I can’t remember whose lines these were, but I’ve read somewhere that life is a mystery that no one can unravel. This has been absolutely true in my life. When my life made it a habit to show up in different ways, I decided to stop planning and take life as it comes.
Suddenly after 12 years of hovering around my son with special needs, researching stuff on the internet, arguing with doctors claiming that I know better than them, my life has taken on a new chapter.
My days now end with a smelly me with my clothes covered in dog hair. I was always an all day PJs girl so nothing’s changed there much, except that “my clients” don’t judge me for it.
I used to work as a Human Resource professional in a reputed IT firm 12 years back before my son was born. I have actually literally been called in by my manager telling me to doll up and look better because I was into Talent Engagement and literally the face of the company to the employees. I fought back saying I didn’t have to “dress up” and would rather let my work speak for me! This was because I hated the look of makeup on my face then and now. But who was I kidding, my work couldn’t speak for itself because I sucked at it! Big time!
I was an adult with ADHD who just simply didn’t know it then, but knows it now because her child’s diagnosed with it too. I’ve beaten myself up thinking why I can’t do something as normal as working and organizing just like everyone else around me. But it makes so much sense now..
Life always presents itself in astonishing ways giving us opportunities to learn, unlearn and relearn in every different way possible.
I made a conscious decision that I will make my 2023 different from the past few (very long) years I’ve had. And so I decided to do something I love. I wasn’t going to go back to a job where I had to work under someone, because I’m in a position where I can’t meet anybody’s expectations! I couldn’t work in a 9-5 job because my brain literally shuts down every 3 hours. It’s the maximum it functions after my stroke. It goes as bad as where I can’t move my limbs where I actually want them to go. Then I need to give it a one hour rest and it starts performing again. There are a lot of deficits I still have from my stroke. A major one being I can see single only in my straight view. So sometimes when I’m out and about and have to take something from my wallet, I automatically close one eye to still see single and then when I look up I realize people are staring at me thinking what is this weird woman doing. My neural connections are a bit off and hence I’m slow at what I do. Kinda like the sloth from Zootopia. But in my new job, my pups don’t mind me being slow or squinting or forgetting something I was supposed to do for them owing to my short term memory loss. All they care for is my undivided attention, my presence and my compassion. They don’t judge me in any way. I don’t need to dress to impress! They never get tired of showing me what they need, no matter how many times I might forget. They point to the kibbles or water whenever they want it. They sleep with me when I need to rest and never complain as long as they get to snuggle next to me. My payout is far far less than what I would’ve earned had I continued my work. But now I go to bed every night with the satisfaction that I shared my love and cared for so many babies including my son and my pup in the day! I sleep content and that’s all that matters in life. I have the satisfaction that I have again won in my constant battle against life.
Life has shown me again and again that she’s the one under control and she will decide where my life has to turn next. But I am an adamant woman. Always have been one! I just couldn’t let life get the satisfaction that she had won against me!
The first time I realized life just happens and is not in our control is when my father passed away. It came as a shock to me at the tender age of (almost) 21 that life can be so unpredictable! I was so naive that I was mad at my grandparents that weren’t they supposed to go first? Because they are older, it’s only fair! Poor souls, it wasn’t their fault right? But life just always presented itself to be unfair from then on. My older brother, just like that, had to give up his childhood and become the responsible adult of the house. My mother had to suddenly raise us single handedly. And I, the pampered little brat of the house, had to suddenly start a job and do my post graduation alongside.
And then, I met the love of my life and we got married after 4 years of dating. I couldn’t believe my luck when I was blessed with pregnancy within 4 months of marriage. I felt, surprisingly, life was again going as per plan! Right since I was a 5 year old girl myself, I used to say I want a lot of kids and the naivety was really strong since birth, so I used to have twin conjoined bananas all through my childhood because the myth was that it would apparently help you have twins and I wanted a pair of identical twins so badly!
And then life turned on me again. She once again showed me that she’s the one in control and I delivered a micro preemie baby with special needs.
This is where I started fighting with life. I did not give up on my child and decided to raise him like any other mother would. I was lucky to have a great partner and my mother to support and help me every step of the way. The beginning was extremely tough and it still feels like we are going around in circles sometimes even after 11 years of different therapies and 10 surgeries. But just like everything else in life, when you look back, you don’t regret any of this and feel like this was probably the best thing to happen to us! I’m thankful and grateful each day for my son who is such a gem of a person which sometimes makes me wonder if his sweet nature is God’s gift to compensate for his health issues!
