Growing up I never really had a problem with doing what was expected of me and then asking for more. I was always towards the top of my class, always in honors or AP classes, and always expecting perfection out of myself. I hated asking for help and wanted to do everything myself. Despite all of this it finally came to a point where I just couldn’t do it anymore and I started to break. As my disability deteriorated my ability to handle stress deteriorated as well. It came to a point where I took a break from high school, home schooling myself and dropping out of what courses were not necessary in order to graduate.
Looking back on my pre-college years, I was just trying to please others with my grades and classes. I wasn’t challenging myself for me, trying to better myself to make a difference in the world or to strengthen my abilities as a person. All I was doing was using grades and performance as a control in my life, using my grades as proof to myself that I was a good person and worthwhile.
Everyone, whether disabled or not, runs into situations where we become uncomfortable. I’ve learned to take advantage of these nerve-wracking moments to make myself stronger and learn more about myself. I challenge you to do the same! We all come upon circumstances we don’t enjoy and wish we could shy away from. Well, from now on, instead of escaping from these moments, learn from them!
I’m in the process of fundraising in order to compete for Ms. Wheelchair America 2015. Fundraising has never been my strong suit. Reaching out and asking for donations, planning fundraising events, and even the simple task of calling people has always been a slight fear of mine. Despite that, it’s something that’s absolutely necessary for me to do in order to compete in California. Because of that I stepped (or should I say rolled?) out of my comfort zone in a major way this week. I have sent more e-mails, talked on the phone, written more letters, and even sat face-to-face with more people than I probably ever have in seven days. More than that I went to the set of a popular TV show to try and get a bigger auction item, going up the chain of command to figure out what I had to do to get it…in person and alone. And in all honesty, I had a great time doing it.
Getting the information for the auction item was for my satisfaction and me only. I wasn’t pleasing anyone else, and I wasn’t trying to prove anything to anybody either. So again, I challenge you, my readers. What are you going to do to challenge yourself? I’d love to hear your answers in the comments, or personally e-mail me about your successes at email@example.com. As slowly as I’m making my way to Nationals, I’m doing it. What are you doing?