People often ask why I have so many creative outlets, and instead of just saying for my health as I normally do I thought I would elaborate on it a little further. Whether it’s sketching, writing, painting, or practicing an instrument all of my creative outlets come with more than one benefit. They both help to better my mental and physical health and why would I argue with things that all around help me feel a bit better?
The human brain responds differently to each different type of therapy (physical, occupational, music, art, etc.) So other than my recent focus on physical therapy and music therapy I do my best to keep it well rounded so that all areas of my brain and my injury are getting the attention that they need. As of late my body has clearly been responding better to music therapy so that’s how I exhaust myself on days when I can focus on my physical health.
Even before my paralysis, art has always been my outlet. From visual and fine art to performance arts they have consistently been my go to. Even bored in classes I used to just sit and doodle through lectures because my teachers and instructors never said anything that was not already in the textbook haha. The sooner one finds healthy ways to cope with what life throws at us, the sooner we can thrive. Then there were my teens that were very dark so I always just drew what I was feeling. I actually went through all my old sketches from that time period last week and realized i was in a lot more pain than i acknowledged at the time. From faking happy to being genuinely happy in an 7 year timeframe, it’s an astronomical difference.
In the comments share with me what your devices are.
Yes recovery is painful. Yes some days you will not want to get out of bed. Yes the internal struggle will eat right through you on the bad ones. All in all the good days are worth it. At the beginning of my physical recovery the days with small wins were few and far between, but now years down the road they have become more frequent, which in turn makes it all a lot easier to push through. About once a week I have a day where my pain is so high that I cannot get off the couch but it is still worth putting in eight to ten hour days just to get my body back to where I want to be.
Even on those days when I have absolutely no desire to roll out of bed I remind myself that if I get moving my brain will release dopamine and the day will get better. Followed by having my physical therapy routine down to a bunch of things that I enjoy. When I got to a stage that I could make my recovery enjoyable I began to dread my recovery less. Mindset in recovery can make a serious difference in recovery so do not mope around like a “negative Nelly” if you genuinely desire a full recovery.
It Is not just physical recovery that is all about the small wins. Life in its entirety is about the little things every day that make you smile, or bring a glimmer of hope to your eye in place of your pain and sorrow. I am happy continuing to recover because even if my body only gets better at a task on a weekly basis it remains that I’m still a step closer to where I need to be. Some weeks it’s one step forward and two steps back, but I promise you’ll continue to get better. If you have any interest in finding out how I got to where I did three years after being left hemiplegic click here.
As you know ive been quiet for a while now. I’ve been busy focusing on my recovery by means of trying to relearn all my guitar chords. A couple weeks ago I also had an interview for the living without disguises project. Similar to my novel it’s never a dull moment here.
Since being back home I had casually been playing my roommates electric guitar and I knew that in order to get more serious about playing I needed to buy myself an accoustic so I bought my yamaha Apx600 in oriental blue burst. It’s been s couple months with her and it’s clear that I was missing music therapy. I continue to practice my chords, but one day I’ll be able to master those scales.
As for my interview with the Living without disguises project. Since my misgendered review I’ve been trying to step up my queer visibility so it was perfect timing to speak out on how I got here. Feel free to read the interview here.
Just as how I finished my novel I will continue to recover for the rest of my days. Never forget that you can do anything you put your mind to as well.
No matter what you are working to recover from one day you will wake up and realize that you are not who you were before said thing. For me “One day” was about four and a half years after my paralysis. For those of you that follow my timeline or read my book you will know that this realization was fairly recent. One day last week I woke up and noticed that each goal I was working towards was for the old me and had no relevance in my life where I stand today. The realization that for years I had been plugging away at things that had no meaning or value to me anymore left me sobbing.
It was a bitter pill to swallow, yet at the same time It took a huge weight off my shoulders. As someone with extremely high self expectations, I had to stop beating myself up for no longer wanting any of those old dreams to come true. It was tough, but it is no surprise that the most trying years of my existence would force me to reevaluate and in turn want the exact opposite of what I strived for before. The more I pondered the more I realized that If I pursued my old goals I would never have the time to do the things that make my heart beat.
No Matter the cause we all lose ourselves at some point in life and what really matters is getting to a point where you are happy and flourishing again. I could say that I have a plan for whats coming next, but from day-to-day I am just going to go with the flow and see what happens. Some days I will write, others It will just be physio, and that’s okay because I am finally going to take the time my body needs to continue to heal.
It has become apparent to me repeatedly recently that I need to step up how proud I am to be a transgender person. Being genderqueer is one of the highlights of being me. From interview misquotes to even today while I taught at a conference.
Today as I walked the banquet hall looking for individuals that needed help I was pulled aside by a lady who wanted to talk. At first I was a little weary not sure what she wanted to discuss, but I was open to see how it panned out. As it turned out she just wanted to hear about my journey and how things got better after I began my transition and started living an authentic life so she could better support a family member in their journey.( not that I announce my transness to the world, but it could have been the five o’clock shadow beginning to show through my foundation) The conversation melted my heart and was just the reminder I needed today.
I will admit that transitioning is not easy in any way, but it is well worth working through. Once I gave up my nineteen year facade and started working towards my authentic life I found a level of joy and happiness that I had never experienced before. Since I started hormone replacement therapy everything changed as it is supposed to, before HRT I identified as a she and within a few months after I started I knew that I was more in the middle of the spectrum.
Being a they is the most authentic me I’ve ever been, sometimes that’s masculine, sometimes its feminine and thats ok, most people don’t understand that both gender and sexuality are spectrums. I didn’t even fully understand it until I started my journey.
For all the young queer folk out there I hope that you get to live your authentic lives from a younger age.
Happy pride month,
As you know I had my book launch in April and one of the attendees was kind enough to review the book. I will warn you that “he” was used repeatedly so don’t be too surprised. Yeah I’m trans I’m just non binary instead of female. Check out the review at the link below:
It seems that quite a few of the private messages and emails regarding this book have had very similar questions so I thought I would answer them here so people do not have to shoot us an email or a message for the frequently asked questions.
Do you regret having the surgery?
There were definitely times throughout the years of recovering that I questioned having the operation, but no it has led to some really amazing and unique experiences that most people do not get to have.
How did the paralysis affect your identity?
For the most part I have to say no, but there have been the odd frustrating moments where I was seen as just someone with a disability. Like anyone I had my struggles before the paralysis they just changed after it. It definitely notified my lifestyle, but I did not like where I was headed so it was a change for the better in my opinion.
Would you do it again?
If I had the ability to time travel back to the moment where I signed the consent forms I would do it all over again. It was tough and still can be at times, but for me this was a multi-year period of pure grown and a true test of character. Every experience in life has value no matter if it is positive or negative. Would we have any good stories if all of our lives were just sunshine and rainbows, no. We just have to learn to create the rainbows after the storms.
If you would like to purchase a copy of the e-book click here
Feel free to ask questions in the comments and I will answer as best as I can.