Fracture Free Friday
Advice to teens?
1. Give other people a chance.
Maybe most of your other classmates at school don’t have a disability or have no idea what O.I. is. But that shouldn’t matter and in my opinion I think it’s unfair for you to expect them to know how to treat you or what not to do. If you don’t want them to assume that you are stupid, incapable of learning, or unsociable — then don’t assume that everyone will be cruel, judgmental, and ignorant. Letting others know what you need assistance with encourages understanding, compassion, and teaches people how to treat others with disabilities.
2. It’s only a big deal if you make it one.
This was one of my ‘defensive’ mechanisms for quite sometime and it probably still is. Until I began this blog I never made O.I. a large part of my life, I rarely even brought it up and just more or less pretended it didn’t exist. Now, I’m NOT saying that you SHOULD pretend it doesn’t exist — but what I am saying is that the way you carry yourself, talk with others, the smile on your face, and your overall attitude has a lot to do with whether or not ‘the outside world’ will find you approachable. This can be difficult because if you’re stuck in a long leg cast for half the year, it’s a bit logistically hard to “pretend OI doesn’t exist” or not make your disability a big deal. But even if on the outside it may appear that you are struggling – your personality, mental state, and your attitude can speak volumes and overshadow everything else. I know that this may sound like a phony magic trick but it’s not!!
3. Do what makes you comfortable.
Trust me, everyone else is just as awkward and uncomfortable as you are – it’s just all experienced in a different way. This doesn’t mean that you should dig yourself deeper into your comfort zone (otherwise you wouldn’t be learning or developing yourself!), instead it’s important to try new things and put yourself out there; however, do so within the boundaries that YOU know you are comfortable with.
4. Talk it out.
In high school I had one or two teachers who I was able to be close with. Although no one else in school had O.I. or a physical disability, it was apparent to me that I had to find someway to get the thoughts that drifted in and out of my head ‘out there.’ I found that I didn’t know how to talk to my friends about it, I was probably too afraid that they wouldn’t understand or would just flat-out laugh at me. However I slowly began to understand that being able to verbalize what I felt or was going through helped me understand what I was struggling with better; at the very least, it helped that my struggles were not just all tangled up inside my head and in my chest.
It gets better.