I often think “why did this happen to me? Why have I been put in this condition? What did I do to deserve this?” I’ve thought about it for a long time and you know what? There are no real answers to these questions. It is as it is and I must learn how to live with it. I must accept it. For if I don’t, I’ll miss out on the many still remaining beautiful things life my life has yet to offer.
Yes, I have to do things differently. I have to look at things differently. I may not do some things as well, but I must still do them and I must still try.
Losing something so precious and secure has forced me to look at things as they really are. Many things look so differently now – some I have never noticed before. An awareness unknown to me before now surrounds me. I can feel more, appreciate more, and I can love more. I’m discovering things about myself I never knew existed. It feels good as I am approaching it as if living a new adventure each day. Many of these adventures lead to frustration, anger, sadness and fear. But as I face each of these chapters I must be open to learn. I can learn about myself, my feelings, my spirit, my heart and my thoughts. Being faced with frustration teaches me how to be inventive. Anger teaches me the ways of people and society. Sadness teaches me to feel, it fills me with compassion. Fear has taught me strength and endurance. When you combine these, how can I not succeed in living like I never have before? I’m still me, “just in a different skin”.
I must learn to love my new self and stand proud to be me. I must continue to live as I am. “Disability” is just a word – the only disability anyone has is in the mind and how the noise accumulates into what you let it tell you! I must present myself to others as I do to myself, whole in heart, mind and spirit. For others will overlook my “flaw” and see only a friend, a person, a mother, a co-worker, a lover, a happy and giving person. I want to be unique, inspirational, motivational and respected.
I want the world to see that I can do anything if I want to. I can succeed, I can learn. Most of all I can live and love doing it. I want to teach others that each of us has the will and ways to beat adversity and turn life changing experiences into the most incredible experience of their life. It all begins with acceptance. From there on, there are absolutely no limitations to what I can do. I will do things as I always have. If there are things I think I cannot do because of my change, then I will find a way to change the way I use to do it to meet the change in myself.
There will be those things I just cannot find a way to change, they can’t be. Those are the ones I need to accept. I must rejoice in that I once had the opportunity to do it and experience it. Memories are just like photographs; I can bring them out any time and re-live the joys they shared with me.
Each change I make will bring me satisfaction and pride knowing I did it. This will bring me the strength and endurance to keep going, keep learning, to keep trying and keep living.
Appreciation – you know, it makes me sad to think of the many people that have lost the appreciation of what they have. They’ve lost sight of the bounty that they do have! I have learned to never take anything for granted again. Appreciate all you have and all that is yet to come.
Confidence is probably the hardest thing to learn for I have to try to gain it. Confidence is intimidating. I have to be out there, seen, heard and watched. I must love myself in order to be confident. This, again, begins with acceptance.
Bad days, man do I hate the bad days. These are the days which make me feel helpless and seem to stop me dead in my tracks. These are the days that squeeze me into feeling alone. I sometimes feel there is no one anywhere on the face of this earth that can possibly understand what I am going through. But that’s where I’m wrong. There are others out there just like me who can feel my pain and sorrow. Without the bad days I can’t appreciate the good days. By that appreciation maybe the bad days won’t be so bad. Who knows, I might even turn a bad day into a good day by – appreciation.
I read somewhere a quote “Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.” Where there are tears, there is sadness. Where there is laughter, there is hope.
There are two different ways to handle adversity. One is to withdraw and envelop yourself in the constant noise of emotional, physical, psychological pain and bitterness. The other is to pick yourself up and continue your life journey tune in to a new noise free direction. Change can be a wonderful thing if you let it. I’m in a “new life” now. I must make the best of it. When I am out, I must stand tall and proud. I must smile, laugh, and be as I always have been. People will then overlook whatever is “different” about me and maybe even see a little something in themselves.
I always try to remember, God does not give you anything that you can’t handle. Guess it’s up to me to gaze into the eyes of people and share with them how wonderful life is. No matter what.
By: Cheryl Schiltz
Bilateral Vestibular Loss
with Oscillopsia caused by
the antibiotic Gentamicin