Help Me Find a Pair of Water Shoes!

Babe and I were in the backyard taking in the sun. The pool looked exceptionally beautiful. It was hot outside, and the pool was glistening. I should be able to, dive in, and swim, right? Not so fast. I always seem to find myself perched at the edge of the shallow end of the pool feet submerged in the water. I swear there is a magnetic force in that pool water always tugging at me. Why do we want for things we can’t have?

I have been in the pool post vestibular disorder, but there is always a fear. The doctors warned me, never put my head underwater because I could drown. I understand that once I submerge my head underwater visual cues would be removed, and my visual orientation would be impaired. Also, the motion of the water brings unpleasant nausea and has triggered a vertigo spell or two.

Stairway To Swimming Pool

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Heck. Today I wanted to get into the pool. I even checked in with Siri to confirm the temperature outside. I was stalling. Gotta love smart phones! I finally stumbled across a post that stated 80 degrees outside is considered prime swim weather. As fate would have it, Siri had already alerted it was 81 degrees. I proclaimed my desire to get into the water, and Babe didn’t discourage me.

Next thing you know I was in the water. Pants, shirt, bra and undies. I didn’t care; I was in! It was freezing and I considered jumping out. Glad I didn’t give up. I was forced to stay in the shallow end! My movement began to stir the water into a forceful motion, and I started to feel yucky. I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet. I elected to hold onto the edge of the pool and look away from the water. Did I tell you, I have not physically ran in 7 years? Running can be a trigger that  provokes dizziness and vertigo. I then started running in place. Before I could wrap my head around what was happening, I yelled out, ” I am running!”. I turned to look at babe, and I was greeted with a huge smile. I then asked babe to set the stopwatch and time me. “Set it for 10 minutes!” Once again he didn’t discourage me. He set the timer and I started running in place holding onto that edge. I pulled my hands away from the edge, and the buoyancy of the water held me in place. I screamed again, “I am running”! It was quickly realized I wasn’t going to make the 10 desired minutes. Babe yelled out, “How about we shoot for 2 minutes?” My reply, “What about 3?”. I made it to 2 minutes, and I fizzled out. But who the heck cares. I ran! I ran for the first time in 7 years. It may not have been in the traditional form, but it was my way, on my own terms!

Babe asked me to hold onto the shallow edge while he went to retrieve a towel. I had an opportunity to be alone to think about what I had just accomplished. I began to feel motion sickness as the water shifted me about. Babe hustled back and helped me out of the pool. The weight of the wet clothes felt tremendous. That weight represented the heavy burden this disorder has placed on my life. Babe started to wrap the towel around me, and I hugged him close and began to cry. He held me tight and said, “I am so proud of you.” I am proud of us. We have been in this battle together for 7 years, and we may not win every battle, but we will win the war!

Much love,
Marissa

Finally Turning On Life’s Joyful Flashlight

These last 7 years of vestibular(balance) chaos has led me into deep, dark, corners. I don’t often get opportunities to relish in joy.

Differing disabilities, one community | Meet disabled people online

 

Yesterday seeing the article that Blake Watson and myself coauthored for Disability Horizons, left me cloaked in joy!  I was beaming yesterday.

 

Disability Horizons - A 21st century view of disability

I want to experience more days like this! I need to experience more days like this. This condition has no problem leading me down a dark path. I realize I will have no problem finding my way out of darkness with the help of life’s joyful flashlight.

Much love,
Marissa

2 Pieces Of Tape = Better Quality Of Life?

Marissa with tape on glasses

Ok, so I am walking around this holiday season with two pieces of tape on the inner part of my glasses. This is called Binasal Occlusion. My neuro eye doctor believes this will open up my visual field. The vestibular disorder has caused me to see the world in tunnel vision. I often look down when walking. With the prisms, I am walking more upright. With the addition of tape to the glasses, I am not bumping into as many things around the house as usual. It’s looking like I will have to wear the tape a few more months. Can two pieces of clear tape equal a better quality of life? Time will tell!

So, if you see a guy or gal on the street walking around with two clear pieces of tape on their glasses, pass a compliment or smile! I know I could sure use a little reassurance when out and about. I have been a bit self conscious these past few days, hoping the insecurity will pass.

Much love,
Marissa

Jeffrey Zeldman and Dan Benjamin allowing me to contribute on The Big Web Show

The big web show logo and introduction text

September 1, 2011, is a day I will not forget. It’s the day I realized that despite limitations, I can still contribute. I may have a different message today then I did pre-disability, nonetheless, I still have a voice. Thank you to Jeffrey for reading my email and asking me on the show. Thank you to Dan for being so welcoming and engaging. Thank you Faith and Candi for booking and answering my questions.

