June 6th marked 5 years since my spinal fusion surgery. 5 years since I became part robot. Scoliosis was never something I identified myself with. It was always something that just happened to me and I never wanted to make it a big deal. So, friends, don't feel weird if you didn't know. I don't talk about it much. Consequently enough June also happens to be Scoliosis awareness month. Learning this almost made me laugh. Aren't awkward Jr. High scoliosis screenings in the locker room awareness enough? But then there's national donut day. Talk like a pirate day. Ok, I digress. We can have our month.
Physical quirks have always played a small role in my life. When I was 3 years old, my parents met with a doctor to discuss options about my inverted hips and pigeon toed feet. The decision was either to break my hips and cast my legs up to my hips (Forest Gump anyone?) or put me in ballet. They put me in ballet. Of course, I was the worst ballerina and I'm still pigeon toed. My dad always told me, "All of the best runners are a little pigeon toed." Whether or not that's true, I never felt limited physically. Maybe this mentality prepared me for other physical quirks. We all have them. Am I right? I never connected the two until today.
I'm grateful for modern medicine, my absolute favorite orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Jeffery Roh, and this titanium spine that hasn't slowed me down. I just got back from a backpacking trip across seven countries. I hike, dive, kayak, white water raft, ran a half marathon one year post op ( I am NOT a runner), coach gymnastics, and I'm obsessed with rock climbing. I'm so grateful for all my loyal friends that visited me, brought me treats, sang hymns on Sundays, drew pictures and put them on the ceiling so I didn't have to stare at the empty space. My angel of a mother and my sweet grandma that took care of my every need. Literally every need.
I've been reading Brene Brown's Daring Greatly and she totally got in my head. She asks, ""Can you value your own vulnerability as much as you value it in others." That resonated with me. As a photographer I ask people to be vulnerable all the time. I love hearing and visually telling people's stories. This time I turned the lens around and I'm sharing a sliver of my own story. So, here goes my vulnerability exercise.