The Epitome Of Heroes
I should have listened to my mother. When I walked out of school after volleyball practice, I was in just shorts and a hoodie. It was toward the end of February 2006, when the weather had not transitioned from winter to spring. The sweat on me nearly froze from the cold.
“You need to put some pants on,” my mother said.
“Don’t worry, Mom. I wasn’t walking that far,” I said getting in the car.
I repeated that same scenario for two weeks before I started to feel funny. My appetite was invisible, but the food I ate wasn’t. I couldn’t keep anything down. I had cold chills and a fever that reached 104 degrees.
My mother rushed me to the emergency room. I walked in with my pajamas on, a coat and a comforter wrapped around me. A nurse told me that I needed to unwrap the blanket to help with my fever. The moment I did, a piercing pain surged throughout my body.
The cold was a sharp knife that sliced through me.
After being transported by ambulance to a children’s hospital, I took various tests. The doctors concluded that I had pneumonia in my lungs and chest area.
That’s when I realized I should have put on some pants.
Not dressing accordingly landed me in the hospital for a week and then on bed rest at home for three weeks. I had a PICC line in my arm, which is a portable IV with a flexible tube that is inserted in a vein.
My mother took care of me.
She woke up every morning to connect the outer tube to a bag; she also homeschooled me for those three weeks. She always made sure to remind me that I should have listened to her.
“You were hard headed,” she said. “The weather is not something to play with.”
I’ve been told that I have the strength of independence: I never ask for help and I work hard to get through bumps.
But that has also been my kryptonite.
In grade school I was Superwoman. I wore my invisible cape under my plain clothes and the cold weather was just an enemy I thought I could beat. But I overestimated my power.
That mindset continued throughout college in school and my personal life. When I was stressed and overwhelmed, I assumed I could take on any issues by just pushing through. That was my motto.
Reality sucker punched me a month ago, when I had a talk with a few friends about my problems.
“I thought I could deal with it on my own,” I told them.
“Yeah but if you do, you’ll drive yourself crazy.”
That’s when I realized what I’ve been doing for as long as I can remember. When I thought I could handle the cold weather, I was hospitalized. When I thought I could handle past personal issues, I was overwhelmed. Eventually, I had to see a counselor.
I thought I could do it all, but I am not Superwoman. Everyone is strong in his or her way, but no one is a superhero. There are some situations that we need to figure out on our own, but when we think that we can deal with everything by ourselves, it tends to backfire.
So don’t be afraid to ask for help sometimes. Listen to those signs. When you think you are invincible, you tend to dare yourself, wanting to see how far you can go.
I wish I would’ve listened to my mother and understood when it was the right time to pull off my cape.
Sometimes your cape can swing too much, get in the way and blind you.
But don’t get rid of the cape. It’s there for a reason. You just have to know when to take it off.