By NERIDA LUCAS
I’m stubborn, hard-headed, often quick tempered, assertive and pushy, not in a cut-in-line way, but pushy none the less.
I’m awkward, have foot-in-mouth disease and tend to talk over the top of people, but only because I’m easily excited.
I rub people up the wrong way and consistently give the wrong unflattering first impression. In the words of the famous rock star P!nk, I like to believe that: “I’m not a bitch, I’m just misunderstood”.
Many would argue the list is endless, but these are the one’s I am willing to openly acknowledge.
And these flaws saved my child’s life.
To my astonishment and utter surprise my character flaws have become my saving grace.
For the past five years I have lamented to specialists repeatedly that there was something wrong with my son. He didn’t behave the same as the other children with Down Syndrome around him. I was ignored every time.
Then 18 months ago he started losing his concentration and the use of the left side of his body. After seeing specialists and getting a rare diagnosis and a prognosis of ‘nothing can be done’ I felt increasingly uneasy that I had no control (yet another character flaw).
When he quickly degraded further six months ago I began to panic and all of the above flaws kicked in. I yelled and screamed, told people what to do, said ‘I’ll just show up and he can see me’ to specialists who refused to give us appointments. I had eye rolls and shaking heads galore, as I searched for a specialist who would help.
In the end, the receptionist of a neurologist I wanted to see got to a point where she was so sick of hearing my voice, that she asked the doctor to see us. Within weeks it was found my son has had a brain tumor growing for 5 years. He was within a few weeks of losing his life by the time he was diagnosed.
If it was not for my character flaws he would not be alive today.
All my behaviours I used to hate, apologise for, try to change are what made me the person I needed to be in these circumstances. There is no way my traits alone would have given the gumption and brashness needed for success.
I would never have known that either, how relatively easy it was to change the direction and course of my life and that of those around me.
So stop apologising for your character flaws, there is a reason you are who you are, why you have been molded to include these so called ‘imperfections’. You have everything you need to be successful in your life already and when the time is right all that you have been criticised for will be your saving grace.
Now I am content and unrepentant in my character flaws, for they are totally justified.
Nerida Lucas is the director of the Axis Program and the author of Carer’s Truth. She has three children, Calvin 11 years, Lewis 7 years and Bethany 10 months. She is dedicated to the aid of carers and enlightening the world of what it is like to live with, care for and love a person with disability and is passionate about lifting the veil of secrecy and misunderstanding that surrounds them by changing society’s perceptions towards people with a disability and their families.
What character flaws do you apologise for?