Listening to the Impossibles

This past Thanksgiving weekend, I did something I had previously swore I would never do. It was huge, and it was scary as hell, and I did it anyway. The details of precisely what was this huge, scary as hell thing are unimportant and really, not for public consumption. But that’s not the point.

The point is this: It becomes all too easy for those of us with disabilities or chronic pain to say we can’t. Our doctors say we can’t. Our parents/children/spouses/siblings/friends say we can’t. The self-help books and online forums we read say we can’t.

  • It will only make your condition worse.
  • Don’t you want to get better?
  • The (insert authoritative body here) recommends against it.
  • With your condition, you shouldn’t be doing that

All of these things, battering away at our defenses and our determination to DO. Sadly, it just takes one small bit of this to slip in under the radar and convince us that we CANNOT DO. I’ve fallen into this trap more than once, and odds are good I will do so again many more times.

But even the fact that we are human and we sometimes fall down shouldn’t stop us. The fact that we don’t try again will do so. In fact, it is guaranteed to do so.

Some days, you just need to decide that despite all the warnings and cautions not to do, there is no choice but for you to do. That the thing you swore you’d never be able to do, that you were TOLD you could not or should not do, is the thing you will do.

Because wouldn’t you rather reach the end of your days with a long list of what you accomplished than an equally long list of what you didn’t?

One of my favorite children’s authors is Shel Silverstein. The man had a rare gift of not only understanding how to talk to children, but the way in which children think about the world around them.

Here’s why:

“Listen to the Mustn’ts, child,
Listen to the Don’ts
Listen to the Shouldn’ts
The Impossibles, the Won’ts
Listen to the Never Haves,
Then listen close to me —
Anything can happen, child,
Anything can be.”





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5 Responses to Listening to the Impossibles

  1. Violet Tigress says:

    I fall into that trap all too often.

  2. SoldierGrrrl says:

    The minute I saw the blog entry title, I thought of Shel Siverstein.

  3. lizhamillscott says:

    I vacillate–more recently I’ve been listening to the Impossibles.

    But when I’m not depressed, I’m a contrary little beastie. It wasn’t until *after* I came down with permanent chronic pain that I decided to become a travel writer. So there! I feel strongly that defying the pain, the nay-sayers, the very concept of disability is the best way to live my life to its fullest. And because of the pain, ironically, I feel like I’ve got more appreciation of everything I *do* have than I ever did when I was healthy.

  4. I find, most times, there is a way to get around the impossibles. I’ve lost the use of my legs. I drive with hand controls and ride an electric scooter. I’m losing the use of my hands. I am learning Dragon and MacSpeak. I have chronic, unrelenting pain. I swear a lot (in private) and paint pictures of it when my hands let me. Pain will not defeat me. I run a blog to help and talk to others: CMT and Me on WordPress. I’m finding holding a paintbrush difficult. I will make my wrist brace work for a paintbrush. I will never be able to walk again. I will likely lose the use of my hands but I WILL not let that stop me. I will use my brain to get around what my body cannot. No one can or should tell me or you what is best for us. No one will stop me living until I want to stop.

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