By Guest Blogger: Marissa Meleske, a 26 year old woman, born and raised in NY. She loves music, anything that makes her laugh out loud (literally) and she lives for helping people enjoy life. Sounds ordinary but she was born with a physical challenge. She could have let it get her down, like many people do, but she refuses to be defined by or limited by her circumstances. Plus, she likes to stick it to doctors who have told her she’d never do this or that! Watch her…
We sometimes live our lives backward. As children, when our parents told us we couldn’t do something, we’d slyly see how far we could push their buttons or try our hardest to do it behind their backs. Anything in order to get our way, and do what we wanted to do we did. As adults, if we are told we can’t do something, we automatically internalize it. Clearly if someone doesn’t believe in us and says we can’t do it, we really must not be able to do whatever it is we’re trying to do, right? I hope you detect the sarcasm…
We need to take back our power.
When I was still in my mother’s womb, doctors told her I had a 50/50 chance of living and if I did live, I’d be much like a vegetable. Her and my dad would be lucky if I could sit up, crawl and not shit my pants as an adult. At 26, I can sit up tall like a big girl (-sarcastic grin-), I’m a certified life coach, author, seasonal secretary at the Board of Elections of my county, and I wipe my own ass after using the toilet. I’m in a wheelchair but let me tell you, after 8 surgeries that were supposed to be fool-proof, I refuse to go under the knife again. I embrace my life the way it is. I may not be able to do things exactly like everyone else, but just like the title of my first book, “Everyone’s Different, Get over It!” if I want to do something, nobody and nothing is going to stop me!
Recently, I got the opportunity to dance with Valentin Chmerkovskiy, a 14-time ballroom champion and professional (and star, if you ask me) on “Dancing With The Stars”. I am not confined to or defined by my wheels. I was blessed with parents who instilled the will to succeed (and prove people wrong) in me since birth. Parents, I beg of you, teach your children the same thing. Don’t coddle them, even if they’re “different.” Let them live a full life. They CAN if they think they can!
I’ve learned, from a very young age, that it’s very important to believe in yourself, to believe that the world is always a good place filled with opportunities to fulfill your dreams. But you also need to have the confidence to go for those dreams. That’s the only way you will get anywhere in life. It doesn’t matter who believes in you, if you don’t believe in yourself. It’s not naïve, even at my 26 years of age, to still believe that the world is still filled with so many beautiful things and amazing opportunities to succeed. From time to time there will be road blocks, but it’s up to you how you look at them. Are you going to let them stop you? Are you going to look at them merely as a wall, testing how bad you want to get to the other side of it?
The choice is ultimately yours.