RESILIENCE. TRIUMPH. HOPE.
“Life will take you through places you don’t understand, just to bring you to the place where you need to be.” — Unknown Author
Am I Life’s Burden?
You see, I was not always this optimistic and hopeful.
I grew up watching the kids in my neighborhood overlook the simple things in life. They ran, swam, and were able to feed and dress themselves freely without assistance.
There was no hiding that I was different, and as much as I tried to pretend and join in, I learned time and time again, that there were just some things I wouldn’t physically be able to do.
It didn’t help that the playgrounds, the classrooms, and just about everywhere else weren’t the friendliest places. I don’t have to tell you kids can be cruel towards people who are different, and for me, it just wasn’t the constant name calling.
You can tell a lot about people just by the way they look at you.
There’s no worse feeling than having someone silently pity you, or recoil in disgust as if you were inhuman.
I’ve been called everything you can think of.
Words that people favored mostly were “freak” and “alien.” Do not be fooled and think these words didn’t affect me. I wanted to be like everybody else—a normal kid! I wanted to be accepted and liked by everybody around me. I felt alone and isolated. I wanted to fit in, but it always seemed like it would never happen.
Then, something unthinkable changed my life: I found friendship in a few people. But my distorted view of love and validation came at a cost with these friends. Mainly when our playful games took sharp turns to the left in places that left me confused and often alone, but that is a story for another day.
As I entered my adolescent years, my sensitive heart ached and the brokenness I felt inside manifested in different ways.
I was socially awkward around others and depressed, overwhelmed by self-hatred and started to believe that I was a burden in life. Not only to myself, but those who loved and cared for me.
I needed to be fed, changed, bathed, transported and everything else a body should be able to do on its own but mine could not.
But before you can understand who I am today, I must tell you a little about what made me the person you’re talking to.
I almost turned my own lights out in a moment of suffering, but little did I know that my suffering would change and bless my life, giving me a new perspective and purpose I wouldn’t have found had I not been born this way.
Lost in a Moment of Suffering
I’m sharing private thoughts with you. Keep in mind, not everyone gets to see most of the things in my journal.
I accepted this would be the last day I’d see,
As the water surrounded my trembling body.
I was lost in the fading moments of life,
This was it, no more pain, no more strife.
As I heard the sound of water, like raging ocean waves,
Crashing upon the shore of my ears, this was the moment, I could not be saved.
As I closed my eyes shut for one last time.
I accepted this was the last breathe I’d take, here it was, my goodbye.
All movement of my shivering body stopped,
As a calming sensation of peace entered my body, it was I who now controlled time, not the clock.
My racing thoughts of “what ifs” ceased,
As I imagined myself walking down a long hallway at peace.
Strangely, I looked down at my body and saw limbs,
For the first time I saw a hand, but surely, this was my mind telling fibs.
I placed my fingers upon my face,
Then the impossible happened,
A sensation. This wasn’t commonplace.
It was real.
I took it in.
I was lost in the moment, consciousness slipping away,
As the moment became the dark, it took my memory deep within.
All Things Work Together For the Good
Still, til this day, I don’t know what happened.
I woke up sitting in a hospital bed as I saw my caregiver looking over me.
He shouted, “Noah is awake!”
I saw tears running down his aged face.
In that moment, I questioned what had happened since my last thoughts were of me standing in that dreamed-up hallway with limbs, hands, and fingers of all things.
My mind tries to justify the experience as merely a dream, but it felt too real. I still can’t discern between the two.
In the days, weeks and even months after I attempted to end my life, I learned that night a miracle had happened.
In my moment of suffering I received a blessing, an ability not only to feel the sensation of limbs that were not there, but to believe in hope again.
All those years of hardship were preparing me to experience the greatest blessing that I could have ever received in my life. Funny how that works, right? My disability offered a perspective to see life through a different set of lenses than most people will ever experience.
My handicap—as you may call it—enabled me to project unconditional love, empathize and coach others through their pain and suffering, and redefine my perspective. Suffering is a choice. You can carry it as a burden or use it as a blessing, and pain is a universal part of humanity’s journey no matter if you’re disabled or able-bodied.
Today marks a full year of being alive and striving for a healthier lifestyle.
My life is an expression of the endless possibilities of hope.
I had to be disabled in order to enable those possibilities.
We can choose to be a prisoner of disappointment and despair, giving into bitterness, anxiety, or depression. Or we can choose to face hard circumstances, learn from the experiences, and believe that it’s possible to move forward by taking responsibility for our own happiness and believing hope is real.
Don’t ever be ashamed of your story, my friends. You and I aren’t alone in this world and we both deserve to be valued and loved.
Be the reason someone smiles today, and if you cannot choose anything else to be, please, be kind. You never know what kind of hope a smile can bring someone today.
CATCH SOLACE IN HIS 1ST MINI ISSUE DEBUT
Discover who Noah Novak is, how he views the world, what he does to help others, and see him in action in his 1st mini issue ever: Life Is Limitless.
MORE CONTENT, FROM THE DESK OF NOAH NOVAK
Discover Solace’s powers, abilities, occupation, and more!
Learn how we approached creating our 1st disabled character.