DAILY LIVING & MOBILITY

Same Adventure, New Perspective: A New Way to Climb Mountains

Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)

Kelsey & Madeline

The Back and Forth of Acceptance

There have been plenty of times in my life that I've thought 'can I do this?'  Since my injury, that thought has crossed my mind much more often, but now for many different reasons.   

I was always one to take chances, but B.C. (Before Cripple), I was always pretty sure of myself. Growing up, I had somehow harvested this confidence that I could do almost anything. I generally wasn't afraid to take chances. I had faith in myself that even if things didn't go as planned, I could handle it.  I could usually improvise and turn the coin in my favor when faced with a challenge. I actually reveled in the thrill of it all, delighted in the opportunity to show myself what I was made of, what I could learn from the experience, and what I could see and learn from this world. I guess it was one of the things that made life an adventure for me. So many things changed when I became a quadriplegic, and that is one part of me that I have worked extremely hard toward retaining in some way. That confidence and carefree attitude that I once pretty easily carried has become a bit cumbersome. 

There are just so many other variables now. I can't do everything by myself, and I can't do everything everybody else can, and that really changes the game. Accepting that, and the weight of that, is an important and challenging practice in my life. I'm having to make peace with the new me and say goodbye to the old me in some ways. The definition of spontaneity has changed. And so I've tried to remain ME throughout this whole process of adapting to life with an SCI. I've tried to prepare myself the best I can to take certain risks and chances, because that's what makes me feel alive. It's part of my soul, my essence.   

That's what this film is for me, and that's what our whole journey around the country was for me. It was definitely something I couldn't do alone, but there are these precious elements of beauty that that brings too. White Sands, New Mexico stands out in my mind for many reasons. For it's incredible beauty, but also for all of these metaphors to the many challenges I face everyday. It challenged my perspective. It challenged how I approach things. I wasn't able to climb to the top of these giant mounds of sugar-white sand, but I was able to cruise around them with my fur baby playfully bounding by my side. There was so much joy in that. There was something so rewarding about watching my friends arduously climb to the top of the dunes and see them gaze in awe and wonder. I was living vicariously through them and that change in perspective was something to be humbled by and grateful for. Even though obviously a part of me wanted to climb to the top, reach out my arms and yell at the top of my lungs, I still saw the same sky. I still saw those same ethereal colors streaming across the horizon.  

I do what I can do and I ENJOY what I can. It's when I embrace that reality that my joy and happiness reach new heights. Things are always changing and I have so much hope and faith for the future but no matter what, we only truly have today. That's life, so I'm just gonna go with it.

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