It is yet another beautiful day as I look out my windows and just enjoy the stillness of the moment. To many, it is just another day but for a few, it is a new day completely replete with its own portion of ups and downs, joys and despair, achievements and failures – summarily it is a different day. With a temperature of 17oc, it is truly an amazing day to possibly get atop a power bike and let your hair down even as the wind courses through your hair and reminds you with startling clarity that you are alive in today. Remember that today was yesterday’s tomorrow so if for nothing at all, bask in the fact that you made it through.
I recall vividly with a smile creasing the corners of my mouth, one of the very first lessons instilled in me by arguably one of the greatest men that has walked and is still walking the earth. My father! “Always remember that the greatest battle we all have to fight is to constantly be ourselves in a world that persistently and consistently wants to make you someone else.”
Now, I can understand the meaning of every word in that sentence and wish today to share it with you even as you take out time to go through this piece. Of-course, there are a million and one things vying for your attention but Opportunity Cost….right? As at the last time, I paid attention, it was said that billions of humans inhabit the earth and guess what, there are no two identical humans. Siamese twins? Nope, I am getting down to the nitty gritty of high school biology – the chromosomes and genetic make-up can never be the same. In other words, there are billions of different humans inhabiting this earth and so the questions comes a-begging, why settle for something less than who you were made to be? Different.
Last night, I watched Piers Morgan as he gave room for David Cook (I think) to let us into his mind (he is presently incarcerated for life for murdering both his parents) and what really stunned me was when he was given the opportunity to reach out to those who could be contemplating similar acts. In his words, ‘I know what you may be going through right now, and the events that may be pushing you to take that plunge. I can assure you that I have been there and it is not worth it……..’ Now that brief clip reminds me yet again that irrespective of the circumstances life seems to always leave you in, there is the issue of making choices. And because we are made to be different, we all have to make different choices.
Now one of the ‘beautiful’ things about being dystonic, is that without seeking my consent, I am compelled to be different; the very thing I have always strove to be. Now it makes me doubly different, isn’t that just a blessing. And even with this incapacitating pain that recently began on my right foot and the traction devices that I wear regularly to ease the cervical tremors and the pains of sitting and/or standing (I only need a costume to complete the look because the world really needs super heroes). Living with dystonia is a blessing in disguise, funny right, considering that there are only about 70,000 UK residents living with dystonia so that makes us a small community and being able to be on the same page with even a tenth of that is simply an awesome opportunity and a unique pedestal to reach across and touch the lives of just a few persons beginning with that one person.
Why are we so scared to be different? What prevents us from daring to be different? Care to know what my answer is? Nobody or nothing, just YOU. I was talking with an old high school mate and making him aware of dystonia and as he was expressing sincere concern for my well being, I reminded him that sometimes, especially when least expected, life has the funny habit of throwing you a curved ball and you had better swing as hard as you can because that ball just has to be dealt with. And mind you, those balls are hard and can really hurt when taken in the face of the body. So keep swinging, practice makes improvement.
Vivian Stanshall captures it so succinctly in these words “I’m not different for the sake of being different, only for the desperate sake of being myself. I can’t join your gang: you’d think I was a phony and I’d know it.” Now what better way to express life’s greatest battle – a desperate fight to be different, heck! That is how you were made. The worst life lived is being on the band wagon with everyone else, you do have company and you are just another face in the crowd but then what happens to the real you. Sucks! Why not dare to be yourself? Be proud of who you are because these days, if you don’t blow your trumpet (by being yourself), someone else is going to take that unused trumpet from your limp hands and blow it for himself.
Begin today when you arise from your bed or wherever you passed the night and look yourself in the eye – use a mirror or get to the nearest puddle, and behold an astonishing Masterpiece. If the Louvre in France can hold such a collection of acclaimed masterpieces created by individuals just like you, what prevents you from creating your own niche regardless of how small it may be? The world is large enough for everyone and sometimes when I pass by the cemetery, I wonder how many undiscovered geniuses are entombed there with nothing but just a few words etched on their headstones and some distant memories left behind with just a few persons. You can begin today, but remember that even as kids, your first fistfights hurt like nothing you were prepared for. So be prepared, this is a fight that is going to call upon every lesson that you learnt or should have learnt along the way.
For many of us, Elijah Woods is just a kid but hear what he has to say (which again reminds me that age and wisdom are not directly proportional) “I think being different, going against the grain of the society is the greatest thing in life”…hmmm! Age is indeed just a number, what counts for us are the amounts of trials we have gone through and emerged scarred but triumphant. Today, we are yet again faced with a choice. Deeply contemplate these, the choice to be you, different and unique or to be just another fleeting memory in the minds of a few. There is the choice today, to dust yourself up and start to live a life. The greatest tool in the world lies within you, remember that centuries ago, people just like us without the most obsolete equipment but just their hands almost put up the world’s tallest building. They wanted to be different, what is that thing preventing you from reaching out and changing lives for good, starting with that one person.
As I exchange experiences with my friends all over the world living with dystonia, my message remains the same – We are the ones responsible for making the choice to live a life that counts despite the handicaps and limitations we face. Nobody can change your life for you, only you can. And it must begin with a critical self assessment of who you really are and even if I have never met you before, I can say this about you – there is just one of you and that makes you THE ONE (like Keanu Reeves role in the Matrix). Make the right choices, ascertain what you were created for and plunge into that uncharted territory. You are a winner, I am rooting for you.
And remember………………we were made to live for His pleasure and not just exist.