People everywhere celebrate landmarks in life. Birthdays, anniversaries, new beginnings and so on and so forth.
This week, I’m celebrating the end of the school year. Every student out there will tell you how and why they celebrate finishing the year, and almost all of the reasons will be along the lines of “I worked really hard this year, and I’m happy to get a break”. That’s true for me too, don’t get me wrong. But it’s also something more.
June 20th marked the end of my first school year with Fibromyalgia. It means I survived a whole year of school, whilst suffering from the head aches, the fatigue, the joint pains, and that now it’s over. Everyone is asking me how it feels, do I feel so great that I succeeded, am I overjoyed that the school year is over. To be perfectly honest though, it just kind of feels… blah? Not blah, just that it doesn’t feel like that huge of a deal.
I’m not explaining myself right. I feel happy, and satisfied, and proud (I have the highest GPA of my grade!!!). It’s not that I’m thinking the year wasn’t that bad and therefore it’s no big deal to finish it. It’s not that. I actually had a really, really hard year. I’m elated that despite all of my hardships, I managed to achieve what I set my mind to, which was to not let Fibromyalgia affect my grades.
I think it just hasn’t fully set in yet, that I’ve finished. This is only really my 3rd day of vacation, because of the weekend, which I always have off. Maybe by next week I’ll be feeling it for real.
For now, I’ve been trying to get the most out of days without school. I have reorganized and labeled our spice drawer, I have buffed up my iTunes library, I have read, I have watched TV, I have gone to get frozen yogurt, I have painted, I have sketched, I have gone to art class, I have shopped (online), I have exercised, I have gone to the beach, I have… Have I mentioned I’ve only been on vacation since Thursday?
Keeping busy, I know how to do that.
I really want to make the best of this summer. I have so little free time during the year, now is when I get to engage in all the projects I don’t usually have time for.
I’m going to tell you a story now.
It is custom, where I live, to go to the beach on the last day of school. So, the entire middle and high school population of the extended area flock to the beach, to “celebrate”. Ultimately, each person gets an inch by inch square of sand, and an ankle in the water. T’is enjoyable. My friends discovered that a certain area of a certain beach, that is farther away, is less crowded, and you can rent chairs to sit on (though because my friends are the way they are, they usually put their bags on them and lay on the floor to tan. I really don’t get it). It means we needed to take two busses and a cab to get there.
We went to the same place last year, and it was no fun. This year, because these girls have the gift of people-speaking, we agreed to go to the same place. This time, though, something nice happened. We arrived in two groups, and the other group had arrived before mine. When we walked to “our spot”, one of the girls looked up and said, “Ella, I got you a chair, I thought it might be easier for you to sit that way”. I swear I almost burst out crying. It only just took a year for this girl to acknowledge that I have a physical disability, and that she should be nice about it. Most of me was just really happy that she was nice, but a part of me was upset that it took her this long. Of course, there was a rotation of who was sitting on the chair, because I wanted to be in the water (not lying on the sand tanning). But I think that’s what made my afternoon, that the girl who laughed when I told her about my condition was finally finding kindness, deep, deep down inside her. I feel like it’s a personal accomplishment.
Incredible story, right? I know.
I smell summer in the air. I like summer fashion, summer hair dos, summer time tables, summer freedom. Waking up to a blue sky is uplifting, and I’m feeling like I can accomplish things. I don’t know what exactly, but what’s important is that I feel like I can.
Wishing you all a beautiful, happy, accomplishment-full summer,
Where does the time all go forever? It hides in your eyes, in a picture, in another place’s sky. -More Than Letters, Benjamin Francis Leftwich