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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Day Has Arrived

It's been a long time coming. Okay, about six months, but it's felt like a near eternity. I don't get excited/nervous for too many things anymore, but for tonight's event I am.

I first made reference to what tonight is back in April when I wondered what, exactly, being a champion meant. Well, tonight is the Missouri Department of Mental Health Foundation's Champion of Mental Health banquet where I will receive the honor of being named a "champion of mental health."

I'm still sort of confused as to what I've done to gain that honor. I mean, I didn't set out on my journey with any sort of plan to become a "champion." And to be honest, often times I'm frustrated that I am not doing enough. Then I get even more frustrated trying to figure out what more I can do and I realize I'm doing all that I can.

Tonight is going to be difficult for me. There's going to be a video about each champion (there are three of us) and I'm going to hear what those who were interviewed had to say about me as well as the segments of when I was interviewed. Both are going to be highly difficult because I don't like hearing what people think of me and I TRULY hate hearing my own voice. Both are going to happen and then I go up, receive the award, and give a short speech which I do have written and I might upload that speech if there's video, and if not just the written words, this evening after the banquet.

The minutes are going to tick by slowly today with each minute a reflection. I think back to six years ago and the stagnant life I had; hope wasn't in the vocabulary and each day was just another block of 24 hours that passed without cause, reason, or celebration. Slowly the tides shifted and slowly I found my way and slowly I have built up my speaking resume and have slowly made this blog into a heavily read thing. I think back to nine years ago and the feeling of sheer hopelessness after my diagnosis and I never, never NEVER would have thought I would do 1% of the things I've done. Tonight, I may be the honor receiving the honor but don't let that blind you to the fact that this, really, should be about all those around me that never gave up hope and to all those around me that gave me the support to be who I am now.

7 comments:

  1. "I'm still sort of confused as to what I've done to gain that honor. I mean, I didn't set out on my journey with any sort of plan to become a "champion." And to be honest, often times I'm frustrated that I am not doing enough. Then I get even more frustrated trying to figure out what more I can do and I realize I'm doing all that I can. "

    Your answer is in here. You're a champion, because you're doing everything in your power to help and that in itself is a lot. Go and receive your well-earned reward! :)

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  2. I am so proud of you but most of all I am so deeply happy for you. I so wish I could be there to share your joy. I have tears in my heart with pride, joy and happiness. I really can not express how I feel. Issha said it quite well. Enjoy your night and most of all you are loved not only by your dad and me but many. Your mum. Sorry I can not get this to say who I am so have to go with anonymous but it says your mum in the text.

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  3. I told you many times when you said there was no hope that I would "have enough hope for both of us." Hope is like a forest fire, it jumps from one tree to another. You have brought an amazing message of hope to thousands, and I am sure the hope you have given them has spread to others. You are very blessed that you are confused about all this. It is that gift of humility that has made you the man you are. And believe this Aaron, what you said in your last paragraph, "I may be the honor receiving the honor but don't let that blind you to the fact that this, really, should be about all those around me that never gave up hope and to all those around me that gave me the support to be who I am now." is the mark of a true champion.

    I want to personally thank Ron Ekstrand who saw in you the champion that you are, who has given you the opportunity to be champion you are, and who, tonight, will share with me in the satisfaction that the hope we both had for you is just beginning to change the world.
    Love, Dad

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    Replies
    1. Beautiful. I have a son with 12 years old and he´s "aspi". It´s not easy to me but he´s an wonderfull person.

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  4. Wow. That got me choked up and I never even met Aaron in person!

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  5. You are a champion because you haven't let others define who you are! You found your calling! You are Blessed to be able to get out and spread the word of hope to others that felt the way you did several years ago! You have done what many never achieve! Congratulations!

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