What is a picture? It is a moment in time that someone is trying to capture. Someone is usually trying to get you to smile, telling you to say “cheese” or being silly to get you to look happy. If someone isn’t smiling it is often referred to as a bad picture and gets deleted or will take 10 pictures to make sure there is a “good one”. Sometimes people really are happy and may even ask for the picture to be taken. Other times you smile because you feel obligated or want to look good for the picture.

People see these pictures get posted on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, shown on someone’s phone, in newspapers, magazine’s or if they are really lucky an actual printed picture. These are usually the “good pictures”, of them smiling, being silly and having fun. The crazy part is that it is such a small fraction of a second of your life but others will judge how a person is doing based on how they look in that picture. Social media is a great way for a person to get positive comments and feedback. How often though do people post pictures of them hurting, crying or angry? How often do they even post bad things about themselves unless someone has died, something significantly bad has happened or they are truly open and honest about themselves. There are not many people that open themselves up to let the world know how they are doing on a daily basis.

Sadly pictures, especially on social media is now how we know other people the best and even feel that we can vouch for how others are doing in their lives because of it. It isn’t with bad intentions that we do this. Even twenty years ago you wouldn’t even think of responding about how someone was doing based on a picture they saw of someone without having a conversation with them first.

Now that social media is the norm and the easiest way to connect with people it is also the fastest way misread situations and sometimes judge others. The worst part is that it has caused people to forget to check in and talk to each other about how they are doing. More than the casual walking by someone and saying “Hi, how are you?” where everyone usually answers “good” because often times people don’t even wait to hear the answer if it was different than “good.” This has somehow turned into a polite norm rather than honest communication. It’s difficult and often awkward when this is the only in person contact people have with others because if they aren’t doing good how do they respond. You don’t really want to say “good” because you aren’t but don’t want to say bad because there isn’t usually time to elaborate. This is where an answer like “Living the dream” comes in handy.

So why do people try to portray such happiness and positivity if things are so bad? It’s more likely that it is nice to have some positive moments to post than that they are trying to portray something fake or innacurate.

I know when I am not having good times in life I still want my kids and family to remember good fun things rather than their mom, wife, family and friend is hurting all the time. It’s trying to find the best mix of sharing with others what’s happening and even the bad times so they know just how bad things can be. This leads to trying to decide to share with others or only the ones that live with you.

Next time, before you assume you know how you think people are doing by looking at a picture that instead if you are wondering how they are doing pick up your phone and give them a call or ask to meet in person. Remember a picture isn’t always as it appears.

It is great that everyone is able to stay in touch this way however people are losing something by only connecting through social media. People will often determine how a person is doing based on the photos they see. These photos where someone is telling them to smile.

High School Reverse Psychology 

My accident completely turned my life upside down. I was so outgoing and the week of my accident I found out I made Varsity Cheerleading for football in the fall. It was supposed to be the best summer but I was left with a nightmare that was my new reality. It felt so unfair that I could not process all of what happened. On top of it I had a head injury from my head hitting and causing my brain to bleed which obviously comes with it’s own issues. 

Instead of starting my junior year as the outgoing cheerleader I returned to school as the angry teenager in a wheelchair and crutches. 

Previously school came pretty easy to me. I got good grades overall. I had some issues with skipping classes and  my  inability to not talk to people around me but I definitely managed. 

After my accident I had a really hard time focusing and concentrating when I was in class. I would read something and then not have a clue what I read. I would have to read something so many times before I could comprehend it. This was something I had not had to deal with before. 

I started back with a wheelchair which didn’t make it easy to get around. When I wasn’t in my wheelchair I also had to still be on crutches. It was difficult because whenever it would rain it would make the floor wet and I fell more than once. It would hurt not only physically but mentally it was so embarrassing.  This was only making me more angry and anti school. 

Due to some choices I made I ended up switching to my schools my senior year to go to an alternative high school. My attitude about school and anger certainly didn’t improve just because I was now at a new school. In fact I was more stubborn on days. I remember times that my teacher would call me and tell me to get my butt out of bed or he would come pick me up. That would finally get me moving but didn’t mean I was going to accomplish anything. In fact it was getting to the point that I could possibly not graduate high school. 

