peeks into my life dealing with everyday life and obstacles as well as obstacles of dealing with disabilities and accessibility obstacles, Chronic Pain due to broken spinal rods, living on pain medications, dealing with anxiety/depression, experiencing the newness of love, and fighting for my right to live and love my life in an ableist society.
It’s officially December and I am not in the Christmas spirit like usual. Usually, I would be going all out with decorations and such, but not this year- maybe lights and that’s it. Due to moving in Jan. We don’t want to have to haul extra stuff than what is needed. Plus, it will be the first Christmas without Mommie, Mr. Mike James, my cousin Racheal Mary Meche, Ms. Nancy Moticka
It has been too much death in one year; not to mention all the other I care about who isn’t around anymore either- My other grandmother (maw), and then one of the most influential women in my life, Mrs. Evelyn Zehner, “Mrs. Z” from Camp we can do. It’s just so hard… I know there are worse people off, but for some reason I just cannot get into the spirit yet this year. Is it because of not decorating much this year, the financial stresses and having to ask mom to loan money for us to buy Christmas gifts until David can find a job? I don’t know. Just tired of always being miserable. I can’t remember the last time I was sincerely happy for more than a few hours.
😥 I don’t know, I just been depressed all day today. Hopefully, I can get out of this funk. Prayers appreciated. I hate it when I get depression.
Warning: I am about to be really emotional and sappy. Mrs. Z, The director of Camp We Can Do until 2010, has been on my mind a lot lately. RIP. I miss her so much and she was a major influence in my life…
Imagine: Being an 11 year old girl with severe physical limitations due to Severe Kyphosis/Scoliosis and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. Imagine feelings like you don’t fit in anywhere and that even though you have friends, you constantly question whether your existence is just a burden on your loved ones.
Imagine: Starting a new scary adventure; a summer camp, Something I had never done before aside from daily VBS for a week at Church. Even though, I knew that it was for Special Needs individuals like me, I still was stressing. I remember going shopping with mom for summer clothes; constantly coming out of the dressing room in each article of clothing, asking the same repetitive question “Does this hide my curve? Does my stomach in this? Do I look ‘Normal,” and God forbid if something I liked didn’t look good; Talk about “Dressing room Meltdown!” of locking myself in the dressing room, beating myself up by hitting myself in the face, on the arms, crying my eyes out because I just wanted to be “normal.” The first day of Camp finally arrived and I was so nervous and scared, I didn’t socialize with anyone, I kept to myself, and didn’t want to participate in any of the activities except kitchen and arts and crafts. When the camp group activity (where the whole camp got together to participate), Mrs. Z Noticed I was not participating and when she tried to get me to participate, I cried like a little baby brat about “I don’t wanna,” and “What if they laugh at me?” It’s like come on, they have special needs too. Why was I so self-absorbed? So ignorant? I am so embarrassed was back then. Mrs. Z let me skip that first day group activity, but we had a “come to ” talk where she explained that I would eventually have to participate and try to make friends, that no one would make fun of me and if they did, they would deal with her. Thanks to her and camp we can do, I came so much out of my shell (at least there) and did things, I never would’ve done anywhere. I did the talent shows, the girl makeovers; I made wonderful friendships, and even volunteered as a counselor after I turned 18. Had I not met Mrs. Z who pushed me to realize I was not limited by my disability, that I just had to find an alternate route and the statement/Motto of Camp We can do, “Yes We Can!” Had I not met Mrs. Z and the wonderful staff who were encouraging and supportive of the campers, I don’t know how I would’ve turned out. Yes, my mom always encouraged me, but I always figured “She’s my mom. She has to say that.” Coming from others, it’s a confidence builder? I 100% confident and in who I am? No. I still have some work to do, but without Camp We Can Do, (and Shriners in St Louis later on), I don’t know what my life would’ve been? I don’t think I would’ve flourished the way I have since starting Camp We Can Do and meeting Mrs. Z. She pushed me out of my comfort zones to explore other aspects life. I wish she was still around to witness my life and accomplishments, but I know she is watching over me, and hopefully I am making her proud. God bless you Mrs. Z, (and I am tearing up writing this), I miss you so much! There is so much I wish I could just talk with you about. I love you and hopefully, I can make you so proud of me. ❤ ❤
