Today, I’ve exchanged posts with one of my favorite bloggers, Heidi Cave of Fancy Feet. You can read her favorite post of mine, I Never Thought I’d Wear Sunglasses over on her site, and below you will find my favorite post (or one of them) of hers, Summer.
As a quick intro… When I first started reading Fancy Feet, I thought Heidi was funny and her writing was beautiful. But I was a little confused about what her disability was. She referred to it every once in a while and I knew it had something to do with her feet because of her blog name…but there wasn’t a statement about it anywhere on her sidebar or in her profile at that time. Eventually, she wrote something that clarified the vague allusions for me. She explained that she had been in a horrific car crash that killed her friend and burned her own body to the point that she lost both of her lower legs. Heidi has been writing about this in a novel and she’s posting pieces of it on her Fancy Feet. While Heidi’s story of recovery is inspiring, it’s really her talent inspires me. Her talent and her choice to dream big. To make things happen. She chose the life she has. She made it happen. And she continues to dream for more. If you aren’t already reading her blog, you need to change that NOW! Here is an example of why:
I’m always excited about the first days of summer when sunsets linger and the night becomes an extension of the day. But, the heat, when it reaches its peak, is relentless and exhausting. It sinks beneath my skin and into my bones reminding me of what was.
The slap-slapping of flip-flops, toes curling into the sand, cool water over sun-drenched skin…the sounds and sighs of summer. I miss them.
When the summer unleashes its full force on us it takes my breath away with its memories. After all this time I’m still sucker-punched-in-the-gut-I-can’t-believe-I’ll-never-know-this-again, the scars too great to see too much sunlight; my legs encased in silicone, plastic and metal. The sun became my enemy, no longer something I ran toward and bathed in. Summer was my favorite season filled with hours at the lake; reading until the words blurred together, adjusting my bathing suit straps for minimal tan lines. My year began in the fall, not in January. Summer was my chance to shed the worries and mistakes of the past year, and live carefree for a few months until I got to start over.
In the wake of June 12, 1998 the summer was cruel to me, a joke. I couldn’t do what I wanted. I couldn’t wear what I desired to wear. It was unbearable to see girls my age, toes wiggling, skin exposed, hair flipping, and complaining about the heat. God, I wanted what they had. I ached to have a toenail painted, to know smooth skin again. If I could just feel the stones under my feet as I waded through the lake one more time.
Today, you couldn’t pick me out in a crowd. I might be more covered up than some. I look as though I’m sun-conscious, worried about overexposure. Everybody’s concerned about the sun’s harmful rays now. You might notice my arms are scarred or that I have a small scar that curves around the right side of my chin, but you wouldn’t think I was too out of the ordinary. I’m not wallowing, shoulders hunched. There is little sign of loss. I’m at the park or the beach herding my kids like every other parent out there, telling them to stop that or shouting good job as they swing from wrung to wrung on the monkey bars. I’m dressed for work, in line at Starbucks picking up my coffee. I’m having a raspberry margarita with friends or shopping, gasping at some cute top.
I want to rush through the summer. I want to sprint ahead and get it over with. To get to my beloved fall, my favorite season by default. But, I need to give summer its due. The season of my rebirth. One beautiful summer evening my life ended as I knew it and another began. I was not stripped of my will. Nobody claimed my soul. It was still my life to do with as I wished. I fought for what was mine. The summer may be bittersweet, but I’m here. I’m rich in choices and family, alive with the knowledge of many summers ahead of me. And I can take the heat, relentless in strength and memories, if I’ve got that.