For the month of January, I tried to practice love. I tried to practice it in the way that doesn't discriminate or hold back or pretend, but allows for each moment and person and interaction to come as it will--to love myself and to love others. I won't say I succeeded at January's principle (see this entry for reference), but it went well, even if it means I cried a little more and felt a little deeper than I'm accustomed to. I loved. I'll keep on loving.
For February, the plan is to DO something about the things that I find upsetting, to not stand idly by and complain about how rotten the world is, and to not waste energy on petty frustrations. I've already found myself a handful of times this month having to talk myself down, rationally, when I realized I was wasting energy on being upset about things that don't matter.
The things that do matter to me, though, I need to talk about. I'm not just a climber/knitter/skydiver/future-cat-lady. I'm someone who's VERY passionate about the potential people have to be good and to feel good and to make and reach goals. This is something I talk about in my classes as a rehabilitation counseling student. Individuals with disabilities get pushed aside and expectations and standards get lowered and accommodations can be nonexistent. We discuss these issues in my graduate classes every day--the reality of disability and the potential people have to live full lives not defined by diagnoses and doctor visits. Lives full of adventure and accomplishment. All people deserve that.
We all know someone with a disability, and we encounter disability on a daily basis. A lot of disabilities are invisible...and some aren't. We're taught our whole lives that diversity is good but something that I'm pretty sure gets deeply engrained at about the seventh grade teaches us being different is scary. For my part, having to wear a back brace for a few years right smack dab in the throes of adolescence made the decision for me, kind of. It was probably all in my head, but I felt different. At a time when I wanted to fit in, I was different.
However, no one told me that I couldn't be anything I wanted or do anything I wanted, jacked up spine or not. Some people aren't that lucky. I want to have a voice, to be a voice, to encourage and empower and to make a little bit of a stink about how this human condition in all its broken parts is pretty incredible. If there's one thing I am passionate about, it's that the people I come into contact with, disability or not, feel loved and heard and important. And since I can't change anyone else's actions and reactions, I have to start with me. So that's exactly what I plan to do.