Some of you may remember this show back in the late 70’s, early 80’s. For those old enough to remember..this was about the Bradford family, which consisted of 8 very independent children and the trials and tribulations of growing up, facing important decisions, and other tough topics of that time. They had a father, Tom, who to me seemed quite oblivious to a lot of common sense solutions, yet when it counted, came through as a great source of love and support for his family.
There were a lot of movies, TV shows, and other depictions of families that carried us through relatable, humorous, and sometimes downright serious content and the process of life transitions, which we would stay glued to the TV or Big Screen to see just how things turned out, see justice done, capture a glimmer of hope, or just escape to be entertained for a wee bit.
In those moments, of living vicariously through our favorite character’s lives – we shaped our view of not only ourselves, but the world around us. We shaped our views on advocacy, education, societal roles, relationships, our sexuality, and they challenged us to think outside of ourselves just a bit….especially if they included controversial content – personal writing ahead of its time really. When a character would be removed from a show, killed off, or somehow taken in a different direction – it sometimes affected us deeply – especially if we watched them grow up or felt we were growing up with that character as well. Relatable, right? It sometimes felt like we were losing a friend or loved one of our own – even though, by all accounts, this was completely unrealistic. How could we go on? Yet we did. One day moved into the next, a new show, new series, new movie emerged and suddenly the previous experiences though remembered, became a distant memory, now replaced by better writing, CGI, better special affects, powerful acting, and tapping into those topics that often remained previously untouched.
Some of us also no longer had time for that level of commitment to a “character” because we were building our own “character” through our lives, our own careers, our own families. Striving to make sense of all the changes, the challenges, the amazing tribulations, the absolute exhaustion that being a responsible adult brings. How could we go on? Yet we did.
We all have experienced trauma in some sort. Some from their first breath out of the womb, some their entire childhood, some their entire life in one form or another; some – a one and done situation which impacted the entire fabric of their lives despite all the good that exists around that one trauma. Some of us persevere, some don’t. There are so many factors that influence all of those changes and the way we evolve through them….or don’t. I am not even going to begin to attempt to list them all here. Yep, there are that many. We wake, we wonder – How could we go on? Yet we did, and we do.
In this moment, as I reflect on my life on this 8 year Anniversary of the wreck that changed my life forever, in every aspect…..I am struck with examining all the characters in my life, my influences, my beliefs, my moral compass, and I think of all that I have survived and continue to endure.
I think of the effort required to overcome unimaginable pain, hopelessness, limitations, a stripping of life, dreams, and independence since that fateful day. There were a multitude of moments where I would cry, rage, and scream…perhaps even laugh hysterically at the irony of things being the opposite of what I envisioned for my life at that time and since. The stages of grief became my daily association with that one question that no matter how I progressed or what kind of HOPE I held….still loomed waiting for answer. How could I go on? Yet I am, and I do.
During this process of trauma, re-inventing myself, effort, and personal growth – I have learned some very hard, valuable lessons. Some I am truly grateful for…others, not so much.
I have had my rose colored glasses ripped from my face, stomped on, crushed into the ground, and damn near destroyed from an repairable possibility. However, once you see things from the way they actually are vs how you think they are….well….now that has a life altering affect of its own. Which way you allow it to take you depends a lot on your own mental fortitude and ability to CHOOSE to go on, CHOOSE to survive, CHOOSE to be the best version of yourself in this very moment. It depends a lot on whether you CHOOSE to accept and embrace the smallest victories, the smallest growth, the smallest blessings. How do we go on? We CHOOSE to.
I still enjoy watching a bit of TV and a movie here and there. It is interesting to see how the writing in the shows nowadays differs a lot from my younger self’s experiences with the progression of each character. I find myself, with the assistance of technology, social media communities, and access to a plethora of information readily available at my fingertips…..that my possibilities for research, growth, healing, advocacy, and a life drenched with an unpredictable next step – have been forming that picture on life’s big screen in answer to the beckoning call of each Anniversary that reminds me that I am still here….thriving….without even knowing I could sustain as long in this form…as I have.
I am struck with reflecting on this being the 8th year since the wreck. The 8th year since I fought for each breath and each step and each ability. The 8th year of creating a living visual answer of….despite starting over and over and over – “How do we go on?”
I am left with this. Eight is Enough. Enough time to decide to live; Enough time to choose HOPE permanently; Enough time to continue to vibrantly live a life of gratefulness, appreciation, and acceptance of what is, and what isn’t; Enough time to speak my truth, sound my voice, and share my words without feeling self-conscious about what others think about my experiences, or me as a whole person. Enough time to decide to not just plan, envision something someday, not just try….but do.
Eight is Enough. Enough time to finally be able to say out loud….”I am disabled, but I am more than my disabilities. I am doing, and will continue to, do the best I can every day…and THAT….is enough!