Dear Mr. Melissa Blake:
I’ve been thinking a lot about this question lately, Sweetpea, especially when it comes to my disability. We all have parts of ourselves that we readily embrace more than other parts. Maybe it’s because we’re more comfortable with them and other parts are simply too scary to confront — at least for the time being. Or, maybe the opposite is true — we work extra hard to embrace, well, the thing that at first feel so embraceable to us, and before we know it, that one thing has become the only thing. Everything else has seemingly been tossed aside.
Don’t get me wrong, Sweetpea. I’m proud that I’ve gotten to a place in my life where my disability is just one part of me, not all of me. But sometimes I wonder if all the work I’ve done has come with a rather heavy price tag. Just think about it: How would your life be different today if you’d chosen to focus on a different aspect of yourself, cultivating it and watching it blossom? Would you be a different person? Though maybe you were able to strike a better balance than I was. I never want to forget who I am despite my disability because that would sort of negate everything I’ve worked so hard to do, you know? But at the same time, I do want to show that I’ve integrated my disability into the person I am today, which is someone who isn’t ashamed of who she is.
Sometimes, it feels like embracing is confused with settling. Embracing who you are doesn’t mean “OK, this is who I am and there’s nothing I can do about it.”
Instead, it means — at least to me — that “OK, this is who I am right now and I am happy with the person I’ve become.” So maybe when you look at things that way, embracing who you are is sort of like the on-ramp in the journey to the person you could be, to the person you are meant to be. So are we left accepting parts of ourselves at the expense of other parts? Something tells me all good things come in time. Wouldn’t you agree, Sweetpea? Until we meet…
[Photos via Le Love]