There are realities and there are rules and there are choices. Those choices have responsibilities. The reality for me is epilepsy. The rule for me is that I have to take medication/take care of myself. The choice for me is how I want to spend my life. The responsibilities go along with those choices.
For work I was invited to be at a conference at a processing facility. I only found out earlier this week and the conference was a few days ago. The entire conference was excellent and I had the opportunity to meet some really interesting people. I was thrilled. One part of the conference was a walking tour of the facility. I didn’t know about this and apparently it’s required to wear flat, closed toe shoes on the facility floor. I showed up in my usual office attire: trousers, blouse, sweater, heels (specifically, black pumps with a three inch heel). I couldn’t go on the tour in those shoes. So the amazing people at the facility went and tracked down some steel toed boots for me (they even found ones in my size!). The boots were way heavier than anything else I wear, so walking was a bit awkward at first, but eventually got into the stride. So I got to do this tour which was super interesting.
On the way home though, I started thinking about my heels and the boots. I could not go into the processing facility floor for a tour wearing the shoes I had. That was not a reality. The people found me a pair of boots, which I had to wear without socks, but it was ultimately my choice to wear the boots. I could have skipped the tour and sat alone in the boardroom in my heels. I chose to wear the boots, and it ended up being an experience that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.
The reality for me was heels. The rule was boots. The choice for me was about my interest in going on the tour. The responsibility was putting on a pair of boots. I know that doesn’t exactly translate to the same realities and rules with epilepsy because I can’t change those realities and rules, but it comes down to safety. It doesn’t come down to limitations, it is about opportunities. We have the opportunities to do and see things and we have to choose whether we want to accept the responsibilities that may come along with those choices. It’s true that other people don’t have to consider those responsibilities when making their choices, but their reality is different than the reality of a person with epilepsy. It is not my place to judge whether it is fair or not, just to accept the reality and accept that I have the ability to make choices. A wise man once told me “If life was fair, we’d all be fairies”. That wise man is my dad, and it wasn’t just once he told me that. He actually still tells me that, for whatever I’m whining about. It doesn’t make the statement any less true (although having wings and glitter would be kind of cool).
I (as a person with epilepsy) understand my reality and the rules. I cannot change the reality that I have. I could potentially change the rules by not taking medication, but that would be only to my own detriment. I realize that there are responsibilities associated with the choices I may make. That reality and those responsibilities don’t limit me because I choose not to let them. I know this reflects my entry “The Power of Choice”, but this is something that affects me every day. My reality. The rules. My choices. The responsibilities. I cannot escape those, but they can be something I am caged by, or just simply something that exists in my life. When that reality is accepted and an understanding of the rules is reached, we can make the choices for the life we want to live and the attitude we want to have as people.
My choice is to grab the world with both hands, and put on the steel toed boots.