I’m fairly short compared to the average person. But I’ve learned that being short doesn’t mean I can’t stand tall.
There have been times in my life when I felt really self-conscious about my Parkinson’s symptoms and I wanted to hide away. Whenever I get a little anxious or nervous about something, my tremor starts – even when it’s an excited nervous about something I am looking forward to. A few years ago, I sang with my choir in a concert – I was really looking forward to it, but my slight nerves and excitement which wouldn’t have bothered me before Parkinson’s, set my tremor off. I just couldn’t get over my self-consciousness. I also felt exhausted and I didn’t enjoy the concert as much as I had previous concerts. And while I used to be fine standing in the front row – being short I often find myself at the front – that time I didn’t feel comfortable there.
However, over time I’ve grown more resilient and less self-conscious. For the most part, I no longer want to hide away, but to live my life, and stand tall. Like a tree.
There’s something about a big tall tree that makes it seem strong and resilient. But what makes it resilient and gives it strength? I think it’s a number of things… It has strong roots, its branches sway with the wind, it changes from season to season, it reaches out.
Strong roots can include different things – our upbringing, family, friends, faith, values – all the things that are important to us. These things can shape us. I’m grateful to have such strong roots which keep me stable and grounded, even when going through difficult times.
We can’t control the wind, so when we go with it, rather than trying to resist it, we’re more likely to stay strong rather than breaking – as long as we’re firmly attached to the trunk – which always remains connected to our roots. And even if parts of us do break (like some branches of a tree may break off), we can learn to live with our imperfections and find new ways to balance ourselves.
We can learn to adapt to changes all around us (such as the changing seasons), like a tree shedding its leaves in autumn for winter and then growing back again as spring comes. While we’re never exactly the same as we were, we can still have new happy times.
And we can always continue to grow … wiser, stronger and more resilient to the challenges and changes life throws at us.
Note: This blog was inspired by several things including the song ‘I stand tall’ written by my choir leader Gitika Partington. Thank you Gitika.
Here’s my choir (several years ago) singing ‘I stand tall’ leading into ‘Something inside so strong’: