awareness, perspective

My Reflection

When I look into the mirror, I see me. I see my strengths, I see my weaknesses and I see the stress I carry from my short life in ways others may not see, even if I’m right in front of them.

What does my reflection show to world? The face of good of health and nourishment, a smile that can light up a room, and eyes that are as blue as the ocean. Some may even say I am cute.

Cute only gets one so far as you age. Cute doesn’t define or shape who I am on the inside. I have a chronic medical condition. I even have a pacemaker-type device in my chest. I have dealt with this medical challenge and it’s rippling effect my entire life.  My life hasn’t been easy. My implant surgery was major and I almost had brain surgery a few years ago. Despite all odds, I have worked hard and persevered in most areas of my life. I have accomplished more than doctors ever thought I could. But nobody knows that I struggle each day.

Only my close friends, family and medical team are my inner circle and know me inside. I don’t even have many close friends because most people shy away from those who are different. Not because I am scary, rather due to lack of
knowledge and willingness to face the unknown. 

I like to keep my condition private to avoid judgment from others. This has been my choice thus far in life. This choice has come with consequences. I have had to miss out on events over the years and lost close friends because I couldn’t do all the things they could do or wanted to do. Social acceptance can be hard as you grow up and missing out on some milestones in my youth days has hindered my development. I can only imagine what challenges will arise in adulthood when you are like me.

As I age, expectations are placed on me that mirror those of others my age to do this or achieve that or even perform a certain way. Basically putting me into a box. A box of what my life should be like for somebody my age. The problem is I don’t fit in that box or any box for that matter.

No box needed! I am special. I am special like a fine jewel, not special as in incapable, stupid, or even retarded. I sometimes have to think differently or take a longer path to complete something due to my medical challenges. Unfortunately, the high-paced hustle of today’s world doesn’t adapt well to people like me.

I’m simple. I don’t really like to use the internet. I barely text. I’d rather talk to another human face to face. I don’t like voicemail either. My communication skills are one of my strongest attributes yet it’s almost a lost skill in today’s technology world.

Getting a job is almost 100% online now. I am a number. If I don’t type well, I fall into the dumb category. If I don’t have a resume full of fancy graphics, I fall short on the tech-savvy qualifier. This list could go on and on about the negatives of being me and being different.

Thankfully, I have been taught not to dwell on the negative but it’s getting harder and harder. I’m emotionally spent every time I need explain the why I’m different or why things take me longer or why I can’t do something even if I look like the person next to me!

My insides are different. I’m wired for me and I just wish the world accepted me for who I am. I can dream that one day people will understand me and appreciate my value because I have value. Sometimes you just have to look beyond the surface to see my loyalty, my trust, my kind soul and my incredible work ethic.

Where do I fit in the world today and where will my future take me? Why does being different have to be so complicated? Why do I have to explain to ignorant people how hard my life already is without adding the stress of their ignorance to my plate?

If only people saw my insides in the mirror instead of my outside. Would they see the time bomb ticking in my head? Would they see a hamster wheel running 24/7? My insides are a mystery to me in a way but would my insides help people tolerate my differences? Should I have to broadcast my life to the world to get acceptance?

In my short time on earth I have learned a lot about people. Some are kindhearted but the vast majority fall into the ‘other’ category that normally puts their own needs and wants ahead of others.

I hope my open letter hits home with somebody on the internet. I hope that one person chooses to be kind today, tomorrow and the next day. This world needs more kindness and hope. More positive messages to overshadow the negative that can weigh a person down.

My life is changing in many ways. I can’t see far ahead because I keep hitting road blocks. I restart over and over but how many times can one restart before they give up?

I want to restart. I hope I can restart now and prepare myself to restart again because all I can see ahead is restarts. I am different in a world of predesigned boxes. Mine apparently has the reject stamp on the box and I’m desperate to reconfigure my box to adapt to my special qualities.

Mental toughness is a battle everyday to some. It gets harder and harder to adapt when roadblocks are tossed at you in abundance. 

One day you may find me floating by on the highway in my not-so-fancy RV or home on wheels. Out to adventure and see the world my way. If I can’t fit in a box I’m going to have to define my alternate path. From what I hear, the road less traveled can be a fun one, since most stay in the box that was designed for them by another. 

Thank you for reading a glimpse of my life. And it’s such a small glimpse it’s like a small hair. Maybe I will share another story or hair of my life again soon. Until then, I will seize the day and tackle all the adversity that comes my way. To please the world as it sits today, I will have one foot in my predesigned box and one foot outside while I figure out my life. I may or may not be flipping the bird to others around me who are ignorant to my differences. 

This story is honest and heartfelt. It is written as a tribute to all those who need a little hope when life gets hard and keeps you in that dark place. Get up, get going and prove others wrong.

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