Embrace The Mess
What do you do when you're faced with a roadblock that you can’t seem to break through? How do you circumnavigate it? Now, this roadblock could have either no relation at all to your disability or perceived 'differences' or in another case, it could be the main factor. What happens when you’re faced with a situation that seems impossible to conquer and everything in your life seems like a giant abyss? You had a plan. Scratch that…you had plans. What is preventing from pushing through? I always say that my brain is all that I have as my body and I often don't get along. It's an ongoing battle that has existed for all of my twenty-three years.
Do you simply give up all that you've worked for what seems like your entire life just because you can't seem to overcome these obstacles or do you find a way to make it work? In the case of completing my MBA, it had nothing to do with my physical disability whatsoever but I questioned my intellectual ability, something I never had a reason to doubt in the past. I overworked myself simply to please a professor who had every intention of destroying me from the start (it might sound like an exaggeration but it wasn't). I allowed myself to be a victim. Given that this happened in June and now we are in August, the PTSD is still there and real. Once I snapped out of this never-ending cycle of doubting all of my academic and career choices, I pivoted, switched course-sections, found a professor who allowed me to succeed and was a positive influence, and there I was, June 30th, graduated. Here's the big lesson that I learned: never let anyone take your power away, stand your ground, find a solution, and use this as a chance to become more resilient and stronger than you were before.
My entire life, I have trained myself to not just work hard but to work smart. Whenever I am going through some type of medical situation, I mask the mess and pretend that everything is fine. Unless you really 'know' me, you would never know that the full picture is not so pretty. I disguise my pain and diminished physical strength and stamina so that I can make the most of what I want my life to be. The days or hours that I am what I call 'on,' I work as efficiently as possible to counteract the days or hours that I am too fatigued to move a muscle. I've learned to embrace the mess, embrace the chaos, and work with what I have.
I am sharing this because I know I am not the only one. Part of disability inclusion is understanding that everyone's stories are different and some days are excessively harder than others. Living with a physical disability and severe medical challenges more often than not can be a sh** show. Sometimes you have to change your plans, prioritize, and when all else fails, binge-watch your go-to series. Other times, you have to change directions and brainstorm ideas of how to achieve your goals without derailing the entire plan because it's worth it.
Sometimes, life is a mess. Sometimes, I especially am a hot mess. Sometimes, you lose any control that you think you might have; not everything fits into neatly organized boxes. Sometimes, you might even lose sight of your goals and dreams. Just keep moving, work through the mess, and know that your wanderlust will inspire you to keep you going even during those times when you feel hopeless, worn out, and slightly overwhelmed by the life that you have.
Lean into the mess and embrace it.
This is #TalesofWanderlust by Peri. XX