Just Keep Pushing Forward
When you had an amazing weekend but it's Monday and you gotta go back to reality. :/
Today was rough...
Today was a day I let fear overwhelm me. What am I doing? Can I handle it?? Am I really going to be okay? Can I really do this?? 😣
But the answer is yes, I definitely can. I might fall a few more times on the way...but really, falling is the only way to get to where I want to be. I have to fight through anything and everything that gets in my way; mentally, emotionally, physically. I have been really stressed out as I jump through hurdles to get my health insurance set back up, get unemployment going and figure out what I am going to do next... and things have been even harder doing all of this while also dealing with my pressure sores, the doctor visits and debilitating pain. Pain that just makes you want to curl up in a ball, give up, and cry.
The health insurance was supposed to be set-up starting the beginning of August and I was so excited to finally be able to start physical therapy and get an X Ray done to find out why sitting is causing me so much pain (the wound care doctor doesn't think the pain on my Ischial butt bone is from a pressure sore. She thinks I may have gotten a small fracture which could have caused calcification deposits to develop). But in order to find out more I need to go to the doctor's more and have more tests done.
I just wanted to know what was going on because if it wasn't a pressure sore, and I CAN sit on it without making it worse, and the only thing that would come from sitting on it is pain, then I wanted to be able to push through the pain and do the things in my life that I needed to do. I had already spent long enough trying everything I can to stay off my butt (and my feet as I did have pressure sores on my feet due to trying to work with my orthotist long-distance on a new pair of leg braces...which long distance can be hard but I love my orthotist and I want to stick with him.
...but I was especially discouraged today when i found out that I was denied...they said I did not give them all the documents they asked for...but I did. tomorrow i will be able to figure more out.
it can all be so overwhelming sometimes.
But I can't give up.
I need to push myself. I need to workout harder and I need to workout my entire body. Since I have had the ankle surgery...it is time to really start working on this walking thing. Walking has not been a huge priority for me for a very long time now. Training for the USA Team and Playing in college and going to college took precedence over my goal of walking again. Because after my accident, there cane a point when I needed to live my life again and I felt like it had been revolving the around this idea of walking again for far too long and it was really wearing on me as I felt like I was continuing to run into a brick wall.
I had to make a decision as to what I was going to give my all to in order to make something big happen. Because at that point in my life...I felt anything less would be settling for a life that was never ever going to make me happy again.
I chose making it to the Paralympics :)
Well now...I am at another crossroads. Take a 9-5 job anywhere I can get it...or try my best to figure out exactly what I want to do, am going to do, and need to do in order to make whatever it is that I figure out happen. And figure it out as quickly as possible in a huge state that I am brand new to...and a state that is very expensive to live in.
But this huge state is truly full of opportunities and incredible people. It has been a beautiful place for me to be so far.
I have healed in so many ways. Every single thing that has happened has made me grow. Every single person I hav met has encouraged me to start believing in myself. Everything I have done has shown me that putting myself out there and taking risks are really exciting things to do and each time I do them...I find more and more happiness in my life.
But I am scared. I get excited about the future but, at the same time, I feel like a complete failure. I am scared I am lazy. I am scared I am not being responsible by thinking I can do something I dream about doing. Something I believe in with my whole heart. But something I am scared might not work.
Something that always crosses my mind was when Little Penny and Alex's Nana told me at my going away party "You should write a book about what it means to follow your dreams" and hearing her tell me this made me take a step back and realize that I really do follow my dreams. And that she truly admires that about me.
And today, I was told by someone else "there is nothing wrong with taking a little time to figure things out after the floor fell out from under you."
Which in turn, helped me to once again take a step back and realize the realty of my situation instead of just being so hard on myself.
I did have a plan. I moved here for a job that I thought was going to be my everything. I put everything into it. I was ready for whatever it was going to take. I was committed and put it before everything else in my life.
But it didn't workout.
And now...I feel lost once again. I can't believe I am 28 years old and nowhere near where I thought I was going to be or where I think I am supposed to be.
But why do I think there is any kind of timeframe for my life journey. There is not. You cannot compare my life to anyone else's. we are all different and we are all on our own journeys. There is no cookie cutter for what someone's life should look like. And that is where we often lose ourselves. When we compare ourselves to those around us and, when, on top of doing that, we bring into the mix society's take on it all. We can be so brainwashed sometimes.
But I am scared of what reality might be. I have dreams, goals, aspirations...but I am also trying my best to not live in a dream world.
But I do believe in more.
And I want to make a difference.
And to do this...I have to take chances.
We are all just on a journey to find ourselves. To find strength and faith and love and acceptance and to feel a sense of purpose within.
So there is that fear. There are the bad days. The days you wake up only to find out that day is going to be rough. But there is the excitement of the unknown in it all.
Today, I honestly just wanted to go to sleep at 5 pm when businesses closed and I could no longer make the phone calls I needed to make... just so that I could wakeup to the new day and figure things out.
