…Don’t you just hate it when you’re on your way for an adventure and right smack in the middle of the drive is a roadblock?  You have a quarter tank of gas, you’re not familiar with the area, your cell phone is nearly out of power, and you’re without a Gazetteer tucked between the seats…

When I was introduced to disability, I ran into a giant roadblock.  I couldn’t find a way around it, and there wasn’t a detour.  I was stuck, without a roadmap, without a clue to remotely figure out where I was, and no way to call for help.

…You may be good at figuring out which direction to take and follow the detour signs, and maybe even the sun, to take you right back to where you were going.  The signs took you on a journey of right, left, or go straight ahead.  Nonetheless, you made it back after spending time on roads that were a mystery…

When I was introduced to disability, I had absolutely no way of knowing which way to go.  No detours, no road signs, no clues, I was totally lost, and each moment was a terrifying mystery.  This was certainly true in my healing process in that I had no sense of direction, and everything became more than a mystery, I became haunted by my own terrifying life.

…Then, you see your gas gauge blinking.  How many miles to a gallon does your car get?  Luckily you come upon a small town in the middle of nowhere that has a gas station, at 30 cents more a gallon than Kwik Trip.  What choice do you have…

I ran out of gas and felt empty of any possibility of refueling my hope to find my way back to who I was before 1997.  Every sense of survival in my body was on high alert and the price I was paying was astronomical.  I was exhausted without energy to seek ways to refuel myself.  With the price my disability forced me to pay, I couldn’t afford to find my way around the roadblock of 1997. 

…You ask for directions and the station owner gives them in the language of go north, south, east, or west.  Then turn left by Joe’s house, you’ll see the big tractor in the yard.  Sometimes he offers an occasional go right, straight, or left – all with landmarks.  By the time he’s finished, your eyes are glazed over… 

My eyes were glazed over, all the time.  I couldn’t retain words or directions; everything just left me confused.  I needed a tutor, someone to guide me, but at the beginning, neither could be found.

I didn’t know where to go.  My life became a long, empty road with nothing in sight to show me the way out of my fear, my anxiety, tears, and the worst nightmare of my life.

But, when I began to pay attention to where I was and where I wanted to be, it all changed.  I found that who I was before 1997 was still a part of me, it never left.  All my lived experiences where there to guide me to begin my healing.  I snuffed out the nightmares and added incentives to the sides of the road.  I turned off the noise of disability, turned up the Eagles, and sang my heart out.

Finally, detour after detour, I became more and more familiar with which way to go.  I became strong enough to build my own roads and follow my own directions. I followed them back to the interstate, and I drove over the speed limit.  I found an exit where a Kwik Trip stood and refueled at a price I could afford.  I found my way home, sat on the porch, enjoyed my success, and went to bed knowing that when I woke, my direction would be of my own choosing.  I continue to drive over the speed limit making my life exceed my expectations. 

I finally figured out how to go around roadblocks.

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  1. Good for you, Cheryl…and you’re still creatively figuring out all of your roadblocks. You are a wonder!!

    1. Cheryl Schiltz says:

      Thank you, Rosemary. This means a lot to me 🙂

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