I am skating on the double-edged sword of Recovery: I am finding “normal,” but it leaves me painfully vulnerable. The goal is to reintegrate but the more I mix with people my chances of getting hurt increase exponentially. I don’t even trust my own leg, much less anyone else. But I understand now that I’m supposed to not only learn how to manage my mobility, but my insides need healing, too.
Like I’ve said before, vulnerability is taking a calculated risk for a greater gain. As I’ve progressed, people have taken a chance on me and I’ve taken a chance on them. It’s paying off :), but it requires a high level of trust that takes a lot out of me. And as my story and I venture into the “real world” more often I understand that while I have the joy of validation from strangers I’m also putting myself in the path of interactions that may have no mal intent behind them but leave me and my overactive imagination feeling raw and broken anyway.
This experience cost me everything. EVERYTHING. One night I clutched a string of pearls I loved to wear in my Old Life as I lay in bed, trying to sleep. I was trying to remember that feeling of thoughtlessly beautiful living, but I couldn’t. I wasn’t able to rest until I got out of bed again, gave Mommy the pearls and asked her to put them away because I didn’t need them anymore.
Now that experience has been reduced to a 6×9 paperback. It was horrifying for me to realize that the experience that cost me everything is so easily passed over. I did not choose to have a cataclysmic medical event, but I DID choose to write a book about it because God’s grace has been so vast and surprising to me that I think it’s worth talking about.
I love to laugh, but this is not a joke to me. I put it all out there for you to read because sitting around is boring, and as I’ve encountered people in RecoveryLand who are flailing around emotionally because of what’s happening to them what am I supposed to do – not tell you the Answer?
I helped my friend B address her wedding invitations a LONG time ago. She was like, Ning, I need you to do this bc if I do it people are gonna get it in the mail, look at my handwriting and be like, Aww…that’s sweet.
🙂 B totally cracks me up. I’ve thought of that conversation often as I’ve started writing. I’ve made the decision to be vulnerable as a calculated risk. I took the trouble to build an online presence within the parameters of my physical limitations. I am not going for, Aww…that’s sweet – look what the disabled girl is doing. It was part of God’s plan to keep me cognitively intact enough to communicate about this experience effectively and package it appropriately for public consumption. A lot of my writing (all the funny stuff, the attempts at cooking, cleaning, and living) is geared at making this situation more accessible – yes, something crazy happened to me but I present myself in a way that’s easy to relate to.
And there are times when I meet someone (in person or online) who tells me that hearing me talk about what happened spoke to the gnawing need in their heart. They were looking for something, and found it because I explained how God met the need of my heart, and I assure you, it was a DEEP need. If God had not intervened for me on Decision Day 2011, something would have happened. (Shhh don’t tell Daddy that. Good thing he’s not going to read this.) I’ve said before that it was a mercy that I was far too disabled to take any meaningful action from my grief in the beginning, but I’ll add that I am a resourceful person and given some more time I would’ve figured something out.
But the Lord saw my need from afar off and answered it in His perfect timing. Good thing, because I couldn’t have taken anymore. The transition to This Disabled Life was particularly rough in the beginning. I was not even allowed to get out of bed or use the restroom by myself. But when someone tells me that what I wrote or said resonated with them the self-doubt and second-guessing that fill out the periphery of my brain injury disappear. It’s like that individual is the only person in the world. I understand what it’s like to carry the burden of despair, and when they say I lit my little candle in the midst of their darkness I’m sure – this is often terrifying, infuriating, and humiliating, but it can be exhilarating, too. I often forget so I’m writing it down for the record here: it’s worth it.
Learning How…vol 1 includes “Learning How to Walk” and “Learning How to Wait” and covers the period of time from my injury to the first time I went back to Therapy (2011-2012). It is an easy, non-threatening way to introduce people to the Gospel of Christ, and a great way to encourage believers. If you’re skimming, chapter 10 is when I decide the Gospel is true. Last time I checked it’s $9 on Amazon. As always, it’s all nonprofit. Use Prime or Super Saver Shipping. Thank you for your support.