My sister posted a YouTube link on to my Facebook today. After watching it I felt like the world’s biggest wimp and sellout. A disabled veteran of the first Gulf War who had been told that he would never walk again without forearm crutches due to damage sustained from jumping out of airplanes loses 140 pounds in 10 months and proves everybody wrong after 15 years of being overweight and alternating between using a manual wheelchair and crutches through the use of yoga. I watched him fall over and over again but eventually his balance got better and instead of walking with crutches and knee braces, he walked with a single pain and knee braces and then without the braces at all and then without the cane. Most of the video is indoors but the frames after those were shot in a part. The guy is walking, no crutches, canes, no braces in sight. He doesn’t fall, then jogging and then full out running, something he was told he would never do again.
Watching that video made me realize that I given up a whole lot just because I believed someone else had the right to limit my life when they thought I would never do something. No more. Today and tomorrow and the day after that I own my life.. The words can’t won’t and never don’t exist anymore, at least not within the context of things I want to accomplish. The video I saw can be found here.
Just because I can’t do it today, doesn’t man I’m not going to be able to do it someday,
I became an organ donor a few weeks after my 18th birthday when I went to the DMV and got my first date ID. Even before that at around the age of 12 I informed my parents that if I were to die unexpectedly while still a minor I wanted them to donate my organs so that some other child might get the chance to live longer even as my life was cut short. I believe that things like organ donation and giving blood are important. There are 6 billion people on the planet give or take and I believe we have a responsibility to each other because no matter our social and cultural differences we all have one thing in common: we are all human. In my childhood and adolescence I spent a lot of time in and out of hospitals for surgeries and other medical procedures. I have looked my own mortality in the face several times in the course of my life and is an awesome and terrifying experience. I have been on the receiving end of transfusions and watched people die from leukemia. I didn’t understand that bone marrow transplants reduced used to treat leukemia at the time my friend had it. If I had I would have gladly been tested to see if a graft from me might have helped him. In this modern world fear is ever the enemy. Fear of sickness, fear of pain, fear of dying. There should not keep us from being the best versions of ourselves that we can be. I have a challenge for anybody here thinks that Valentine’s Day is nothing more than an over commercialized paltry excuse for a holiday. This Valentine’s Day get directions to your local branch of the Red Cross, give blood. It can and does save lives I am proof of that. Go to the DMV, check the organ donor box I guarantee you the fact that you exist now won’t matter to someone. (It is worth noting that you can list organs that you don’t want used if you know that some are damaged.) Giving of oneself is a kind of love and it is a love that you do not need a significant other to experience.
I used to think that my life, my presence in this universe was pretty pointless. The day I gave blood even though I threw up all over one of the nurses in the process, I felt like a superhero. As I left the DMV with my newly laminated ID with a little check mark on the back I felt heroic. Just your average, ordinary, everyday superhero and I bet if you look hard enough you’ll find you have one too.
*Disclaimer*The following is only my opinion on an issue that many people have opinions about. I am in no way attempting to change or belittle the opinions of others. As always comments are welcome regardless of whether you agree with me or not.
In light of a recent bill that representatives Stacy Campfield is trying to have made into Tennessee law which would prohibit teachers in public schools from mentioning homosexuality in any context to students from kindergarten through eighth grade I would like to put in my two cents. First of all, I think it is silly to try to pretend that homosexuality does not exist. Secondly, especially in middle school grades which is where health classes are often taught it may be downright detrimental. If you can’t referred to homosexuality at all then it becomes difficult to explain even a brief history of the AIDS virus. Many people, representative Campfield included, believe that sex education has no place in public school. In a perfect world children and teenagers would be able to comfortably talk to their parents about almost anything, unfortunately not all of us have a relationship with our parents that makes such forthrightness possible or even safe , I count my sister and I were among the fortunate ones,. San has never been a taboo topic in our house. I cannot remember “talk” because voice more of an ongoing conversation throughout our lives. My parents always made sure the answers were age-appropriate but sex was never treated as something wrong, dirty, or abnormal
in our house and we had questions as teenagers they explained as needed. (They never actually drew us a diagram of anything but then again we never asked for one either.)
Many teens don’t have that kind of relationship with their parents and therefore the gap needs to be filled in some way. I for one would rather teenagers have access to the facts about sex and STDs as well as some means by which to protect themselves. In this modern day and age the phrase “it takes a village to raise a child” seems to be all but forgotten at rimes and I personally find that very sad.
It is February again and Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. While I am not single anymore that has not always been the case and I admit to feeling exceptionally awkward about my single state the closer it got to the holiday. I do not believe that Valentine’s Day is a holiday simply made up by the greeting card and candy companies in order to sell more product but I do blame the current commercialism surrounding Valentine’s Day for a large part of my feelings of inadequacy during the month of February. Valentine’s Day is a day which celebrates romantic attachments. That’s great. The problem I have with the way a lot of people are encouraged to view the holiday is that it seems to paint being single in a negative light, as though not having a significant other makes a single person somehow less than or inferior to people involved in romantic relationships.
Some single people can ignore society’s pressure better than others, my sister has always been better at it then me. For several years she stayed single of her own volition. When Valentine’s Day came around and I would get blue she was the one who most often reminded me that being single was not necessarily a bad thing and that it did not make me any less of a person. She even brought me chocolates a few times. In today’s world there is a lot of fear, fear of threats both real and imagined. I believe the only way to effectively fight fear is with love. Not necessarily romantic love but the laws that resides in compassion and empathy. No matter where we originally come from we are all human we all bleed the same color. I believe we all would be better off if Valentine’s Day became a day to celebrate not just romantic love, but also love of self and community. I believe that if we teach the next generation that they will be well served. It has been said that before you can love someone else you must love yourself first. I also believe that person gives of themselves freely to others is more likely to attract romantic interest based on the principle of “what goes around comes around.” This Valentine’s Day why not try doing some random acts of kindness? I guarantee you will feel good about yourself and who knows what might happen?