Besties with Shermie??

Dear Richard Sherman,

It was really nice to meet you the other day in the Las Vegas airport. I’m sure you don’t remember me because you are undoubtedly approached by hundreds of people a day. Just to remind you, I was the cute blonde in the hot pink wheelchair with the killer smile.image I respect your decision to not take a picture together expressing that it would draw too much attention. Although it was disappointing, I found that you were incredibly gracious and kind when we were chatting. I can’t imagine having that many strangers interrupt my daily activities, and still have the patience and good attitude to have pleasantries with each and every one of them.

Richard, Rich, Sherm, Shermy, I want you to know just how much of an inspiration you have been to me. In December of 2012 I had the most horrific day of my life. I was in a car accident in which a tree fell on our car, the lives of my family and I were changed forever. You see, my family and I had planned to go on a family vacation right before Christmas. We piled in the car and headed to Leavenworth, Washington. My parents in the front seat, myself, my sister Jaime, her husband Steven, and my brother Jeremy in the back. When the tree struck our car my parents were instantly killed, my sister and brother-in-law broke both of their legs in numerous spots, arms, hips, facial bones, and many internal injuries, my brother received slightly less trauma, and I was left paralyzed from the neck down. At 27 years old it was easy to find the dark place in my mind that told me that my life was over. Prior to the accident I was an active woman who ran half marathons, triathlons, went wine tasting with my girlfriends, lived in a cute apartment downtown, and loved my job as a teacher fiercely. As time progressed, and I received the support of family and friends, I began to grow stronger. Proving many of the doctors wrong I began to walk, slowly, unsteadily, and with help, but I embraced the idea that my life was not over yet. With help and guidance I began to get pieces of my life back. I work out four times a week with a handsome and very muscly therapist, I do volunteer tutoring at a school across the street, and I am working towards getting back in the classroom again to teach. I know that I have more to offer this world, and that my paralysis can hold my body back, but it will not slow my spirit down.

I want you to know that I have drawn a lot of my inspiration from you. Getting picked in the fifth round of the NFL draft, watching 24 corners go before you can seem like you’ve already been kicked to the curb before you even started. But, you never let that bother you. You said I am the best, no one can stop me, and I will be the most successful cornerback in the NFL. The doctors and therapist continued to bring me what was probably realistic, but negative news and channeling your strength I was able to say I am going to walk again, I will feed myself, I will brush my hair, and I will damn right learn how to kick some ass along the way. It inspires me that you speak your mind no matter where you are, or who you are talking to. Similarly, I’ve seen you write the most profound and intelligent articles I have ever seen from a football player. You have proven your knowledge of the game, and your ability to share your thinking with others. You bring my spirits up by reminding me that I am the only one that is holding me back. In fact, I believe it was you who quoted John Wooden in saying that “Success is never final; Failure is never fatal; It’s courage that counts!”

Let me go on to say something even more profound or sagacious. I know we only met for a moment, and that there is no reason that you would remember me, but just as I have drawn strength from you, I think you’ll find that you can draw strength from me. There is no cure for spinal cord injury. There is no magic pill that can make any athlete taller. We all have to work with what we have been given. Each morning I wake up and I struggle to sit up, but as a stretch and begin my morning routine I put my game face on and get ready to start kicking some ass. Every little thing is harder for me than anyone else, but that doesn’t mean that I’m about to give in. Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle. There is no shortcut to a great achievement. There is no substitute for doing the work. As Einstein once said, “Genius is 1% talent and 99% hard work.” You must run to be a runner. You must write to be a writer. You must actively work on a business venture to learn how to run a successful business.scan0062

