What’s the Story, Just Steph?

12046798_10153114401735598_2574941476890503041_nEverybody gets to where they are via their journey or back story.  I am no different.  The path that was chosen for me, to some degree, and that which I chose has brought me right where I am today.  I want to share a fragment of my history with you.

I do not normally like to step backwards. However, to prove my point, that which my heart is telling me to communicate, it is necessary to jump into the DeLorean and go back in time.

Last October, my dear friends gathered at the St. Regis to celebrate my birthday.  They are all so wonderful, loving and accepting.  I was accompanied by my new squeeze.  We had only dated a few times, and it was a first introduction to the Buckhead Crew.

After a lovely evening of drinks, dancing and singing, it was time to head home.  As we approached the top of the grand staircase to descend to the valet, two of my guy friends approached me.  They were accompanied by another man who was obviously very tipsy.  Both guys wished me HB and introduced their friend.

everyone-has-a-story-life-no-judge-truth-Favim.com-979198I extended my right hand.  When the man took hold of my small Poland Syndrome hand, he just about jumped out of his skin.  He started moaning and groaning, very loudly, and asking me if I need help, a doctor.  He  said his sister was a nurse.  He continued for what seemed like an eternity.  My two friends discreetly backed off and headed to the bar.

I calmly said, “it’s ok. I am ok.” I tried to walk away. He continued, all this in the company of my date. I finally was able to break away and head to the valet. What I wanted to do was crawl under a rock.

Because, I dealt with this my entire childhood, I have battled a fear of public humiliation.  Funny for a girl who loves a microphone, right? I just don’t want that kind of attention. I wanted to run and hide.  Instead, when we got into the car, I looked at my date and said, “welcome to my world.” I knew if I had any chance with this guy, I had to confront my insecurities and fears with him. This is my reality.

12171993_10207853916247345_1022448391_oI struggle with tasks you wouldn’t think twice about.  However, that is not the worst part.  It is overcoming the pain of my journey.  The PTSD from a series of operations that included lengthening my arm with a vice that my mother cranked every day until it hurt, bone and skin graphs as well the kids staring at me when I returned to school with metal spikes sticking out of my arm.  I can go on and on. And, I haven’t even mentioned my family of origin (I’ll save that for another time.).

50bced9b6ece944cae246950c9a35216Why do I choose to share this with you now, today?  What good does sharing my story do? The most prevalent reason I have for my ride in the DeLorean is that people stop judging.  Stop comparing yourself to others, either thinking you are better than someone or inferior.

We all know that behaving like you are superior to anyone is out of line.  Do we know, though, that feeling inferior, for any reason, is a cop-out. It’s an escape. Saying or thinking you cannot measure up to someone says that the other person never experienced pain or suffering.  You telling yourself you are not enough is saying that person has no clue what it’s like to walk a tough journey.  Or, maybe, the person to whom you are comparing yourself may not love and accept you where you are. Scary!

For so many years I felt inferior, not enough for anybody.  Because of my limb difference, I could never be considered beautiful or worthy of true love.  How could any man really love someone who looked like this, who needed help peeling potatoes?  How could I go into my kids’ school as mystery reader? Would the kids bother them? Would I be an embarrassment to them?  What did I have to offer the people around me except brokenness.  Luckily, I have worked through all this, to a great degree.  However the pain remains buried with the memories.

Everybody has a right to claim their back story and share it.  If they choose not to share their history, it does not mean they don’t have one.  Everyone has experienced loss, pain, disappointment, frustrations, perceived failures, etc.  We are all flesh and blood.  We all have a heart that beats, that yearns to be accepted, to love and be loved.  You cannot get anymore equal than that.

Lastly, I share my story so that you know it is ok to share yours.  I will always hear you.  Know I love you all!

Tell me what’s going on in your life.  I want to hear from you.

Wishing you love, balance and peace!

Amore & Baci,

Just Steph

PS. The pics I am sharing here are from that night at The St. Regis.