The Sandbox Writing Challenge this week asks us to reflect on what makes us a survivor.
The majority of my posts here are primarily stories about how I have personally survived various obstacles, injuries or loss, but the idea of finding qualities that make one a survivor and another not is rather difficult for me.
If I really ponder it, I think it all comes down to choice and what you choose as something that can be overcome. What would be a normal Monday for me might send someone else to the nearest mental health clinic or ward for a “wee rest”, as my Mom used to put it when discussing her friends and their assorted nervous breakdowns.
As a child, I think my natural curiosity about what could happen tomorrow and my optimistic spirit enabled me to survive the dysfunctional environment I was raised in. I knew tomorrow was always a new day, with a fresh chance for things to be better than they were today. I still have that optimism, which is rather amazing, all things considered.
In my own very unhealthy codependency, I thrive on others need of me, so since the age of 23, I always had a babe or child, who I knew was counting on me to be OK and to carry on, which motivated me greatly. Following my accident, I kept the thought of my sons in my mind, in order to move through the pain of rehabilitation and the months of recovery, where there were certainly moments- days, even, where I thought I could no longer bear the pain or the effort of getting back to myself.
Moments where I would curse at myself ” Just shut that shit, down, girl- no time for a pity party today. Get up on your feet and take one step forward..just one step.” I would self motivate, and listen to that grumpy voice, the part of me that refused to give in. Is that the spirit within us? Our mothers? What is that voice? I am not entirely sure, but I have it and it has pushed me along, with no patience for excuses or whining.
In my middle years now ( still hella optimistic, ha!), as an empty nester, that curiosity is back and it is stronger than ever before. I have so many things left to do and people to help and love and perhaps even influence in some small way. I need to keep myself healthy so when grandchildren come for me, I am strong enough to carry them and mentally alert enough to savour every single moment with them. It must be like a do-over with your own children. A chance to make everything right with all love and no discipline!
Once again, I have rambled, and not answered the question, I’m afraid. I don’t know what that is inside of me that has made me get back up repeatedly and keep holding on.
Life is beautiful to me. I want to be here and I want to contribute good things. Pain and suffering are simply part of the journey, and I honestly would not change one thing that has happened to me. The struggle has made me who I am at my core and I am very thankful for my strength and resiliency.
There was simply no other choice for me but to survive.
It is who I am.