I toured Columbia and Loyola, I dreamed of a future walking around a campus with a portfolio larger than my life itself. I created dreams of a future in which I explored the city of Chicago in my Metallic Bronze Doc Martins along side my fellow sculpture friends. In my free time I melted Macaroni and Burnt Sienna crayons onto Canvas to make wall art. I bragged to my peers about skipping intro sculpture classes because I had passed high school with AP Sculpture Credits from a unique Liberal Arts High School. I made myself big and colorful, what I thought was something that would make me happy.
It seemed like the perfect plan. I would forget about my accident, I would start over, create myself into something new. Nobody would ask questions because nobody would know. I would make that part of my life small, and tuck it away. Maybe I would even magically become healed if I ignored it enough.
And then one day I found myself sculpting a wheelchair out of wire. Next were deconstructed flowers showing the transformation and concept of healing. And before I knew it my entire college portfolio was centered around how my life had changed since my accident and what I had come to understand.
I thought about the people that had cared for me over the years and would occasionally find myself dreaming about a life like theirs. How cool it would be to be one of them. And then I would remind myself that a future like that was unobtainable. I remembered being told so often “that it was all in my head” and feared the judgement that I knew would occur should I even attempt to become one of the people I had learned to look up to and admire so strongly.
I’m not sure what ultimately convinced me that a life of Burnt Sienna and Macaroni crayons wasn’t the future that I wanted but whatever it was I suppose I should be grateful for, but then again there are days in which I still wonder if the crayons had been the better option, usually those are the days I come home covered in bodily fluids that don’t belong to me, but I guess that’s besides the point. Bleach is a good thing and Vicks Vapor Rub does a lot more than just clear the sinuses.
Anywhom for whatever reason that I decided that the potential criticism was worth the overall satisfaction? giving back? healing? that I was certain I had to give the “dream” a chance, and I’m thankful I did. Typing this makes me feel like a little kid, or one of those happy fantasy stories you see in commercials “Gertrude has always wanted to give back and return the favor she received ever since she was dumped on her head…look at her now achieving her dreams, is it time for you to be like Gertrude, maybe it is because there is a nationwide shortage of Paramedics” HA but I guess it is true, it was just a dream once, one that somehow beyond my wildest understanding has turned into an almost reality.
And that’s the thing, I never thought I would get the true honor of asking you about the color of your bodily fluids, did they remind you of Coffee Grounds? I’m sorry I went there, no actually I am not, not at all. I never thought such a life would be my reality because I was so convinced that others would be so bothered by my desire to become the provider instead of the patient. And it’s true, there are people that don’t understand. I used to try so hard to explain to them and gain their acceptance, to be seen as equal by them. But I know that isn’t always going to be the case.
I’ve come to realize and hopefully soon truly accept and believe: Not everyone will understand, not everyone will be okay with, and not everyone will support me. I’ll have to work a little harder probably, maybe fight for the inclusion occasionally, and definitely explain more times than I ever thought possible. But I guess that’s all just a part of going after ones dream, and if thats the price, I’m okay with that.
Can’t we all hope and wish that the person whose worst day we showed up on was able to turn it around into something positive? Isn’t that what we should strive for? To attempt to leave an impact that might make them be like Gertrude with a sappy yet grateful outlook on life that someday ends with her on a commercial attempting to push you to follow your dreams?
If there’s anything I’ve learned its that not everyone is going to understand or support you but thats okay, there will however be people out there that are far greater and so much more patient and inclusive than you could have ever hoped for. There will be setbacks and times that make it seem easier to just leave the dream behind, but that is when your people will show up and remind you why you even went after the dream in the first place. I’ve found so many of those people and I don’t think I would have, had I decided to stick with the Burnt Sienna and Macaroni crayons. Chances are if you took the time to read this you’re probably one of them and for that I’m endlessly thankful. It is because of you and the support you give me that my dreams seem obtainable and my past doesn’t make me any less. Here’s to embracing the struggle, even when it gets tough, really tough. And here’s to showing up anyways. And also to recognizing the special people, and giving them the thanks they so greatly deserve even though chances are they won’t accept it anyways. And now I am doing that thing where I ramble and I will stop. Cheers to dreaming, and chasing them.
I am now booking motivational speeches on how to discuss bodily fluids as part of your everyday life. For inquiries and fees please contact my manager. 😉