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Lifestyles: Mind Over Matter

My Mind
Clover Tucker

God willing, my mind should never deteriorate or fail to work properly

'I was diagnosed at the age of eleven with Friedreich’s Ataxia'.

I once knew a boy called Harry, four years my junior who had mental disabilities that hadn’t been quite diagnosed. He was basically exceptionally dim and suffered from communication problems, and although of course we never mocked him, his way of speaking was undoubtedly entertaining –
‘Clover, why’ve you got wobbly legs?’ and irritating! Yes that was his key phrase when we were young, back when I did just have wobbly legs and the wheelchair hadn’t yet rolled onto the scene.
I remember him expressing how he felt SO sorry for me because I had ‘wobbly legs’, when at the same time I was thanking God, Mother Nature or whoever it may be SO much I hadn’t turned out like him!

Which leads me to my reasoning as to why I value my mind more than anything in the world, (with the possible exception of my Dad because he’s just a genius). Following an energetic, active and happy childhood jam-packed full of normalities, I was diagnosed at the age of eleven with Friedreich’s Ataxia. This degenerative evil process begins with the famous ‘wobbly legs’ and ends with, well, like anything, death. It basically eats away at everything, primarily the nerves. It starts in the legs and spreads to the arms and speech. The phrase ‘I think I’d rather be like poor old Harry quite frankly mate’ may be springing to mind, but to me, because my mind is the only thing Friedreich’s Ataxia can’t touch, it’s the most valuable. God willing, my mind should never deteriorate or fail to work properly, so to not treat it as precious and not to use it creatively would be rather like kicking a gift horse in the mouth. My mind’s nothing special, except that it’s the only part of me that actually works and I personally think that’s worth pursuing.

But it’s all relative isn’t it? There’s no right or wrong to what we all individually value. Harry valued his legs and physical independence because his situation has forced him to. One of my friends values her extrovert and wonderful personality in order to get a boyfriend, because physically she’s so ugly. If she was really beautiful, she wouldn’t value or work on bettering her personality – does this lead us on to the argument that the worse cards you’ve been dealt, the more self-awareness you have? Well, maybe, but then maybe that’s just what I’ve been encouraged to believe in order to stop me from slitting my wrists in despair.
So, me and my mind, we get on really well, and one day, when I’ve done all the appropriate appreciating and developing of my favourite companion, look out for Clover Tucker’s best seller.
The phrase goes ‘you don’t know what you’ve got until you loose it’ and I do know what I’ve got, with a bit of luck that means I’ll never loose it.

© Clover Tucker - November 2003
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Clover is a first year Creative Arts student at Portsmouth University


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