You know, there sure are a lot of doors in life. There are the obvious, physical, I-need-to-walk-through-that-door-to-go-to-Costco-and-buy-toilet-paper doors, and then there are the intangible life-just-chucked-me-an-opportunity doors. Of course, I’m referring to the latter of those two when I say I’ve dealt with a lot of door-related things since incurring a spinal cord injury.
When something crazy like paralysis happens, there’s a lot to handle and manage. In the beginning (and sometimes even beyond) it’s handling all of the things you would rather not have to handle, like closed doors. Doors that now appear firmly sealed shut that you’ve spent the 21 years of your life working so hard to pry open. Doors that lead to starting veterinary school and practicing large animal medicine. I mean, that past dream of mine is simply out of the picture now and there isn’t anything I can do about it.
For as many doors have closed, so many more have been opened in places I never could have imagined when I started this whole journey.
Doors leading to a passion for human medicine that I plan to pursue with every fiber of my body (even the non-functional ones…) Doors that have allowed to me to learn about the disabled community and educate all those around me. A few months ago, I found another door I could open relating to said advocacy and this past weekend, that’s just what happened.
On Saturday, I competed in the Ms. Wheelchair Wisconsin competition. Yea, I know, that sounds a little crazy coming from the woman who has spent countless hours looking at cow doo-doo under a microscope. Ms. Wheelchair Wisconsin is a part of the Ms. Wheelchair America program which focuses on education and advocacy for Americans living with disabilities. It’s not your typical beauty pageant based on who looks the best in a swim suit, but instead focuses on selecting an individual who can best articulate the needs and accomplishments of the disabled community.
With all that being said, the day consisted of a few workshops, private interviews with the judges, platform speeches in front of the public, a public interview question, and then the crowning of the next titleholder. It was exciting to meet the other contestants and an interesting process to be a part of and it’s a process I’ll be partaking in again in August, because I was crowned Miss Wheelchair Wisconsin 2014.
Woah, right? So this year I’ll be traveling around the state to speak and educate others and then in August I’ll be traveling to Long Beach, California to compete in Ms. Wheelchair America 2015 (if you want more info on the program, here’s the website http://www.mwa2015.com/) If you’re a facebook user, you can find my public figure profile, Sam Schroth – Ms. Wheelchair Wisconsin 2014 (https://www.facebook.com/MsWheelchairWisconsin2014) and “like” me. I can’t believe I have a public figure profile….
So it’s official, I have my own carriage and now I have my own crown, and to think when I was little Mom said I wasn’t princess material…I’m obviously and totally princess material.
But I’m super excited. Nervous, for sure, but excited. Being a Ms. anything is never a door I thought would be opened in my life. Applying to medical school is another one of those never-would-have-guessed doors and being paralyzed would certainly be on that list as well.
Not all doors are fun to open or go through, sometimes some of them really stink and you practically have to be pushed through them. Other times, you really have to find the doors and opportunities you want in your life. Search for them and put yourself out there, even if it’s terrifying, and just go for it.