that whole first semester to calm down and get comfortable with myself once again. I know a lot of you reading this right now are wondering what it even means to “be comfortable” with yourself and that is okay. It’s not something that can be bought or given. It is something that can be shown therefore it is something that can be discovered.
Thank you all for LIKING, SUBSCRIBING and SHARING my journey and my Blog. You all are the ones that have made it important to share. My blog software tells me what country my readers are from and it is incredible to be seeing you from Spain, Germany, Australia, Africa, Iraq, the Netherlands and France. I’m sure there are a couple other countries I have seen you all connect from and my shit memory has struck again. You guys rock!
You’re Welcome. Internet.