Everything feels surreal right now. I’ve spent the past two days at Seattle University, my new school, for orientation. My new school. It’s still sinking in, as you can probably tell. It’s so incredible because I sincerely, in all honestly, did not think I would live to see life after high school at many points. I’m sure many of you can relate. In fact, I think everyone feels that way at some point during secondary school.
Now, that time is over. I’ve finally stepped into the chapter of my life where people really start to define themselves and I’m so excited. I know I have stars in my eyes for something brand new and that eventually it will become a place where I have a routine. In other words, the honeymoon phase will end. Of all the information I learned at orientation I can’t help but feel excited about how I walked with my cane confidently, how I introduced myself to others and how I finally feel comfortable in my own skin.
There was a portion of the orientation where we all assembled to discuss diversity. The speaker would say statements, and if it applied to you, you would stand. For me it pointed out that we are all very different but we all have unique challenges and components to our lives that make us who we are.
“If you have or live with someone who has a disability, please stand.”
To many of the students there the activity may have felt like a waste of time or just too invasive. Most of them probably thought it was stupid, and yeah maybe it was a little melodramatic. There was a time when I would have felt the same, but yesterday I couldn’t. I was too busy standing as tall as my 4’11 stature would allow. In that moment, I realized that I am nothing but proud and confident about who I am. Everyone has their own challenges, and mine have made me who I am. I’m no longer ashamed or apologetic because I have different abilities than everyone else. This is all to say, DO NOT BE LIKE ME.
Don’t wait until you are 18 years old to feel comfortable in your skin and to be proud of who you are. And if you’re older than 18, do not wait another second. Time putting yourself down and not loving yourself is wasted time and in addition you are preventing yourself from so much. You’re going to make mistakes and you have flaws. We all do. But you will never learn from them if you’re consumed with punishing yourself.
Don’t be your own worst enemy. Be proud of who ou are and don’t let anyone dictate how you feel about yourself. Stand up, and start moving.