Perhaps, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. But with each battle, comes scars. As time goes by, scars fade, but they will always be there.
Wearing the scars you have a choice - to cry about the past? Or to smile about tomorrow. Living in the 'Cripple House' was a never ending nightmare, the drama and power games generated by three very bored, middle aged man that had nothing to do and had no control over their own lives sure beats any 'Real Housewives' shows you've ever seen.
A glimpse into the future? For some.
A benchmark for ‘what not to be’. For others. Right from day one, my friendly gestures were taken for granted, my kindness was used and abused. Before long, I was told I wasn't allowed to use the lounge room any more, I wasn't allowed to take any phone calls using the shared phone any more, my carers were not allow to prepare food for me during their meal times, their carers were instructed to 'leave her there' when I fell out of my chair and was bleeding on the floor.
Amazing how 20 years of misery could chisel away the human soul. It's ironic that the first thing I needed to do after losing my ability to stand was to stand up for myself.
In this new world of mine, you fight, or you die! I was only a timid young girl at the time, but I wiped off my tears, put my hair up, and my gloves on.
If fear is the game they wanted to play, then fear is what I shall fight back with. In the months that followed, I demanded my basic human rights, and when they were denied I called in the police and authorities. Very quickly, I managed to force them to fire a staff member that bullied me, together with the other residents for professional misconduct through a court decision, fired another staff for drug possession after I informed local police and a few weeks later I nailed the worst of the three residents with physical abuse, intimidation, and an AVO. The house went quiet. Not any more liveable, just quiet. Even though nobody openly bullied me anymore, the awkwardness was so bad you could smell it in the air every second of the day.
This was not a home. This would not be my life. The battle of the 'Cripple House' marked the first of many victories on my way to recovery.
It was the first time since my accident I felt strong enough to continue living my life the way I wanted. It firmed up my belief that my life will not end up like theirs.
I won't be in the chair forever. I have hopes of a bright future. And most importantly I now know how to gather my inner strength to march on. They call an injury like this a life changing event, indeed it's not as simple as losing your ability to walk. It's a fight. A fight against the stereotype.
A fight against negativity. A fight against people that trash you while you are down. And a fight against the inner demon that tells you 'you can't'.
While others accessorise themselves with jewels and tattoos, I do it with my battle scars. As I count the years with my lumps and marks, I smile, that life didn't change me, I'm still full of happiness and love.
So spread your new wings that you’ve earnt with sweat and blood.
You may not climb the mountain anymore, but now you can fly over the peak.
You may not be a pretty yellow duckling, but now you’ll grow into an elegant swan.
As you fly into the spring sun, remember, scars make you stronger, scars make you who you are.