‘Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and that there’s got to be a way through it.’– Michael. J. Fox
I have been very busy lately. I flew to Germany for 6 days with my mum and sister, which was great. There’s something about Germany that I just love. The food, the architecture, the landscape, the people, the culture- everything about it is amazing. I have also been continuing with my volunteering at my old primary school-, which I love doing! Everyone is so friendly and I enjoy helping the children to learn. I like that every day is different and there isn’t a set routine so I never know what I’m doing until I get there. I could be teaching the children, creating leaflets or even trying to make animals out of various household objects! Everything’s good. Life is good.
Onto the main topic of this blog post… acceptance. I used Michael J. Fox for my quote to start for 3 reasons. 1) It is my favourite quote 2) Michael J. Fox suffers from Parkinson’s which is a condition closely associated with Essential Tremor and I often look up to people with the condition as inspirations 3) It evokes a very important message, that I don’t think is talked about enough.
Acceptance is the key to living your life to the fullest and being the person you truly want to be. If you don’t accept something, you won’t be able to put your full effort into anything, as whatever you haven’t accepted will always be in the back of your mind. This could be (for example) not getting the grades you wanted, not having a successful interview or in my case, not accepting that I have an incurable, regressive medical condition. You don’t need to resign yourself to the fact that it has happened. We need to get out of a mindset that tells us once something ‘bad’ has happened that it is the end and nothing can possibly be done about it. In fact, it is quite the opposite- you can do a lot about it. To start with, you can change your mindset from one that favours resignation to one that explores what you can do next and looks into what your options are from here. You might have to change direction a little bit, but in the long run- does that really matter? Will it really matter to you in 10, 20, 30 years from now?
I didn’t use to accept my Essential Tremor. I found it frustrating and embarrassing and I didn’t want anyone to know about it. There are many things that I regret not doing because I had a tremor, whether this be academically or socially. I should feel no shame in what I couldn’t do ‘properly’ but I have grown up in a world that stigmatises those who are disabled; those who are different and I believe this attitude definitely contributed to my resignation. I had resigned myself to the fact that I had a neurological condition and there was nothing that could be done about it. I only saw the negativity in the condition without bothering to see the positivity in it. It was only once that I had accepted I had Essential Tremor that I really started to enjoy life. Everything is so much better once you embrace what you once could not accept. It is only then that you will be able to see the positive aspects. It allows you to grow as a person mentally and emotionally. With my condition I have found myself to be a more sympathetic person. I empathise with people who are struggling in life and I really understand what they are going through. I have also found that I am very strong, mentally. I have a strong understanding of who I am and how to live positively. I truly believe that this is all because I accepted that I had Essential Tremor, I accepted that I was different. It has taken me all these years to accept who I am but I’m glad it was a long, winding and emotionally challenging journey because without it, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
I just wanted to briefly cover something else-,
I often find it emotionally straining to write these blogs. Writing my thoughts and feelings into words after 21 years of keeping it to myself is not only releasing how I feel now but releasing the pain that I went through as a young girl. It truly is a rollercoaster of emotions. It is hard to put into just a few paragraphs what it was like so I’ll try to summarise in a few sentences:
I feel sad for the little girl who was ostracized because she was different.
I feel anger towards the people who made her feel that way.
I feel despair for the people who continue to make people who are different feel like they don’t belong.
But finally for the first time after 21 years I am happy about the woman I am becoming.
I have found that I have often been more negative when thinking about my condition. I would always think of the things I would never be able to do. And honestly it was very upsetting- knowing there are limitations to what you can do has been, at times, heartbreaking. I can’t play 99% of musical instruments. I can’t give speeches in front of other people. I can’t hold a paintbrush steady. The list goes on. It is not until recently that I have realised that I can do all of these things- I just can’t do them to the standard that society wants me to do them to. I can do them, and you know what, I can do them well.
There will be no more apologies if I can’t do something the way someone wants me to do it because of my condition. I refuse to be belittled and patronised anymore.
Thank you for reading,
The National Tremor Foundation: