Niki Helfer
Living in the Past
Finding normalcy in abnormal times
Nicole Helfer
6 October, 2006

Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear,
but around in awareness.

- James Thurber

After my accident, doctors told me I would never walk again. I didn't grasp the concept that this might be for the rest of my life, dependent on my parents, being in a wheelchair. I thought for sure that in a couple weeks I would be up walking and dancing again. Weeks past, and months past, and I was still sitting in rehab in a wheelchair.

Finally, I was able to go home and go back to my normal school, and I thought things would be like they were before. Not to sound cocky or anything, but a lot of people knew me, as I had a variety of friends. When I returned to school I expected to go back to the same thing, but it was a whole lot different. A lot of my old friends had bigger and better things than to help me and talk to me.

For a while, I wanted things to be like they were. I wanted to be able to walk normal, I wanted to be able to sneak out of my house to see my boyfriend. But sooner or later I had lost everything.

I prayed day in and out for things to go back to normal, I even tried to make things normal again but people didn't seem to accept the whole concept that I was in a wheelchair. I moved to Keswick (Ontario), which was so depressing, but it still made me wish even more how I wanted things to become normal. I wished and wished so bad if only I could turn back time just once.

The wake up call for me was when my recent boyfriend dumped me. This guy I had dated in the ninth grade who knew me prior to my accident and after. He was the only one who actually stuck by my side for the whole time, even though we didn't talk much, we at least talked once a month, then we started talking more and more and before I knew it we were together. Now he was from my past and I think he was also wishing that one day I would wake up and be able to walk and at the same time, normal without a walker. He was used to a different Nicole and now he had to settle for this one.

It hurt me only because I wanted to give him so much more, I wanted to go out with him, be able to walk and hold hands, things like that. But I couldn't, yes we could go out together but I was embarassing, as I knew people would stare at me because of the way I walked; but I always wondered how he felt.

The time we spent together was at his house in his basement, watching television. We were dating for 4 months and then it was over. Although we went through something no relationship should go through, I also think that lacking the physical ability to do things had something to do with it. So when he dumped me, it really hurt me, and made me wake me up to reality.

I realised that I had a lot to deal with and being in a relationship was just distracting me from my true problems, the whole "living in the past" and trying to make everything back to normal. It was not a normal thing for people to do because it started to make me depressed. But what I realised was that nothing will ever be how it use to be, no matter how much I try to make it. Even if I woke up tomorrow morning and could fully run and jump, nothing will ever be like how it use to be.

I was so concentrated on the past that I didn't even have plans for what I was going to do with my life. I also left home for a month, and that made me realize so much about myself, like how I overlook situations, how I read into things that are not necessarily there, and how also my attitude is a big issue. I was stepping backwards instead of moving forwards with my life.

I have accepted myself and the situation im in, that still doesnt mean that I'm giving up, I still work out and try hard to improve my walking skills, but I'm also looking forward to going to college and getting a career that I really enjoy.

Learn for my mistakes and accept life for what it is, it may hurt a little but the future brings great joy. Live your life to the fullest!

Nicole Helfer is a columnist for 148.ca, still in dreary Keswick.
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