Growing up, I was always told I didn't seem my age. Personally, I always felt like I had a decent head on my shoulders, like I grew up fast. This accident, however, has aged me more than any other event in my life. Aged me in sense of maturity and wisdom. They always say "I wish I knew then what I know now" and that couldn't be more true in my situation. And not even about the dive, but about myself and my relationships.
People who really know me, knows I grew up a fat kid. After moving to Hattiesburg I dropped about 75lbs, yet my self esteem remained that of an insecure girl who stood 5'5 and weighed 210. After a transformation like that, you really become quite cynical (at least I did). As a waitress I began to make more money, I began to actually get hit on by guys who would not have given me the time of day prior to weightloss. I slowly began to focus on my appearance, believing if I looked pretty, people would like me more, all the while my self esteem and self confidence plummeted. Whereas in high school I was a big girl with a big personality, the more attention I got for my looks, the lower my confidence got, and the more I could feel myself becoming more introverted (which is never a word to describe me..)
This all leads to the first time I cried after the accident. It must have been 2-3 wks after the accident. Not for reasons one would think, no pity for myself or my situation. But when my mom was reading caringbridge guestbook comments to me that I realized what I had doubted for so many years- people, even ones I didn't know or corresponded for years, cared about me. I cried because I felt the love from others and finally the love for myself I thought I lost. Never in my wildest dreams had I thought I impacted anyone's life in any way, shape or form (with the exception of my mom's wallet).
I have always been stubborn, you tell me I won't do something and I'll do it twice, and make sure to rub it in your face. That quality, plus the enormous amount of love, support and prayers from all over the world, is what fuels my recovery. To prove to myself and to others. That's not to say Im not normal, I have days I cry, Im sad, and I want to give up- but that is simply not an option. But this particular update is about realizations, and there have been more realizations about my relationships than anything else. First and foremost my family, who I've always been relatively close to, but perhaps drifted away from in the 5 yrs I was living on my own. I remember being in ICU and repeatedly thanking them over and over for being there for me... When in fact, that's what a family is there for, and I couldn't have asked for a better one. I don't know what Id do without them. Another thing that amazed me were the friends who came out to lift me up, some I had not seen/spoken with since high school. Two of my best friends now are people I barely spoke to since high school, which goes to show you who is really there for you for the right reasons. People I had my closest relationships with prior to the accident have not the time or the strength to stand beside me in my time of need. It has really made me roll back (since I don't step) and re-examine who really cares about me. It has been a hard journey, with an outcome I didn't want but am having to deal with. I truly believe the disappointments of certain people has hurt me more than the accident. Like I said on my Facebook, a broken heart hurts alot more than a broken neck. Some people have truly disappointed me. And finally, before leaving this topic, remember this (because I wish I had known it before)... Don't change your life for somebody else, because it's not guaranteed they'll change when your life changes.
I feel like this post has been a bit scattered, but to finish it off I want to thank people. Everyone who reads my blog and/or FB, thank you for continued interest and support in my recovery; to my Mom who, even before the accident, has always been my rock and without her Id be up a creek ( even if I had a paddle I couldn't use it ); my brothers and sisters, especially Kristen and Kenny, who have come over countless times to help or just visit; Rachel, who always seems to know when to send a card or care package in the mail to cheer me up; Katy Foster, for being my best friend since I been home and keeping my spirits up; and to God, of course, for keeping me alive and well so maybe in return I can help someone else.
God Bless :-)