Assume Nothing

If you wondering why I don’t write here often I might give you the expected “I’m too busy” but the truth is the Internet is a pretty vulnerable place to express yourself this day in age. When I do get the chance to sit down and write it is often brief so those fragments of thoughts are not yet ready for global publication. Ultimately what does inspire me to write here is all of my friends, family and supporters who I know care so much about me and do genuinely want to know what’s going on in my life. Unfortunately, I am too busy to connect with all of you in detail so here’s the report and thank you all for bringing out the best in me!

I’m better understanding what an unavoidably transformative experience life is. The last time I wrote with the intention to share on this blog was over a year and a half ago and my life was once again at a turning point. I wrote about the chapters of life being a fresh start, a new blank page unwritten and full of potential, a new chapter lay ahead for me. Once again I’ve written the next chapter and in doing so have pointed my narrative in an entirely new direction. I start writing again now with a new outlook, new circumstances and my life in transformation once again.

Being able to buy and remodel a home for accessibility has been one of my biggest blessings and one of the most important things I needed to do to bring some normalcy and independence back to my life. It had been three years since I was able to roll up under my own sink and brush my teeth by myself. Three years since I had let myself through my own front door. Three years since I’d felt comfortable being home alone. The love that has come through this house is evident in the décor, the drawings on the guest wall and Quill’s love of new faces (my 3yr old Shiba Inu). I can’t thank all of my friends and family enough for making me feel so comfortable here. I finally feel like I’ve moved from survival to stability.

Although once I’ve been put together I may be able to shove off into my day and appear somewhat independent the bottom line is my life requires a lot of assistance at home. That assistance comes largely from caregivers and I don’t know what it is about my luck but I have had some amazing people brought into my life as a result of my dependence and I am blessed for that. At any time I usually have 2 to 3 caregivers in my weekly rotation one of which I live with full-time. The selflessness and compassion that I’ve received from these relationships has and continues to teach me some of the most important lessons one human could teach another. Most importantly I’m learning my care is a necessity of my life not a burden on someone else’s and as you can imagine that’s a helpful realization.

I’m having a harder time these days telling people my body’s fine and life goes on. Life certainly goes on but the truth is I’m living with chronic pain and it affects my quality-of-life daily. So many people have pain and injuries that are invisible to those around them and while my injury is obvious the pain isn’t as much. Outside looking in you see a disabled body in a wheelchair and it often ends there, I could never explain to you the different layers and aspects of pain that live within. Over the last two years my spasticity and nerve pain has changed for the worse and I’m currently doing everything in my power to try and figure out how to reverse the trend. The bottom line is I put my body through a lot and my mind for that matter as well. I’ve never really accepted that life would need to slow down after my injury. As a result I’ve pushed through when my body and my mind are asking for rest and as we all know it catches up with you. I am not enjoying living my life in pain and hoping to find some relief as I continue to seek out every available option while continuing to do the things that I have been fortunate enough to weave into my schedule like stretching, chiropractic, acupuncture and massage. They all do help but can’t seem to get to the root of the problem. I also just recently learned the harsh realities of pressure sores and bed rest as I unfortunately sat on a small hard piece of plastic for one day and it put me in bed for two straight months. I’m doing better now and back at it, cruising around with my friend pain.

Someone once asked the Dalai Lama what surprised him the most about mankind and this was his answer…

“Man, because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and the he dies having never really lived.”

I’m currently working on a solution to this problem in my own personal life. I’ve made the recognition and I need to continue to work on making the adjustments. Work is rewarding and engaging on so many levels for me. My career has become a very important part of my identity and motivation so I’m doing my best to balance my workaholic tendencies with what my body’s realities are. I feel like all things considered I’m in as good a place right now as I could ask for and things are definitely looking up in the near future. I also have a very special girl now in my life that inspires me to really get the most out of every day regardless of what situation we find ourselves in. It’s a good time for me to get out of my own head and pursue the things I know will put a smile on my face.

I’ll leave you with this… If I look back on the time since I wrote here last the most important lesson I personally have learned is about making assumptions. We all make them every day about everyone we see and know and it’s not healthy. I think the reality is there can only be one assumption safely made and that is that each and everyone has their struggles whether they are blatantly evident, more personal, invisible or even unknown. Assumptions are easily made and often completely wrong so I ask you to please practice the same compassion you have with others as you have with me and hopefully we can all continue to lift each other collectively.

Riley

*Please excuse my horrible sentence structure, lack of understanding proper punctuation and generally shitty grammatical skills