Before this spinal cord injury swept in to inflict havoc upon my life I would have to admit that I was uninformed. Well, saying that I was oblivious to the struggles of the disabled population would be putting it nicely. More accurately, I was content to be blissfully ignorant about disability in general. It made me uncomfortable and for that I am ashamed. However now that I have been thrust in to this new reality I have come to learn first hand about the day-to-day difficulties that people with disabilities face. A lot of these struggles are out of my control; a lot of the struggles are things I must learn to manage. But there are some things that I come across that, while still out of my control, leave me frustrated with those of the non-disabled variety. Let me enlighten you. Continue reading “Handicapped Parking – Not Just A Suggestion”
Driving isn’t for everyone but I always knew it was for me. Growing up I was just aching for the age when I could finally get my license (so were most people that I knew). I was 16 and it was exciting and liberating; it was freedom! Eventually, this huge milestone that I’d waited years for came and went. The excitement diminished and the independence became ordinary. Continue reading “My Adventures In Adapted Driving”
Gaining perspective is an incredibly ruthless business. A simple test of perspective would be looking at the photo above…a wheelchair, a woman and a woman in a wheelchair. Does your point of view of the wheelchair change when you see the woman in it? Or do your ideas of the woman change when you see her in the wheelchair? Recently, in a conversation with a friend, I told her that my accident has given me a lot of perspective…on raising kids, marriage, the world and all types of relationships. Her response to that was to say that she had zero desire to go through what I went through in order get that perspective. (Yeah…me too!) The entire process of looking at our past with the knowledge of our present can be quite painful sometimes. It can feel like we were selfish, spoiled or completely stupid. But I’ve been thinking about how viewpoints can be changed and if there is any way to achieve it without going through something significant; something traumatic. Continue reading “Perspective Is Everything”
Like every mother, I grew in to my role as ‘Mommy’. It’s a role every one of us plays differently and most days it would be a hell of a lot easier if it were scripted. But whether we are handed a tiny newborn, taking the hand of a skeptical toddler or welcoming a child or teen into our life, we all become ‘Mom’ pretty quickly after meeting our children. Thankfully we don’t need to know everything right away. We learn and develop as our children do and there is a comforting feeling, a feeling of home, in our own little family’s routines, expectations and traditions. It becomes natural, automatic, familiar and ‘ours. It becomes our motherhood; it becomes our children’s childhood. Continue reading “A Crack In My Motherhood”
I fell in love when I was 15; I fell in love on Valentine’s Day 2003. It was a Friday. We had been dating for four months and he put a teddy bear in my locker. Still being too young to drive, my mom picked us up from school to go back to my house and we stopped by his house so he could get the roses his mom had picked up for him to give me…I told you we were young. Continue reading “A Short Little Love Story”
I have spent a large part of my life searching. We all search right? (I mean, I hope it’s not just me.) We search for happiness, love, friendship, knowledge, and wealth. If you’re like me you spend a lot of time searching for your car keys in the bottom of your purse and maybe your cell phone whilst talking on it. However while I’d rather be on a quest to find the true meaning of life or, more likely, figuring out how to convince my husband that four kids would be a fantastic idea, I have instead found myself otherwise occupied with the all important pursuit of bladder control. Continue reading “The Pursuit Of Bladder Control”
I’m different. I’m not going to try and convince the world that when it comes to people, I am the ‘status quo’ (I’m not) and that I have more similarities with everyone else than differences (I don’t). I don’t actually believe that ‘everyone else’ really exists. Sure, most people can walk…is that the common trait we measure against? Language? Education? Belief systems? Hair colour? This world is diverse and what I’ve really come to love about people is not just their differences but also the confidence they have to own those differences; the confidence to be happy with who they are. It takes courage to be an individual. Continue reading “Semi-Confidently Different”
I have recently fallen in love with the television show This Is Us. I’m a sucker for a family drama (Parenthood anyone?). I was watching it last week and started to think about our life, our family and our ’us’. As an audience, we watch different movies or series and we get incredibly involved. We love the characters and we feel for them. We cry for them and we want to know what happens to them. We want to be a part of these fictional characters and their journey. I think what we forget sometimes is that there are real people in this world living out these emotional, painful and traumatic journeys in real time. They can’t reach the end of an episode and turn it off. Nobody expects his or her life to turn sideways – it happens to other people right? But sometimes it happens – it happened to us.
The tears come. Sometimes they are expected and sometimes they hit without invitation or warning. It’s a very helpless feeling when the walls you have built up crumble and bury your coping mechanisms underneath. All of a sudden you forget how you’ve been waking up each day; laughing with your children; chatting with your friends…breathing. When you’re in the midst of the tears – your eyes are red, your nose is running and you can’t catch your breath – it feels never ending. It feels like all of the ‘normal’ you have worked so hard for is wiped out with one emotional moment. But then it slows. Eventually your eyes dry, the sniffles slow and you breathe normally yet again. You start to reconstruct your safety walls and remember how to get out of bed. Something makes you smile; something makes you laugh. Then you remember that this crazy collection of emotions means you are alive and so you start living again. And you move on…until the next time the tears come.
When I’m out I get noticed. I would like to think people are looking at me because I’m so beautiful and charismatic but then it would have happened to me more before my accident…weird! I’ve concluded it must be the wheelchair. I’ve come to realize that people generally stare because they are curious…but it doesn’t really make it any easier to be on the receiving end. For most people, seeing someone living with a disability is out of their ‘range of normal’ and they want to somehow fit it in and figure it out. I’ve been asked what the appropriate reactions are to have when someone sees a person with a disability. All I can attest to is what I think is appropriate and I think that is different for adults and for children. This post will tell you what I think adults should do…I will explore the topic of the ever-curious child in another post. Continue reading “Don’t Stare at Me”