Why I was scared to let you in on my life

The new studio setup
The new studio setup
This week I launched a YouTube channel. After asking friends and the good folks on social media what kind of content they were curious to see in a video, the number one question I got was, “What does a typical day look like for you?”

I was curious the thinking behind that. I wondered why someone would want to know. No offense, I really haven’t been wondering what a typical day looks like for you. But I went ahead and recorded the video. After reviewing the completed video, I noticed something I didn’t expect.

I realized I did not want to let others in on my day-to-day activities.

Viewing my day from an outsider’s perspective reminded me how a typical day for me is confined to pretty much the same routine every single day.

But the most frustrating part?

Seeing myself on the screen.

I tend to forget my physical limitations and the toll it takes on my body, as well as how it affects my day-to-day life. I was shocked at first. Has my lack of sleep and anti-spasticity medication intake affected me that much? I often feel the effects, but seeing my crooked neck on the screen and my red, puffy eyes from sleep deprivation staring back at the camera led to insecurity.

Standing frame is a part of the typical morning routine
Standing frame is a part of the typical morning routine
I have noticed that it’s often hard to focus on the person in front of me and I sometimes end up feeling lost or zoned out or just flat-out exhausted. But listening to myself talk on the screen, I realized I was nowhere near as articulate as I’d like to be. I wasn’t communicating my thoughts exactly how I would like.

Being my own worst critic, I wanted to go back and re-film the whole thing.

Anxiety set in as I wondered how other people would view me. Initially there was a sense of humiliation getting filmed as a 27-year-old in my bedroom down the hall from my parents, needing my fiancée to feed me, and being reliant on a team of women to get me up for the day. I came to a place in which I wanted to write off this YouTube channel undertaking all together.

Feeling beat up physically leads to a lack of confidence in how I present myself to cyberspace. I felt that I could not meet the proverbial bar I had set for myself to have it all together and produce interesting content, let alone speak in a way that portrays confidence.

So why the decision to go ahead and share?

I’m finally learning to give myself grace.

Are my family and friends expecting me to be at the top of my game in the midst of a taxing year on my body? Is God looking down, judging me on whether or not I live up to a certain set of expectations regardless of my physical capacity? Absolutely not.

So I will continue to share. I will continue opening up my life to the outside world to peek into, showing how God can take a dire situation and create an opportunity for hope, for a life worth living, and for a sense of purpose being found.

Here’s my Day in the Life of Ryan Atkins video, inviting you into my world.

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20 thoughts on “Why I was scared to let you in on my life

  1. As always, Ryan, you amaze and inspire me. What a privilege for you to allow us into a typical day. Thank you for modeling authenticity, vulnerability. You shine, like the warrior you are! I so appreciate the encouragement and example you set for all of us. Keep shining, bro!

    • Thanks Monique. I tend to forget the blogosphere doesn’t really know what goes on behind the scenes. Thoughts on the next video?

  2. Wow you are really opening up Ryan. I am so glad you are sharing this. You are brave and a God sent to all of us in your life. I can not think of one person you haven’t touched in a positive way. Thank you for sharing. Keep it up!

  3. Ryan- this is very inspiring and brave to open up like this. I am amazed by the technology advancements you shared in the video and so glad that they are available to you for your every day life. What a great way to turn a tough situation into hope and positivity for others. I just started writing as well and it’s amazing how good just getting things out of your head and onto a page can make you feel. I’m sure you feel the same way. Thanks for sharing, and I look forward to reading in the future.


  4. Ryan,
    I read your words before watching and was prepared to see a tire, puffy eyed Ryan. But I didn’t. You are so handsome and I think look great! I found the technology interesting. The stand-up, you going somewhere in the van, the transfer equipment. Thanks for blogging this way now! Love, Karen W

    • Karen, thanks! I’m glad it gave some more insight into my current world. I plan to incorporate some more in the future

  5. Thanks for sharing, Ryan. What you are doing does take courage. Awesome. I’m looking forward to reading and seeing more. Keep it up!

    • Jonathan, thanks for reaching out. I still remember you being the big brother next door on Sturbridge teaching me about the new technology called “Email!”

  6. Hey Ryan,
    Loved the video. The content of the video, while interesting, wasn’t half as impactful as the example you provided in forging ahead with acting on and DOING something God told you to do…let people in…letting Him use you to connect with people vis the common thread of the universal insecurities we all have to only show the ‘polished parts’ of our lives. Well done and I pray that God uses your boldness to inspire the same increasing boldness in myself and others!

  7. Ryan — thanks for sharing. This is so brave to put yourself out there as you have and to share your journey. I am impressed by the technology that you shared and utilize in your every day life, how cool! I just started writing myself and it’s crazy how good just getting your thoughts out of your mind and down on a page can make you feel. I’m sure you would agree. Keep sharing, and I look forward to reading future posts!


    • Kayla,

      Thanks for sharing your site. Love the 7 impactful lessons, although not sure what I’ll do with the hair and pregnancy tips yet. Hope you’re doing well.

      Go Cats!

  8. Ryan, I absolutely love seeing what you’re up to these days. You have made such amazing progress. I appreciate you sharing your daily routine, how you travel, study and most importantly your beautiful fiancé. You truly out kicked your coverage as we say in the coaching world. Say a prayer for us in the Fiesta Bowl! Enjoy the holidays and Merry Christmas! Love, Coach & Mrs. Quinn

    • Thanks Coach and Mrs. Quinn! Love the football analogy. You bet I will be rooting you and the Irish on out in Arizona on New Years Day.

  9. No words can ever tell you how I feel when I follow your journey
    All Power is His
    I have my own Journey and I know that its a gift from God no matter how hard it seem some times.
    I among Wo Men are Most richly Blessed
    God Is Great

    • Donna, I definitely agree with the journey being a gift the longer it goes on. Thanks for sharing that.

  10. You did great! But I could tell you were hurting. Honestly if you didn’t show a little weakness id feel worse about my own “L5 partial with Adhesive Arachnoiditis” self being essentially bedridden the past few months due to pain after a new fall ? And I’m 31 and live with my parents! In fairness, I know what to look for. Also I have epilepsy now and while I know my brain is having issues keeping up with how fast the world processes things, I’m sure if I turned a camera on myself I would be horrified too see exactly what that looks like from the other side. The fact that I used to be “intelligent” and well-known on campus and at work for leadership qualities sounds unfathomable now. You just seem a bit distracted by the tiredness and pain.

    I have been following you since my initial injury nearly 4 years ago and your strength and spirit continually amaze me! It was cool to get a glimpse into your life outside of pictures, to see you animated. Your computer is pretty cool especially…must take a lot of brainpower to remember all the commands. Seems like overall you have a great setup and care team, and fiancée of course!

    • Lindsay,

      Thanks for sharing all that. I sure was hesitant to get started, but glad I did. Remind me how you came across the blog?

      Thankful to have you along for the journey!

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