I came up with the idea for this blog post when someone told me that I’m an inspiration to many people. I’ve actually been told this a lot. Too many times to count, really.
Honestly, I did not set out in life to be an inspiration to anyone. I didn’t choose what life has thrown at me. Living with Moebius syndrome has thrown me many challenges, this is the truth. People often ask me how I have dealt with what Moebius has caused and honestly, I never know what to say to that question.
I can’t change what I have or what I have to deal with. How my speech is now is going to be how it is for the rest of my life. Sure, maybe speech therapy could improve it a bit but it will never be “normal”. My speech is, to me, really my only issue. Yes, Moebius has caused me to have facial paralysis but I don’t really see that as an issue. I am what I am. We are who we are, we look like what we look like.
So how do I deal with the challenges? I just do. I put one foot in front of the other, just like everyone else and I go through my day. I deal with the challenges as they come. If someone can’t understand what I’m saying, I repeat myself. If they still don’t understand, I write it down. If I have to make a phone call to someone that I don’t know, I often inform them via email beforehand that I have a speech issue. If I hear someone say something negative towards my appearance, I shake it off because after 24 years, i have learned that other people’s opinion of me has no merit on my life. Especially if it’s a random stranger. Chances are, you can’t say anything to me that I haven’t heard before. What people say doesn’t matter. Why should I let it hurt me?
So, back to the original point of this blog post. How and why did I choose journalism, which makes a career out of my biggest weakness: verbal communication? Well, when I applied to the program in March of 2013, I honestly didn’t think much of it. No way I’ll even get in, I thought. When I got my acceptance letter, I still didn’t really think about it, as it was so far off. Even that August, I didn’t have anything for my place in residence and put off going shopping. I just thought that I’d find some way to get out of going. Well, clearly I didn’t and I ended up here. So how did I deal with this massive life change that I embarked on? I didn’t, really. I just went through each day like every other “normal” person. Was it hard? Absolutely. Do I have challenges that no one else here faces? I believe that I do. But the thing is, if you never step out of your comfort zone and do things that are difficult, you will never change or grow. I learned that over the last two years. The one thing that I did do was to email my teachers right off the bat and let them know about Moebius and they have been supportive ever since. More than supportive, really. They have been nothing short of amazing.
It has been a long road to get where I am. I really worried about how I would interview people, if I was ever going to make friends in my classes and if I could ever make it in the journalism world.
So, I urge you, whoever you are, to reach outside of your comfort zone and accomplish something that you’ve always wanted to do, but were maybe too scared to do. What would you do if you knew that you could not fail? Do that, and even if you do fail, you will have accomplished something great. You won’t grow if you stay within the limits of comfort. Life is so much more than that.
SAIT has been hands down one of the best experiences of my life. I have met the most amazing people, people who will be in my life forever. I’ve lived, I’ve learned and I have loved every moment of the last two years.
It’s all because I stepped out of my comfort zone and took a chance.