On Kissing Frogs and Glass Slippers
Have you seen my glass slipper?
A few months ago, I started a blog series around the question of patience. When is patience a virtue and when is it a hindrance to progress?
Or in other words, when do we accept the status quo because it is comfortable, but in reality, we are going along with something less than we deserve?
Allow me to now jump back into our discussion and tell you a little bit about my latest dilemma.
As blessed as I am, my life is not a fairytale — I have kissed a lot of frogs. A lot of them. And no, I’m not talking about men — as welcome as that might be in an increasingly difficult pandemic dating world. By kissing frogs, I mean searching for a fairytale ending.
When I was eight, I had a brain injury that resulted in hemiparesis or extreme weakness on my left side. As a result, I can’t open my left hand, I can’t move my left ankle in the normal range of motion, and I walk with an altered gait.
For most of my life, I didn’t talk about my disability. I refused to let it define me. However, I would daydream about walking differently or opening my left hand to hold my Prince Charming’s. And in my search to improve my abilities, I kissed a lot of frogs.
In middle school, I kissed a bullfrog of a doctor, who claimed he could help me walk correctly by lengthening my heel cord. The scar on my left calf, the biggest of many scars on my body, remains a constant reminder of the sour taste that frog left, as the surgery improved nothing.
Kissing frogs is a tiresome task, especially when they don’t turn into princes. Nevertheless, I keep on kissing — determined to find that enchanted frog.
In college, I tried an ankle brace — a hot, clunky, rigid piece of plastic. It dug into the skin behind my knee and gave me heel blisters. Suffice it to say, it was no glass slipper.
Sixteen years hence, I found myself in an orthotic shop staring into the eyes of what I hoped was a most promising frog. Since the last brace, I witnessed people soar out of our atmosphere, cars run without gasoline, and huge leaps in medical science. Surely, the frogs had advanced as well.
And yet sadly, this particular frog is still a frog.
The new brace is less clunky, less hot, less rigid; but until my left ankle is more agile, the marvels of modern electronic solutions are out of reach. To add insult to injury, because of the design, the brace only works in certain tennis shoes. I have tried the brace with countless shoes to no avail. They aren’t deep enough, sturdy enough, or secure enough — which, ironically, describes my dating life as well.
So, I ask you, dear reader — have you seen my glass slipper?
I extend this call for help because it’s possible one of you is a fairy godmother with a solution to solve the contractions and rotation in my ankle. Despite my history, I’m confident that this frog will transform one of these days, and perhaps one of you holds the answer.
More importantly, I share this vignette because my disability has taught me a lot about our universal human experience.
It’s a difficult world right now. Between the social injustices, violence, and death worldwide, we find ourselves kissing frogs, wishing for a miracle. To get through it, we need to resource ourselves — with hope, with each other, and yes, with the right pair of shoes.
I will keep going until I find my glass slipper and I ask you to join me in resourcing yourself. Even though I haven’t found my Cinderella fit yet, I have found extraordinary other physical improvements from holistic healing, osteopathy, cold plunges, and acupuncture. And I’m certain you can find improvements if you take the time to experiment with a few resources as well.
My search to improve my disability is of minuscule importance to the global struggles we face on the planet, but it is my hope that none of us let the fear or impatience of suffering a few frog kisses stop us from equipping ourselves.
Please join me on this quest and in the meantime, if you see my glass slipper, I’m happy to reclaim it.