The Other Fragile Balance

In yesterday's post I talk about the difficulty with meshing activities/behavior with my actual age. Because I have such a short stature I have a tendency to get treated like a child or have childish expectations of me. Today's post is going to be the opposite issue. I'm not sure if it is just me or if other OI children feel the same way, but up until I hit my 20's I always felt decades older than I actually am.

Is it because I was constantly surrounded by adults as a very young child? Or because I had to learn many life lessons the difficult/painful way before I learned to ride a bike? Was it the different priorities that I seemed to have been born with? (That although life is fragile and scary you need to be bold with it!) Those hours spent at hospitals in the waiting room with a broken limb - so much goes on inside my head during those minutes. I remember feeling isolated, in pain, and yet needing to be patient, to be strong, to be brave - not just for myself but for my parents and other family members. Surely all of those thoughts slamming into one another like a domino effect at the age of 3, 5, 9, 15, and 23 must have had some impact on my mentality and thought process? To be honest I don't think my ability to think is any different than someone else my age, I'm sure of it!

In the moments before my orthopedic doctor pulls the x-ray up I am learning about fate and consequences. Those seconds I am realizing that it is a terrible fracture an innate coping mechanism kicks into gear. When strangers unintentionally shove their butts into my face I am learning how to find humor in everything. The skills of patience and rehab are honed every time I am done scratching the heck out of a freshly freed limb from a cast. Being the only one in my family with this mysterious fragility has taught me how to be alone and forgiving.
None of those situations come with some kind of magical manual that my orthopedic doctor handed to me when I was born; it wasn't like he said "Now when you grow up and turn 21 and need help with managing fractures turn to page 57 in this handbook." There have been countless times when I have wished for such a guide but of course no such thing exists. I have just learned how to deal with things as they come, this natural reaction to situations has become so fluid that I don't even think about things anymore. All of this is just all that I have ever known and it's life as I have come to love and live it!
But just because I might have been able to think like a 42 year-old at the age of 17 doesn't mean I had all the answers to everything (even though every 17 year-old believes she does). It seemed like I was so well versed and calm about bigger picture instances in life but when it came to the smaller stuff I tripped and stumbled just as much as the next kid. How do you ask a guy to prom? How will I be able to drive a car? How do I open my own bank account?

Never mind 17, even today I still struggle with a lot of things that I thought I should have "figured it out by now." How is it that I can calmly navigate my parents through a major rodding surgery and not explain to them that I don't want to live at home? How is it that though I have lived for years away in a dorm that my family still worries every time I am out past 9pm? And even though no one else in my family has O.I. - how come they don't understand the stuff about me that is non-OI related? The gap in understanding and maturity that I am constantly traversing can be infuriating, exhausting, and disappointing. But it's something I can remember needing to understand ever since I began kindergarten (I think it's just as important as learning how to manage fractures!); I'm not sure if there is a name for this kind of thing that I have been describing, but what I do know is that it's definitely a trait of having O.I. and one of the 'symptoms' I will happily deal with long after they find a cure to my fragile skeleton.

The Other Balance:

  • Even though you've been through some life experiences that few others have, you're not supposed to have the rest of your life figured out (learn this sooner rather than later!)
  • OI isn't just a condition that impacts your genetics or your bone structure, it's life encompassing and isn't always something that makes you fragile - you will be surprised at how invincible it can make you in other ways
  • I have yet to learn how to do this and it's still a hugely difficult challenge for me today: understanding how to mesh the OI affected parts of your life with who you are as a person is key to this 'balance'
  • Although people might assume that you have a better understanding of certain 'life things' - no one expects you to act any other way than who you are as a person
  • Like I said, I have no idea what this 'mentality' that I have described above is called, but when it gets exhausting for you talk to your friends about it. Even if they don't have OI, friends are there to listen and to help - I have been surprised at the empathic abilities of my closest buddies 

Posted in , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. RSS feed for this post.

Leave a Reply

Copyright © 2011 Perfectly Imperfecta. Powered by Blogger.