Posted By Elaine ~ 7th October 2009
I love doing things for the first time… today is my first time with a guest post.
Let me introduce Josh Hanagarne, World’s Strongest Librarian who I had the pleasure of meeting in September through another blog I read , Men with Pens. I immediately wanted to know more about Josh and his amazing story. My goal with this blog is to help you to Take Charge! and get rid of what’s holding you back….well I think Josh’s story will help get you back in the drivers seat… it did for me. Enjoy!
Everyone has times when they hurt. Everyone has moments that feel intolerable. Unbearable. And yet, what feels like the breaking point is seldom anything of the kind. How can I say this? Because unless you’re breaking point kills you, it was bearable.
What do you know about it?
When I was 20 years old, my body and brain betrayed me. I was walking down the street in Washington D.C. when suddenly I hit myself in the face with all the strength I had. This did not endear me to the other people on the street.
But they weren’t nearly as surprised as I was.
About ten years before that, I had been diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome. Whatever you know or have heard about TS, it boils down to two things:
1. It makes you move involuntarily
2. It makes you vocalize involuntarily
During my teenage years, my symptoms were very mild. Lots of throat clearing, blinking, mild twitches, etc. It actually made me more interesting to people. What attention-hungry teen doesn’t like having a built in icebreaker?
Things Fall Apart
After that first punch, things never settled down again. The opposite, in fact. I screamed every 2-3 seconds involuntarily, remember until I got a hernia. I hurt myself constantly. I couldn’t go outside. I couldn’t attend school. I was smart and competent and had all the potential in the world, but no hope.
A decade passed in this manner. Finally I got so furious with the situation that I said, “I do not care what I look like, I am going back out in public.”
And I did. And it was miserable for a while.
There are two things people usually feel when I tell this story. I don’t necessarily want you to feel either one, but I’m going to tell you what the normal reactions are:
1. Wow, how inspiring!
2. I could never deal with that. How does he do it?
The reason I don’t intend for this story to inspire is because all I did is what everyone does when they’re dealt a bad hand.
And while I survived, I figured out how to fight. But it took a long time. For too many years, I made the choice to mope and mourn. I didn’t struggle.Â I didn’t press on. I curled up in my bed and felt sorry for myself.
How much time did I waste? How many minutes that I can’t get back? I am happy that people appreciate this story. Just bear in mind that I took far too long in resisting. I was willing to be the victim for far too long.
As to point two: maybe you couldn’t deal with it, but you don’t have to. That’s the point. You have your own pain to deal with. You have your own , where is the hardest thing in your life.
And like me, you have a choice. Do you mope or do you take charge? Do you fight or do you watch the sand run out of the hourglass?
Life it too short to deal with on its terms. Make it deal with you. Do not wait. Make a change today. If you are in a situation you cannot control, introduce something that you can control and get yourself some wins.
You’ll be glad you did.
Things are never so bad that they can’t improve.
You always have a choice. You can always choose how you react. You can always control your mind and master your perceptions.
You are not the passenger, you are the driver.
About the Author: Josh Hanagarne is the twitchy giant behind World’s Strongest Librarian, a blog about living with Tourette’s Syndrome, book recommendations, buying pants when you’re 68, old-time strongman training, and much more. Please subscribe to Josh’s RSS Updates to stay in touch.