Wednesday, July 18, 2012

33 and Happy Birthday to me!

This Thursday I will be celebrating another Birthday. Please say hello in the comments, I’d love to hear from all my readers! The big question for me right now is what next and I still haven’t figured this one out yet. I know where I want to be and I what I hope to be doing but I’m not quite sure how I’ll get there. I want my skills and education to make a difference in people’s lives. Hopefully, one day I’ll be able to structure programs that assist people with disabilities, promote independence and inclusion. Until then I will be open to any opportunity to make a living and be useful in and out  of Florida. One thing I was never afraid of is hard work. I’m not ashamed of my age but I lived in Gainesville for eight years. Don’t get me wrong, the town has been good to me, but there is only so much you can learn in my place.  I’ve met some great people who bonded with me and for ever changed my life. I’ve moved here from Poland, isn’t that crazy? Every year brought something different that shaped me as a person and was a learning experience. Teaching me mostly about myself. When I first got here I proved to everyone that I can function in my wheelchair by myself, survive and succeed. That I can go to a foreign country and… just start a law school there. The next few years taught me just how much I can take and how fiercely I can fight to prove my worth. The Law school admissions board had their doubts about me when I applied for my second American degree program, but with a lot of footwork I was able to convince them. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t a sure thing. And my book awards and Dean’s lists prove that they made a right decision. If I thought that was hard, clearly I had no clue about what I was going to face next. It took me many years to convince immigration to let me stay in this country. It wasn’t easy and it took multiple tries. I was getting frustrated that I couldn’t make them see why my mission to help other people like me was important. As months went by I was getting more and more frustrated and something broke in me. With no hope in sight I felt I was in a dark place for a very long time. But in the end I won. And it taught me how much I can take. And it taught me strength and patience. Strength not only only for myself, but for my parents who were back in Poland, worried about me. But also strength to be far from home. While I was away my dad had a double bypass, my brother had two kids and my childhood dog died. And there’s nothing I could do. But then powerlessness was an emotion that I experienced a lot over the last few years. At certain point you need to let the fear, the disappointment and resentment go or it will eat you up inside. But this self realization came at at a price. I was happier, more na├»ve, engaged when I got here. In ways I feel more broken, more reserved and cynical. Something was taken from me and I will never get that back. I have three law degrees know and various certificates, I’m an attorney in two jurisdictions. I have a green card that allows me to travel and move to anywhere in the United States, I have that freedom I always wanted, why am I still in Gainesville? Part of me wants to move somewhere and start over, although my law licenses limit my options to DC and Florida, I do want to see more and experience more. I was on the phone with dad a week ago. And he said:’I think you overstayed your welcome in Gainesville a bit. But then it’s hard to just move somewhere without anything lined up’. I do think that he is right. I’ve been letting my fear and familiarity hold me back. I do want challenge and I do want change. While I’m working on putting together a law firm and a nonprofit was it just an excuse to stick to what I know? How do I go about grabbing life by the horns? I am getting a bit anxious waiting for something to happen


  1. Until last month, I was a teacher in a school which believes in integration of learners with special needs in a country that has no clear policies regarding the issue. Most of the learners I was responsible of teaching and/or aiding left the school due to financial issues.
    I just want to say that I wish that some of the learners in our school would amount to half of what you have amounted to by their 33rd birthday. Wishing you all the best :-)

  2. Best wishes for your birthday and life in the future.

    Whatever you deceide to do I hope that this blog accompanies you. I really enjoy reading it and I think others do too.

    I learn so much from your stories about your life. I can pass so much information on from you to my clients. Thank you for this, you are already making a difference in some people's lives.

    Susie Mallett