The hit reality show Push Girls follows the lives of four American women who have been paralyzed by illness or by accident. Mia Schaikewitz is one of the four women featured on the show and she sat down with me to talk about her inspiring journey of accepting her paralysis and how she continues to live a vibrant life.
Mia takes us through the day when the blood vessel ruptured. She said she could tell from the look on her mother’s face that the MRI outcome did not look promising. Her doctor’s at that time said that there was a two year window where they anticipated she could naturally regain some feeling in her lower body. “So, there was hope at the time,” she explained “but it was also about facing reality and saying okay, this what happened what can I do about it now.”
Shortly after her diagnosis Mia checked into the Shepherd Centre–one of the best rehab facilities for spinal cord injuries in the country. Mia said from the moment she walked into the hospital, her doctors and nurses told her that she could have the life she wanted and remain independent.
While most of her family embraced Mia in her new journey, Mia said that her mother felt that by accepting that she may never walk again she was, in some ways, giving up. Mia, on the other hand, explained that she saw it as a stepping stone into becoming who she really was.
“I think a lot of people want to cure everyone, thinking, ‘Oh, I see a defect in them, let me fix it,” she explained. “I don’t blame people for having that feeling. People that don’t know how I’ve dealt with paralysis may think it is my most challenging thing in life and I don’t see it that way. I see it as something that makes me more of who I am every single day and gives me a purpose and a mission.”
Mia acknowledges that not everyone’s experiences with acceptance are the same. For her, she had to do things that she was afraid to do. Even things most people consider simple like sitting up in a bed was an incredibly painful challenge for her. She encourages people to find one thing that helps them accept whatever they are going through and then build from there.
Within Mia’s journey she went through different stages of fear. She shared with me that her biggest fear after leaving the rehab facility was not being accepted anymore at her high school. There was no one else at her school in a wheelchair, the facilities were not handicap accessible and she feared that the close bond she had with her peers would be gone. Much to her surprise, Mia said her peers didn’t even care about the chair and they were all happy just to see her again. One person said, “It’s still Mia, she’s just sitting down.” It was those moments for her that made her realize that we all are more than our physical appearances and our circumstances.
One of my favorite moments & what inspires me about KirstyTV guests, is that Mia said that she doesn’t see her wheelchair as an obstacle, but as a challenge. She shared:
“I think all of us have this need to accomplish something. Challenges give us those opportunities to accomplish something.” @KirstyTV (Click to Tweet!)
I think this is an important lesson on positivity that we can all learn from Mia. For anyone out there, no matter what you’re going through we all have obstacles in life. Make sure you see them as a challenge, face your fears head on and understand that through that process you can actually become your best you. It is important for us to remember that we are not alone in our journeys. Please comment below and share how you, or someone you know, turned a challenge into an opportunity and became their best self!
Kirsty attacks life like it’s a chocolate cake. She is the Executive Producer and Host of KirstyTV and an international speaker, author, and entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. You can also follow Kirsty on Facebook and Twitter.