November 4, 2008–Election Day! Glued to CNN, I watched, with my husband, the results come in as many of you did. As the evening went on, I became more confident of my decision 18 months ago to support Barak Obama as my new President!
He Won! I cried! I fought back tears as he gave his Victory speech (although it was more a speech of Gratitude and an invitation for us all to unite as Americans to bring about change). I wanted to see the genuine hope in people’s eyes as Obama talked of the future. He talked of working together to bring America back to being a strong and caring Nation, giving its citizens the power and the responsibility to help make that happen. I saw that hope!
I began visualizing. My visualizing that Obama would become our next President is similar to visualization of my own life. Readers of this blog know I have Cerebral Palsy. Yet I have strived to overcome the barriers, misconceptions and the attitudes of the times!
Time has been good to me. Born in the late 40’s, my folks were told I’d be a vegetable who would never sit up. Soon my parents realized this as not so an began to work with me. As far back as I can remember, I visualized success in whatever I wanted to do. That’s the true blessing of going through childhood. One can dream and act out their future with no limitations.
I saw myself as attending high school, college, being employed and being married. I’m happy to say that I’ve accomplished each goal! Was it easy, no! Those limitations that a kid never sees–well they started appearing the older I got. However, my desire and determination outweighed the negative feedback from those who only saw my wheelchair and heard my distorted speech.
I mentioned that time was on my side, too, as were my parents. Living in a small Northern Minnesota town, accessible and special facilities for people with disabilities just didn’t exist. When the time came to start school , the powers at be said I couldn’t attend school. The options were a boarding school or a public school in the big city of Minneapolis. My parents packed up everything, lef family and job to move too the Big City!
As I was about to finish Michael Dowling grade school, originally built for those strickened by polio, mainstreaming was introduced as a way to integrate kids with disabilities into regular schools. What it meant to me was that I could attend regular high school, which had both Junior and Senior High combined. Despite the fact that I had the intelligence, many predicted I would flunk out the first quarter. Seven years later, I graduaated 7th in my class of 200 from Marshall-University High School and was on my way to Southwest MN State College (SMSC)!
Why 7 years? Again, advisors and teachers thought it best that I take a light load. Actually, I was scheduled to go 8 years. I was bored to death after 5 years, so pleaded to adjust the number of classes so I could finish in 1969 instead of 1970.
SMSC was the first barrier free college ever, in its 3rd year when I started. History was made again, as I became the first severely disabled student to attend the college, built on a corn field in Marshall, Minnesota!
Not wanting to give away my entire book in this one post, I think I’ll jump ahead a bit…but these thoughts were going through my mind listening too Preesident Elect Obama.
After reaching my goals, I began searching for future chapters in my life. I was still relatively young and wanted to do more. Then I found this neat tool on the internet. It allowed me to send beautiful cards via my computer! I had reached a new level of independence. Learning more about the effects of sending heartfelt greeting in minutes, prompted by a thought, I found a way to give back and help others reach their dreams. http://www.greetingcardschangelives.com has given me a future!
It is our inner self that makes us who we are. Obama found his inner self. He now wants to help each one of us to find that strength and belief that we can accomplish our goals and desires.
With the Election over, a real hope for the future ahead, we can now focus on a way to make a difference.