Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Back in high school, one of my colleagues brought up an idea he had for wheelchair skiing during our English class. To him, the sport was the most fun he ever had. He was looking at me and he felt I was missing out. It was his passion that he wanted to share with me. He felt disappointed that there was something that he enjoyed and I couldn't participate. It was a sweet gesture, I felt although I never had interest in winter sports and even watching it made me want to change the channel. That's the thing. People always seem to see you through their limited perspective. They're sad for you because you can't run. They may pity you, because you can't effectively dance. They look at you and think about the hobbies and activities that they love and think about how much they would miss them if something happened to their mobility and they assume you must feel the same way. Perhaps it's because I never got to run or jump or jog, maybe it's because- I'm not a big sports person to begin with, but I never had these emotions. I never look at people running or dancing with any kind of envious longing, thinking " How I wish it was me". I don't have dreams in which I walk about in the meadow, I don't hunt the internet for any news of recent treatments of my disability. I'm not unhappy with what I have. What I do feel I'm missing out on- is the social aspect of these activities, because it's easy to just leave me behind. Often trying to include me in various things takes time, energy and planning- an effort so I wouldn't be excluded. In elementary school I could have been fun with my friends one moment, and the next they would just walk away from me distracted by something and I couldn't chase after them. In high school I would mostly be assigned to selling drinks and tickets at dances, because the concern was that if I got up on the dance floor nobody would pay attention to me. At school trips the whole class would go to explore some medieval church or an old theatre and I would just stay behind, because I knew it was not worth my father's health to even attempt joining in. It's the feeling of not being able to be part of something, something that everyone else did, that made me feel different. An odd man out. "There are stairs up to the place, but wait, we'll be only a minute"- if  only I had a dime every time I heard it. It's not so much the activity, but the un-ability to do things with others, like others that got me to think about my disability and what it meant at a very young age. What can you do? You learn to live with it. A few years ago I went to Puerto Rico with my friends for what I now consider one of the best weeks in my life. They did plenty to have be included in most of the things the group did. We were kids, we were crazy, we had fun. But one day they decided to go explore the rain forest. They felt odd at first realizing that I would stay at the hotel, that this would be one thing I won't get to do with them. I didn't care about nature that much,  the heat, the insects, the various venomous animals were anything but appealing, but deep down I wanted to be with my friends. It's not even that they were gone long or that they had stories to share. I was fine staying in the room with my "Lessons in Spanish". But I just hate not being able to do things or being places sometimes...

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