My mom has always been my biggest supporter. She knew me better than I knew myself. I still remember this conversation like it was yesterday. She came up into my room and started talking about school and how I was not going and not getting credits. She then said to me one of the most defining sentences of my life “Maybe you could go get your GED instead of going to high school.” It wasn’t said as hurtful only as a suggestion. I have the upmost respect for those that have GEDs and cheer them on for being able to attain it. For me though this was not the answer. That one sentence was the best reverse psychology EVER! It was like a challenge that now even my mom didn’t think I could do this. That was one thing I would never ever be able to live with. 

It was exactly what I needed to kick my butt in gear. I finally shifted my mindset and got to business. Luckily for me I had the BEST teacher at my school. He also knew just the right thing to say to keep motivated at that point. I started going to school every day. My teacher found ways to teach me or to help me learn that worked for me. We also had an awesome guidance counselor that would come down once a week that was so good at knowing just what to say to us to keep us going. The kids that went there turned into a whole new support for me too. I finally started putting in the hard work and started flying through my credits. I turned it around so much that I even finished my credits a little early. 

I was able to walk across the stage with my entire class and accept my diploma from high school with my head held high. My confidence had grown along with my determination. We all dressed up for graduation and I had both a dress shoe and a tennis shoe on that day. Inside it did bother me but I was able to deal with it because I knew I did it! I made it through high school!!!

People continue to have judgements and even think less of alternative high schools. I could not commend them more. Sometimes I feel like I could be a spokesperson for alternative schools. They should never be looked at like a failure to high school but instead as finding a place that can figure out how to teach kids how to learn so it makes sense to them.  I don’t know if Mr Walters ever realizes how much he did for me and all if the other students that went through when he was there. Lucky for me I am now friends with him on Facebook so I know he is still there. As for my mom she continues to be my role model, friend, supporter and is so amazingly humble about it. I love her so much and can’t imagine where I would be without her.  

To those that are going through something similar themselves or if it’s a parent or teacher I can 100% say to hang in there and don’t give up. You never know what one sentence can do for someone. 

Now I have a Disability

Now that I was home for a few weeks I was very sad and depressed that all of my friends were able to go out all summer and I had to stay at home in a hospital bed. I tried really hard not to get mad but deep down was just really sad and angry that I was missing out. I had a boyfriend at the time of the accident. We had only been together for a few months and I liked him so much. After my accident we hung out a few times. Then one night he came over to tell me that he didn’t think he could go out with someone that couldn’t do anything. Now that I am older I understand that it was a lot of pressure for a 16 year old and I do not have hard feelings about it at all but at the time it was a reality check that there would be people that wouldn’t want to be with me because of this disability.
I was also in a wheelchair for a while after I was finally able to sit up enough. I was finally able to go out in public once I had the wheel chair. My friend would take me to the mall to get me out. It was the first time that I realized just how rude people were. My mom taught me to not ask people that were hurt what was wrong. I was amazed at how many people would come up to me and ask me what happened and why I was in a wheel chair. I was still really traumatized by it and didn’t want to talk about it but really didn’t know what else to say.
I was very embarrassed by my foot even though I didn’t have any control over what happened to it and it should have been more of a symbol that I had survived an accident that very easily could have killed me. I was young though and didn’t have that perspective. If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me what was wrong with my foot I feel like I would be a millionaire. People would come up and say “Oh my god what did you do?”, “Wow is your ankle that sprained”, “Did you get bit by a horse?” are just a few of the many. It just amazes me how often people can’t help themselves. Even though I knew that people weren’t trying to be mean and often thought they were joking until they heard my answer. I would love to think it taught them to never ask others again but only they know the answer to that.
Even as I got older I had people that were even mean and rude about it. I have a handicapped sticker and have had people question that it was valid. When I was about 19 I had a woman report me to mall security for parking in a handicapped spot. I was so shocked by it. I was also 19 so felt the need to confront her about it. She tried to walk away when she saw me but I of course being 19 didn’t let that happen. Once I told her about my accident and having to get my foot reattached then she said she was sorry. I of course told her a few more sentences of how I felt about it. I also have had people walk by me and say yeah you are pretty handicapped. I think probably the worst was that I had a police officer that followed me into a gas station and started questioning me about it when I came out. He asked me for proof that it was my sticker, which I had. I finally was crying and asking if he needed to see my foot in order to prove it. He had enough nerve to then say that he had to go to his car to “check his database”. There is no database for something like this. Instead of coming back and apologizing or anything even close to it he came back and said that he couldn’t check it because his computers were down. We had been on our way out for a night of fun but instead he ruined my entire night. I wrote a letter to the chief of police about it and he did personally call me and apologize. He also offered for me to do a ride along with the officer that had confronted me. I told him no thank you, like I really wanted to ride along with someone like that but I did appreciate the phone call.
This unfortunately is something that I will have to deal with the rest of my life. I don’t always fit the picture of what people have in their mind of someone that is disabled. I used to wish every single day that this didn’t really happen. My foot may have given me a disability but my personality, strength and most days my attitude certainly do not. I know that I am not alone in that so please always think before you judge others.


