Insecurities, Personal Experiences, School/Career

A Day Better Spent

Today I blew off working on a big English essay to help my little sister learn to ride her bike, going to lunch with my mom and friends, and holding my sister’s hand while she got her ears pierced.

There’s part of me, probably the bigger part, that cringes when I think of how much time I wasted, time that could have been spent perfecting that essay.

But you know what?

In reality, that time was much better spent with what I did.

In 20 years, what will I likely remember more: the problems in Les Miserables, or my baby sister growing up?

Hopefully the latter.

Why is our society like this? Why have we decided that it’s ok to make the average high school student’s life literally revolve around school? Don’t get me wrong, I think school is really important. Learning is important, and that’s the primary focus of schools. But the whole system has evolved into something more horrifying. It’s terrible that kids (yes, they’re still kids) think that they can make or break the whole rest of their lives with what they do now, in school.

Yes, learning is important. But stressing out every single moment of every single day about tests, grades, homework, etc., is not. What’s important is to take school seriously, yes (because it does matter and it is important), but also to take a break once in a while. It’s important to lift your head up and take that breath of fresh air in the form of other things you enjoy: music, drawing, writing, spending time with loved ones. Because if you don’t, you’ll surely drown.

I’m likely not going to change my ways because of this. Tomorrow I’m going to spend hours finishing that essay, I’m sure. It’ll probably cut into most of my sleep! But I’ll remember to realize that experiences are okay. Spending time with family is okay. Maybe I’ll take a break, and we’ll try that bike one more time.

(Update: A year later, I read what I wrote above, and realize that I got an “A” on that essay. And my sister has mastered the bike.)

Chronic Illness, Disability, Personal Experiences, Transverse Myelitis

Life is a Box of Chocolates…

That Forrest Gump quote:

“Life is a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

I got the chocolate nobody wanted. The extra, the last one left, the one smushed and cracked. I had to take it; it wouldn’t be polite not to.

From the outside, I had no idea what I was in for. It seemed impossible to gain the courage to put it in my mouth. But when I did, I was glad.

Inside of that dusty, cracked chocolate was nothing I had ever tasted before. Some people, the ones with perfectly-shaped chocolate, filled with gooey caramel or fluffy truffle that makes your mouth water at the sight, may view the differences as bad. But that’s only because it was one of a kind; they didn’t get to see the inside.

They may go “poor thing, stuck with that crappy chocolate”.

And it’s true that I had to get through the stale shell, but it was worth it because it came with a lifetime’s worth of satisfactions.

That is my life living with Transverse Myelitis.

At first, I didn’t know if anything was going to get better. But once I got past that hard shell,
I realized that my life is unique. It’s different, and although people probably do say: “Poor thing,
stuck with that crappy TM,” they don’t actually know what’s inside. They don’t know that what’s inside is rewarding because every time I’m able to do something (anything) again, like tie my shoes or run a few meters, I appreciate it much more than I did before.

That is the tasty, hidden part that nobody but me craves, because they’ve never gotten the chance
to see it.

So I say: “poor them” to anyone who doesn’t know what a real accomplishment is, because knowing that you’ve accomplished something, big or small, is that secret ingredient.

The secret ingredient to the inside of any piece of chocolate, crappy on the outside or not.

Chronic Illness, Disability, Personal Experiences, Running, School/Career, Transverse Myelitis

Why I Run

Why do I like to run?

I mean, why would anyone?

I scroll through social media and see all these memes about not running. I look at them and just have to shake my head, because those who don’t run are greatly missing out.

Sure, it’s hard work, and definitely ‘fun’ at first glance. To me, though, it’s perfect.

I don’t run to stay in shape; I run because running is ME. I feel my feet hit the ground and feel it align with the rhythm of my breathing. I feel hot and sweaty and disgusting, but that’s just the best feeling. I feel aches and pains throughout my body, as all runners do, but I push through them with ease because I have learned to, like anything, and I’m strong. Runners are strong.

 

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Me running in 7th grade, before TM
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Me running in 9th grade, after TM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m proud to call myself a runner, and I’m proud every time I finish a race, whether it be 800 meters or 6 miles. I’m proud of the technique I have developed in running different distances, a technique that works.

Not every run leaves me feeling fulfilled, and every time that I leave without satisfaction just leaves me hungry for more; I know that I’ll do better next time.

And racing. Racing is stressful, and sometimes I wish that I hadn’t signed up for it, but once I’ve started, I fly. I dodge and zigzag through and pass people, some races more than others. When it’s track or cross country, my peers, I waste a little energy whispering “good job” as I pass, because every runner, even my competitors, is my team. I’m not different to them, and they’re not different to me. We’re simply all runners. We all love it, and we all spent a heck of a lot of ourselves getting to where we got.

Running, in a way, reflects TM, and it definitely prepared me. For a year and a half I studied for
an important test without knowing it, and I’m glad I did.