“ Congratulations! You’ve graduated!” A physio stuck out her hand and greeted me. The smiles and handshakes came and I was filled with so much happiness. These two years dragged on, but I’ve made it through. Nothing quite touches home the way it happens when force to listen, learn, think and live it with no choice.
“ Hello my friend!” I said to the doctor entering my final check up. “ Hello! What happened to your hairstyle?! And you have a beard now?! Please, please have a seat.” Replied the doctor with a chuckling shock. This cheeky grin always full of encouragement and bit of insanity definitely gave me the right about of push, and self doubt that I needed on my journey. “ Remember how you ask you me to try run? Well I can now!” I said to the doctor. Within a split second, the doctor’s face changed to an expression of surprise and excitement, then as all good doctors do, they quietly centre themselves and throw on a nonchalant face of coolness.
“ Let me explain! Running doesn’t just happen. It took a long way to get here.” I said to his cool collective face. I bet even though he gave encouraging words every visit, he never expected I would accomplish running so fast and doing it so well. I explained that running doesn’t happen in steps for me. It’s not as easy a task as just putting one foot in front of the other, balance has to be trained, compound stress, immaculate amounts of pain, vibration absorption, conscious decisions of foot placements, and a predetermined thought of counter balance so I don’t fall when I reach there. I showed him videos and photos of the journey. Who would have thought, even sitting on a swissball bouncing up and down was part of learning to run.
With time passing, precise planning, and execution, each stride was conquered. Through the normal routine of the day I was challenged, destroyed, and recovered, for visible and scientific improvements round the corner. Eventually my feet did move on, each step stepping in front of the other. Not perfect, but enough together to be called running. I am as stated on the paper as “ able to run”.
Able is a great word, because if we believe, it is already the start of ability. This starts the ball rolling and creates a source to enable ourselves to do more. For me, a cheeky smile, hope for a better life, and some insanity was enough to start up the innate flame.
Reviewing my spinal injury from the scans I hugged the doctor. My bones all grew back together in unison, there was no more floating bits. They were structurally stable, but each taking each their own turns of direction in life. No matter if they were each bent a different way they were all united; together we stand, apart we fall. Even though they are structurally stable, no one can account for the healing continuum nerves but me. I would be responsible for something within.
Concluding that all is well, the doctor, fear, excitement and I left his office together.
Then I said goodbye to my new friends, the janitors, security guards, nurses, physios, doctors and anyone else who crossed paths. I looked around the rooms, the stairs that I learnt to walk up, the bars that I use to support my body when I couldn’t walk, and every single corner that I put all the hard work into. The memories of pain and joy flooded me as I took it in, also wondering if this is the end… Would I forget the experience from now being able. Would I just run away from it all? The answer is no. Our experiences shape us into who we are today, and will always be apart of us in the way we behave and react to any situation.
I walked out the doors of the hospital turned around blew kisses upwards remembering and embracing my whole journey.
All of us patients were struggling as hard we as could to survive, just to be normal. Fighting from cancer, spinal injury or other terminal conditions. I saw my ward mates fight the battle of their lives to the end and never gave up. There were silent moments where our eyes met and the connection of perseverance said it all. Never give up, never give in, and give it the best you got every single day. I know if my heart is beating, I still have a chance. With spinal injury, I don’t always have a full breath, but I have a heart beat, a pump to keep me going.
It feels like a lifetime. In two years I have become physically weaker, but mentally stronger. I can no longer play contact sports, or laugh so hard my back gives out with reception of slaps, but I am thankful. Even through the midst of all this pain, I am now even wiser and mentally fortified further than before. The resilience in my brain will stand and nothing can deter it.
Sometimes in life, we have to be broken down till we are nothing. Face against the highest mountains and the roughest seas. Only then, when we are worthless, helpless, and have nothing, can we really see, clarity will rain down like never before. This is the moment to receive it all with open arms and grow. Now trying to move mountains or swim seas won’t seem that impossible. In this period we start to observe what we have, who we really are, what is, and where we want to be. Then can we grow towards completing a full picture. Disconcertment will shine down and wisdom for those that persevere choosing to fully dedicate themselves for a right cause.
I guess what life does to us, is to prepare us with the tools for the next step. We might not have everything, but we do have the essentials to make it, and know where to find the help or the information to solve the obstacles we encounter. It is most important to remember to have is faith, keep believing and keep taking action.
What would you like to accomplish in 2 years?