Due to my extensive injuries I underwent a very lengthy surgery that the plastic surgeon chose to remake and reattach my foot. He took a muscle from my stomach and skin from my right side and a vein in my right leg to make a flap to remake the foot. It was a very long surgery due to all of the small detail of repairing and reconnecting the nerves and blood vessels.

I was in the intensive care unit for almost a week. I was in and out of sleep a lot during that week. I remember waking up in a lot of pain. I was also asking to see what I looked like. I could feel that one my teeth were chipped and I wanted to see a mirror. No one wanted me to see myself due to the swelling from breaking the two bones in my nose and my cheekbone. It wasn’t looking so good at the time. They would hold a mirror really far away so I could barely see it and I was so drugged that I would fall back asleep and forget about it. I would also wake up and ask about what happened to the driver. No one would answer my questions as they were trying to not upset me. I had also lost a lot of blood so I also received a lot of blood transfusions. My brain was also bleeding and they were going to have to do surgery but at the last minute it cleared up on its own. I did have to have another surgery due to my nose being broke and my cheek bone. I tried to not have the surgery but they told me that my nose would eventually move over into my eye so I finally agreed after I heard that. I woke up from the surgery and got sick from the anesthesia. It was so awful because my nose was packed with stuff so I couldn’t breathe out of it. I also had an infection in my mouth from all of the antibiotics that I was on which really dried out my mouth. Total I was in the ICU for a week and I was in the hospital for another week.

I had many close friends and family that came to visit me. I also remember people sneaking into my hospital room when I was in ICU to try to talk to me and I was so afraid that the people in the cars were going to come into my room. They never came into my room but I still had so many unanswered questions and fears about why this happened.

Once I was discharged I went home where there was a hospital bed set up in our living room. It had a triangle hanging from it because I couldn’t sit up and needed it to help pull me up because of them taking part of my stomach muscle.  I needed someone to be there with me around the clock so my friend quit her job and my dad hired her to take care of me.

I also had so much debris in my foot that I would have to go to the hospital to get it cleaned out every day. The first time they had me go to a local hospital due to it being closer to my house. They had taken skin from my side so I had a ton of staples in my right leg. I remember how bad it hurt when they took them out and I knew exactly how many I had so I would count down to how many more I had to go through to get to the end. They put me in a sit up tank to soak it and I passed out the first time. Once I wasn’t able to handle the sitting up in the tank it was determined that I would go to a different hospital daily instead. They would take me by ambulance every day. We had the steepest steps to go down and they would have to carry me down in a stretcher every time. I would have to have a pillow that I would hang on to so my stomach wouldn’t hurt so bad. Every bump we went over made the pain worse. My ambulance team was amazing. They would always do whatever they could to make my ride better. They would take the long way because they knew it was less bumpy.

Once we got to the hospital the surgeon would stop in and look at it and then I would be taken down to the basement where the tank was located. I would be raised up while laying down and transferred over to what looked like a giant cow tank but was a giant whirlpool tub. The occupational therapist would clean it and remove the debris while the water would whirl around and loosen some of it up. I would lay there and cry because it would hurt so bad. It helped if I had someone there to talk to me about other things so I would be distracted.  My foot was so gross looking I could barely stand to look at it. I had huge open sores and could even see all the way through my heel. It was so huge from the muscle and skin graft being added to it so it was closer to the size of a football. I would post pictures but it was pretty bad and graphic.

