This entry doesn’t have a story or a message that I want to share. Rather, I am going to share two experiences I’ve had over the last week.
1. On Friday morning, during my Pilates session, my instructor mentioned how she went to a clients house because the client has a seven year old daughter with cerebral palsy and she was going to work with her. She observed how the girl was in a wheelchair and she was trying to open her closet, but she just couldn’t reach. She kept moving forward, but the distance was too hard for her hand to grip the handle. My instructor mentioned how she could see the little girls eyes lose the sparkle she had when they first met and her drive to move forward faded.
We continued to discuss how people with a disability have to work hard to maintain the strengths and skills they have but at some point it must get to be too much and people just want to give up. The instructor called me a “role model,” and I accepted the praise at the time, but thinking about it now, it frustrates me. I’m not a role model, I’m just like any other person who happens to have a disability. To live a fulfilling life, we have to work hard. We could easily accept defeat and just wither away, but what kind of a life would that be?
Yes, it’s bloody exhausting, but what choice do I have?
2. The other week a co-worker mentioned how employees with a disability can apply to the government to receive resources which will enable the employee to work to their full capacity. This includes asking for a laptop which will enable me to take notes when meeting with clients or other organizations. My trip to New York showed me that a laptop is actually quite heavy and it’s hard for me to carry around. However, an ipad is quite light and easy to work with, so I am applying to get an ipad. Yay me!
I met with one of the assessors today and we discussed how it would be useful to have a wheelchair to get to meetings within the city, especially on the other side of the city. We worked out that I have enough to justify the need for a wheelchair; however, on a mental level I am just not ready for it.
My blog goes on and on about disability and my acceptance of having one, but the truth is, I only admitted to myself that I am disabled just over two years ago. It was a huge revelation for me and it still is. Maybe I am making too big a deal of it, but really, I don’t accept it sometimes. Getting the frame was a big slap in the face for me and getting a wheelchair for work, is an even bigger one. So while it may be useful to have one, I just can’t take that step yet.
Give me some time to accept it first.