Nothing I am doing at this point in my life was expected. I am a writer who is dyslexic. I was told I was stupid and wouldn’t amount to anything when I was at school. I couldn’t spell, and hated the tests that would shame you in front of your peers. I was told I may never eat nor drink again, and had a naso/gastric tube at fifteen. Walking was extremely doubtful, as was ever having a child. Waking from a coma, coming back from clinical death, the list goes on. Empirical evidence was pressed upon my situation. Statistics were read. Empirical evidence is heavy on science and the figures have their place.
The space a dreamer inhabits is incalculable. It is infinite and defies the odds. When I was in my coma, I was thirteen. I talked to dead relatives and walked upon paved roads, pastoral scenes abounding. It felt more real to me than the dreariness of here. I saw chocolate with my name on it, and the first words I uttered when I returned were “I want a chocolate bar!” I was often told what I wouldn’t be able to do, and I have done it all. I am defiant and rebellious, always have been. I am older than I dreamt I would be. My defiance may seem quite mild, but it is still defiance. Pushing my body through unbearable pain to the other side, wherein resides delirious ecstasy; sitting longer than the doctors said I would be able to. Going out by myself despite my anxiety. I am talking hard-core! I secretly applaud myself for doing the inane that others either don’t notice or take for granted.
How very dare I, presume that I could have a child? Did I not listen when it was explained that my spine was not strong enough? That I would be alone, trying to cope with being in a wheelchair, in agony, requiring daily medical appointments? That was my first hurdle. The next was actually getting pregnant. Years of treatment ensued, and my partner happened to be infertile too. My natural curiosity for life meant that I explored every option. I couldn’t bear the thought of looking back and seeing that I hadn’t done everything possible. In my wildest dreams, I would end up with one embryo and thus one chance. Just to get that far would have been joyous. I ended up with two frozen sperm and one follicle to work with at the end of IVF. Ridiculous odds. My first clinic bowed down to the wisdom of empirical evidence and considered me a pain in the arse. I left their company, and went elsewhere. These people ousted the empire, and honoured my decision to see it through. My daughter is the result.
Pregnancy was hard, but I got through it. I would toddle up to the local hospital and get treated by the physios. The session would end with my spine being shocked by their gigantic Tens machine. Bliss! There were hydrotherapy appointments, urologists, obstetricians and many more. These people became my friends. By the end of my pregnancy, I was in a wheelchair and as it was winter, I was often in my child-size dressing gown. Empirical evidence warned that I had one shot at having the spinal anaesthetic go in, or else I would have to be knocked out for the birth. It went in, as I envisioned it would.
In my life, I have had little to work with. An illiterate five foot blonde, who has a shattered back and is infertile. Felled every couple of weeks with endometriosis to boot. Then there was the PTSD and anxiety. Empirical evidence said I was screwed. There has to be more than the empire! So much can’t be quantified nor measured. How you feel when you listen to a particular piece of music. When you view a work of breath-taking art or someone comforts you at your most vulnerable. When you walk on callipers for the first time. When you wake from a surgery you were told you may not survive. When you hear the roar from your newborn baby, or when you see your embryo under a microscope. I still have the dish she grew in. All happen far from empirical evidence. They are miracles. It’s time to believe in what you can do, rather than what they tell you they cannot.
You have to hold tight to yourself; you have yourself forever. Long after the empire has left the building. Work with what you have. Even if it feels minuscule, it is rather a lot.