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    Holly – In a nutshell on careysmith.com

    To truly reveal one’s self is a daunting prospect. It is common to hide your true self in fear of social rejection or humiliation. Although we’re all told to be true to yourself and never be afraid to really express who you are, social and societal expectations have squashed these philosophies, and have consequently squashed me. Obviously, my entire life hasn’t been lived in a dreary and depressive state. I have laughed, snorted, shouted, yelled, screamed, dreamed, learned and smiled, and all of these emotions and experiences stem from different people and situations in which I have lived through and grown. A major experience that cannot be overlooked when it comes to major influences in my life is that of my medical diagnosis.

    The story is a common one. Boy meets girl, boy and girl have defective recessive genes, they decide to have a baby together and out comes their beautiful angel. All is well in the household until Imuscdys start to walk strangely and come home from school crying, devastated that my primary school peers were teasing and laughing at me during sports day. After much confusion, and even allegations from my parents that I was simply being lazy (they have since apologised profusely), I was diagnosed with Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy in 2003 at tender age of twelve. From that moment on, my world turned upside down. My beliefs changed, my future became (and is still) unsure, my family and friends suffered and I turned from a sweet and gentle little girl to a pessimistic atheist who enjoys watching gory horror films. I had been fortunate to experience a normal childhood up until the age of approximately nine years old, but once my symptoms started evolving (weak arms and legs, loss of proper balance and control); I began to spiral into depression. Although I have never been clinically diagnosed, as I don’t see any ‘cure’ for this kind of feeling, I have always felt like there’s a dark cloud hanging over my head, ready to start raining at any moment. I’ve become paranoid about social situations, obsessive about the way in which people perceive me and entirely focused on trying to prove myself worthy. Whether this is through excessive academic achievements, or even establishing myself as a ‘character’ within my group of friends,

    I have never felt like I can really just be me. I am scared that I will shock people with my revelations about my beliefs and values and that consequently, they will abandon or dislike me. I suppose that these feeling may disappear as I mature, but at the moment, I feel like my diagnosis is ruling my life, when really, I should be ruling my own life. There is no doubt in my mind that having this disability has established who I am because without it, I don’t think I would have such a hardened view on life. This perspective on life has also evolved from the values and beliefs in which I have obtained throughout my short time on this earth.

    I have always appreciated a philosophy created by Adolf Hitler which states that ‘The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world’. This can be applied to a lot of situations in anyone’s life. Obviously, all children are influenced by their parents. Whether it is their religion, morals, values, or even their taste in music, all children are sgirlfriend6ubjected to some kind of biased opinions within their households. I have grown up with a Christian mother and an atheist father, who have both always given me the freedom to choose whatever I want to believe in, but have also subconsciously pushed me to believe in the same that they do, which is only natural. When I was first diagnosed with my disability, I was searching for answers, and for a while, found faith in the belief that God was watching over me and helping me through this hard time. But as I grew up and matured, I realised that due to my unfortunate circumstances, and the extensive knowledge that I had gained whilst growing up, I didn’t believe in anything. I think that because my life is so complicated with various twists and turns, some positive and some negative, I found comfort in not believing in any higher being, soulful purpose, or heavenly afterlife. By revealing this, I have shocked many people, who expected me to a sweet , church going teenager who had been dealt a heavy blow, but would get through with the help of her faith. It’s interesting to see the reactions on people’s faces when I come out with crass comments about life, and respond to their seemingly positive questions with a negative and pessimistic answer. I guess that I have developed a coping mechanism by being sarcastic and controversial, and so far it is working for me, so I don’t plan to soften up any time soon.

    Undoubtedly, my family and friends have had a large influence on my life, whether I like it or not. The birth of my little sister in December 2000 has changed my life dramatically. I had always interacted well with my two brothers, but to have a little sister was a dream come true. She has made me more patient, more loving, sometimes more frusocean-wavetrated, but overall has been an absolute joy in my life, and I couldn’t imagine life without her. In regards to the influence my parents have had on me, I have had an excellent upbringing. I have been brought up with unshakeable moral standards and a clear understanding of right and wrong. There have been many circumstances that I have experienced in which the term ‘tough love’ could be applied, but looking back, I am glad that my parents were firm with me from such a young age, as I am quite proud of the person I have turned out to be. They have taught me to be a respectful, polite and well mannered member of society, but while doing so, have not discouraged my feisty side, that of which I am grateful. I do know that some of my ideologies and beliefs differ from my parents, but that is what makes me Holly, and let’s face it, no teenager wants to end up like their parents, do they? That would just be a horrific catastrophe. Speaking of trouble, I have had my fair share of it in regards to finding a suitable group of friends. Many tears have been spilt over various cases of abandonment and cruelty, but it has made me stronger and more wary of people. I am now not as trusting, nor do I put up with situations in which I feel like the victim of unfair treatment. Currently, I am in a great group of friends, with two friends in particular that have helped me through some tough times simply by being there for a shoulder to cry on, or a source of entertainment when I’m feeling down. I have been best friends with these girls since year nine and we have been through divorces, deaths and tragedies together, so unquestionably, they have influenced my life in an extremely positive way. They have shown me what it is like to experience a true friendship, free of the troubles that I have experienced in the past. Of course these are just a handful of people who have had a direct influence on my life and have helped me to become the person that I am today, and I don’t know what I would have done without them.

    It is hard to summarise an individual as there are so many facets as to who they are and what they represent. I have had a tumultuous life caused purely by consequential circumstances. Although having to live with a disability is hard, I have always been thankful that this is really my only prominent problem in life. I have a loving and supporting family, an excellent group of friends that I would trust my life with and a privileged life in which I have many opportunities in regards to education and general health and well being. Many people and experiences have shaped me to become the person I am today, and seeing as though I am only seventeen, I am sure there are plenty more to come.

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