Since I started writing I have thought about writing about a specific topic. I have even made a couple of attempts, but after writing the first couple of paragraphs I would stop myself and tell myself to leave it for another day. I was having a discussion about this topic with one of my customers, that I work with at Yooralla, the other day and he phrased the topic so well, I decided that today’s the day. Today I am going to write about “ordinary people leading ordinary lives” (quote made directly by the customer).
So many family members, family-friends, friends, colleagues, doctors, strangers, etc have commented on how strong I am. They have commented on how impressed they are with all my accomplishments. And without sounding cocky, I have accomplished a lot. I always blush, nod my head and say thank you because what else can I say? Sometimes I joke and say “well, you know I am super woman” and people laugh back.
The truth of the matter is that I’m not superwoman. I’m just an ordinary person leading an ordinary life.
Most people I know have completed post-graduate studies, work full-time, have travelled within Australia and overseas, or have moved out of their family home. And noone would bat an eyelid. In fact it’s expected of most people to have done these things or will do these things in the future. So then, why is it when I do these things, people assume it takes so much strength and can’t believe it?
The other day someone wrote a comment on my Facebook page telling me that I am inspiring. I didn’t know how to respond to that. Should I thank them or tell them off? She related this to a comment I made: “Despite the occasional intense day, life’s pretty good.” I wrote that comment because I had a tough day at work. I am going to be brutally honest today and admit something to you all: It is damn hard. Sometimes after a long day I do want to give up. On those days I just want to stay home, curled up in a ball, with my eyes tightly closed. But those days only occur occasionally. As a friend pointed out to me recently, most of the time I just “go with the flow” and live my life.
So when I wrote that message on Facebook and received that response I didn’t know how to react. I knew how some of friends with a disability would react. They would have rolled their eyes and just said: ‘I was doing my job, just like everyone else.’ I’d had a couple of meetings, did some spring cleaning in the office and rushed to gym afterwards, and I was exhausted when I got home.
The funny thing is, doesn’t everyone get tired after a long day at work? That’s just life, isn’t it? So, why is it different for me? Who should living my ordinary life be inspiring to others?
When I discussed this with a customer recently, I found that I did the exact same thing people were doing to me. I was expressing how impressed I was by his achievements. I rattled a list of them to him:
He works part-time.
He studies part-time.
He lives independently.
He travels independently.
He plays sports.
He has a social life.
In response, he said he’s just an ordinary person leading an ordinary life. He just happens to be in a wheelchair.
And that’s just it. He was just like everyone else. Sure, it may take him longer to do things, but he was just living a fulfilling life, and ultimately there was no reason for me to be impressed by that.
So at the end of the day:
Aren’t we all just living our lives?