Life is undoubtedly filled with good and bad moments. I truly believe everyone’s life is a delicate balance of both the dark and the light. In many ways, we choose to paint our own canvas with our paints of choice. How we choose to paint our own canvas and the colors we select say a lot about our attitude and our approach to life.
It is true that many of our choices are our own, but at the same time, other people can play a pretty poignant part as well. Negative attitudes towards us can hurt and sting really badly. They leave an imprint and impression on our heart and minds forever. That’s right, I said it was permanent. We may try as hard as we might to make it go away, but it just resurfaces. There is nothing we can do with the emotion and we are forced to remember how it made us feel.
My first damaging moments occurred in the first grade. Yes, at the moment when I was supposed to be learning about myself and my life, my soul was being riddled with hurt and emotional poison. I have no idea why my 1st grade teacher hated me so much, but if plaques were given out for hurting people, she would have received the biggest and boldest prize. She made it her mission to make a big deal out of my wheelchair, and she called me granny in front of the whole class of my fellow young and budding students.
She also loved embarrassing me. On desk clean out day, she would snatch me out of my desk by my arms, pull me onto the floor, and dump of all of the contents of my desk on me and demand that I clean it up. Of course, she knew I didn’t have the capability to do it on my own. She just felt it in her heart to make certain that I was humiliated.
It worked really well. I went home from school every day in a flood of tears as a result of her maltreatment. My parents attended numerous conferences between them, my teacher, and the principal. Probably more than they can count.
However, nothing was done to remedy or change her efforts despite my parent’s efforts. As much as this stung and hurt, I am somewhat thankful for it because it did an excellent job of preparing for me for the emotional damage and hurt that was to come in the future.
The same sort of treatment continued in both middle and high school. I was told by the aides who were hired to help me that they didn’t feel like helping me get to class and helping me in the bathroom. As a result of their neglect, I contracted a bladder infection. I also ended up holding my bladder most days as a reassurance that I would not become even more of a burden and a bother to them.
My typing teacher called a meeting just to tell my mother I smelled of urine. This infuriated her, and it made my depression sink even further into the ground. I was already failing academically (much to my dismay) and just not caring about my life in general due to the way I was being neglected.
This hurt me more than you can imagine at the time. I am a people pleaser. I love making others happy and doing for others, so this treatment just made my heart wilt and sink to the ground.
I wasn’t sure how I would ever recover from this darkness, and from the feeling that I was a waste of space on Earth. Each time I thought about being a burdensome person because of my disability, which wasn’t my fault, I just wanted to end my life more and more.
I had numerous talks with God. I prayed harder and even more than I normally did.I knew that something had to come to my rescue. That is when Lifehouse’s music came to my rescue and helped me understand that I wasn’t alone in this life. This is when I saw the light and was more than ready to carry on with my life. I knew I had something special to offer the world. So that is when I went onto college to become a social worker and graduated with the second highest honors available.
I may not be a social worker now, but I am a writer who has made numerous impacts on others with my words by sharing my story with the world. I also believe that my social work degree plays a huge part in the difference that I am able to make with my words.
So, as much as it is weird and crazy to say this, I give thanks to everyone who made it their intention to hurt me and knock me down. You gave the power and the strength to push beyond my challenges as a disabled person and greet the world with warmth and happiness; you taught me to open up my eyes and take on the world first hand, disability or not. This, my friends, is the most powerful lesson and the greatest gift given to me by those who wanted to see me fall down the most.