But the good.
I have been working hard on trying to figure out my next steps. And some things just take time to figure out. I couldn't rush the process. I didn't know where the next job opportunity might be. I didn't know what I was going to be able to afford to do. I didn't know that many people here in California. I didn't really know anyone when I moved here.
but where I am living right now is not the place I need to be for the next chapter. I live in between LA and San Diego. I live here because of the job I moved here for. But now that is over.
I worked hard to figure out what kind of life I could make for myself if I were to move toward Sand Diego and what life I could make if I moved toward LA. I made so many connections and plans in both areas all the while not knowing what direction I would be going or how I would even make it work.
I was waiting to hear back about the job I applied for in LA and found out I did not get it. Which is okay. It wasn't meant to be. And that is why I was preparing for a life in either of the two areas. I don't want to force anything that is not right.
Before I moved here, the coach of the San Diego Wolf Pack's Wheelchair Basketball Team had reached out to me on Facebook and asked if I would be interested in playing with them when I moved here. And I definitely was. The only problem was that where I moved to for my job was an hour away (without traffic) from where they practice... When I had the job I was okay with spending the money on gas and making that work.
I was excited to have the chance to push myself with a group of military guys playing in the higher level division of the Rec league. I was excited for the chance to see what I am capable of doing as I continue to work through any and all insecurities that continue to hold me back. That is what I love about playing. I get to constantly push my own limits and learn to take each shot with confidence <3 Playing wheelchair basketball is my time to be free. To play in the flow zone ;) the best zone to be in. And although the flow does not always happen, that's life...and you get to face the same challenges that you face in real life...in a game ;) that's a big reason I love the game. And everything I do in the game I try to carry over into real life.
So after settling in...I went to my first practice with the guys :)
But soon after the first practice I went to I was laid off from my job, just one month into working. I didn't know if I was going to have to move back to WA and I didn't want to spend too much of my savings on the gas it would take to get down there. I was feeling really stressed out about it all.
I tried hard to stay positive and I went to one more practice before I began detailing my roommates sailboat. I detailed the boat to try and get through that tough time of being laid off by giving myself something that I had to get out of bed for. But I was sitting on the bare dock while buffing the boat for 4-6 hours at a time...because I always thought that with how much I moved around that I didn't have to worry about pressure sores...but I did. and it sent the pressure sore over the top to the point that I could not sit on my butt for more than 10 minutes or so without being in a lot of pain.
I was trying to be positive and get through the hard time...but ended up developing more problems :/
I felt like such a flake. I constantly questioned myself and my pain level because I couldn't believe that a pressure sore had actually happened to me. I wondered if I was just being a baby about it. If I just needed to suck it up. Or if I was going to make it so bad I would ruin even more of my future if I tried pushing it.
But I didn't have time to stay off my butt. I also had the pressure sore on my ankle from my leg braces and a sore on the bottom of my foot from the dock so I couldn't even stand on my feet or walk with leg braces. I was completely held back. And I just didn't understand why everything was so hard
And I let all of these issues I was facing overwhelm me and begin to deter me from what I really wanted to do. I began thinking I am going to need to settle for less than what I truly want in life.
After Rio I didn't feel like I was done playing. But I had to take that year off so that I could finish grad school by completing a 7 month full-time internship and during which I wouldn't be able to take time off for the USA training camps if I were on the team. That was hard for me to accept. I wasn't even sure anymore if the my degree in social work was even something I needed for what I wanted to do in my life. But I made the decision to finish my degree. I told myself that I would take that first year off from the USA team to finish school but that I would go back the following year.
To me basketball means so much more than just playing the game. It is a movement, a cause, a chance to push myself, to express myself, to work through problems to better myself, to be a role model for kids with disabilities, to have a platform to spread a message of inclusion, strength and capability...it is so much more than just a game.
Well, when the second year came around, I trained as hard as I could, on my own, as i was no longer in college and getting to practice with highly competitive guys and girls and be coached by the best of the best. I felt so lost. I felt the frustration I felt when I was first paralyzed and realized the lack of opportunities that I had as an adaptive athlete to really truly push myself.
It is something I have to now take into my own hands. I have to make opportunities happen. I have to show up. I have to be the one pushing myself and I have to compete against myself. I have to really dig deep and just do it. and I have to accept those facts.
But when the second year of tryouts came around I decided three weeks before tryouts that trying to train the way I needed to train while finishing my internship and figure out what my next steps will be career wise was too much for me at that time and that I really need to get the foundation of a career started before I go back to basketball because I didn't want to live life as a broke athlete anymore.
So I made that my focus. That was my plan. I found the career path I thought was the perfect fit for everything I was so passionate about doing and I reached out to a few companies to see what my options might be. I ended up with the chance to move to California to work for a company training to be an Assistive Technology Professional where I was going to be able to fit people for wheelchairs and make sure they were getting exactly what they needed to live their lives to the fullest. And I especially went all in with this opportunity because my boss had told me that he would be supportive of me playing on the USA team after I settled in the first year of working there. So my plan for my career included the ability to have flexibility to still do a lot of the things I felt were important in my life.
