For my very first blog post I wanted to introduce myself and tell you a few things about my life that you may not know. I have been posting a picture a day on social media for about two years now and I have remained pretty vague about who I am. Although people have seen my face, you have not seen my strength. That’s the beauty and the curse of social media. But if I’m going to be here, then I will be here, in all my broken glory. Because at the end of the day, we’re all broken.
What do you notice first when you look at the photos I’m sharing today? My bad ass leopard coat? My killer heels? The winning smile that I wear everywhere? Or did you notice my cane? Or as I call it, my pimp cane. I have been using it for a few years now. On April 10, 2007 I was hit head on by an 18 wheeler. I was pretty much broken from head to toe. My neck, my hip, both legs and feet. I also had a brain injury. I was in a wheelchair, progressed to crutches, and now I use a cane.
To begin with, the driver that was behind the truck that hit me was a youth pastor. He had a fire extinguisher in his truck and he put out the fire on my car. He later told me that when he looked at me he thought I was dead so he put his hand on me to pray. When he put his hand on me, I moved. He stayed with me until the rescue team arrived. They used the Jaws of Life to cut me out of my car, and then I was taken by life flight to a trauma unit. It’s a fascinating story that tested the strength that I was unaware I even possessed.
Over the next two years, I had four hip surgeries and one minor foot surgery. I almost lost everything I had worked my entire life for. I found out my husband, the love of my life, was smoking crack. My mother died. And at the time of the accident I was living in a hotel because my house had caught on fire. Not only was my body broken but my spirit was near it’s breaking point. This was the beginning of a bad season in my life.
I looked for answers everywhere. Why was this happening? Was this karma? Was I such a terrible human that I had finally got what I deserved? I read the Bible from cover to cover, I searched the interwebs, I agonized over everything I had ever done.
After my last hip surgery in 2009, things started to look up. We moved to Tennessee, bought our dream house, and my husband was sober…or so I thought. But, no. Each time I would crawl forward, I would get broken down again. In Tennessee, I became very isolated. I gained over 70 pounds. My husband was smoking more crack than ever before. My son was a miserable pre-teen who was getting bullied at school. I became so depressed that some days I did not have the strength to move. I wouldn’t leave the house for up to ten days at a time.
When the scale hit over 200 pounds I realized that I needed to make a change. I used every bit of strength and courage (which was very little at the time) I could to walk into a gym. I got a membership and a trainer. This was the beginning of a completely different life. I set a goal of leaving the house everyday and made a few friends at the gym. Over the next two years, I lost the weight and started to feel a little better about myself. I bought some new clothes and started to wear things that made me feel a little more confident.
Although I had made a lot of progress, I still felt ashamed. I still felt fat, ugly, and embarrassed that I was a cripple. After a lot of positive self talk and day drinking, I know I’m not fat. I believe I still suffer from phantom fat but I am slowly becoming more comfortable in my own skin. I have never felt pretty, so I always compensated with hard work and humor (I am definitely funny af). I also realized that I am not the one who was embarrassed by my disabilities; my husband was embarrassed. Needless to say, I am no longer married. I will never let anyone else make me feel like I am not worthy. We are all human beings. We are all looking for love, kindness, friendship, laughter, respect, and good food.
After a lot of therapy and some soul searching, I have some peace of mind. There are still some questions that don’t have clear answers. But now I tell myself that I went through this because I had the strength to handle it. I also learned to be careful about the things I say out loud and the energy I put into the Universe. I will never be completely put together. There will always be something that is a little broken. And I’m fine with that. Nobody’s perfect. I finally made the decision that my life and how how I respond to it is my responsibility. I started to live the life I had, and stopped trying to live the life I thought I should have. Everything has changed and it continues to change in a positive way.
What I have learned through this season of my life is that nothing is permanent. Everything is an ebb and a flow; it’s easier to take it one small step at a time. Sometimes that’s easier said than done, but it is what it is. When times are good, I have learned to enjoy every single minute because I know it’s not permanent. When times are tough, I have learned to stay strong because I know it’s not permanent. I always do the best I can to find the humor in every situation, good or bad. I can always find something to laugh at, no matter how dire the situation may seem. My strength is the greatest when I can find the ability to laugh at life’s tragedy’s. Most importantly, I discovered that we’re all broken people in very different ways.
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