Highlights from the show:

* I was able to contribute once again
* I shed light on living with a vestibular disorder
* I managed to talk faster than Gary Vaynerchuk
* I believe I gave more shout-outs than any other guest on the show, combined

The hidden lesson:

Never short change yourself. Despite your limitations and insecurities, you can still be an active participant. Creating alternative ways to contribute will be the challenge. The journey is not as meaningful without those challenges.

Personal thought:

A few years ago I questioned taking my life. I believed living with this condition was not an option. Despite how difficult this journey has been, I have learned beautiful life lessons. I am grateful I stuck around for what is turning out to be the most important moments in my life. To God, blessings. To my fiance, I am in love with you. To my family, I will fly once again. To my vestibular family, I have the utmost respect for each of you. To my internet family, I appreciate you!

Much love,
Marissa

Second Chances

My life drastically changed when diagnosed with a vestibular disorder. A floodgate of emotions began to consume me. Emotions that ranged from anger to fear, depression to confusion. My judgement was often clouded and I made mistakes. I have spent the last few months trying to assess the aftermath of my cloudy decisions. As I evaluate the damages, I am left with the question, am I worthy of a second chance? In my haste I left behind close friendships, and made terrible educational choices. For example: I miss my former best friend dearly, yet it’s hard for me to pick up the phone and ask for a second chance at rekindling the friendship.

man surrounded by puzzle pieces. Image: renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Why am I putting this out there?

I want you to avoid the same mistakes I have made. Before I was granted this disability, I had major life weaknesses. Those weaknesses were magnified when the disability hit. I would suggest evaluating and shoring up your life weaknesses today!

 

Examples of my weakness pre-disability:

* I didn’t invest in my friendships . I would not send out b-day cards, make phone calls, plan outings, etc.

* I was afraid to live my dreams. I wanted to live in New York and travel aboard.

* I was 100 percent a workaholic. I didn’t make enough time for family, fiance and friends.

 

Worthy of a second chance?

I would love a be transported back in time to turn those weakness into strengths! I may or may not be worthy of a second chance, that remains to be seen. The choices we selectively make or dismiss will directly impact the outcome of our futures. Are you worthy of a second chance?

Much love,
Marissa

Fear Of Failure

 

split bridge, one side followers, one side leaderImage: renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

My personality is reflective of a clutch hitter. When the bases are loaded, full count, team down by two runs, I’m confident I can hit a home run. When I am called to lead, I am comfortable assuming a leadership role. When I am asked to follow, I am known to be a trustworthy consigliere.

I have always felt comfortable to lead or follow, knowing I was surrounded by team members. As I stand alone, yearning for ways to contribute in the workforce, I am riddled with fear. I don’t have co-workers to collaborate with, or a boss to impress. I am on this journey alone, without much direction. I am afraid to fail.

The fear of failure is going to have to substitute for team members. The fear of failure has asked me to follow and I have been a solid listener. I have listened and understood that I may not succeed. However, I believe it’s my time to lead. I will introduce fear and uncertainty to bravery and success!

Much Love,
Marissa

Could Your Intern Use An Intern?

I am convinced, there has to be a web design agency or company, that would desire having a non-paid web design intern assisting their paid intern. I have found very few online web design internships. The few online internships posted, I have contacted. I am asking the companies to consider using an intern to help their paid intern. As I learn to reinvent myself and attain new skills, I realize “virtual world” experience is going to be essential to my web design freelance success. So, I am simply asking agencies and companies, have you considered having an intern for your intern?

person sitting at desk with question mark over their headImage: jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

Possible benefits of a virtual internship:

*Gain virtual office experience
*Gather a sense of how offices are collaborating online
*Understand what companies and agencies are looking for when they hire a freelance web designer
*Be exposed to industry standard best practices
*Learn to be part of an online team

I am hoping to be taken up on my offer. In the meantime I am going to continue to study web standards and enjoying learning HTML and CSS.

Much love,
Marissa

Vocational Rehabilitation or Bust

I strongly believe finding resources limited the number of dark days this condition presents. The HMO medical community and my employer had given up on me but I had sense enough not to give up on myself. I figured there had to be a way for me to actively participant in the workforce in some capacity. I have a capable mind and an unyielding spirit.  These qualities allowed me the ability to get out and explore my options. Maybe there was a person or organization that would be willing to give me some guidance? In comes Vocational Rehabilitation…

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