Sometimes I stun myself

While writing the post about my self-image and self-worth in high school  I struggled with accurately remembering how O.I. impacted how I saw myself. I could only remember my behavior and the things that I did, not my actual thoughts. Well....
I dug through the archives of my writing and found an essay I had submitted to the OI Foundation in 2003, I was a sophomore in high school. I've reproduced it in its entirety below and after I read it the first time in 8 years I was stunned!

The view from the bottom can be fascinating, too

I dreamed one night that I was walking, and everything about me was ‘normal.’ I didn’t go to school in my wheelchair; I walked to all of my classes, ran the fastest mile in Phys. Ed., and was just as tall as the rest of my fellow peers. When I woke up and told my brother about this vision, I began by asking, “want to hear about this horrendous nightmare I had?”
                After I finished he replied, utterly confused, “but I thought you always wished you could walk like me.” So I had for quite a while, but then I realized that being a person with a disability adds to the confusion of life. It makes me who I am, as I challenge it to gain the most of what I can through every passing day.
                I must confess however, that I haven’t always regarded the concept of being handicapped with such awe and bliss. It seemed only yesterday I came home from my first day of kindergarten and threw a colossal tantrum. Through my tears and screaming my mom learned a kindergarteners’ worse nightmare: I had to sit in the shade during recess. In the meantime my other squeaky little friends ran freely about the playground. “I want legs that work!” I repeated in my childish innocence, not understanding why mommy and daddy couldn’t make that happen. This was one of the few demands my parents were and are unable to meet, although through the years my parents have shown me how I can surpass challenges which far outweigh a set of working limbs.
                It was one of the rare times when I become eager and envious of my younger sibling as I watched his feet brush past me. I looked on with an immense longing, and felt as though I was window shopping. Just peering, feasting my eyes, but I can’t buy it, no matter how much money I might offer. His feet roll from the back of his heels to the tips of his toes, back and forth, back and forth. Such a simple pattern that I could never do without the assistance of a walker, and even then it would look awkward, I would never walk like him. So what choice do I have? I’d made up my mind long ago that having a disability means to never allow for it to inundate my life.
                “You can’t get anywhere if you dwell on the negative. Go around the wall and you’ll feel good. Climb over the wall and you’ll feel great. Go through it and you’ll feel pain,” I quote from my dad; a saying that has sailed me through the roughest of seas.
                Perhaps not everyone has gone through the same ordeals. However, at some point, disability or no, we’ve all questioned the world and the role we play. If there’s one aspect which we could all agree upon, it’s that life can make absolutely no sense when we think about the situations we are put through. Even through the physical barriers, there are activities in life all of us will experience. From the pressures of school to waking up in the morning, the majority of the time we – believe it or not – are in control of our own steering wheel. In some cases it may seem as though someone else is driving; but in fact we are our own driver. We may just need to view the problem through the eyes of someone else. However, at times when we put the key into the ignition and expect the roar and rumble, all we get is a sputter and then a devastating silence.
                I remember one such time on a sixth grade field trip to the aquarium. There was one section of the exhibition with a gigantic glass tube of water that went vertically; it was as around as the thickest tree and as tall as a three storey house. I remember the long line that seemed to inch along; finally I got to the beginning of the stairs. Before I could blink, my friends were off racing up the spiraled stair-steps. I looked up at the teacher who tried to make the best of the situation by pointing out all the neat things on the ocean floor. I paid no attention to what she was saying and looked up, and I couldn’t get over how fascinating the view was from the bottom.
                Through anything it’s imperative that one doesn’t give up, even when it means relying on the last thing on the list. I’ve fallen back onto hope to make what sense I can out of walking. I’ll continue watching my brothers’ feet with careful scrutiny, mentally photographing each detail, so the next time my physical therapist and I go for walks I’ll be able to imitate it, and I will find my own way of walking with ease and grace.
                My place and your place in the world will not always make sense. There will be frustrations, ups and downs whether we ask for them or not. The same goes for how some of us have obvious differences, whether we want them or not. Yet in the end we’re all humans. Even if you can’t walk, run and can’t do about a billion other things like your younger brother, think about all that you can do because they’ll always outnumber those that you can’t.
                Act like sponges; absorb the most you can even when times do seem like a weak sputter. The shipwrecks in this vast ocean are the only truly normal things. Remember: how you mend your ship is what makes you yourself. Catch as much fish as you can and trust me, you’ll survive.

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