Have you ever had a lofty goal that you’re all geared up and ready to hit hard? Whether it’s a new diet, a new craft, a new job…Just whatever. Ya get all excited to go gang-busters with it – only to have a wrench thrown into your best-laid plans and you come to a screeching halt? Please tell me it’s not just me that this happens to!
I got revved up to hit this blog running (as the case may be! Ha!) – AAAAaaannnd then it snows! Everyone I know thinks the snow is pretty. I do, too, really. Pretty cold…Pretty wet…Pretty slippery…When my wheelchair gets stuck or my crutch tips hit a slick spot, I think it’s pretty obnoxious and pretty painful!
I’ve been down in bed for the last couple of days, debating on whether I should share this, as I don’t want to sound all whiny about it. But, after thinking about it for a while, I’ve come to the conclusion that this is just part of it. If I’m going to be totally transparent about my disability, I have to write about this, too. So, please bear with me for a minute here.
I think there’s a bit of an expectation with disabled people that we’re all superhero-type angels with copious amounts of courage that never lets stuff get to us. That we just keep beating life at its own game with a constant smile on our lips and a song in our hearts!
As much as I would LOVE to be able to live up to that expectation all the time, the reality is that there are days that the weather flips me on my head (whether physically or figuratively) and I fall flat. That’s assuming, of course, that the arthritis throughout my body will let me get up at all. There are days that I just plain can’t, and regardless of energy levels or desire, it just doesn’t happen. There are days that my inner devils get the best of me, and my pain does my talking. It’s awful, but it’s part of the whole human experience.
Please be patient with the person in pain. If they’re sharing it with you, it means they trust you with the secret parts of themselves that they don’t want to share with the whole world. Each time it gets old hearing it, please remember how difficult it must be to actually be living it. It’s not a matter of having pity for someone, or having to listen to a barrage of pitiful complaints all the time. It’s a matter of being that strong shoulder to lean on when a loved one is in need. Doesn’t everyone need that from time-to-time?
Just as I imagine anyone else on the planet with half an ounce of dignity has, it’s hard for me to accept help – let alone, ask for it. As I grow older and my body gets progressively weaker, I’m finding myself more and more reliant on others to help me. But honestly, I am more and more grateful that someone is there to help!
I’m grateful that I’ve been blessed with an amazing family that has always been there for me. I’m grateful for strangers that take a few seconds out of their day to help me load my wheelchair or groceries into my car. I’m grateful for friends who call just to make sure I’m still hanging in there when the weather gets bad.
As fiercely independent as I am, and regardless of how much I think I can do on my own, the reality is that people are important. Support systems are crucial, not just for me and other disabled people, but for everyone. Having a voice and being able to share it with an understanding ear in any way possible is empowering. Regardless of the struggle and frustration that can turn a desired good day into a pretty tough one. I’m not the super hero here. You all are, and I’m pretty dang blessed and grateful to have you along for my journey.