Here it is! My first June post! Your voices were heard.
I recently heard a saying: have a healthy disregard for the impossible! Frankly, I have to say that I try to embody those words on a daily basis. You're probably wondering where I learned that phrase. It was at LeaderShape. It is a six day leadership conference. It was all about personal development and being a leader. We had small group time, lectures and family cluster time. Your family cluster was a group of eleven people who you opened up to about your life. This group really got to know me. I will talk about the struggles and triumphs of each day.
Day One (Arrival): This day for me was about getting comfortable in my new surroundings. It is not easy to go to a place I don't know at all because I like to know what is coming and I didn't. However, when I saw my assistant Kim and the friendly staff I was at ease. The day consisted of ice breakers.
Day Two (Advocating): The morning of day two was exciting! We had a ropes course to complete. The vacillator of my group was Hayden. Hayden had a career in special recreation so I am thinking IT IS GO TIME!!! This guy knows the score. When I first talked to Hayden, I purposely acted coy, I said, "I hope I can do all of it" when in reality I'm thinking, I plan on kicking ass! So, we get to the ropes course and two ropes were tied to trees like horizontal parallel lines. You could either go under, across, or over these ropes. I volunteered to go across. Everyone was surprised when I volunteered (I loved it)! However, when Kim got me out of that chair and handed me over, everyone relaxed and saw me truly to be one of them. I successfully got through the ropes. I really felt a sense of humanity and complete acceptance. It felt good on my end to be physically dependent on my peers for the first time in my life.
The afternoon of day two I realized I was exhausted from back to back activities. See, when I am at school, I plan breaks during the day so I keep my energy up. There were no breaks except for twenty minutes here and there and to a disabled person, that isn't even enough time to get to a place where you could relax. It was a problem. I spoke to the director, Laura who is from Elmhurst College, and said, look I am already tired and by Sunday I will be a wreck if I don't have extended breaks. She understood, and we worked out extended breaks.
Day Three (The Vision): The whole point of LeaderShape was to have a vision of how to change the world. My vision was to become a motivational speaker and inspire people to "do their impossible". I know my story is meant to inspire people and I have to be the one to deliver it. This is one of my dream jobs along with Courage.
Day Four (The Switch): Kim and Megan switched on day four. I did have to put my "employer cap" on. I needed to make sure the switch went smoothly and Megan was comfortable. I had Kim talk to her about everything. I must admit that Kim handed over a somewhat cranky and tired girl because of the ongoing activities!
Day Five (Pure Heart): At the end of day five, my family cluster shared what we thought of each other. We had had extremely emotional talks, difficult topics to discuss and a lot of other bonding experiences. Our facilitator, Kevin who is the co-chaplain on campus was incredible with me and the group! I have always wanted to have a closer relationship with Kevin and I definitely got it. By day three, he didn't blink at the thought of feeding me. It is always a tremendous feeling for me to have a person who isn't "trained" to just give me a bite of something. It's breaking a barrier and two or three people chose to break that barrier and I am so thankful to that. Anyway, when we were going around the circle and sharing what we thought of each other and the general consensus was that they all wanted to be like me. All my life, I heard and felt the need to fit in because I wanted to be accepted. This was the exact opposite. They wanted to be like me. That moment was life changing. Over the course of that week, I was told numerous times that I was an inspiration. It was such a terrific feeling and everybody who truly saw me and they way I choose to live my life is a blessing to me and gave me energy that week.
Day Six (Lets Get Emotional): I was mentally and physically exhausted by the last day. All I could do was cry. Literally. I was a crying fool! Megan had to ask the staff if I could miss the last activity because I was such a wreck. Megan did what was best for me and I think that shows a deep level of compassion and understanding.
I have to thank the LeaderShape staff, they really did work with me and I have a lot of respect for that. Also, Laura was amazing from the time I needed encouragement to attend LeaderShape to the tears at the end! She is a compassionate soul!
After LeaderShape, real life kicked in and I unfortunately got a back brace. Most people who know me know I do not complain but this just ticked me off. Senior year of high school, my doctors and therapists didn't necessarily encourage the back brace so I really thought I'm done with back braces. It came back up when my mother wanted to prevent my scoliosis from getting worse which I love her for but the idea frustrated the heck out of me.
I've had my time to complain and cry about it. I'm moving on. I realized I touch a lot of people via this blog while having to deal with the back brace. I am asking you to commit yourself to do something for your wellness. It can be anything from taking your dog out more frequently to running six miles a day. How will I know? I've created a Facebook group for this. It's about turning lemons into lemonade. Why not straighten my spine while other people do something healthy also? Again, this could be anything. It just has to benefit your physical, emotional, or spiritual health. Please do this! It is truly for your own good!
By clicking this link, you can go to our page: http://www.facebook.com/groups/create.php?customize&gid=128073717225972#!/group.php?gid=128073717225972
If you are not on Facebook, you can either drop me a short e-mail or comment on my blog and I will write your goals on OUR Facebook page. Let's be an inspiration!
Just you guys writing on that wall will make wearing the brace easier! Lets all be inspirations!
All My Summertime Love,