How do you define yourself?
17 years ago I thought I had it all. I was a sophomore at Marinette high school awaiting my scholarship to University of Minnesota for hockey based on my stellar athletic ability and native intelligence. I was well respected and liked in my community, however, on January 28th of 2004, my life changed forever. At approximately 4:30 in the afternoon I was struck by a truck crossing the highway on a snowmobile. Long story short, I spent six weeks in a coma and spent 106 days in the hospital when I was 16 years old. I had to relearn how to walk, talk, and do the many things that we all take for granted. So I propose this question, “what defines you?”
Yes I’ve had this god awful accident happen but I am not going to let this diagnosis “Traumatic Brain Injury” define who I am as a person. I want you to think in your head, “what defines you, who are you?” Is it where you come from or your background or even your friends? What defines you as a person? It has taken a very long time to figure what defines me. For so long, I thought what defines me as a person was my outer appearance or my accomplishments. For the longest time, every night before I went to bed, I would wish, pray, and hope that I was having a horrendous dream and would wake up in the morning and I would be “normal.” I wouldn’t have a disabled left side of my body, I wouldn’t have memory issues, and I wouldn’t feel this disconnect to the world. I wouldn’t have to deal with these continuous struggles. Every day for the past 17 years I have been disappointed. I have learned through my pain-and-suffering that I cannot let that define who I am. My life was put into my hands just like your life is put into yours. You are the person driving your life. You are the one who decides if your car goes down a good or bad path. You are the one who defines what defines you.
Now let me just say it is really hard to figure out what defines you. There were times I would say, “I don’t care what defines me.” I spent countless nights crying but then I started to realize, “my life is in my hands.” I could choose to make this really happy and purposeful or I could choose to make this really bad. I chose to open my eyes and be grateful for my abilities or the things I do have and make those things define who I am. I can’t use my left arm but I can use my right. I can’t play I contact sports but I can ride a road bike 50+ miles. I can choose to be happy or choose to be bitter and angry. Then I thought am I going to let other people define who I am?
No, I’m going to let my goals, accomplishments, and success define who I am. NOT my outer appearance, NOT the fact that I can use my left arm, NOT the fact that I have a TBI. I told myself, I’m going to work my butt off and do whatever I could to make myself better because in my mind the best way to influence people is to make myself better and to show them that I can turn this negative thing into a ladder to climb to my goals. I’ve worked my butt off. I’ve used the people who told me, “you can’t do this” to motivate me. Use that negativity to motivate you and you will win! I want to close with; what defines you? Please remember Truth, Love, and Hope! Thank you!
- What do you think?
- How could I make improvements?
- Should I talk more about my injury and the limitations I face?
- Please connect with me….