Time has always been a friend and a foe to me.
I was born with a pair of weak legs, which the doctors loosely diagnosed as Spina Bifida. I cannot run, climb up and down flights of stairs, participate in sporting events, and etc.
Time is my source of hope and disappointment. I have always counted the years passed that have before I would be fully healed. Waiting does not seem like a good option even when it is the only choice you have.
I went through leg braces, tests like Electromyographies (EMGs) and X-rays and medical procedures like the Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator (TEN). I took different kinds of medicine, went from one orthopedic center to another, consulted different therapists, gym trainers, and faith healers; these were just some of the steps I took to get a step closer to being cured.
Sometimes, waiting made me feel resentful. While many kids spent their time playing outside, people dressed in white lab gowns kept me company. It was the same thing every time; countless tests, and most of them took forever to finish.
As more time passed, still without a cure, I became stubborn. I planned different stories to skip therapy sessions because I felt like they were useless, and my condition did not improve. I felt as if I was wasting my time constantly hoping.
An attempt at Dr. Me
My earlier years of education, taught me to adjust and adapt to my environment, since society does not always welcome people with disabilities. I was always exempted from P.E. class and contrary to what people often think of an exemption (a privilege), it was something I could do without. I wanted to blend in with everyone.
Fitting in was just the tip of the iceberg; I also had to deal with bullies. I was verbally abused, often called pilay, and though imitation is the best form of flattery, it seems a lot more like butchery when people imitate the way you walk.
I questioned God every time I fell, to the point that I lost my trust in Him. I thought that I was alone in my plight—that no one could ever understand my situation, and that the world was conspiring against me. But as I moved to secondary school, I realized that the bullies disappeared once I no longer cared about the perception of others. I hated pity, because in the first place, I did not even pity myself.
As I matured, I realized that I should not just sit around, complain and stay idle; I needed the therapy sessions, because I had to help myself, and I knew I was the only one who could.
Looking back, it is ironic that many people tried to stand out, when all I wanted was to blend in. I realized, however, that I should have known that I was (and still am) unique, and that I should embrace every bit of myself. I should not have viewed my condition as a hindrance, it is not an excuse.
Time, my heroin
Pardon the cliché, but I really think I needed time to heal my wounds. Time was my fuel to forgive and accept. Forgiving and forgetting are different, but fusing them together is enough to get you through the challenge. Until now, my condition is still not medically curable, but with the help of time, I came to accept it.
Now, during my free time, I exercise to stay fit; I never let my depression or thoughts of giving up get in the way. All I needed was time to reflect, to realize that I was still lucky. Lucky because I was born, and I am functional. Lucky because I can live a relatively normal life, which allows me to meet loving and supportive people like my family, friends and teachers.
Appreciation long overdue
Last November, I celebrated my twenty-first birthday. Though I still feel bad about my condition at times, I know that I am not a hopeless case. I can still walk, I am still functional, and I can still contribute something to the society.
Appreciating the many things before you rather than complaining about them makes everything better. Time allows you to look at things optimistically. I know this because everyday, I still struggle with my condition. Trust me, giving up should be the last thing on your to-do-list when faced with a challenge.