Someone recently told me that acceptance was a choice.
I had never actually thought of it that way. I was born with the Cerebral Palsy and didn’t have a choice. With the Multiple Sclerosis, it just happened and there was nothing I could do about it.
I was angry for a large portion of this year. My body was unknown to me, it had become a foreign entity. When I started going through my tests first to determine whether or not I had MS (I did) and then to find out which kind of MS I had (relapse and remitting) I kept hoping that I would be able to start my medication soon so I could get back to normal.
My MS nurse told me about the injections I would have to take. She also told me that it was not a cure, that the injections would slow down the MS but not take it away. I hardly listened, so focused was I on the injections making me better. I was convinced they would.
In the meantime, I grew angrier and more withdrawn. As I started the injections, I prayed for a miracle, for my life to go back to what it was before. I hated my cane, I hated the injections, the pills. I was still experiencing balance issues, still falling. I began to hate myself.
This summer, there was a person that was playing music on the sidewalk down the street from me. We connected, in the way that strangers do. He pointed to his walker. “I walk with assistance too.”
We talked for a while and I told him how angry I was, that I raged inside. He shook his head. “You have to welcome it, man. This is your life now. You’ll never be off the medications and you really have to learn to love your cane. You have to learn to love yourself again.”
It took a few days for his message to sink in. I could still love myself even though I carried MS and CP inside of me. I wasn’t helpless, I wasn’t nothing, I wasn’t a broken man. I wanted to get on with living and not wallow. I still had a lot of life left to live.
At that moment, even though I didn’t know it at the time, I was accepting myself. I was accepting the situation and started to look at my cane and my medications as tools for a better life rather than a hindrance.
I accepted my situation which in turn made it easier to love myself again. I thought of it as deciding to live rather than wallow, but it was about accepting the things we cannot change and learning that life didn’t have to end.
It was only another beginning.