Imagine that you cannot feel. That the numbness of life captures your body in the very essence of the 5 senses: touch, sight, taste, smell, and hearing all gone in the blink of an eye. These became my innermost thoughts as I sat behind the nurse’s assistant this Monday morning as he prepped the medications for my ordered shots. As part of my new job as a newborn Photographer for Mom365 I was required to get the flu shot, a tetanus shot, and blood drawn for testing to see what other shots I needed. Unaware of my fear of needles nervousness sets in while I draw my own form of blood: inspiration from an article, “The Body Electric” in this September’s issue of Vogue. Robert Sullivan is unraveling the numbing recounts of events preceding his diagnosis of Transverse Myelitis or TM. For those who are unaware of this disease it is a neurological disorder that has no current cure and takes away the feeling in your body often leading to paralysis. Sullivan is a journalist who tugged at my inner self-moving me to tears when he states, “I kept working, typing as much as I could with my right hand as my left hand faded. But it was getting difficult to concentrate, especially since I had recently written a story (for Vogue) on MS.” All of a sudden the fact that I am full of nerves as I sit moments away from two shots and getting my blood drawn I begin to feel a bit incredulous. The nervousness begins to subside as I start to think, “At least I am going to feel this. It could be so much worst.”
How often in life do we look at our circumstances and lament about what we don’t have or about what has been done to us? I can say I have twice over, but “The Body Electric” gave me some perspective that I often lose sight of. We as a human species have so much to be thankful for that the appreciation gets lost in the complaints. We do not have to be hippy flower lovers or yoga doing Zen followers to find the beauty in our daily occurrences BUT we do need to be AWARE. Life is too short to be bitter, too long to harbor un-forgiveness, and too much of a blessing to be full of complaints. Someone out there is begging for food right now, as you read this at least one person just got raped, and now some child just died from an incurable disease and yet we have the audacity to become infuriated when things don’t go our way. Don’t get me wrong we are entitled to vent. It is HEALTHY to vent. It is not healthy to lament about life or to be in constant complaint! One does not have to verbalize it constantly either and I am sure that most of your friends would prefer it be kept inside. However, even when your thoughts reflect negativity YOU reflect negativity! To be able to embody peace, love, and harmony one has to think PEACE, LOVE, and HARMONY. What we show on the outside is a product of what is on the inside. Isn’t it controversial when you see someone well dressed and then you go to his or her home and find they are hoarders? There is a disconnect. The same thing works with your body and your thoughts. They are one.
I have come a LONG way in life. I also have a LONG way to go. That is because my goals are high, my dreams are long, and my aspirations touch the sky. I want to take the time to reflect on my journey because when I don’t I can’t find peace in my today. If it was not for foster care I can confidently say I don’t think I would be the woman I am today. Of course I am sure God would have found a way to transform me BUT it was my journey that did the work. In foster care a child has two paths: survival or death. It is that simple and that death means not only physically but also emotionally. I feel that I survived though survival doesn’t mean a lack of failure it means a willingness to overcome failure. That is what I would like to believe I embody. I am not angry for my life though it does sadden me and makes things difficult. I am forever grateful for the struggle. It has caused me to search the meaning of relationships, the meaning of family, the meaning of myself along with the possibility of joy. It has set me on a path in pursuit of happiness by all means necessary I do and will do what it takes to be H-A-P-P-Y. If that means people don’t understand why I go left when everyone else is going right that is okay. So long as the end result justifies the means I feel in the end I will be understood. I don’t believe happiness needs a definition. When you look at someone who is truly happy their being resonates all things happy, all things peace, and all things love. Today may not be easy, yesterday may have been hell, and tomorrow may be uncontrollable but while I have the ability and courage to give thanks I’d rather not let a complain slip from my lips. Having a voice is a gift. What if you did not have one?
Sullivan recounts, “A week after the numbness began, my wife, Suzanne, and I attended a charity dinner at the boathouse in Central Park; dress was formal, and it took me about 20 minutes to tie my bow tie, my hand now the knot. I happened to sit next to an off-duty nurse who, despite my best efforts, eventually noticed I couldn’t use a knife. I pleaded my case to her. ‘Pinched nerve!’ She looked at me with a kind of sadness that made me realize something very bad was happening, and said, ‘We only get what we can handle.’”
Robert Sullivan. “The Body Electric.” Vogue September 2013: 710-716. Print.
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