And just like that 6 years flew by and then life showed its dark face again and I had a massive stroke. It was a strong devastating one for a 31 year old then. The rehab I was admitted in, had not one patient under 60 and I remember thinking life must really hate me to have brought me here at this age! But no, today when I look back, I know this stroke has actually guided me to my path and showed me my purpose in many ways!
After rehab and starting to walk again I felt like having one more baby but the doctors told me I can’t have any more because I’m too high of a risk. To appease my frustration, I bought a puppy. We were open to adopt a child, but I knew I couldn’t give her/him the care they deserved, owing to my health. That puppy became my new lifeline and the baby of our house. My friends tease me the way I don’t let them call him a “dog” but they were all so sweet to accept him just the way our family did. My son sees him as his little brother and today because of him, already within a few weeks of starting a doggy day care I have had at least 20 different pups consider me their “mamma” for the few hours they are with me. Maybe this is why I wanted a lot of babies all along! Maybe this is the purpose of my life. I may not be fit for the normal world and their kinda work, but I got the blessing to nurture a child who couldn’t advocate for his needs and now fur babies who can’t talk for themselves.
Another thing I tried for this new year is getting back to my dancing. I chose to start learning semi classical dance again from an old school friend of mine. When we first talked after all these years, she told me, “Megha, this is a fan girl moment for me” and I told her, “don’t be starstruck because I can’t dance any way near to what I used to do in school” to which she answered, “what makes you think it’s only the dance I’m talking about? I have been a constant follower of your journey and just like your dance, your life mesmerizes me! Look at you girl! You’re the strongest woman I know!”, and that made me think how much we critique ourselves and how little do we credit ourselves for! Maybe life was never in competition with me. Maybe life all along was guiding me to be the best version of myself. Maybe she saw the potential in me that I never did! Maybe life has been harsh with me to toughen me up! Maybe all of this is just me trying to see the optimistic side of things to feel better! But who cares right? Today, I see myself as a Stroke survivor, battling with depression, spastic migraine and fibromyalgia, but still strong enough to start a small business while continuing my writing. I got a lot of messages telling me that this will take a toll on my health; and the only thing I had to tell them was, I’m ready to fall on my face flat if this doesn't work out, but I will not retreat saying I never tried because I was scared! I also got about 100 messages congratulating me!
Now suddenly all these things seem trivial. Today if my depression shows up, I have my family and this new extended family to wipe my tears. My new babies may be taxing and in need of attention.. But they give me 3 times the love in return in appreciation. Doesn’t that make me the luckiest person on earth? Well, who’s judging right? I have a new purpose. I have discovered my purpose of being the voice for voiceless people! Maybe that is exactly why I lost my voice! I have a dream, just like Martin Luther King Jr.; it might be a distant one, but I’m putting it out to the universe that I want to one day make my independent Doggy day care center with all employees with any kind of special needs and offer special discounts for therapy dogs, emotional support dogs and K9 and war veteran dogs. Inshaallah, this will happen someday too.. Because life as I said is mysterious in different ways. Today one of my friends gave me an extremely thoughtful gift and called me an “entrepreneur”. Who would’ve thought right? A girl who survived a stroke 6 years ago and still struggling to get back on her feet with ten different medications and therapies plus still dealing with her child’s difficulties with special needs, actually got back up, dusted herself and faced her challenge head on!
I’m really thankful to my parents for raising me as a badass because I would have never got this courage if I wasn’t raised like that! My father in law was visiting us for a few months and just left a week ago and he was telling us an incident (quite proudly, I may add) about how his grandmother scolded one of his female cousins for using the radio to listen to music and my husband and I retaliated, how that would have helped that girl grow into a woman in any way! I really have my parents to thank for not raising me like this! They taught me to sing, they encouraged me to dance and (after my brother’s intervention) let me choose what stream I wanted to graduate in! They allowed me to fight for my wants and give my opinion where I needed to be heard!
It’s a cumulative effort of my upbringing and my challenges in life that has given me the courage to take every step I have taken and still take today!
I don’t know if life loves me or hates me, but I know she continues to challenge me, and I’m ready everyday to face these challenges and emerge stronger and stronger. Because I will not be known as the clumsy girl you passed by some street but the girl who survived every circumstance life threw at her and emerged a winner.
You may think I’m tooting my horn in this post, but no, this entry is a reminder to every girl struggling in some way mentally or physically today that if I can do it, then so can you! We are born as girls for a purpose, we are here to stay and slay..!
Love and hugs to every person whom this story touches in some way.