Five things I've learned from O.I. in 2012

Yep it's one of those year-end-round'em-up lists!

1. Labels, Definitions, Diagnoses..Oh my!
One of the "themes" of this year's blog posts has definitely been my brain-crunching of what being disabled, or having O.I. means. (Wellll.. that could really be said of all my blog posts, right?) But this year I think that I have really begun to take notice of the definitions that society has given me, the medical experiences my family has defined me by, and even my own long-time resistance to being 'defined' by anything. Whether it was through a conference with other young women with disabilities, or talking with other (O.I. and non-O.I.) parents of kids with O.I., or just by giving my own honest thoughts of the dictionary definition of disability... -- I can say that this language-nerd is okay with the fact that maybe there are not enough definitions to define me, and there are too many opportunities I have yet to experience to add to that hoopla!

2. I'm a product of what came before me.
Now more than ever I am able to appreciate and cringe at my past. The things that I have been directly shaped by i.e. my parents, and my family's values.. and also the indirect things like the disability civil rights activists who protested so that I can take much of my current life for granted. In my opinion, having a medical diagnosis that involves multi-faceted care gives us an edge on understanding what makes a full person. It's not just my orthopedic doctor, it's not just my parents, it's not just my classroom aides I had, or the public transportation operator... I often have to remind myself that not one person or one source is going to give me the answer I'm looking for anymore. Or maybe it's because I'm too old to just settle for those simpler answers? Whatever it is I hope you'll be along to help me muddle through the complexities of the future that I am gunning towards.

3. Social Networks are Powerful
Never did I think I would be recognized as "the blogger who writes about O.I." But that's also because I didn't ever think I would ever write about O.I. But since attending my first OIFoundation Conference, and meeting others in the O.I. community, or hearing about other individuals with O.I. in the news... I continue to be amazed by how connected we are to one another. There are things that I didn't think I could ever utter (out of shame, embarrassment, awkwardness, or just plain uncertainty), and this past year I opened myself up because I knew there would be someone out there who knows just what I mean. And to do so without judgment or condescension. Just a simple "that makes sense, I feel that way sometimes too.." can brighten up an entire week! Why is this such a big deal? Because it means we are not alone and that is what makes this blogging experience so valuable to me no matter how busy I might get.

4. I do it because I can, regardless of what O.I. says.
Sometimes we get caught up in the 'do's & don'ts' of having a disability, or any kind of medical condition. As I share some of my life experiences and write about them, I often realize that I'm not the best at following rules and expectations. If something in my gut tells me I should do it, I do it. If something tells me this is wrong and I should say something, I'll let it be known. This past year of writing entries I'm a little bit relieved to know that no matter how over-protective my parents and family may have been with me -- I can say with confidence that having O.I. has not held me back from what I want to do whether big or small. Instead it's just the passenger along for the ride, and when it acts up well I'll take a detour and manage it in order to continue on my way.

5. I can only do so much.
"I want to do everything all by myself" isn't some whiny quip that constantly came out of my mouth when I was younger. It's a whiny quip that constantly comes out of my mouth even today. Readers who have been following along know that there's a certain sense of routine and schedule that I like to maintain! But this year I did end-up having to shift my schedule around, I did realize that while meeting goals is a great ability... I shouldn't be writing posts for the sake of meeting an expectation. What brings greatest joy to me is writing, and if I can't write something that I am proud of or that I think is worth 3-5min of someone's time then I'll scrap the whole post completely. Taking breaks, having fun, being sure to squeeze in those regretful nights of a 20-something, or frantic cramming has all been a part of my life outside of the blog-posting schedule. And I wanted to thank my readers for teaching me that there's a life outside of this screen, a life that I need to live to the fullest in order to have material to write about!

Bookmark the permalink. RSS feed for this post.

Leave a Reply

Copyright © 2011 Perfectly Imperfecta. Powered by Blogger.