And so...when I made the decision to focus on a career...I made the decision, three weeks before tryouts, to cancel my flight to tryouts and take yet another year off.
I put everything into this one plan for a career...I made the decision I thought was right.
And it was...just not in the way I thought it would be.
Moving to California was where I needed to be. And the job, and getting laid off, was all a part of the process.
Getting laid off was too crazy to not have happened for a reason.
Right now...I am still surviving. I have seriously been healing in soooooo many ways. I have worked through so much stuff in these short three months I have been in California.
I am figuring things out.
And it is time to take the next steps.
Just this past Saturday I got word from a landlord (my new landlord :) that Ally and I were approved for renting their condo unit :) And I will be moving further south in the next few days :) It is time to start the next chapter.
I met Ally when I was volunteering as a wheelchair basketball coach at the San Diego Adaptive Sports camp a few weeks ago :) Ally is from Pennsylvania. She was in a car accident 5 years ago where she broke her back and became paralyzed from the waist down. She is an Occupational Therapist. And she decided that she has always wanted to move to California and that it was time to finally do it. So she just up and moved without a plan set in stone. She had interviews set-up for jobs when she got here and a bunch of money in savings. But she really didn't know what she was going to do or where life was going to take her.
i decided I have been in limbo long enough trying to figure it out. I have felt very overwhelmed and stuck at times when I would have to turn down opportunities as gas is extremely expensive with my 16 mpg SUV and having to drive 1 to 3 hours in order to get to them. But these opportunities are important and I don't want to miss them. They have been opening doors for me left and right.
But although the doors have been opening...I still have to walk through them and figure out what to do next.
I didn't know how I was ever going to be able to afford a place in either of those areas where I actually felt safe and at least somewhat comfortable. And although I have had such crazy good luck with every roommate I have ever had...I wasn't all that excited about the thought that I might end up having to rush into getting a place with someone who might not be all that fun to be around :P I just wasn't really wanting that in my life at this point. I needed positivity. I needed to be moving forward.
And like I said...then I met Ally.
It was crazy!
When I found out that she was in a hotel with her stuff in storage and her next step was moving onto someone's couch until she figured things out I asked her if she would want to get a place together. She was just as excited as I was :)
I had a feeling she was a badass girl...
...but how can you not be when you have been faced with adversity and you have conquered that Sh&^, rose above it and choose everyday to live your life to the fullest!?? She put herself out there...just like I have been doing.
And now we are going to be roommates as we start our next chapters.
And not only are we going to be roommates...we have found the most amazing place to rent. Neither one of us ever expected to find a place we could afford and feel this good about living at. This place we found is literally one of the nicest places I could have imagined. It has the feel of a vacation resort with two pools, a gym, water fountains, bbq areas, and the unit is so nice and spacious enough for us...with wood floors to roll around on ☺️😊 I seriously can't believe we got this lucky.
And what is even more special about this...is the landlord is this incredible lady...who is independent, a go-getter, a nurse, and someone who feels lucky to have us as her tenants. She believes in us and is taking a chance on us two, unemployed, girls in wheelchairs :P She thinks we are going to be famous :P haha We met her for the second time and her boyfriend for the first time last Friday when we went down to sign the papers. And he is also pretty dang cool :)
We went there to sign the lease and pay what we needed to pay. But on our way there we got a call from her and she told us that her boyfriend felt she needed to do credit checks to do things more professionally. Both Ally and I felt nervous that maybe we weren't going to get this place because other people were also inquiring about it. But we were still planning on going over there to meet her boyfriend and see the place one more time and in the car on the way over we reminded each other that set-backs are going to happen and that what we are doing is not easy to do...which is why not a lot of people do it. We are taking risks and trying to do things outside of our comfort zones. Which can be scary. But also so rewarding.
We just have to trust in the process. (I can thank my USA coaches for engraining that into my head :) trust in the process.
And the next day...we were approved.
and we are moving in this week :)
I will now be closer to more of the things I am trying to do :) Like playing Wheelchair Basketball with the San Diego Wolf Pack, helping adaptive sports programs develop, working with spinal cord injury support groups, volunteering as a mentor to help newly injured people get through their hard times at the many rehab hospitals around there and working on getting my motivational speaking and business ideas going in one form or another <3
My pressure sores are slowly but surely healing. Soon I will be able to wear leg braces again...and I will have all of my health insurance figured out. I can sit for longer periods of time and even play, hopefully a lot of, wheelchair basketball as I work through the many emotions, obstacles and anything in my mind's way of being the person I know I can be.
It's not going to happen overnight...but it is going to happen.
I got this.
Everything happens for a reason.
And everything has been working out exactly the way it is supposed to work, setbacks and all <3
I am lost...but I will find my way :)