Disabled and Thriving

Overcoming obstacles in an able-bodied world.

The Gift of Inner Strength

How do you find your inner strength in adulthood?

A few weeks ago, I found myself in the hospital. It was the last place I expected to be, in more ways than one.

And quite honestly? I was scared. As the days passed, I quickly realized a lot of "firsts" were taking place. It was the first time I had ever been in that hospital. But more importantly, it was the first time my mother wasn't by my side the entire time, holding my hand and rubbing a warm cloth on my head. It's not that she didn't want to be there, mind you. I think she would have been there if not for two things:

• The visiting hours were quite strict.

• And as she's been saying a lot lately, "Melissa, you're almost 30. You can do this by yourself."

Leave it to mothers to be right. More times than we'd care to admit. My mother was no exception. She was right. About everything.

I've been feeling like I need my mom more than ever lately, which gives me both a sense of braveness for being able to admit and a sense of "What?" As in, "You're almost 30. Why do you still need your mother so much?"

But we all need our parents, don't we? We never really grow out of that childhood hat when we're around our parents. Maybe that's a good thing. Maybe we need our parents just like we need oxygen. Because without them, we wouldn't be who we are today. Without them, we wouldn't be able to put one foot in front of the other - sometimes bravely and other times a bit afraid. Walking slowly at first, constantly checking to see if our parents are right behind us, until the moment comes when we can make our own way.

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So maybe my mom was just a phone call away while I was in the hospital. But without the comfort of her hands to hold every single second, I was forced to forge ahead on my own. I didn't always know what lay ahead, and I couldn't predict the future. So I had to figure things out for myself. Maybe you remember the moment in life when you had to do that, too. We have to try on our adult hats for the first time in our lives, and we have to find our own inner strength, which is sort of a paradox considering I got my inner strength from my parents.

If being in the hospital last week taught me anything, it's that no matter how long it takes or how old we are, each of us does have that inner strength and inner sense of adulthood within us. Even though my "adulthood" moment may have come a bit later than my peers, it came, perhaps at the exact moment it was supposed to all along.

And in case you were wondering: Yes, I did make very good use of the fact that my mother was only a phone call away. But I don't think she minded too much. I like to think she was proud to see my inner strength starting to bloom.

 

Melissa Blake is a normal 20-something living with an abnormal disorder.

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