Semi-Confidently Different

I’m different. I’m not going to try and convince the world that when it comes to people, I am the ‘status quo’ (I’m not) and that I have more similarities with everyone else than differences (I don’t). I don’t actually believe that ‘everyone else’ really exists. Sure, most people can walk…is that the common trait we measure against? Language? Education? Belief systems? Hair colour? This world is diverse and what I’ve really come to love about people is not just their differences but also the confidence they have to own those differences; the confidence to be happy with who they are. It takes courage to be an individual.

I’m not sitting here trying to say that I think I’m a courageous individual. Throughout my adult life I’ve allowed myself to be heard, be a bit quirky and stray slightly from what would be considered ‘normal’ for my family and upbringing. But, before my injury, as a twenty-something-white-able-bodied-wife-and-mama-of-three I could blend in pretty well and that is mostly what I tried to do…super courageous right? Since my injury I have been told I have courage and I suppose I can allow myself that description to a point. But life has made decisions for me – unfair, frustrating, one-sided decisions – and I have to go on. So I go on. I go on realizing that if I’m going to be seen as different then I might as well be different with some confidence. As hard as it can be to put on a smile a lot of days and share my life with honesty, it gives me strength to know that owning my visible difference might give someone else the confidence to own theirs too…visible or invisible.

As for the damage I’m possibly doing to my children by sharing so honestly…I hope it’s minuscule (the goal is to keep them out of life long therapy right??) In all seriousness, I actually really hope my children benefit from having a ‘not normal mama’ (someone should) and that it can help them appreciate the things that make others unique. I hope they can find confidence in their own idiosyncrasies and that they will nurture their quirks into adulthood; use them to their advantage. I hope it makes them tolerant and helps them to encourage others to find confidence in themselves. I hope their mama who is ‘different’ will inspire them to provoke necessary change in the world. Above everything else, I hope they know I did my best to be their mama – even though I’m different.

Diversity is a big topic in the world right now and it’s so important to approach it carefully. In the last 11 months I have learned that being seen as ‘different’ can be really intimidating. There is ignorance in the world to those of us that live outside the box of ‘normal’. But like I said before, I don’t think normal exists and if we tried to fill that ‘box of normal’ with people based on who they are inside…we’d have an empty box. Clearly I wouldn’t make it inside the box based on appearances or personality so I’ll be over here in my own little box being semi-confidently different.

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Just to be different…

3 thoughts on “Semi-Confidently Different

  1. Codi – I will answer you as I would anyone close to me. I hope it’s OK. I am Ian’s co-worker, retired but still working. lol To your post >>>

    ” … I’m different. I’m not going to try and convince the world that when it comes to people, I am the ‘status quo’ (I’m not) and that I have more similarities with everyone else than differences (I don’t).”

    …. That you feel SO different from the rest of people is evidence of how much this life-changing event altered you. But – Are you different? NO- not really. You are loved, a Mom, a loved wife, you care about your kids and husband and every day things [Did they brush their teeth long enough? Is this too much for Ian?] and so on.

    Do you feel the same? No. Still shattered I think but on the mend. YOU – deep down – are the same. They are too. The only different thing, ONE thing, is your ability to walk.
    Hopefully soon you will start to see yourself as a person rather than an ‘event’. Your kids care about the event but not really. They are glad YOU are still here.
    Your love and support is what they want whether you are in a chair or not. They love you for YOU – your heart, your MOMness, you love, support and being there. Do they really care about ‘your walking’? I don’t think so – if given a choice they want YOU.

    And you are right – you have been given the chance to raise your kids as a fully aware citizen of what it means to be disabled. They will never downplay this, nor take it for granted. So, in a weird way it is a gift to their future. And as for sharing honestly – What better way is there to share within society? Whether you share with friends, family, husband or kids it’s all about honesty. Now – not that you want to be blunt and raw with everyone, that wouldn’t work – but honestly of feelings, of how to express them and work through them – that, too, is a gift. One day you will see that as horrible as your circumstance is you can make “beauty from ashes”..

    I have watched as everyone encouraged you for your braveness. Yes, You are BRAVE! How could you not be faced with what each day brings. You are brave. But I sense sometimes that you still struggle a lot. And that’s OK too. Not everyone can be brave every minute of every day. And it is still year one.

    My prayer for you is that year 2 will bring healing of mind and spirit, even more than body, and that in a year you will be facing challenges as fiercely as it seems you are capable of.

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    1. Hi Deb. Thank you for your thoughts! While my legs (among other things) definitely separate me in a physical sense there is a lot that separates everyone. I was hoping to shine a spotlight on diversity in general with this post and subtly make the point that we are all people…the only box that every single one of us can fit into is ‘people’. From there we are ALL go our own way and carve out who we are.

      There is a lot to be said about my injury and how it has and has not changed me and those posts will all come in time. I appreciate you reading and taking the time to leave your comment.

      Like

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