This year, my body decided to be my enemy during camp instead of just after it. I sprained my foot four days before leaving, my legs got more swollen than they had been since my last surgery--causing me to panic, and the intermittent hip pain I've been dealing with all year reared its head whenever these other issues weren't driving me nuts. All of this made me tired and annoyed.
It was not my finest year.
It can be hard to admit to your own pain when you're surrounded by people who--potentially--have it worse off. But pain, like joy and fear and sadness, is relative. One of our sayings at YLF is that the only normal is "normal for you." Normal for me the past few weeks has been an incredible amount of happiness and possibility. I wanted so badly to share that with everyone at YLF--because let's face it, I'm not usually the cheerful one. And it made me angry that I couldn't, that the pain and worry overshadowed the excitement. I didn't want to burden anyone else's week with my problems, especially since I was staff, not one of the kids we were there to take care of.
Here's the thing, though--the people I was with? They've seen my ups and downs. They've helped me through the petty trials of adolescence and advised me through the insanity of college. They cheer on my every success and support me after every failure. They're not going to begrudge me one rough year.
And I've learned that I can't pretend that whatever issues I have with my body two days before camp are going to go away during the week. No part of life is a vacuum. I'll be better prepared to care for myself next year.
And if I'm not--if something else is going on that requires me to commandeer one of the spare wheelchairs again, there will be plenty of people to help me steer.
Mostly because they know that the sixteen-year-old who started going to YLF would never have admitted to needing a chair if her life depended on it.