By JAMIE VERWYS
This spring break, I broke down.
I crumbled and fell apart several times before finding the most minimal amount of clarity to just breathe.
The puzzle of feelings to which I reduced myself took days to start solving. Even as I return to my classes, I realize I haven’t finished yet.
Recently, I fractured my knee and positivity served as one of the most important tools towards my successful recovery.
Last issue, I wrote about the value of resilience gained from overcoming personal struggles.
However, many of the greatest challenges people face are emotional ones and not everyone shows that to the world.
I might have left this part out last time.
No one told me how noticeably the atrophy would change my body. I’ve been petite most of my life and don’t consciously do anything to maintain a certain figure.
In hindsight, I consider myself lucky that no one warned me I’d eventually feel like a misshapen blob with a tiny, shriveled leg.
It was kind of exciting at first when I discovered I filled out some dresses a little more than I used to.
After everything that already happened, minor weight gain felt like a sign that better days were close if only I held on a little longer.
I owned three dresses long enough to wear in my wheelchair at work. To my frustration, none of them fit me anymore. It still stings my ego thinking about how I struggled so hard to get each garment on and off.
The breakdown started there as I made a mental list of all the clothes that were too small for me now. I can envision tumble weeds rolling through the empty spaces where my jeans and shorts used to be stacked.
Countless challenges exist and recovering from a trauma of any kind will hurt.
I also experienced the worst writer’s block of my life, felt more socially unsure of myself than ever before and finally realized the weight of how much catching up I have to do.
You might never know the extent of what someone is going through and I’ll bet everyone you meet is still trying to complete their own puzzles. Keep that in mind when you deal with people.
During the more reflective moments of this experience, I’ve found an even deeper appreciation of kindness.
Sharing your own difficulties with someone might be the reassurance they need.
An understanding smile and kind gesture have the ability to provide much needed comfort to a stranger or a close friend.
I have claimed and dropped a few different mantras during my recovery but the good ones get me up in the morning.
As you read this issue and dive back into classes, I hope you consider the words of Greek philosopher Plato as you see your classmates again.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
Welcome back. Enjoy the issue.