When We Don't Fit Into the Egg Crate

My parents used to tell me about how when I was an infant they would carry me atop a foam egg crate pad, instead of holding me in their own hands. I guess the dimpled ridges offered just enough support beneath me, and at the same time the foam provided just-soft-enough-padding that prevented sores on my skin. In my head I always picture it like I'm one of those Faberge eggs balanced precariously on top of a velvet cushion. Except, of course, I'm worth a whole lot more... :-P

Those were the days when I could still fit snug against the grooves of an egg crate. Those were the days when despite how terrified my parents were of handling me, their hands were always holding me up beneath the padding. Their fingers never far underneath the layers of casts, cotton stuffing, pads, or ace bandages - their grip that held onto me seemed stronger than gravity itself. Indeed, their pull on me towards them was the first gravity I ever knew. (Isn't that the truth for everyone?) 

Then I got older and a little bit stronger. My parents grew more confident and their knowledge of how to best lift me became second nature to them. I would soon learn how to do my own transfers with and without casts on - most of the time it was against doctor's orders, and all of the time it was through trial and error. Suddenly there came the day when there was no need for that foam egg crate pad anymore. I had outgrown the need for its softness and my parents no longer needed it as a shield. We had all, slowly but surely, become more comfortable with me growing into my own skin and abilities.

Growing out of that egg crate pad wasn't easy though. There were frequently times when I got frustrated because I didn't seem to belong anywhere, couldn't find the groove that I could fit myself into again; at least not in the same care-free, worry-free, judgment-free way that the foam egg crate pad offered me as a baby. Although I never really experienced growing pains, fumbling out of that physical nest certainly had its own internal pains for me - particularly as a teenager. Questions like who am I outside of my disability? How much do my friends judge me for the accommodations I get in school? Can I expect others besides my parents to provide me safety, comfort and support? How do I ask for help in a non-sissy way? Does my tough sarcasm actually make me seem less weak? Oh, the questions filled pages upon pages of journals that ran around in circles in my head or on the side margins of my class notes. They seemed to run on this endless treadmill that I thought would finally stop after I gave up on looking for answers. 

I never did give-up looking for answers though. Eventually I figured out the answers to my questions, and surprisingly many of them I think I knew in my head -- just didn't have the gall to admit it to myself at the time. Most of the time the answers came to me through pure serendipity, on occasions when I wasn't even looking for a solution to anything - I just happened upon them by going through my day-to-day routines and trying things out. Soon these answers came to me enough times that I began to recognize the pattern. It was something like I won't figure out all of these questions right away, but I will figure them out eventually and they don't need to bog my daily life activities down just because I'm uncertain about something. I just have to keep trying and keep stumbling across the right people at the right time, because it seems like that's what everyone else is doing!

At some point that thought process has become my 'egg crate' so to speak. It became my own source of comfort and safety, those are the thoughts that now serve as my gravity to getting myself back to moving forward.

"Sandy did you see what's on the Suggested Items for Your Dorm list?" My mother asked.
"Sheets, laundry hamper, desk lamp, snacks.. the obvious stuff."
I mumbled, bored already.
"They also listed a mattress pad. An foam egg crate mattress pad because the dorm mattresses are really hard."
"Oh...so..?" I looked at her dumbly.
"Do you remember when you were a baby.." She began the story again.

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

Leave a Reply

Copyright © 2011 Perfectly Imperfecta. Powered by Blogger.