Finding A New Normal // This Wasn’t Supposed To Happen

I wanted to share a really special piece from my new friend, Mary! She has an incredibly powerful story & message for finding a new normal when things in life don’t go as planned… Whatever your mess, struggle, hardship… Mary’s story will help you to gain serious life perspective. Enjoy.


People always say not to take anything for granted. You’re not invincible. Life as you know it can change in an instant. But, I never believed any of that would ever apply to me.

Hi there, my name’s Mary.

Depressing start, I know, sorry! But, it’s true. Last July, right after I graduated from college and was supposed to be sipping sangria at rooftop bars and #livingmybestlife, when my world was turned upside down after I suffered a serious spinal cord injury.

So, what happened, you ask? I had a spinal stroke, which, one: I didn’t even know existed, and two: is extremely rare, especially for someone so young.

At just 22, doctors told me I was paralyzed. I might never walk again.

Now, it’s been almost a year (*sigh*) since my life changed so dramatically and sometimes I still can’t believe that it’s true.

I’ll wake up craving coffee, as usual, go to get out of bed and be stuck. ‘What the!? Why can’t I move my legs? Oh wait’…

Sometimes, this new reality seems like a bad dream that I just can’t wake up from. But it’s not. And it took me a while to accept that.

I was in the hospital for three months. I watched the summer turn to fall, but I never truly believed time, and life, was moving on outside the white, sterile walls of the hospital. It finally hit me when I got home in October.

It was time to stop denying what happened and pretending life was at a standstill. And that’s when the sadness set in. The most raw and real step to accepting whatever it is going on in your life. Pain demands to be felt.

For me, I felt like I was mourning a past life.
I missed running, walking, dancing with my friends on a Friday night.
Everything felt gone.

Then one night, as I was clicking through Snapchat stories (and experiencing major FOMO), I came across a quote.:

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
~ Martin Luther King Jr.

That’s when it finally clicked.

Everything wasn’t gone, it was just different now. What I used to do on feet I can still do on wheels.

It’s OK to be sad. To grieve what you lost. Take all the time you need.

But eventually, your new normal will be waiting for you and you will be OKAY.

Some Practical Tips
for finding your new normal;

  • Talk to people who are going through similar experiences.
    – You’ll learn new tips
    – You’ll find out that you’re not alone
    – You’ll gain support
  • Try to have a sense of humor when you can.
  • Surround yourself with anyone or anything that will motivate you.
  • Be open to trying new things and new ways of doing things, you might even like it better!
  • Be patient with yourself, it takes time.
  • Give yourself grace, you deserve it.

Over the past year, I’ve lost a lot, but I’ve gained so much more — perspective about life, loss, acceptance, and believing in myself.

So, remember — whatever it is you’re going through…whatever pain you’re feeling or upcoming change you’re dreading —

“you never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.” ~Bob Marley

Mary // @maryrose_salis
give her some love

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