I had a rude awakening on my 16th birthday. I realized that I was living in an unimaginable crisis. Instead of being out with friends celebrating my special sweet 16 and having a blast, I was sick. I had just gotten discharged from the hospital a few days prior. I was still in a wheelchair, sitting in between my four grandparents who were all bickering about Trump and pantsuit Hillary. At that moment I was depressed about not doing what society, and quite frankly, what I thought was “normal” for my age.
In hindsight, I couldn’t be more grateful to have had one of those family dinners with all four of my beautiful grandparents. This year my Poppy passed away very suddenly, so looking back I am beyond thankful to have that memory. At that moment, however, I didn’t realize how blessed I was. Everything in life is about your perspective and outlook. Do you really care what society says is the status quo? Do you really want to be just like everyone else? I know I don’t!
“When you embrace your difference, your DNA, your look or heritage or religion or your unusual name, that’s when you start to shine.”– Bethenny Frankel
Having been through hell and back at such a young age, I unintentionally experienced life’s milestones in a way that was far from stereotypical. I JUST wanted my life to go back to “normal.” Once I did get healthy again, though, I was so different from my friends. No longer “normal”. By this word “normal,” I mean that when I hear people complain that their Starbucks isn’t hot enough or their hair isn’t straight enough, I no longer sound like that person. It took me a while to be able to listen to that conversation again without growing frustrated. I was so far from those basic problems for so long.
My whole life was about my health, so to me anything as basic as a late appointment, well as long as everyone’s safe and healthy, no big deal. I have the same attitude today. Your health is your wealth. Believe me, I understand the struggle of curly hair, but I just don’t care anymore. I used to straighten my hair every day. Now you’re lucky if I brush it in the morning; 9/10 times it’s in a bun or a messy braid.
My new perspective on life was something I came to accept through deep reflection after my recovery. During my illness, I never realized just how much I had grown. Not only did I grow physically a few inches in the wheelchair, (I literally stood up one day and was taller than both of my grandparents – my mum and grampy) but I also grew emotionally. I am miles away from the 14 year old girl I once was.
Why did I ever want to be like everyone else? My point is, do what makes you happy, don’t think twice about anyone else’s view.
Not only is it okay to stand out, but it is what you do to stand out that makes you memorable!– Samantha Sloves
Family is and always has been my number one priority. After regaining my health, I continued to have my birthday dinners with them. I learned that you will always want what you can’t have, and once you can have those things, you often no longer desire them.
What’s important is that you are able to adjust to whatever experiences life throws your way, and make them work for you. This is important in life, in business, in friendships, in relationships, for your health, for everything. You cannot control what happens in life, but you can adjust your reaction, goals, timeline, support system, and continue to strive for what you want, need and, more importantly, what YOU DESERVE.
What you do not only follows you but makes you!
Right now, a lot of people are putting themselves under pressure to stay in a certain school district or lifestyle that they believe society wants for them. They are trying to fit into a preconceived notion of who they are supposed to be and what they are supposed to want. However, it is clear to me that living according to your values is a lot more important than listening to societal expectations.