Some of the issues that you take on have to do with race. Although we are different colors, I like to think that not only can I understand, but that I am an advocate for all types of coteries. First, I grew up in a multicultural—rainbow family —if you will. My sister is Asian, and my brother is black. This was all before the time of Brangelina, and certainly before it was acceptable to have this type of family. Growing up, I was very involved in ensuring equal00280ity for both my brother and sister. Now, I find myself as a minority in the disabled group and an advocate for others like myself. You would be amazed how many businesses just don’t give a damn about anyone who isn’t able bodied. Like you, I believe in speaking up for either those who don’t have a voice themselves, or in subject matter that needs to be addressed by someone who has a position that can be supportive. Even when we discover what motivates us, we can’t go that distance alone.image

Let’s be honest, you have a smoking hot body! 🙂 I know that you have to work really hard for that. Well, I have to work really hard for mine too. If I go one day without walking, image I go one day without stretching, if I go one day without the painstakingly and seemingly easy gestures of standing and reaching for something I can lose everything. My strength deteriorates so quickly. So while you’re in the gym, working on that impeccable chest, think of me, and how hard I have to work to do the little things, like eat, brush my teeth, or pull up my pants so that the whole world doesn’t get a little show of my crack!

So let me know when you’re ready to be best friends, because I see a lot of good in you, and I think you will find a lot of good in me.

Keep on keeping on!

Oh, and I will see you at the softball game in a couple of weeks!

Go Hawks!

 

J

I know! Too long! But I’ve still got “it”

I know, I know, I know, it is been far too long since I’ve blogged. I do want to keep everyone updated, I guess I was just enjoying a short moment in time where I felt like I may been adapting to what is a “new normal”. To be fair, I am a long way from what I would feel is “settled”, but I’m certainly getting closer!

So! I have so much news to share with you! But I’m thinking that it would be unwise to blow it all in one post, so I will just have to go piece by piece! First of all, you should know that the knee surgery went fantastic! I feel great, my stride is smoother, and my knees don’t crunch when I put weight on them. Hum, who knew? It was a long, tedious, and ongoing recovery. Two months nonweightbearing, one month where I can only stand, and only after that was I allowed to start walking again. Shockingly, I didn’t lose any stamina or muscle mass… Nope… That is a big fat lie! I got weak, and unsteady, so I am working on building up my Badonkadonk butt so that I can be a master walker!

What really inspired me to get back on here and blog is that I get to brag a little. Well, I brag all the time, but this one felt different. A nice looking lad hit on me! It has been ages since something like that has happened by someone who is not a total goofball :-). Not to be egotistical, vain, or narcissistic but I had kind of forgotten how flattering it was. Let me tell you, I tried to dress super professional for work, but going out on the weekends, or on my birthday, I had some pretty hot little numbers back in the day!

That leads us to talk about self image, most days I can look in the mirror and say “damn, I look pretty good today!” There are also plenty of days where is say “ehh, that will do.” But even on the days where I feel gorgeous, I haven’t really been hit on since the accident. Most women are actually overly generous with their compliments towards me, but the men don’t say anything or advert their eyes. To be honest, I haven’t thought much about it, or been bothered by it. But after yesterday, I realized that that part of my life had changed. I don’t usually view myself as disabled or handicapped, but I understand that individuals who have not met me that comes across as their first impression of me. They see crutches, a walker, or wheelchair, they see something different from themselves before they see me.

I was getting my hair done yesterday and I had a male stylist 🙂 He went to great lengths to ensure that I knew that he was straight. We chatted, as you do at the salon. He has spiky hair, big muscles, and some pretty killer tattoos. He spent extra time telling me that I would look beautiful with bangs and that he thought I looked stunning. No mention of my wheelchair for once, which was nice. As we’re finishing up he definitely made it a “can I see you again outside of work comment”.

image

My best go at a selfie after the hair cut

I politely declined, but I did promise to come back in eight weeks and we could talk about my bangs.

 

 

All of our lives are starting to move on in different directions, but I also want to let you know that my family is doing great. We are happy, healthy, and still so very appreciative of everything that you all have done for us.

Keep checking in, because I have some news about driving, work, boys, and certainly the progress that I have made! Get excited!

Keep on keeping on!
XOXO

J