Monday, November 7, 2011

Would the boy you were be proud of the man you are now?

A friend of mine was asking me questions about my accident and how I felt about things, so I referred her to this talk I did because I couldn’t answer them all at the time. I ended up watching a little bit of it again myself.

In that talk to high school students, I said some things about my high school days and I mentioned how I was voted most likely to succeed. “Kind of ironic how that turned out,” I said. I thought it was ironic because I wasn’t successful and I was in a wheelchair—not what my classmates had expected.

In high school, I was riding high on life. I was student government vice president, I was on homecoming court, I was voted most likely to succeed (in addition to being nominated best all-around, most intelligent, and something else I can’t remember), I ran track & field and cross country, I was a peer leader, and so on and so forth. I was invincible. Or so it seemed.

I was going through a rough patch recently, but it didn’t get me down. An encouraging text message from my mom and a few kind words from a classmate made me smile and contemplate about things.

I found myself thinking this multiple times: would the boy I was be proud of the man I am now?

The boy I was would probably first ask me, “What exactly is a spinal cord injury?” He would then ask me about any other injuries I sustained, including the brain injury. I would then be expected to explain how it affects my life on a daily basis and to provide fun little examples to state my case (this boy was curious and liked stories).

If I had known I would be dealt certain cards, I would have expected myself to deal with them with class. I had never been one to run and hide. I know that with all things, some people have it better, but some people have it worse; things may come easy to some people, but more difficult to some.

If the boy I was met the man I am now, I don’t think he would care too much about my obstacles, failures, or rough patches. He would assure me that each time I fall, I should be able to pick myself back up. That is why I meet the meet people I meet; that is why I face the successes and failures that I do; that is why I’ve gotten into trouble for certain things or have been told certain things; that is why I experience pain and see others in pain. It is all to prepare me for bigger tests—tests that I should pass because I have been preparing for them my whole life.

I would want to be proud of the things I have done, the way I have treated people, the way I have acted and reacted, the way I have used my abilities, and the way I have dealt with my disabilities.

Although life hasn’t gone as planned, I think the boy I was would be proud of me. And in the end, I decided that’s what matters, and I kept calm and carried on. I know myself the best and I know what I am capable and incapable of doing, and what I should and shouldn’t be doing. I would sleep peacefully knowing that “future Hammad” stayed true to the things I thought were important and that with each task, he would be okay.

So, would the boy (or girl) you were be proud of the man (or woman) you are now?


  1. You are inspirational. And Thank you for the question. I needed that.

  2. Very insightful.. For young man you are, this article would make any old "experienced" uncle like me proud. Your comment about treating people right is something I have to remind myself off all the time. Thank you for keeping it real.

  3. Hammad, our class voted right - you're still most likely to succeed.

  4. Thank you, everyone, so very much. I really appreciate the encouragement and kind words. Thank you for reading this!

    Zee and anonymous - I am not sure who you two are, but I'm glad you two like things I think and write.

    Chenda - :D that's so nice of you to say

  5. Salaam. SO sorry to be such a creep...not really sure how I landed on your blog (avoiding MCAT studying and looking for motivation...), but so glad that I did. Read your blogs, and watched the video moving forward....and the drivers ed...again sorry! You sound alot like me from the hs activities to going through very painful circumstances and having to learn to deal with that change, allow it to become your strength instead. You are truly an inspiration and although I don't know you except from your writing, you are an exceptional role model, I hope this new year brings you much happiness and success and may blessings never cease to come your way, iA.

    All the best.

    1. Thank you, Kanwal! We may not know each other, but your kind words and your ability to connect with the things I have said have touched me. Good luck on the MCAT! Let me know if there's anything I do to help or if you need advice on the application/essay/interview process. Take care and I hope you have a great 2013, iA!