There once was a lady who was sweet and kind, She worked at Camp We Can Do, For quite some time. Her name was Evelyn Zehner,But to the campers at Camp we can do, Her name was “Mrs. Z” And she was loved by every camper, Including me. She never saw a handicap or Disability, She only saw children, who wanted to have fun, But could also be held accountable for every misdeed. She treated us all “normal”, Never made excuses for us.But loved us so much, that was evident. We were all her babies, Like a parent, Even when we were misbehaving, she still loved us. Every Morning we were given “good morning hugs,” Right as we got in the door, running into her open arms,We loved our “Mrs. Z,” Sometimes, we’d get in trouble just to go sit in the office with her; Or others, like me,Would just sneak away from group and peek into her office, Until she would catch me, I can still hear her saying,“Okay Jamie, I need you to go back with your group.”It was said so often, it should’ve been stamped on my forehead. The days always ended the same,As children’s rides would arrive, the kids would hug Mrs. Z tightly, She’d squeeze them with lots of love, And tell them “Rest well for more fun tomorrow.” Or “Have a good weekend,” Whatever the case would be. She knew what the kids were capable of, What they knew, how they knew how to play “sympathy card,” She was tough, but she was loving; Firm but Fair. She was big on teaching life skills. She knew these kids, That others counted out,Could learn these life skills, And prove something to the world;That they could be something with the right dedication and discipline. Sure some times, her methods seemed extreme and harsh, Maybe “too hard,” on kids who already “had such a tough life,”But I cannot recount a single kid who ever held a grudge;They always would hug her, and still knew her love for them. We learned how to cook in the kitchen, There would be people who came in to read stories to us, People who came to teach us healthy eating, nutrition, hand-washing, etc.We’d go to library, museums, They would teach us how to do grocery shopping,She knew that special needs couldn’t always learn just from textbook and memorization, We also had to go out and experience it, And of course, try and fail over and over till we got it. But she never gave up on us; she never counted us out, Ever! Sure, she is gone, And we are all sad, But her legacy will live on, In the memories and love,The impact she had, On thousands of lives. Fly High, Mrs. Z, You took care of everyone here on Earth,Now it’s your turn to enjoy some pampering,Up in heaven; you have definitely earned your angel wings, Sweet woman. Long Live, The advocate, the disciplinarian, and second mama, To everyone, especially children and parents from Camp We Can Do.
It was in 2008, when we went to Kemah boardwalk for the Camp’s big field trip. I wasn’t riding any of the rides; just watching all the other campers having fun. Mrs. Evelyn ZehnerEvelyn P. Zehner was the one who told me “your parents didn’t pay all the money for the big field trip just for you to be a spectator.” So She encouraged me to try a ride. I got on a tower drop (not realizing that I was terrified of heights), and I never been so terrified in my life, but I also am glad I did it. (isn’t it funny how something can scare you, but you are proud of accomplishing it anyway) Mrs. Z was always encouraging us to step outside of our comfort zones, and really thats what should be encouraged, because if we don’t, then how will we ever find out what we like or are good at …if we are counting ourselves out before trying, or scared to fail, then what kind of life is that? Mrs. Z had that tough love, but sometimes, that is the formula for success…not always the case, but sometimes. I think the lessons she taught us, and what many influential people in my life taught me, has influenced me into the person I am today. Yes, I still have some “kinks” to work out and smooth out, but for the most part, I am proud of who I am and I have Mrs. Z as one person to thank for that.
As you all are aware by now, yesterday I went to Vidalia for a pain management appointment and found out that I have Osteoporosis forming. Today, I called my Surgeon in St Louis, Missouri, to find out if it would affect my surgery.
