As told by Katie

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Kristina Wyman's picture
Kaitlyn Akers

For those who know me really well, you know that I have very little patience when it comes to most things in life. I have a fast-paced lifestyle, and I often find myself becoming impatient when things don’t go my way (I promise I’m 20-years-old and not five).

Let’s take grocery shopping for example. I procrastinate grocery shopping until I am either out of food, or need a specific item for dinner. I have to literally force myself to get in the car and drive to the store.

I can’t stand children screaming in the store, or people’s inability to keep their carts to the side so you can pass and I especially can’t stand waiting in line when I’m done because most stores have four out of 20 lanes open.
Grocery shopping literally takes any patience that I had for the day and throws it out the window.

I also have no patience for those who walk slowly because of their clothing choice. If you choose to wear heels while walking across campus (clearly you forgot there is a hill to get to some of the dorms) or if your pants don’t fit properly, it generally sets me over the edge.

It’s not because I’m judging you on your clothing choice; it’s because it’s 9:15 a.m. and it’s too early for me to deal with your inability to walk properly. Though I’m perpetually running late, I am never late to class.

And don’t even get me started on driving. Cars were built with blinkers for a reason, and if you don’t know how to use one, I automatically hate you (not really, but it really is annoying). Also, if you’re driving 45 miles per hour on the highway, please get off at the nearest exit because you are a danger to everyone.

I don’t wake up every day with the thought that the day is going to be absolutely horrible and therefore I shouldn’t be patient with others. It’s more or less that I like things my way, and if things go awry, I get impatient and antsy.
To be fair, I’m just like my dad, who also has very little patience.

Patience doesn’t come easy to me. I often find myself having to stop myself before I talk (and the editors in the Provoc office can attest to it because I often don’t filter myself). Even when I try, I end up swearing at InDesign (you know what I mean, Sara and Molly) and end up wanting to cry.

But there was one person who taught me you need to have patience, and that person was Austin.

For those of you who don’t know (although I talk about him all the time) my step-brother Austin has spastic cerebral palsy, and changed my life from the first day I met him, because he can’t talk, walk or eat on his own.

I had no patience with him at first, because I couldn’t understand what he wanted when he cried, or what he meant when he smiled at questions I ask him or even what to do when I’ve walked around our neighborhood four times (which equals to four miles) and as soon as I stopped, he cried.

I would get so frustrated, and it wasn’t his fault, because I didn’t understand what he wanted, and that was the only way he knows how to communicate.

Austin is the definition of a patience tester, but in a good way. Austin showed me that if I stopped and looked at the bigger picture and didn’t get frustrated right off the bat, then I would figure out what he wanted, and it is pretty easy most of the time.

It didn’t come to me quickly—it easily took me six months to understand all of his quirks, and I admit that I often lost patience and got frustrated. I still struggle with it today, because sometimes he messes with me (more like all of the time) but I’m a lot better with understanding him and having patience when trying to figure out what he wanted.

My step-mother, Kelley Foley, told a class full of graduate students who were studying to become special education teachers that patience isn’t a virtue, but a combination of knowledge and empathy, because if you don’t have the knowledge of the situation then you can’t have empathy.

As cliché as it sounds, it’s true, and I often have to repeat it to myself in order to not get frustrated.

It’s not easy. I won’t admit that it’s easy because I would be lying, but I luckily live with my best friends who help keep me grounded.

My friends are the ones who I turn to when I find myself becoming impatient with a situation, because they know how to make me see the other side.

They, my best friends, often remind me every day to try to understand situations, to have knowledge and to have empathy.

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