When I first got sick, in 2010...I was bumming. I was heart broken, and continue to be blindsided as my health continues to decline. It all started with seizures in April 2010...followed by cognitive decline... memory and concentration issues... tremors/ticks... weakness and numbness in my left arm/hand... severe leg pain and weakness ... and last but not least... urinary incontinence. I think that's it... haha OH! Yea...forgot the PTSD...All of this has occurred in the last 3 years...For a while, I let myself feel sorry for myself. I can't run around with my munchkin-boy anymore. I can't go for a hike through the woods with my husband. I have been unable to complete a college degree/further education. There's a LOT of things I CAN'T do...It's been in the last year with the support of my hubby and the innocent wisdom of my son, that my mind set has changed. I used to send a thank you note with my Etsy orders, as well as have it printed on my business cards; "Thank you for supporting a disabled veteran's business". Yes... all of these physical, psychological, and physiological issues have created boundaries and limitations... But they've also showcased my strengths and other abilities I never knew I had.
Had I not gotten sick...I more than likely would not have been medically retired from the US Army. I never would have had to move in with my parents, thus moving back to Maine. I wouldn't have met my husband and my amazing in-laws. And I wouldn't have looked for (and found) local pottery instruction. Thankfully, I found The Pottery, Art, and Writing Studio & Showroom (P.A.W.S.S.); instruction by the amazing Asha Fenn. With her instruction and guidance, I found my passion. With my hands in clay, nothing else matters. I don't feel broken and disabled. I feel light, free, and able. It's almost like a time machine.... when I'm in my studio, my hands in clay; time just slips away. The only thing I have on my mind is the form the clay in my hands is taking on. I let my muse speak to me through the clay. With all of this going on...I had an epiphany...
I am NOT disabled. I am DIFFERENTly-abled. I might not be able to run any more...but I can roll around in my awesome wheelchair with mountain bike tires. I might not have that college degree hanging up on my wall, but I have the overwhelmingly positive reviews and remarks from satisfied customers who have purchased my pottery/sculptures. I awake each morning (or evening as of right now..my days/nights are flip flopped) and can take a deep breath. I can see my family, and hear their words of encouragement. I have all my limbs, even in their broken state...That's more than a lot of people. And I am thankful.
Despite the hurdles and setbacks, the key to accepting the hand you've been dealt is finding the silver lining. Regardless of the situation, there is always something positive to take away from that experience. If you're having a difficult time, struggling; keep your head up and smile. It will drive all the haters NUTS, and will automatically put you in a better frame of mind.