Missouri office: Can they fax it to the results to us?
Me: I’ll call and ask.
Vidalia office: we need a release, however, we can send the results to your referring doctor.
Referring Dr office: Oh, we can’t fax other doctors’ records.
*Facepalms* This is why the medical field and disabilities suck. Can’t get help, what so ever. You are a freaking Dr. Office, do your job!
I called the St Louis office back and explained the situation and they are going to call Vidalia and see if there is something they can do.
Today I had my monthly appointment with pain management doctor in Vidalia, Louisiana. At my last appointment, they did a bone density test; today they went over the results and it turns out I am developing Osteoporosis. They did not say where it was developing and I was too in shock to ask. I have it written down for next month’s appointment. The doctors are starting me on Fosamax to increase my bone density and hopefully help to where I am not as “brittle” for surgery time in August.
In other news, we have my fiance’s niece for a couple days at the apartment. 🙂 she is always a pretty good distraction for my pain. Tonight, we made tacos for supper 🙂 Another good bit of news is my fiance and I will start praying the rosary together every night and gonna start going back to church on sundays #RelationshipsWithGodlastLonger 🙂
So a lot of People have no issues with Disney movies or children’s programming promoting heterosexual “need a man/prince,” mentality, but as soon as something airs with homosexual relations, everyone that is crazy traditional religious is all up in arms and “grab your pitchforks and torches, burn the blasphemers.” It’s 2019 people, there should be no more homophobia, transphobia, disability-phobia, dwarf-phobia, racism, sexist ideas, or any of that stuff. The old testament was before Jesus’ time, the new testament was around Jesus teachings but actually written by “followers” of Jesus. Who knows, they could have thrown in their own views or maybe when it was translated from Hebrew or whatever language, something got “lost in translation.” I mean, think about it, Jesus hung out with the sinners, prostitutes, the “scum of the scum,” as people viewed them. He taught love and acceptance. Not trying to change their ways by saying “You’re GOING TO HELL!” he did it through love, he made them want to turn from their sins, not try to force it.
Today there was an article on WAFB Channel 9 about a My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Episode that featured the character, Scootaloo, being looked after by her same-sex couple aunts; Aunt Holiday and Aunt Lofty. First, it was Arthur about Mr. Ratburn and a gay wedding, and now this. People were all pissed about both “It isn’t appropriate for children,” “Protect our children,” “Satan’s agenda,” blah blah blah.
I may have been brought up Catholic all my life, and I still love my religion, faith, and God almighty, but the organization has its own faults ..*Cough* *Cough* Pedo Priests getting frisky with the altar boys or whatever. We are all human, we all have faults, we all sin.
But the media are doing things like this to try to be relatable and give representation to minorities and their families: Homosexuals(The child or the parents), bi-racial (parents or child), single-parent households, being raised by someone other than parents (Grandparents/uncles/aunts/cousins, adopted, orphaned, fostered, etc.), transsexuals (parents or child), those with disabilities. With more representation and showing that these people aren’t weirdos or “freaks,” and that they are just like everyone else and shouldn’t be targeted, harassed, bullied, etc. over stuff they can’t control.
Since a lot of parents tend to shove their ideas and beliefs down their children’s throats, and not teach their kids to not be little assholes, its up to society to also push in some compassion and empathy because there are many walks of life and no one should be bullied to the point of trauma, depression, homicide, or suicide.
A bad storm passed through Louisiana this week so it has been quite a bit of sleepless nights for me lately and then add in the dreaded once a month bullshit us females have to deal with, adding in stress, anxiety, hormones, emotional roller coaster, all that (sarcastic tone) “fun.” Tonight, I tossed and turned for 2 hours while my fiance’ just lays next to me snoring; sure, I could wake him up and make him suffer with me, but that is selfish plus he works to provide for us, so I guess he needs the sleep more than I do, but it sure would be nice to be able to talk these things out instead of blogging them.
