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?