…kinda crazy…but once I got out there I really didn’t care about the sharks at all.
…the crazy part was that I actually thought it would be cool to see them out there. that part is crazy. But what was cool is that just being out there and going through the waves like that helped me to not worry about anything…not even sharks 😛 The ocean is so peaceful and powerful. I wanted to go out there and just lay on a surfboard all day long and just soak it all in. I love that surfing can be peaceful and also hardcore at the same time -going out against the waves is a rush 🙂 and waiting for and surfing back in with the waves is fun and peaceful️ it’s got it all ♀️
I’m so thankful for the people who are always there to help me enjoy these things in life. Today, I am thankful to Steve @infinity_surf for giving me a piggy back through the sand out to the ocean and carrying the boards… ️ and for letting me try the tandem with him 🙂 surfing is yet another opportunity to be surrounded by good people…just like every adaptive sport I have tried ️
Things are good and things are hard. I was actually laid off from my job last Monday. I am now doing what I can to figure out what direction I am going to go and just trying to stay positive. Life is full of ups and downs and you just gotta keep getting back out there and fighting back every time something tries to bring you down.
Everything happens for a reason and I really think the reason for this is just to make me fight harder and really go for what I want in this life. I’m definitely struggling though. I am trying to stay busy and productive and most of all, I am trying to believe that I can be successful.
I was laid off last Monday. I left work crying and I texted me roommates and told them I was on my way home (feeling so unsure about everything in that moment). My roommates called to see if everything was okay and I told them I was laid off. They had been getting ready to sail to Catalina Island the next day and when they got home they asked me right away if I wanted to go with them ❤ It couldn’t have been better timing and I am so thankful they did that for me.
I think everything happens for a reason…this happened for a reason. I just don’t know what it is yet. But I do know that if you want to find out you have to keep trying.
I knew my accident happened for a reason. I told the newspaper journalist who was interviewing me in the hospital one or two weeks after the accident “I’m going to grow so much and learn so much from this”. And on July 20th, it will have been ten years since my accident and I have learned so many good reasons as to why it happened; the sports, the people, the love, the support, the strength and insight…there are so many reasons, and all have made my life better.
The struggle is always there. But it is always worth it in the end.
Last night I was up all night thinking about a million things annnnnd watching shark videos to top it off 😛
Surfing is something I wanted to do, want to do, and will do…but the debbie downer Me sometimes tries to convince myself that I don’t really want to do anything. I quite often have to drag myself out of bed no matter what it is. I have been living with this heavy cloud of depression for as long as I can remember (we are talking kindergarten days, and yes, I remember those days. Even in pre-school I was a little off 😛
But what I am saying is that I have been living with this fight my whole life. I know I have to force myself to do the things I know I would love to do if I weren’t dealing with the depression. And when I make myself get out there…I might even still feel depressed while doing whatever it is I had to make myself do…but afterward, I am thankful that I did it because while I did it I gained as much strength and wisdom from the experience as I could. And later, after making myself do enough of these things…I feel stronger than my depression…and when I feel stronger than my depression…I enjoy things even more than I ever would have had I not known what it was like to struggle 🙂
I am good at sports…I have always been. But I have allllllways struggled to believe in myself. I know that everyone does at times but this is like, damnnnn…I sometimes just stare at myself in the mirror trying to figure out who I am. I stare in the mirror a lot…and I think a lot… by myself. I talk myself through my problems and I think hard; while I take a shower, while I drive, while I brush my teeth…I am always thinking hard about things.
I think I came to California for a reason. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to work where I did, even if it was for a short period of time. I learned so much. But it obviously was not where I was supposed to be.
I am sharing this because it is a part of my journey. And I am going to figure it out and on the way I am going to experience some amazing things and when those things happen…I want to share them with you so that you can see the good with the bad and with that you can see true reality instead of just snapshots of the good times.