I also had a nurse that would come to the house to check on me also. Thank goodness she was there one day. My nose was packed with an elastic type thick string, almost like a shoe lace from the surgery I had. On that day it became untied and started to go down the back of my throat. Luckily she knew what to do and cut it and pulled it out. It was almost five feet long. I couldn’t believe how long it was and that it all fit up inside my nose.

My recovery continues today from this tragic accident but these first few months after the accident was one of most difficult times in my life.

Coming Up: Dealing With a Disability


The Accident

It was the last day of school of my sophomore year of high school, June 3, 1994. Everyone was so excited for our summer to finally begin. I was still on cloud nine from learning that I had finally made the varsity cheer leading squad for football in the fall. I had also just gotten a neck brace off from a car accident that my friend and I had gotten in on Memorial Day weekend.  My friends and I were going out for the night to celebrate. There was a big party later in the night but we decided to go to Janesville for a little while to go to Riverside Park. Once we got down there we didn’t really know anyone so we took a few laps around the park. We eventually met up with a group of guys that one of my friends knew. They were on motorcycles and had asked if we wanted to go for a ride with them. My friends went with two of them. I didn’t have anyone that I knew to ride with so I just told my friends that I would hang back at the car and that they should go ahead. They went for a quick ride and then came back. They really had fun and wanted me to go too. That was when they came back with two other guys that and one was willing to take me for a ride. Little did I know that one ride would change my life forever.

I remember thinking that it was weird to be on a bike with someone who I had never met. I made sure to ask him to make sure that he didn’t mind taking me for a ride. I was worried that he may have a girlfriend and that she would be mad. I had a boyfriend but I knew my boyfriend wouldn’t mind because it was just a ride. We started out making our way down the winding road along the river. Every time we went over the speed bumps you could hear the gears of the motorcycle slow down and speed up again after going over them. I remember thinking that this was kind of fun.

We were going slow making our way to the entrance of the park. There were cars behind us that followed us out of the park.Once we got to the stop sign at the end of the park it became apparent that the people in the cars behind us weren’t happy with some of the guys we were with. The next thing I knew we took off very quickly down the road. Once I realized that we were being chased by the cars I told the guy I was riding with that I wanted to get off. We weren’t able to make the stoplight so we cut through a parking lot. I continued to ask to get off and we were weaving in and out of traffic. He told me to hang on and that it would all be over in a few minutes. I was hanging on so tight. I started to cry as I was getting more and more scared and just wanted off of the bike. We were going so fast and I knew I had no control over any of it. We came up to a stoplight and I saw the other two bikes with my friends on it turn to the left. We continued straight. The cars actually were after the two guys on the bikes that turned and not our two bikes that went straight.

This part of the story of the actual accident is from the small amount that I remember and from other people’s testimony. The two motorcycles ended up colliding with each other. I fell off and landed in the road. The driver landed in the ditch on the right side of the road and the other driver landed in the ditch on the other side of the road. One of the cars hit the bike and it is speculated that one of the cars swerved to miss me and it is possible that my left foot was ran over.The car then swerved into the ditch and ran over the guy I was riding with which killed him. The other driver was not run over but sustained severe injuries including a head injury but I do not know the full extent of his injuries. My foot was barely attached, I had road rash all over my left side, my nose was broke in two spots and my cheekbone. I also had a spot in my brain that was bleeding.

Thank goodness for the brain’s ability to go into shock mode so I do not remember everything about the actual accident or what this visually looked like. I hope that these memories never come back. I continue even today to get anxious whenever I hear the sound of a motorcycle like the kind I was on that night. The whole incident was so scary and terrifying.

Coming Up: Beginning to Recover


The reason I have chose to share my journey is for several reasons. One is that I want people to see that even if something bad happens in your life it doesn’t mean it has your life has to stop.
I also want to educate people on what it is like to be considered disabled. Honestly I often times forget that I am disabled until someone asks me about it. However I want people to ask me questions. There are so many assumptions and unanswered questions because people are afraid to ask, so PLEASE ask me as many questions as you want. There are no stupid questions. If you don’t want to post it publicly send it privately to me.
I also want to share with others how I have been able to cope with this. There are a lot of factors that have gotten me to where I am today. Everyone is different so there may be things that won’t work for you but maybe there will be something you can take away from it. I have found that writing is very therapeutic for me so I thought I would give this a shot. I truly appreciate anyone that chooses to follow this blog and hope you will share it with your friends too. 🙂