From Frida Kahlo to Mary Shelly, she examines great artists and writers who have pushed through their limitations, using hardship to fuel their work. Through these compelling stories and her own, Nnedi reveals a universal truth: What we perceive as limitations have the potential to become our greatest strengths—far greater than when we were unbroken.
Must redeem within 90 days. See full terms and conditions and this month's choices. Tell us what you like and we'll recommend books you'll love. Sign up and get a free eBook! By Nnedi Okorafor. Table of Contents Excerpt Rave and Reviews. About The Book. The air was warm, it was sunny, and the strong wind danced wildly. I had all the time in the world.
I stood facing the water, strong but always somewhat unsteady. My toes had to work hard to grasp and feel the sand. The undersides of my feet tingled softly, as if I were eternally walking on a bed of AstroTurf. The area from my ankles to my knees always felt not quite there, vague and elemental. My thighs were strong, the most vibrant part of my legs.
My strange curved back was forever pushing me a bit forward. I avoid crowds because standing among many people is like standing in the ocean when the water is whirling around me; I lose my sense of place.
When I step onstage in front of large audiences, adrenaline blends with my poor proprioception and this robs me of my balance. The same phenomenon causes me to lose track of my legs while standing. The wind blew against my back and I stumbled forward. Toward the water.
It happens at the point just before the ability to walk stops mattering and the ability to swim begins to matter. The hypnotic ripples on the surface of the water, the swirling of the air, and the sinking and suction of the sand beneath my feet take my balance away. Before I can get to the point where I am swimming, I have to fall. I stood there in the nourishing sunshine, thinking about my legs and science fiction. I had recently written about a superheroine for Marvel, a wheelchair-bound girl in Nigeria named Ngozi. She physically and mentally bonds with an alien symbiotic organism named Venom and is thus able to stand up and kick ass.
Ngozi made me consider my own proprioceptively challenged body, how it could be augmented with technology and allow me to move about the world with ease and agility. Not as I used to in the first half of my life, but as a cyborg. My legs would be caged with an exoskeletal machine made of a fine webwork of magnesium alloy.
My spine would be replaced with a strong yet flexible organic substance that would allow me to turn my head all the way around like an owl, support my body, and allow me to do epic backbends. Before the incident, I moved about the world with a sense of ease and entitlement. I was the kid in gym class who everyone always chose first for their team because I was the fastest, could jump the highest, could throw the farthest and hardest, could aim the most accurately. To myself, I was the athlete and the budding scientist.
Praying mantises, too. Creatures with strong legs and unique wings. In second grade, I built a giant butterfly out of various colors of construction paper. Then I sat on it and waited. And waited. I was an imaginative child. Our years of experience give us some advantages when it comes to coping. Practice these three strategies to strengthen your resilience muscles.
Most of us are not intentionally taught resilience; rather, we learn it through life experience. I wish I had learned them in school. I use resilience way more than I use algebra! Fortunately, resilience is a skill that can be cultivated, practiced and honed. What can I learn from this?
But take heart that although you may not see the lesson at the time, you will be able to look back with perspective and learn from it. We achieve strength through struggle. When we make it through a trauma, crisis, or stressful time, we always learn something. We all have expectations of how we think people should be and should behave. Unnecessary heartache arises in relationships when people fail to meet our standards and expectations. Unmet expectations can build hurt, anger and resentment. I know that my life got a whole lot easier when I started giving people the benefit of the doubt.
This also applies to our expectations of ourselves. The only way to beat perfectionism is to acknowledge where we are most vulnerable. We all go through the universal experiences of shame, judgment, blame, lack of self-esteem and even self-loathing. It is only through our willingness to embrace and actually love and appreciate our imperfections, that we can find courage, emotional intelligence, resilience, compassion for one another, and that ever-so-elusive peace of mind.
Rates of suicide, depression and self-medication are higher in the Western world than any other place on Earth. We appear prosperous on the outside, but on the inside, we are emotionally starving.
Once registered, you will receive only one email on Thursday, March 21st before 6 a. Shayla and Shelby begin their new life together by moving across the Ocean to a small town in Germany. Phoenix's weaving of her character, Shelby, and her those in her life- from her brother to her newly acquired daughter to her students and special friend Scott was as intricate as that of someone knitting a scarf, paying attention to every delicate detail, and slowly developing the stitch and color. Trey and Shelby bond even further as the story unfolds and begin to rely on one another like never before! Ennis Baker posted:. Lorenzo Carcaterra. Parisian Lives.
In reality, the more we seek perfection and the less time we spend embracing and being grateful for our imperfections, the more deeply depressed and dissatisfied we become. The good news is, gratitude heals. How are you supposed to feel grateful when you just lost your job, your child is ill, or you just suffered a broken heart?
Gratitude is not measured by how you are feeling during the worst of times; rather, it involves acknowledging that something good still exists for you. Whether you call it selective attention or the law of attraction, we find what we look for. Gratitude has additional benefits. You just have to look. The simple act of looking releases serotonin and dopamine, the feel-good neurotransmitters in your brain. People often say if you have the right attitude, you automatically get gratitude. I disagree. From the seeds of attitude come a basis for great understanding and acceptance.
But from the seeds of vulnerability and joy, come gratitude. When you are taken over by despair and sadness, you diminish your ability to be resilient and strong.
Allow joy and gratitude to come into your heart. None of us can prepare ourselves completely for bad times before they happen, but exercising our resilience muscles will help to keep them in shape. I could never prepare myself for being the mother of a mentally ill child or navigating a tumor resulting in facial paralysis, or breaking my foot while going through radiation, but I know that today I am stronger , more courageous, and more resilient as a result.
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