Yesterday I went to lunch with some of the guys from the San Diego Wolf Pack Wheelchair Basketball team. It was so great being around those guys, I have only met them twice, but they have been awesome and are so supportive of me being a part of the team…if that is what I end up doing. And because it is a military team, they have really good financial support for travel and training ❤ it’s a pretty good setup and an incredible opportunity. And I just happen to live in the same area of California that they are located 🙂
Annnd then there is the Surfing with these guys in California…which is another incredible opportunity. ❤ Surfing might be just the therapy I need in my life to help me get to that next level of self understanding and fulfillment in my life<3
But…back to my story. After being up all night thinking about everything going on in my life and watching shark videos (after writing a bunch of emails and messaging people about possible jobs and opportunities) I woke up at 5:30 am to go surfing. When I got home, I told myself I should take a nap so that I stay mentally strong (trying to take care of muhh mental health 😉 I told myself I would wake up and go to CrossFit. Three hours later, I struggled to get myself out of bed… but I eventually did and I rushed to get to the CrossFit class (despite the fact that I had a lot going on in my mind and I didn’t really think I had the strength to go. I went. It was so great to see the trainer and the people there that I know…but I wasn’t really feeling all that great. I was feeling really alone. I looked on the board and saw that most of the workout was all legs…which stressed me out a little because I knew I didn’t really have the strength to hold my head up and not feel frustrated or sad that I couldn’t do what everyone else was doing. The trainer is an extremely awesome lady who is 100% there to help me…but today…I just didn’t have it in to accept that help. Today, I just didn’t want to stand out.
And ten or fifteen minutes into the workout…I told her I had to go because I am just having a hard day. I already told her at the beginning of the workout what was going on…and I have also told her in the past about how I sometimes just have a hard time. She understood and I could tell 100% that she truly cared. She actually just texted me to let me know she is here for me if I need her ❤
I started crying before I even pushed out of the gym.
Sometimes shit is just too hard. But that is life…and it always gets better. There are so many people out there going through some crazy shit…and, like my roommate said last night, “we just all need to lift each other up”.
And that is why I appreciate good, loving and caring people so much. Being selfless is what it is all about. I just want to help people as much as I can. And that is where I find the strength to always push through; knowing that by helping myself I am helping others. Things might be hard…but we just have to keep getting back out there.
Thursday, May 31
Annnd nowwwww….this is what happened today 🙂
I couldn’t sleep again last night. My mind has been racing at night. I didn’t want to get out of bed this morning and tried to talk myself out of doing what I wanted to do…which was get up and go watch a presentation that Charles “Chaka” Webb, the founder of the Stoke For Life adaptive surfing foundation, was giving to the OT students at the University of St. Augustine.
Someone had mentioned yesterday while we were surfing that Charles was giving a presentation this morning. I wanted to go because I needed/need some motivation. I had a pretty good feeling that hearing his story about his journey that got him to where he is today would really inspire me.
(and, not to mention, a lot of the students that had volunteered at his clinic I went to were going to be at his presentation and I was excited to be around them as well because they were all pretty awesome)
I tried to talk myself out of going because I didn’t really sleep…but 15 minutes before I needed to leave I was able to remind myself why I wanted to go and I drug myself out of bed 🙂
On my 30 min drive there, I had also made plans to speak on the phone with someone from California I had been referred to by a good friend/mentor. This person I spoke to was really cool, very understanding, encouraging and gave me ideas and connections to look into as I figure out my next steps. (right now…I could go in a few different directions. I have ideas and passions that I want to make come to life…but at the same time…I don’t know if I can really do it. I am having a hard time figuring it all out annnnnd I am having a hard time believing I can do it.
