Now that I have been released from my fiberglass prison, I am ready to undertake the seemingly arduous adventure of joint recovery. Everyone, from doctors to random acquaintances, claim it will be a difficult and painful journey. They suggest I may mature and grow spiritually from the experience. But most of all, they emphasize the fact that my near future will be indescribably hard.
I think not.
I have heard people loosely throw around the phrase captured in the title of this post, in regards to myriad life complications including injuries, disabilities, diseases, and social intolerance. It is used in a praising context, suggesting that a person is strong and brave in their triumph over adversity. My angle on the entire phenomenon is very different, and I feel that the people who cower and fail in the face of adversity are just quitters.
I realize that cancer and other wholly debilitating diseases make my broken arm (and other historical injuries) look like a frivolous walk in the park. Regardless of that, my injury was about as catastrophic as a physical bone-related injury can get. I stand by the fact that I would embrace this philosophy in the face of ANY challenge; be in physical, emotional, spiritual or supernatural. Life remains too amazing and full of potential to be defeated so easily by a corporeal malady. Bones will break, cells will degrade, people will be assholes, and life will remain a general bitch as long as you draw breath.
The solution comes in attitude. If you roll over and die after some tragedy befalls you, accepting your fate, then you deserve said fate. I do not see the act of overcoming a challenge as something one should be commended for, but something that is a natural part of human life. Giving up is a failure, while kicking the situation’s metaphysical ass is a success, and should be expected. By all means, express your amazement or admiration for someone’s ability to overcome something that by all means should be difficult, but do not exalt it to some superhuman status.
According to the general public, I am currently “overcoming adversity”. It really doesn’t feel that way. I feel like I should be striving to return to a healthy state of being for myself, my family, my vocation and my ever-present sense of self-satisfaction. I suggest we start helping those people who are struggling with their difficult, unfortunate situations, instead of wasting our energy telling people who just so happen to get on with their lives how proud we are of them. The people who overcome need the least support; start helping the people who can’t seem to get themselves out of the quagmire of desperation that often accompanies a life changing event.
If you go into a situation assuming it will be difficult, your self-defeating prophecy may just come true. If you go into a situation with a, “ok, sweet, what’s next!” attitude, you may just come out OK. Optimism is difficult when everyone reminds you that you may never be able to reach your head with your left hand again. I recognize this. To those people, I say, “fuck you!”. I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but seriously, sod off. Being realistic is important to keep someone grounded, but it can also cause a spiral of despair some people are not ready to handle.
To my fellow Adversity Overcomers; do not fret! Well, you can fret your guitar if it will help with physical therapy, but do not fear! Doctors have to be pragmatists by the nature of their profession and the general litigiousness of the field. Take nothing at face value. It was once suggested by a very reputable orthopedist that I may never play soccer again after a serious leg break. I was running and playing 10 months later. Nothing is impossible, and impossible is nothing.
I am prepared to make this recovery my bitch. Sure there may be some pain, and yea, I may never be able to beat Rafael Nadal one-on-one. Some things you have to live with. I will despair for cathartic purposes, but will not let it consume me. The human body is capable of amazing feats, have some pride in yourself and your future, and nothing is too big to hold you down. To all those out there with broken bones and welling tears, I quote all around optimist, Norman Vincent Peale:
“Life’s blows cannot break a person whose spirit is warmed at the fire of enthusiasm.”