I have a mattress that can elevate the head, it helps with migraines and sometimes my upper back (then I gotta deal with my lower back and hips hurting), but tonight my upper back is hurting and I am not even gonna use the head-elevation because lately it has been making my fiance’ back hurt in the morning; which sent me down the dreaded “rabbit hole” of the uncertainty of a future together: What if I become bed-ridden, what if he has to help me with everything more than he does now? That isn’t what he signed on for! It isn’t fair to him. I know he made a commitment to me and he constantly reminds me of it anytime I start crying and freaking out about how much pain I am in and the fears that sends into me about how uncertain my life and future are; I just don’t want him to have regrets or resentments. I love him, I really do, but when these fears kick in, I go into flight mode and tend to push him away, thinking I am saving him from being stuck in a sucky future with me and my damn disability. How can I expect him to accept it and what it does to me, if I cant even accept it completely myself?
If there was a pill created to make me “normal,” like everyone else in society, I would take it! Even though I also feel like having my disability has made me a well-rounded, wise, empathetic, compassionate, supportive, loyal, passionate person. Does it make me a bad person? Why is it I can be a support system and cheerleader for others with disabilities but yet I cant even accept myself completely? Does it make me a hypocrite? Maybe its just the pain talking; well the pain and the damn devil. I need to really work on myself and loving myself for me; whole-y and completely. Maybe after my surgery to fix my rods, maybe my pain will be better, and I can start being happy again. One can only hope.
I can’t be the only person that tends to dwell on the past, can I? okay, maybe not the only disabled person, but maybe I am? I don’t know. I just know, I tend to stay in the past and try to recapture those memories and try to implement them now in the current present; however, it doesn’t always work out.
Childhood was so much simpler; No responsibilities, friendships were easier to make and maintain, I wasn’t in as much pain, my anxiety/OCD/depression wasn’t bad until middle school/High School, I didn’t try to fit in as much, I had a pretty good idea of who Jamie Elizabeth Cormier really was, and of course People I cared about weren’t dying left and right. I had a wonderful childhood and lots of wonderful memories despite having my disabilities; sure, there was the occasional person that mistook me for a “monster” or would just stare/point (the bullying really didn’t start until 4th grade). However, like all children, I took it for granted and couldn’t “wait to grow up so that I could do what I wanted.” Boy, who sold me that fairy tale and can I sue them?
Sure, as an adult, I can do some things I want like staying up all night, going out when I want(as long as I am not in college, not working, don’t have previous plans, have the money to do it, and of course, not hurting.) I can drive (again, as long as I am not hurting and I do have the gas money.) I can drink legally(not a big drinker), buy cigarettes (but I don’t smoke), buy a lotto ticket/scratch-off ticket or go to the casino (if I can afford such luxuries at the time.) But, in the same token as an adult, I also have bills (my choice for moving out with my fiance’), I have to make some tough decisions, I have college courses (my choice) or have to work. I have to handle my own medical stuff (paperwork, phone calls, etc). its a lot of responsibilities that causes my anxiety to go into overload and I end up having emotional meltdowns at least once a week.
However, there is always a silver lining: if I stayed in the past, I wouldn’t have learned important life lessons (through mistakes, my experiences with bullying, fights with friends, failing classes,etc.) I wouldn’t have my friends that I made as I got older (junior high, High School, College, my medical “journey” (st Louis, Missouri.) I wouldn’t have my fiance’ and wouldn’t be planning for a wedding. I wouldn’t have my associates degree in general studies and pursuing my bachelors and then further on to try to better advocate for myself and others with disabilities and special needs- teaching young adults with them to better live independently to the best of their abilities through life skills, modifications, adaptations, job skills, and helping them find jobs they are passionate about instead of just the jobs like Goodwill or Arc. That is my dream and with the right amount of willpower and determination, support from family/friends/and community, any dream can become a reality.