So many survivors posted things like, “use of my hand and arm”, “my ability to drive”, “my ability to dress myself”.
Interestingly, my response was “My feeling of invincibility”. It didn’t even occur to me to put my ability to dance! Only when I read another survivor’s post that read, “the ability to move effortlessly in a flowing fashion”, did it hit me, oh yeah, I used to do that so well, even balanced on the tiny tip of a pointe shoe! My most missed ability says,so much about where I am mentally in my recovery!
I feel very proud and whole upon reflection. I realize that I’ve truly achieved acceptance of what happened to me, and continue to fight for yet more recovery. I’ve also chosen not to look outside myself for validation! It seems that not many people, stroke survivor or not can claim to have reached this level of enlightenment. I’m certain that I feel this way in large part because, there is really nothing that I “cannot” do, including actively pushing for 3 hours to deliver my son, Alexei! I live my life to the fullest and do everything that I choose! Sometimes the way I do things may look a little different than the manner in which others do, but I get it all done on my own! This is not to say that my old perfectionist tendencies don’t still float up from time to time. I find that as I continue to recover, I am yet more demanding of myself. Because I can walk well, I am now very critical of my form. I guess you can take the pointe shoes off the girl, but can’t take the perfectionism out of the ballerina! I must note that I don’t berate myself as I did when I was dancing, but constantly challenge myself to get yet better. It’s a much healthier form of perfectionism than it used to be, pre-stroke. I’m much quicker to applaud my achievements and am no longer quiet about my strength. In fact, I call myself a Steel Magnolia (delicate in appearance and manner, but made of steel in spirit and soul). My husband Damien, who is a sommelier calls me The Velvet Hammer, which is actually wine-speak, but I love it for me, as a person, who has finesse, but is really quite strong beneath her refined exterior!
Acceptance is not the same as surrender.