Hello and welcome back to Second Chance to Live my friend. I am happy to have you around my table. You are always welcome here. As I shared on my About Page, I lived with the unknown impact of an open skull fracture, a brain injury and an invisible disability for 39 years. This lack of awareness turned out to be both a blessing and a curse to me in my ongoing recovery process. Although I could not see it at the time, I now realize that both my blessings and curses taught me lessons about self-advocacy.
Both the blessings and the curses inspired me to make adjustments. Self-advocacy motivated me to make these adjustments. Self-advocacy inspired me to not give up. Self-advocacy empowered my ability to look for solutions. Self-advocacy encouraged me to keep looking for ways that would work for me. Self-advocacy taught me that I could create hope in my life. Self-advocacy revealed to me that what I thought were curses, were in reality; gifts in disguise.
Below I would like to share several of the blessings, what I deemed to be curses at the time and what I did to advocate for myself. I share these with you to encourage you to not give up on yourself. Keep looking for solutions. Keep looking for ways that will work for you. Keep creating hope in your life.
A blessing to me, in that I did not give up; when I faced challenges in my life. A curse because I internalized the difficulties that I experienced, as I blamed myself as others blamed me, as shared in Finding Craig — Growing Up Continued Part 2. A blessing in that I kept looking academically and vocationally for ways to use my gifts, talents and abilities, as shared in Finding Craig — My Academic Path Part 4. A curse because I could not find a fit vocationally from what I had learned, as shared in Finding Craig — My Brain Injury Awareness Part 5. A blessing because of what I learned through my disappointment, discouragement and disillusionment, as shared in Finding Craig — Empowering my Life Part 6.
A curse for having to move through the pain to re-learn how to walk again, as shared in Finding Craig — Learning to Walk Again Part 3. A blessing because circumstances motivated me to continue to train and develop physically, as shared in Finding Craig — My Physical Recovery Process Part 7. A blessing in that my struggle, to pursue self-advocacy over the past 48 years; has helped me to make sense of my brain injury, as shared in Finding Craig — Making Sense of Brain Injury Part 8. A blessing because what I learned empowered me to not give up. A blessing to realize that I could be my own advocate and stand up for myself. A blessing to realize that by being my own advocate, I no longer had to feel helpless.
A blessing to realize that by being my own advocate, I could take steps to empower my life. I could take steps to empower my life, although I had been deemed unemployable and declared disabled. A blessing to realize that by being my own advocate, I could begin to look at my circumstances in a different way. A way that would empower my process, instead of feeling defeated by them. By being my own advocate, I began to realize that I could learn the lessons my circumstances taught me. I could use them to create hope in my life. Through being my own advocate, I could work to develop my mind, body and spirit to enhance my life. Through being my own advocate, I realized that I no longer had to feel helpless because of my brain injury.
Our circumstances are not meant to keep us down, but they are meant to build us up. Our circumstances teach us lessons that prepare us for opportunities. Those opportunities teach us more lessons that prepare us for more opportunities. Collectively circumstances, lessons and opportunities lead and guide us. They lead and guide us to our dreams and our destinies.
Benefits or Self-Advocacy
I share the above with you to encourage you to realize, like I have in my life; that we can make a difference in our lives. By owning the reality that we can make a difference in our live, we take a huge step forward in self-advocacy. By being believing that we can make a difference in our lives, we empower our ability to realize that we are no longer helpless. Brain injury awareness provides the door that we can step through to empower our lives. Self-advocacy frees us from a sense of helplessness and dependency. Self-advocacy helps us to realize that we do not have to limit ourselves because of a medical model of recovery. Self-advocacy helps us to realize that we no longer have to limit ourselves because of a stereotype or societal stigmatization.
No longer are we trapped by a feeling of helplessness. Instead, self-advocacy helps us to realize a new zest for living. Self-advocacy helps us to realize that we can walk through a door to a whole new way of living. Self-advocacy helps us to realize that our lives have not ended because of a brain injury, but our lives have just begun. Self-advocacy helps us to realize living with brain injuries now offers new possibilities. Self-advocacy helps us to realize that we can have a profound impact on our and other people’s lives. Self-advocacy helps us to realize that living with a brain injury is about a process and a journey, not a destination. Self-advocacy helps us to realize that we can have an active part in pursuing our dreams and living our destinies.
Self-advocacy reveals to us that life no longer needs to look like it did before our brain injuries. Self-advocacy helps us to wake up from being in denial so that we can get on with our lives. Self-advocacy inspires us to get into action, so that we can create a good life for ourselves. Self-advocacy helps us to realize that we can create and experience hope. Self-advocacy give us the creative capacity to experience what we never dreamed possible. Self-advocacy empowers our ability to excel in life, in spite of what we may have been told. Self-advocacy helps us to find a way, when we are told there is no way. Self-advocacy inspires us to find and live in our truth and stop believing lies. Self-advocacy helps us achieve our dreams, one step at a time.
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