Monday, June 18, 2012

Dressed for success

Getting dressed takes more time and effort for me. Think about it- If you walk you can stand up, pull your pants up in one move, tuck your shirt in before you and you are ready to go. I on the other hand put clothes  on sitting or laying down and I adjust everything when I kneel. When I’m on the floor I’m at a risk of getting dirty or picking up some lint. If I move to much, things I’m wearing may wrinkle, shift or turn to the side.  When I sit in my chair again I have to watch out for my dress shirt so that it doesn’t get pulled out of my pants. It’s a very physical process for me and I have to turn and change positions  frequently to do it right. My knees and legs are strongly spastic and it enhances when I’m stressing or pressed for time. If I have to fight with my own body that way putting on my pants and socks actually takes longer. Yes, I have some mobility in all my limbs so I can make work. I can lift myself or stand against furniture or with a grab bar around, but then I’m adjusting my clothing with just one hand. I kneel all roll over precisely because I need two to pull my shirt in and put a belt on. I also have only one fully functional hand, so while I use my right hand to assist me, I do buttons with my left one only. If I can’t quite get it at the first go, I get frustrated and stressed. Smooth dress socks have a very slippery feel and I’m not really comfortable in them if I’m wearing elegant shoes, given that my footrest is at angle and my feet feel like they are sliding out. And I do need the secure support that it otherwise gives me. The hair… it’s hard to play around with wax or gel with just one hand and laying down or leaning against something I  have to watch out that I don’t mess it up again.

I moved to Florida also because of the weather. Before I picked Gainesville, having completed a Cambridge run 2 –year course of English law, I was briefly contemplating picking a program in the UK. My parents wouldn’t have loved for me to be closer to home, but I had two major concerns that made me decide against coming to the British Isles. Accessibility and weather. Layers and layers of clothing, dressing and undressing, limiting your movements, getting caught in the wheels, or dirty from my tires. The thing about Florida is- you put on a T-shirt, jeans and some shoes and you’re ready to go.  My feet are too spastic for me to even attempt to wear flip flops and quite honestly, I don’t find it very classy to have your feet out in the open like that anyway, but less work means less time to get ready. I however chose a profession that requires me to make that effort very often. Wheeling yourself everywhere takes more energy than walking and I don’t have a car. Having a dress shirt on or God forbid a suit jacket make you feel really warm to be outside during the day in Florida. Sometimes it’s hot enough when you are wearing a T-shirt. Add to it the exercise of having to roll yourself for however many blocks to get where you need to. At the same time you need to watch out that the sides of your jackets don’t get caught in anything, that your sleeves don’t get too dirty and no item of clothing sticks out from your chair.  Tight shirts and jackets really restrict  your movement and I rely on my arms to get around so I must have that freedom. it feels like a day’s work already and you’re not even there. And all of this doesn’t matter. What does is how you present yourself.  And that you’re there and you look sharp. Because most importantly you must  be and look professional

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