I think I always knew what I was supposed to do. With writing, that was easy, because once I learned how, it opened up a whole new world for me. Suddenly, I knew I could make myself be understood. From a very young age, I loved being read to, and often wanted the same book read over and over and over again. I couldn’t get enough. I was introduced to worlds beyond this one, to the magic of escape. My reality was harsh, because the outside of me didn’t, and still doesn’t and never will in this life, match the inside of me. Now though, I am used to it, and don’t really see all the stuff I cannot do, because I am too busy doing what I can do.
Ever since I was told I had cancer when I was a baby, that I wasn’t born with these physical disabilities, this hearing loss, this speech impediment, I have always wondered why on earth I was alive. Now, though, I think I finally get it. I am here today to do what I have been so immersed in the last two years – childhood cancer advocacy. Maybe I’ve always known this. I’ve always been drawn to stories about childhood cancer, both real and in fiction. Perhaps it is because I can’t remember my own experience with cancer, and I’m thirsty for whatever shred of truth I can get. I think it took me longer to become self-aware because of this. I didn’t really start to compare my body to everybody else’s until after I got the scoliosis brace in elementary school. It was like someone dimmed the lights on me. I was different. I couldn’t ever be “normal” no matter how many times I wished it.
This is the main reason why I am fighting this fight, because I remember all too well what it is like to be small, afraid, and helpless. To be so scared of this big bad world that rushes on each day as if you don’t matter. I spent my childhood living mostly from my head. I remember nights, laying in the darkness, imagining a better world. Imagining that my house was part of a train, and that when I woke up in the morning, I would be in a new place, leaving my hurts behind. What had happened that day didn’t matter. It was gone, a part of the past. And the people who stared at me, teased me, ignored me? They’d be gone and in their place would be angels who would accept me and love me. ‘Cause that is all I wanted. That’s all anybody wants. I know this because everyone is human, and human beings thrive on love. Of course, they thrive on hate as well, but in a different, harmful way.
I’m wondering what it was like for you when you were growing up, my dear readers. Did you know, like me? Did you fight your destiny, like me? Are you living your dream, or are you just making do with what you have? You don’t have to settle. Whoever told you that is a liar, even if it was yourself. I am slowly waking up to the truth of who I am and the reasons why I’m still here in this life, in this body with its limitations, and I feel empowered. I know I can do this. I know I cannot do it without God’s help. He is, after all, the sole reason why I am still here.