I am a strategist. I think things through. This attribute is borne of necessity. A birthday dinner is not complete without my exit plan. As I wait to be served, I realize the booth is a bit low. I smile, blow out my candle, then scope out things to hold when I stand. I have visions of cappuccinos in flight as I tip the table.
When did intention dominate the moment?
I recall a trip to Paris several years after my diagnosis. Dinner aboard a boat on the river Seine. The city of lights pass by; dim lighting onboard magnifies the beauty of Paris by night. I panic. I need to find the restroom. I calculate the duration of the cruise and determine I cannot wait. I stand, steady myself, and take cautious steps. I find the restroom and collapse in tears.
When did fear eclipse joy?
Autonomic response to a foreign entity is an attempt at self-preservation. My fear, however, impedes my ability to experience life. Multiple sclerosis (MS) demands that I acclimate. Therefore, I need to train my brain to view these changes more favorably.
I have a significant drop foot on my right side. The extent to which it affects my ability to walk changes. When tired my foot drags as I bring it forward; these days do not pass without a stubbed toe. I have a tendency to stumble and fall; I also have an enviable talent to do this while standing completely still.
My instability creates trepidation when I plan to go anywhere. I coach my mindset to replace fear with adventure. The unknown still exists, yet it is now more favorable. It is a matter of mindset. Action steps precede cognitive change.
This trajectory is gradual. As with any growth, you move two steps forward, one step back. I certainly do. While standing still, I began to sway, right into a tall display of wrapping items, they flew into the air amid a crash to the floor. With chagrin, I began to put the display back together. Empathetic customers and kindly clerks gave me that look. You know the one. They mean no harm; I merely interpreted that their attitude was pejorative. This perception heightens my fear. Recognize moments when you misconstrue meaning out of fear. This realization is half the battle.
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