A few months ago, I heard my own heartbeat for the first time in the twenty one years that I’ve been alive. For most people, it’s not that big of a deal, but for me, it was unlike everything I’ve ever experienced. It was almost like I was really seeing the world for the first time. I was seeing how beautiful and unique and amazing the world was.
I was born a perfectly happy, healthy, normal baby, and around the age of five, I was diagnosed as having mild cerebral palsy, total deafness in my left ear and a mild hearing-impairment in my right. After my diagnosis, my family was unsure of how I was going to handle every day situations. They struggled with whether I should be taught sign language or not because there was that possibility that I could get so sick that I’d lose my hearing for good and it never would come back. They poured over the fact that I may never hear the words “I love you”, or much less hear the impact of those three beautiful words. They feared that I would be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of my life because I couldn’t stand up or walk on my own, and they breathed a sigh of relief when I started walking on my own when I was two years old. I had constant speech therapy in school because I was unable to pronounce simple words. But, I thrived. I threw myself in activities in school- PALS, Student Council, Clinical Rotations- you name it and ended up graduating high school as a Magna Cum Laude honor student.
Growing up was always a struggle for me. I’ve always been so lucky to have an incredible circle of friends and family, who have showed nothing but compassion and an undying support for me- for the things I believe in, for my dreams, for the woman that I am becoming, and the woman that I ultimately want to become. Fitting in was an everyday battle. The relentlessness of being teased for being different than other children because I had a wear an old-school microphone system that connected a wire from my hearing aid was one of the hardest lessons that I’ve ever had to learn. It took a long time to get rid of the hate in my heart for the things that were said to me. I will never forget a little girl telling me that I should play somewhere else because I couldn’t hear her. I want to believe in forgiveness. I want to believe that I have the capacity in my heart to forgive someone. Forgiveness is never easy. Bitterness is easy. Hatred is easy. But forgiveness? That’s a tough one. And I do. Even after all this time, I forgive the girls who made my life a living hell. Who made it harder than it needed to be growing up. I realized that we’re all going through the same hell, but we just find our way back in different ways.
I can remember having to get evaluated by a psychologist when I was around fifteen and had to take a career-aptitude test. I proudly told him that I wanted to be a doctor. I was so set in what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be, that I didn’t care who knew. I just wanted to shout it out to the world. I remember so vividly, sitting in that cold office with chairs that seemed like they were made of stone, and hearing the harsh words coming from his mouth. I would never be a doctor, much less a nurse, he told me. I would never succeed in a university, or even a community college. He told me that all I would amount to was being an ultrasound technician and going to a technical school. I would never be anything. I sat there, with words burning in my mouth, ready to just explode. The first thing I said to my mother as I walked out was “He’s wrong. I’m gonna show him. When he arrives at the hospital I’m working at and needing care from me, I’m going to stand in front of him, firm, and tell him that his words only made me work harder.”
Six years later, I’m even closer to making it than I was before. I’m twenty-one years old and I attend one of the best UNIVERSITIES in the nation. I’ve realized that nursing is my passion. Nursing gives me the outlet to help other people the way they deserve to be helped. I won’t say that it’s been easy, because it hasn’t. There have been days where I feel like I’m locked inside a prison- a prison of my mind and I’m still struggling to find out who I am, and there have been days where I’m the happiest person in the world. I still have to work ten times harder than the average college student, but it’s been so worth it. I’m still two years away from graduating, and there have been times where I absolutely hate it and want to transfer or drop out, but the words of that psychologist still fuel a fire in my soul, and that’s more than enough to keep me going.
You might wonder why I’m not writing my usual quotes, or why I’m even writing about this. Honestly, I have no clue why I’m writing this either. The words on this page are probably far more than I’ve even revealed to even my best friends. I am horrible at trusting people because I’ve been burned one too many times. There’s always something about revealing a part of me to other people because I know that people always leave. The people that were there for you before won’t be there for you nine months later. Maybe, by writing this, a little bit of me is hoping that other people understand me more. That other people understand who I am and where I’m coming from. Maybe writing this was just so I can finally be free of all the things and thoughts that chain me. I don’t know. But the one thing I do know? I’ve heard my heart beat for the first time. And miracles happen every day. And yes, I’m still waiting to hear the magical words of “I love you.” But maybe, there’s a miracle somewhere in that, too.