Wheel With Me

My Biggest Hero is.......

blog post My Biggest Hero is.......

In an interview, Matthew McConaughey said his biggest hero is him ten years from now. This resonates with me. When I think of a hero in my life, I automatically think of the person I am and the person I am continuously developing into. To me, a hero is someone who shows courageous strength, even when the future is uncertain. A person who values the impact they leave on the individuals they serve. A hero is a person who, regardless of their fears or the doubt in their success, shows up anyway. An individual that continuously exhibits mental grit is a hero. Heroes are all around us.

Had you asked me this question 6 years ago, I’m sure my answer would NOT be the same. After the accident that left me a paraplegic, my once determined future became unclear in an instant. I struggled to change my lifestyle to accommodate my disability. I lost not only the use of my legs but my bowel and bladder control as well as the perceived “control” I had over my life. I had to relearn everything I previously knew about day to day functions. Various examples of everyday tasks I had to remaster were how to get my pants on, use a catheter to pee, how to poop, how to shower, get in and out of bed or a car, and how to use a wheelchair. Refusing to accept the reality of my life-changing injury, I overlooked my physical and mental health and wellness.

One of my biggest struggles as a wheelchair user was the amount I fell out of my wheelchair. Sometimes my legs would get caught wrong when transferring out of bed, sucking me to the floor. If I had a bladder infection, it would cause my legs to spasm straight out, flipping me over backward. Getting myself from the floor to my wheelchair was near impossible. While traveling, I fell on a hotel room floor. After struggling a few minutes, I recorded a rant (later posted to youtube), about the unseen struggles of my day to day life with a disability. The video had thousands of views within days. After realizing the number of people I could reach, I decided to make a lifestyle change. I added physical activity to my daily life. I began paying close attention not only to my physical diet but my mental diet, paying close attention to the content I consumed. In the moment of my lifestyle change, the long-term impact this would have on my entire existence wasn’t realized.

Today I am in the best physical and mental shape of my life, finding self-gratification in the process of continued growth. I have let go of every judgment I had of others and myself. I have let others’ opinions realizing they do not determine my happiness (unless I allow them to). I have learned how to evaluate a situation rather than react right away. I have learned not to respond to negativity. When I reflect on who I was, at 22 years old, after a life-transforming injury to the woman I am today, I am inspired. I inspire myself with my drive and desire to help others. The passion I carry throughout my day to day life. My resilience in the face of adversity. And my commitment to being the best version of ME. Reflecting on the challenges I have faced and overcome, my heart, and who I am continuing to grow into, I am my biggest hero.