You all have heard that phrase, “They are connected at the hip.” My best friend, Power, and I would be described as that. The kind of friend who takes the fall for you. The kind of friend that keeps your secrets for 50 years. The kind of friend who has is connected through shared experiences and struggles. One of the things that I find absolutely enthralling is this community of hippies all over the world that I have talked with through social media. We are talking all over the world – India, Germany, Denmark, Canada, United Kingdom, United States, New Zealand, Spain, Italy, Singapore, Australia and, most recently, South Africa.
We are connected at the hip by hope and shared experiences of hip pain, determination and, sometimes, even despair. We are connected by worry, by lack of control, but, most importantly, a deep reservoir of determination. So, without further ado, let me introduce to you, Monya Prinsloo.
Monya is 17 and has an aspiration of being an orthopedic surgeon. She is a foreign exchange student, photographer and hip advocate. Monya describes herself as always being different from her peers. She always had an intoed gait, she loved sitting in the “W” position (and still does) and she loved gymnastics. She shared with me that she was able to master the splits within a matter of weeks, but she did begin experiencing an incredibly deep pain in her hips which was initially written off as “growing pains”. If she ran, she would be in pain for days.
She is also adventurous. She was diagnosed with hip dysplasia and then turned around 10 days later and traveled to the U.S. to spend a year in an American high school. She has put her hip woes on the back burner even though the pain is ignited every day. She relays the difficulty of the journey – her hip journey that is. Monya says, “my biggest challenge is the mental aspect of my journey. Being diagnosed with hip problems and being told that I will need brutal surgeries at this young age totally broke me! The biggest challenge with the mental thing is that my pain is starting to get more consistent. It is becoming more regular and more painful. It is also hard to not be active anymore or go for a run without feeling like my bones are breaking beneath me.”
Although Monya does not feel that she has any hip “success” yet, this Hopeful Hippie would disagree with her. The fact that she is still moving on in her life and is looking forward to her future with pain free hips, caring for others with orthopedic problems and wanting to educate others about hip dysplasia is a win in my book.
Monya also has a great sense of humor that made me giggle. I asked her what her mantra was about her hip journey and her response was, “It’s going tibia okay.” She believes that there is a “why” behind her hip trials. She believes that “this will make [her] a strong person and being a [hip]patient will really help [her] to help patients better one day!” She believes in positivity and kicking negativity to the curb as negativity will only “break you down.” She hopes to inspire others by overcoming the odds. Her goal is to “inspire others by showing them that a positive mindset will help you to fight these battles!”
The pictures that Monya is sharing with this world-wide community of hippies were taken for a “concept” assignment for her Photography class. She is hopeful that they provide education and inspiration to others. Her photography is a creative outlet for Monya to be able to continue having hopeful hips and a grateful gait! Follow her lead. Find your hope. Search for your life outside of your hips. Whether it is a trip outside of your home country or a trip outside of your comfort zone, find it and embrace it! Find those that are connected at the hip with you whether they are fellow hippies or your best friend. Continue to be connected at the hip with hope!