Long story short…I watched Chaka’s presentation…and I definitely found the motivation I was looking for that day ❤
Chaka’s presentation was so moving and inspiring and I couldn’t help but feel a strong connection for everything he is doing for others. He is using his own struggles and passions to make a positive difference in this world ❤
At the end of his presentation the professor of the class asked if I would tell a bit of my story. I started crying before I even finished my first sentence. I told a quick synapse of breaking my back at 18 and then went straight for what we were all there for today, learning about the importance of having adaptive opportunities to participate in life, and I told them what it feels like not being able to walk on the beach anymore. I told them about how I felt like the joy of the beach had kind of been taken away from me and that was a heavy and hard feeling to deal with. Since getting to California, I have only tried going to the beach twice (I really wish I would have written a blog about that first day. I had gone to the beach and tried my best to enjoy it but felt really sad…I didn’t write about it because I felt like it was dumb of me to still care so much about things like that. Sometimes I just feel like I am supposed to be stronger than I am. But sometimes things are hard and I can’t help but feel sad…that doesn’t mean I want a pity party. But I do want to share those experiences. I want to share those experiences because of the fact that if I think I should not feel the way that I do, especially after after what will be ten years post injury in July, there are other people out there feeling the same way. If I feel stupid or lame about the fact that it still makes makes me sad…than there are other people out there who feel the same and I want them to know that it is okay to feel that way. You can’t put a timeframe on when and how a person is supposed to heal mentally and emotionally after losing something so big in their life.
When I was 20 years old, it had been two years after my accident, I remember sitting in the kitchen of my friend’s boyfriend’s house. It was only him and I there while we waited for everyone else to show up. I was struggling that day to be okay and pretend like I was fine. This was still during my major years of fake it til I make it. But on that particular day I wanted to tell the truth. I was really struggling mentally to be okay with the fact that I couldn’t walk anymore. We were sitting there in silence, when he asked me, just to make small talk, how I was doing, and I decided that I was going to just tell him the truth, I was going to go for it and tell him how I was really feeling because I needed to get it out.
So, instead of saying “I’m doing good” I said, “I’m having a really hard time :(“.
And his IGNORANT response was “…shouldn’t you be over it by now!?”.
I felt so stupid. I was so mad at myself for telling the truth instead of just pretending like I was that strong person that I wanted everyone to think I was.
I told him “I don’t know…I guess…”
I went home a few hours later…as my day was only getting worse. I cried all the way home. When I got there I told my dad about what my friend’s jerk boyfriend had said (Her boyfriend was not a nice person at all and never really had been. He had his own issues to deal with and I understand that…but he said some really horrible things to me during those years he was dating my friend and it became hard for me to see him as a good person. I eventually had to cut both him and my best friend out of my life.
back to the story. I was crying as I told my dad what he had said. I felt numb and dumb and so confused. After hearing what happened, my dad got so angry about what that guy had said and he told me “NO! No Megan! You should not be over it by now!!! You walked for 18 years! You have been in a wheelchair for two!”. When he said that it was like a light switch came on in my brain…it made so much sense. How the heck hadn’t I been able to see it like that when that jerk was talking to me? I’m sure the reason had to do with the fact that I didn’t know anything about life with my new disability. I didn’t know what to feel, think, do, I didn’t know what I could do, I didn’t know what was going to be hard and what wasn’t going to be hard. It’s not like you just get to face every single thing you have lost because of not being able to walk right away. It takes time to learn about all of the things you have lost…you don’t know how it feels to not be able to walk on the sand…until you go to the beach and can’t do it. You don’t know when or how something that hurts you is going to stop hurting until it no longer hurts. That takes time. And it takes effort to keep trying.
Well…back to the story…
I was telling the class that the beach was hard for me deal with…but that when I went to the adaptive surfing clinic that day and met all of them who were there to help me enjoy the beach, to help me walk through the sand and down to the water, and to help carry a surf board to the water for me to surf…that it was really another turning point in my life that opened up new doors to let more happiness in. And that their kindness gave me something that is almost impossible to put into words ❤
I just wanted them to know of the struggles and the good and I wanted them to know how much what they did was appreciated. They are in school to become Occupational and Physical Therapists…and both of those professions attract a special type of person. 99% of the OT’s and PT’s I have met along my journey have all made a significantly positive impact on my life.
I asked the professor if I could come back another time and tell the rest of my story and explain the different adaptive sports that are out there and the importance of sport participation for people with disabilities so that they can better be able to help their patients ❤
Thennnnnn….I went straight to crossfit 🙂 And Tara, the badass instructor, welcomed me with a huge smile on her face 🙂