This I Believe

Kelsie - St. Joseph, Missouri
Entered on May 29, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

Life on Wheels

I believe that a single wheel has the ability to completely change a person’s outlook on life. I believe that a wheel can bring a person down from the pedestal they have placed themselves on, and make their perspective on life more simplistic in the midst of multiple, complicated changes. I believe that a wheel can completely change a person’s concept of “normal.”

I believe that a wheel, simple in structure, can make a person rethink the true meaning of independence, and make that person regret ever taking that concept for granted. I believe that a single wheel can allow a person to open up, swallow their pride, and ask for help.

As I was growing up nothing too bad ever really happened to my family. I guess you could have called us “normal.” For the first 16 years of my life I built this wall around myself and my family, constantly reminding myself that “I was a Minear, and nothing bad ever happened to a Minear.” Then just eight days after my sophomore year had begun, tragedy struck and that wall surrounding my family came crashing down. From then on, the wheel took a prominent role in my family. A set of wheels changed the set up of my house, took the place of my older sister’s legs, and ultimately changed my sense of being quote on quote, “normal.”

Immediately I realized that I wasn’t Kelsie Minear anymore. I was Kelsie Minear, the girl whose beautiful older sister is in a wheel chair. I became the target of unwanted sympathy and attention. There were times when I considered leaving home to live with my aunt in order to escape the focus and attention placed on my family. But after observing my sister’s behavior since the accident, I’ve noticed that the very wild and very stubborn girl that I once knew had somewhat vanished, and I was left with a sister who didn’t care so much about herself, but instead realized that life had dealt her a tough hand, but there are people out there who have it a lot worse than her.

Never could I have imagined that a set of wheels could have changed my family as much as it has, or even changed my sister’s view on asking for help. Due to her injury she has become completely reliant on other people to help her do the simplest of things, such as writing her name. Sometimes I come home and begin to complain to her about how terrible my day was, and she just sits there and listens with a smile on her face. I have realized how stupid it must sound complaining about little things like not making it into choir when she doesn’t even have enough strength in her diaphragm to sing.

The wheel, simple in structure, has had such a profound impact on my life that I think much differently then I did before my sister’s accident. I sometimes look at her not with sympathy, but with envy because even though she cannot walk, she has managed to remain just a beautiful as she was before her accident, and her outlook on life has gone from self-centered to selfless. I believe that the simplest of structures should not be taken for granted because someday that same structure might change your entire life forever.