Saturday, February 27, 2010

First Time for Everything, Even Snow Skiing!

I had the amazing opportunity to do something I've always wanted to learn how to do since I've become paralyzed. Before I got hurt, I used to love to snow ski! I would always challenge myself to do bigger and better hills, and eventually worked myself to flying down black diamond hills!

But this week, I had a chance to mark something off of my to-do list, and it definitely won't be my last time! I learned how to mono-ski!!

Big Bear Mountain in Southern California has a fantastic adaptive program that I've seen on the internet for quite awhile but have never had the guts to actually go up and take advantage of the program. The United States Adaptive Recreation Center (USARC) was founded in 1983 to ensure that access to skiing is available to people with many types of disabilities. The first full-time, on-site adaptive ski school was established in 1989 at Big Bear Mountain Ski Resort in Southern California. It relies on amazing volunteers to help assist each participant, and I was fortunate to have two of the best (in my opinion), Tim and Sara!

There was so much unknown about a sport I've never done since becoming hurt almost 10 years ago, but Sara and Tim were so encouraging, supportive, and confident that I'd master this sport in no time.

They helped me transfer from my wheelchair into a mono-ski, and then Tim taught me how to use the riggers (adapted poles) to help me turn. The most important part of skiing on a mono-ski is balancing, and it's all in your shoulders, upper body, and trunk support. The riggers are only there to help you turn. I didn't quite get the hang of it the first several times down the mountain because I kept reflecting back to how it "used to be."

Sara would ski in front of me (backwards at that!), and Tim would ski behind me, holding on to me for support when I needed it (which was a lot at first).
But of course, I fell quite a bit. Ha! I laughed every time, except for the one time where I felt totally out of control and ran over someone and then someone ran over me. I guess that happens, though. Being so low to the ground, I felt like I was going so, so fast, but in reality, I wasn't going that fast at all. It was definitely a very different sensation than before when I was walking. But, I felt safe the entire time.
Towards the end of the day, I definitely felt more confident in my skills and was significantly determined to master that mountain! I learned how to load onto the ski lift by myself, and in the picture below, we are laughing because I flung myself backwards onto the ski lift so much that I bounced off the back and almost bounced back out of the lift! Ha!
Hooray! I finally learned how to do it! Granted, I could only stay up by myself for about 10-15 seconds before I'd fall again. But, I was happy! I had such a fun, fun time up there, and I certainly want to make it back up there so I can get even better. Sara and Tim were excellent teachers, and I highly recommend you ask for them to help you!
There really isn't anything in life that you can't do when you're paralyzed. Yes, it may be a little different, but it shouldn't stop your life from being enjoyable, satisfying, and fun. I had a blast learning how to ski and had a smile on my face the entire time.
Two thumbs up to the USARC program at Big Bear and to the wonderful volunteers that help make days like this possible for people with disabilities. You make a huge difference in providing confidence and positive self-esteem, so THANK YOU!

My last request was to get down in the snow (even though I'd been in it face first several times when falling!) so that I could just enjoy the snow. Anyone for a snowball fight? Get out there and enjoy life, and make sure you know that God really doesn't give us anything we can't handle!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Trusting His Will... Most Days

First, thank you for all who have said or sent kind words of encouragement, support, prayers, and love. Life is full of ups and downs, and I find it interesting that some people find it shocking that I am so honest with how I'm feeling. Why put on a mask and act like everything is perfect... when it's not? Just because I say I'm feeling like I've had a bad hand dealt to me the past few weeks/months, it doesn't mean that I would want to trade my life in for the alternative. I don't know... just saying. I guess we all need to learn to be a little more honest if it rubs you the wrong way.

There is a lot of transition going on in my life right now in so many various ways. New beginnings, things ending, and yet still being pushed and pulled in many directions. The future is unknown, and as much as I want to say it's "ok," my need to be in control sometimes over powers trusting in the will of God.

Time to bring it back to basics. Learn to simplify, and learn to be okay with being simple. Living in Orange County is not easy as there are so many - SO MANY - people here who live the "rich life." And I deal with jealousy and envy on a constant basis. I want what they have. But I have to remember - or at least try to remember - that my life, plan, and purpose is different from others I encounter. I need to remember that truth. God created me, planned out my life, and made me the exact way that I am for a specific plan. It's just that for some reason right now, I'm feeling insecure about that plan. Aaaah, life. No one ever said it would be easy.

Now I'm rambling, so I'll stop. Thank you for continuing to pray for me and encourage me throughout this journey called life. You all mean so much to me.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Everyone Sees It But Me

I was raised a codependent. I was taught to put others first, to not cause waves, and to do something when someone told you to do it, even if you didn't want to. I was told to always try your best (even when your best wasn't good enough) and innately sought the good in people rather than the bad. I am a perfectionist. When something went wrong, I tried to figure out what I did to make it go haywire (even if I had no part in it), and I worry about things I can't change even though I still try my hardest to change them. I feel out of control when I'm not in control. I have issues of trust. If you say you're going to do something, stick to it. I believe in fairness. If you do something for someone else, I expect you to do the same for the other person. I am afraid of being hurt and/or rejected, yet I am very sensitive to the needs of others. I am driven towards things I believe strongly in, yet lack motivation for things I'm not interested in. I worry about what people think, and I'm sad when they don't acknowledge me in a way I feel loved. If you're going to be a friend, be a friend. Don't half way be a friend. I have enough of those.

And this is why I hate being a codependent. Over the last few months, I have been struggling with these characteristics more than I realized, and for some reason, it all has come crashing in my face again. I have more obligations than I have time for, I'm investing time into people who don't invest back into me, and overall I am not happy. Depression has been creeping in ever so slowly since about Thanksgiving, and now I think it's in full force. I'm overwhelmed with the tasks at hand, and my deepest desire in life is about to walk away from me. It's all I can do to get up each morning, knowing I already have an imbalance within my body regarding sleep. My head burns with pain and my eyes are wet most days. The smile is halfway there when it has to be, but in reality, I'd rather just escape to a cave.

I have a fridge full of friends' pictures of their kids - kids I should also have, yet I'm still single and childless. I wonder, "What's wrong with me? Why am I not good enough to be loved? I've accomplished so much and overcome so much in my life!"

And at the end of the day when things are really bad... I blame it all on my disability. I think we all have our "default" that we blame things on. The devil tells me, "If you didn't have this wheelchair, you'd be able to accomplish everything you want and more. If you weren't paralyzed, you'd be able to run and lose weight. If you weren't in a wheelchair, maybe someone would love you enough to want to commit their entire life to be with you forever. Obviously you're not fit to have children."

Depression plus codependency is not a good thing. And with Valentines Day on the verge this weekend and my birthday coming around the corner, I know I'm not getting any younger. Sometimes, I wonder how long it would take for someone to realize I'm missing. Gone. Away. I just want to shut my eyes some days hoping it will all go away, and lately, it's been many days.

These are the lies I hear run through my head. And on days like today, I don't have the energy to tell them to go away.

Broken promises.