Sunday, March 17, 2019
Life Is Not A Tab
Who am I?
Well, I'm sixteen, I've caught the writing bug, and I have mild Cerebral Palsy and ADHD. I like to speak my mind, and I intend to be a mediator between the physically normal among us and those who have to face disability challenges every day.
I think a lot in my daily routine, and I hope I can be a voice of insight and inspiration -- maybe I can give language to feelings some aren't even conscious of.
I hope I inspire you with my writing, today and beyond.
Life Is Not A Tab: A New Spin On Emotional Debt
Debt is something I’ve never had to experience at my age. My family has never been in debt. I have yet to even own a single credit card.
What I can say is that I wholeheartedly know what it feels like to be indebted.
Not indebted fiscally. Emotionally.
It feels different to everyone. To me, it’s suffocating. It feels like a wave the size of a townhouse crashing down on a tiny canoe. It can feel at times not only overwhelming, however, but also very limiting and threatening. It’s as if my emotional debt has become my master. I am enslaved to my debt.
That may sound hyperbolic. It’s really an attempt to be frank and honest.
I feel the only way to express myself is to do so authentically. That is how I will communicate my message most clearly.
Another honest statement: Everyone has emotional debt, disabled or not. Maybe they feel they ought to make their parents proud. Maybe they feel they ought to impress their friends.
I see in myself that a debt is a result of an opportunity. Not only do the disabled feel they ought to make up for their shortcomings, but also do something more with them. Something very very big that not only makes up but surpasses.
Me? I feel lucky to be alive. My situation that caused my disability could have also been deadly. I’m sure I’m not the only one. So living here today, sixteen and counting, I feel indebted. It’s as if I must do something extraordinary every day I wake up still breathing, or else, the opportunity of my miraculous life was wasted.
That isn’t meant to be heavy truth. It’s meant to show the absurdity of it all.
Those in debt, and even me, maybe we fail to ask who said a debt existed at all.
It was only recently, in the last few years, I asked myself this. I realized, finally, that life doesn’t put you on a tab. Life isn’t a ritzy country club or a low-lit bar.
Life gives you a gift. Life is a gift in itself.
That was some time ago I learned that. The problem was, I left the gift unwrapped on a metaphorical counter somewhere gathering dust. I had NO idea what to do with it. I was stuck.
It was only now, this moment when I realized what the real opportunity I had missed was. Perhaps other indebted ones, other disabled that feel they must justify themselves and pay their tab.
Let me tell you what I am doing right now. I have just come from a warm shower after a long day. I am typing this with a refreshed mood, a purposeful focus. I am lying on my floral pillow, barefoot. Just writing.
You know? I enjoy this, I have thought to myself empathically.
And in that second -- snap.
It has all clicked.
I had missed the opportunity to enjoy.
That is the lesson for today. For disabled and for all. Life is not a tab, especially if you narrowly received it, or almost lost it, physically or in circumstance.
Life is a gift. And the way one lives life is the thank you note.
Writing a thank you note in life is simple.
Joy. And thanks. This is how one says thank you, every day. You don’t lose anything by not being joyful or thankful all the time. That’s unrealistic. But you add every day. Every day, you have the power to say thank you for your life. You probably do without realizing it.
Again being honest, this empowers me perhaps more than you. But maybe I can be a messenger and spread this word.
Life is not a tab. Life is a thank you note.
Go and start writing!