A couple of weeks ago I had a random lengthy phone conversation with my mother about random mother daughter things and It included me divulging the fact that if I wasn’t in a chair and didn’t have CP I would be in school working towards a bachelor of science in nursing. When my mom asked me, “why nursing?” it broke my heart knowing that she wanted me to dream what was physically impossible for me, because I cannot fulfill all the duties that a nurse would have to fulfill. Through a broken heart I simply responded that “you save lives when you are a nurse and deal with people who need you the most”. That’s what I love about it. But I soon came to have a reality check that my alternative career path should be becoming a social worker.

A lot of people have even rained on this dream of mine saying “you’re not emotionally strong enough,” “you can’t help people in the way that they need to be helped” or “you don’t have what it takes to be a social worker.” So to all those party poopers I say, quit focusing on the negative. Yes, it might take me a while, and yes, it might harder for me than other social workers, but, I will do it in spite of the people that tried to keep me down. I’ll say to them kiss my wheels and leave me alone because I am going to do it anyway regardless of whether you think I can do it or not. There is a famous quote by a famous person who I can’t remember at the moment (because of my Attavan brain) who says something like “it’s not what you do for others, it’s how much love you put into doing it.” My siblings and my mother always raised me with this quotation in mind, it means that you can do the smallest things for someone but put the biggest heart into it and it can make the world of a difference.

I have a story to illustrate this. On Sunday morning I was discharged from the Civic due to another brutal migraine. As I drove through the Civic sliding doors, there I saw one girl sobbing and another girl choking on the sidewalk from what appeared to be a severe anxiety attack. When the other girl who was crying her eyes out of worry and concern for her friend, I knew in that moment that although that girl had no clue who I was, she needed a vice grip teddy bear hug from me. She sat there for a good solid 15 minutes holding on to me while I let her tears soak my sweater and she begged me if I could keep an eye on her friend that was struggling on the sidewalk.

Of course I did what every sensible and responsible social worker in training would do and did just that, I tried to reassure the girl who was choking that it was okay to have anxiety attacks and no one would judge her for it. I finally convinced the girl who was suffering to come inside because it was too bloody cold to stand outside in shorts and a thin sweater. She finally listened to me and we joined her friend in the Civic waiting room. In that moment, I was overcome with tears as her worried and concerned friend ran to me and gave me a hug then whispered to me “you are the social work super woman angel that I never knew existed.” It was in that moment that I realized that the people who need help the most ask for it in the most peculiar way, in chokes or sobs and that the social work world shouldn’t care if you have two functional legs because it is really your heart that matters in that type of profession.

There is another quote that I’m reminded of, “I am an ex-convict but the nurse said ‘I’ll take care of you,’ I am a teenaged mom but the nurse said ‘I’ll take care of you,’ I am an inmate but the nurse said ‘I’ll take care of you,’ I am a drug dealer but ill the nurse said ‘I’ll take care of you,’ I am a homeless person but the nurse said ‘I’ll take care of you.’” I would argue that the same quote applies to social workers because they both stem from the art of caring and the art of self-listeners, two traits that my family ingrained in me so well.

Social workers don’t care if you are any of the minorities that I mentioned above, they will still bend over backwards and make sure you are safe. This experience on Sunday solidified for me that I don’t necessarily need functional legs to be an effective and passionate social worker.

— Sonja