The events of 2021 set in motion a domino-effect of transitions in my life, and transition is how I’ve come to define 2022.
Becoming a Mrs.
In October of 2021, the love of my life slipped an engagement ring onto my left hand. And six months later, I said “I do.” [So did he!] Before 30 of our close friends and family, we committed our lives together in a ceremony that was uniquely us, full of love and joyful giggles [on my part]. It wasn’t the wedding I’d dreamed about growing up. But it was the perfect wedding for who I have become and the people my husband and I are and hope to be in our marriage.
On The Move
But as wonderful as it was to begin the year becoming a wife in the beautiful, crisp, island sunshine, it also was just the beginning of what felt like constant change and unpredictability.
Six weeks after our wedding, my husband and I moved into our 2-bedroom condo that overlooks the creek. For me, this was the third official move in a year and a half. But it felt like just another one, since for the duration of my husband’s and my year-long relationship, I’d been commuting between our homes, an hour apart. I could feel in my body the unease and the anxiety of everything that comes with learning a new home, city, and routine–I had to learn the routes and teach them to my guide dog, I had to memorize a new layout and learn where we kept everything in the house [and teach my husband not to move everything on me!], and face the most daunting task of all–making friends.
It was a slow process. It took six months to even begin to feel at home here in our house. And I’m still in the midst of it. What used to come naturally takes an extraordinary amount of physical and mental energy. But I’m determined to keep moving forward, and reassuring my brain that this move is permanent, it won’t disappear, and we are safe here. But as with most things: easier said than done.
Alongside our move, my husband and I faced employment and financial challenges. I wrote a mini series on how the British Columbia government handles disability income after marriage, and how it’s designed not to lift people out of poverty, but actually keeps people in it. This weight is intensely heavy, and leaves both my husband and I feeling very devalued and like we are fighting a battle that we are destined to lose.
Just Keep Writing… Just Keep Writing
I celebrated my one-year blogging anniversary in May, and my passion for disability equality and accessibility is still going strong.
In July, I began the Authors with Disabilities Showcase, an online bookstore to highlight the talent of the disabled community. From memoirs to children’s books to stories about guide dogs, I’ve learned so much, not just about different disabilities, but about people. That’s why I began this bookstore–to learn and to grow in my understanding of others’ experiences and perspectives, and I’m excited to share it all with you.
In August, my husband, a former web designer, migrated my website to a new hosting platform. This was a major learning curve, but it also opened the door to many more opportunities to expand my online reach than I had previously. While the blog looks and feels much the same, behind the scenes is a different story, and one that I’m excited to keep exploring.
It was during this migration that I started toying with the idea of what would become the Writely Disabled Newsletter. While the newsletter only lasted four months [September-December], I’m grateful for the experience: While it taught me a bit about web design and marketing, it taught me to take what I perceive as failure and rebrand it. Though not easy, it is a life skill that I’m glad to be learning, and will undoubtedly, have to learn over and over again.
And all throughout, the idea for my memoir/non-fiction book had been building. This fall, I began a concerted effort to begin the journey. I have a long way to go, but I’m proud of how far I’ve come, and I have big dreams for this book and many others. I’m excited for where the events of 2022 will take me in 2023.
Back to Basics
But the most transitional moment of this year has been the re-embracing of my Christian faith. I accepted Jesus Christ as my Saviour as a young child, and while it’s remained a defining feature of my life, it hasn’t always been my driving force.
In growing with my husband and deciding what kind of life we want to build together, I felt a profound, personal return to my faith and a desire to make it my center. I declared that I will not renounce the word Christian even when it makes others assume on my values and standards, but my faith is not about what others might think of me–it’s about God.
However, the decision to embrace my faith more deeply has caused friction in my relationships. I have been and continue to be accused of many things that I have not done and am not as a person, and it hurts. And I know I’ve hurt others, but in the spirit of the faith I’m trying to live out, I am trying to forgive, and hope that they can forgive me. I should have handled these conflicts with more grace and understanding. But I will not deny my faith or ignore its commands. And it’s my goal to continually learn how to stand firm in my faith and still be kind, but I know I’ve failed and will fail again. But I will never stop trying. That, I can promise.
2022 has been a year of transition. While many of these have been welcome and long prayed for changes, they haven’t come without conflict or inner struggle. I’ve cried out to God, felt lonely and lost, and believed I was worthless. The year feels less about marking events on the calendar as it does recalling the emotions and internal struggles I’ve endured. I’ve doubted myself and everything I’ve believed, and it has taken me into some dark places.
But the truth is that these are lies told to me by the Deceiver, and I’m hopeful, that with God’s help [and therapy], I can rid myself of them and start believing God’s truth about who I am.
And that’s my prayer for 2023, that I might not just believe, but truly become, a deeper, more faithful follower of God and embrace what He has for me in my life.
What a year you’ve had!!! Your determination to continue doing what you’re called to do is going to take you far. Each chapter of life seems to have it’s own learning curve. In the end it’s become a life skill. It has to be able to take us all the way. We need it to. I’m so proud of you for all your courage and determination. I’m glad we’re friends.