Accepting Myself.

“Accept everything about yourself – I mean everything. You are you and that is the beginning and the end – no apologies, no regrets.” [Clark Moustakas]

It has taken me a long time to come around to accepting myself fully, as I am. When you’re born with a disability, it’s a virtual guarantee that you’re going to face adversity, both from others and from within.

I am one of only a few thousand people in the world diagnosed with Moebius Syndrome, a very rare disability that’s characterized mainly by facial paralysis [inability to smile], among other physical anomalies. I was born a month past my original due date but only weighed 5 lbs 6 oz. [I was a little peanut baby]. I wasn’t diagnosed until 18 months of age because nobody knew exactly what I had. It took a very knowledgeable ophthalmologist to give my parents the official diagnosis.

I am extremely fortunate to have only a mild form of Moebius, so I was able to be mainstreamed in school – I was in regular classes with all of the other kids. Which is fantastic, because I loved the academic part of school – learning new things every day, getting to exercise my brain. I was trying to prove to myself {and more importantly, to others] that I could do things, that I was competent.

Socially, I struggled to make and keep friends. (And to this day, I still do.) I knew how to get along with people, but I tended to keep to myself. I was the classic introvert — quiet, nice, helpful, smart, but a little socially inept.

I became depressed a couple different times during my teen years – and I don’t mean just “feeling blue.” Depressed to the point where I needed outside help. When I was 10-11 years old, I had two beloved members of my extended family pass away within a couple months of each other. Being as young as I was, and being the kind of introverted kid that I was, those two losses devastated me. This will sound overly dramatic, but my childhood ended after I lost my great-uncle and great-grandfather. I didn’t know how to grieve properly. I didn’t know how to express my feelings properly, so I gradually became more and more sad and upset. The first time I went through counseling, my parents basically forced me to do it (which I now thank them for doing that, because lord knows I wasn’t going to go voluntarily). The second time, I was a little older and a little wiser. I realized that I needed help. I credit that second round of counseling with helping me get over the extreme sadness I was dealing with. That was by no means the end of my emotional struggles, but it was a huge weight taken off of my shoulders.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, I have struggled for a long, long time to accept myself completely. It’s easy to look at me and see only the disability. But, regardless of whether or not people are able to look past that, I’m fine with who I am and who I have become. I have a good job, I have great co-workers. I love my parents and my siblings more than they’ll ever know. I may never get married or become a mother, but I’m an auntie to three amazing kids – which is pretty much the next best thing! I love and accept myself and I love my life. My faith is very important to me; it’s really the only thing that has gotten me through some tough times. God has a reason for absolutely everything and everyone in this world. I’m just a unique part of His creation.

strongenoughforthislife

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