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disABILITY

February 22, 2008

disABILITY: Fear of change can be crippling

It may seem like an oxymoron, but within nature and life, change is a universal constant.

Change forces adaptation, and in turn, adaptation opens new possibilities. It sounds good, but it's not typically an easy thing to handle. It usually evokes more than nominal discomfort in people when they experience it.

When change rolls toward the shores of life, there are several options. One is to ride the wave, another is to be overcome by it and be pulled out to sea, and the other option is to defy and resist it altogether.

Drowning in inevitable changes or trying to resist something larger than you are doesn't typically feel so great. But, nonetheless, those seem to be the typical knee-jerk responses many people do have.

For me, big changes started happening without my consent at around age 11. Going blind wasn't easy by any means, but I think the fear of the unknown was far more troubling than the blindness. Some say that what we don't know won't hurt us, and it's sometimes true, but what we don't know also scares us.

Fear was one feeling that dominated my life for more than a decade. It had a somewhat stunting effect, making me feel trapped in my own life and being unable to change a thing.

I had been fully submerged in competitive swimming during that point in my life, so I just clung to that for dear life, even though it started feeling like something I didn't want to be doing anymore.

At that same point, in school, I was having a lot of administrators, teachers and my parents directing my life. I didn't often have much choice in matters of approach in dealing with my education. It was something I fought until I realized I couldn't win a one-woman battle against the masses. So I submitted, learned not to question much, and just behaved my good, little self rather than rocking the boat unnecessarily.

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