My Golden Ampuversary (Laurel vs Yanny)
*Let’s please acknowledge and appreciate my tie-dye/cat pendant necklace combo in my featured image. Thanks.
19 years ago it was May 19th, 1999. This photo is me with my grandma Joanie right after attending a Mass my school held for my family before heading to the hospital for my amputation.
Fast forward those almost two decades and have a little chuckle about the sound bite that may have broken the internet this week:
Laurel and Yanny have not only disrupted the internet; they’ve also fully blown my mind. Obviously, this recording so CLEARLY says “Laurel,” but once I was caught off guard and heard “Yanny” twice before it’s return to “Laurel!”
…Now I hear both simultaneously and I feel like Bruce Willis in the Sixth Sense once he finds out he’s been dead this whole time.
Anyways; as per usual I’ve been overthinking this Laurel/Yanny debacle and saw parallels in regards to my golden ampuversary:
So often, I try to be an advocate for disability. To prove that regardless of physical circumstances, anyone is capable of doing what they want. I try really hard to treat my life as a testament that we are NOT in fact a result of our circumstances; but rather who we choose to become regardless of hardships.
To the majority of the outside world however, my life is probably v sad. I am so CLEARLY at a disadvantage because of the loss of my leg. Obviously, I’m “Laurel” and supposed to be a “Laurel” as intended, because I am different. I have less than others. I am weaker and at a disadvantage.
But that’s not at all true.
Fast forward 19 years; and I am a professional athlete who travels all over the place and gets to play around in the sand and somehow call that my job.
The world thinks I’m a “Laurel,” but I think (plot twist) this whole time I knew I was a “Yanny.” Instead of what was “meant” to happen after a profound loss like amputation; instead I was given a gift. And it keeps on giving. I have been able to see the world, I’ve crossed paths with incredible humans, I constantly learn life lessons and consequently get to teach some as well.
I am writing this reflective little diddie from a really good friends ADORABLE house close to downtown San Diego with the cutest, cuddliest little dog a few hours before I get to compete at the Olympic Training Center.
This is my beautiful life now. All of which would never have happened without being diagnosed with cancer which resulted in the amputation of my right leg.
It’s honestly way too easy and simple to judge things as GOOD vs BAD. To consider things only as contrasts.
LAUREL VS YANNY.
The more I reflect on this bizarrely melancholic-blessing annual reminder of all these things, I now understand why I hear BOTH “Laurel” and “Yanny” at the same time.
I hear both because I am both.
I have suffered intense loss, pain and grief. I have also experienced joy, celebration and abundance. Just because one exists doesn’t mean that the other cannot simultaneously exist as well.
This ampuversary is a celebration of life and an observance of loss, and that’s beautiful.