Regardless of what newspapers constantly print about wheelies or people with illness or disability, I am not “Wheelchair bound”, nor am I “bound by my disease” or “bound by disability.” And I am NOT “House bound.” I say that because today, while I went down to the video store on the off chance they had released Supernatural Season 3 early (they do sometimes if it is a long weekend). The person denied that and wondered why I didn’t call and then said, “Oh….that’s right, you like to go outside.” Spoken to me as if I was some rare and unusual form of human or odd for a person with a disability.
Yes, I like going outside. On my high school question sheet: “What do you want to be/do when you grow up?” I did not answer either, “In a small prison cell” or “In a locked sanitarium.” Does anyone?
It vexes me (yes, use the lisp, “I am Vexed, and Very Vexed!”), that “person with severe disability” and “person who is ill and stays in home a lot” someone makes my going outside to be an oddity, instead of a natural human desire (since I have notice most people DO go OUTSIDE!).
I will admit, when you have a severe disability going out is a risk, how long will you be stable, what if something happens? While at home everything is set up for you, as you like it, and if needed you can always go to bed, your medicine from pain to anything else is right there. It is a safe space.
I have found that new things and risks follow the rules of three, whether that is just going outside to look at things, going to a new restaurant or a vaction or a new whatever (like a sport). 1/3 of the time it will be horrid. It will be the vacation from hell. It will be the restaurant trip of disaster. Or if you have just gone out to look at the flowers, you will be stung by bees, have a pollen attack and be in bed for two days. BUT 1/3 of the time it will be OKAY. It will be a little bland, nothing super but not that awful either. And then 1/3rd of the time, it will be GREAT! These are the time when you go out to do a little gardening and see humming birds, or go to a restaurant and there is a woman who starts singing opera. This is the time you go for a picnic and see foxes or squirrels or deer.
But if you don’t RISK and have the 1/3 BAD experience and then TRY AGAIN, you don’t get the chance “Great” experience.
So first I am going to tell you how I am doing. I am in bad shape. REALLY bad shape. And the last three days I keep TRYING to get better, but somehow I get worse. So now, I cannot really move, and I need support for my head and I am in a lot of pain, and I need oxygen and did I mention the pain because it is so THERE that I think I am going to mention it twice. So that is where I am at (plus I didn't sleep much last night - pain again).
But this is what I am going to do, and this is what I am going to challenge YOU to do. Because I’m your friend, and that is what friends do, challenge us to go skydiving with them (not LIKELY!), or invite us places or push our boundries: but also be there to support us.
So, this is what I will do. I will go out this long weekend (for North Americans it is a long weekend). I will go OUT. I don’t know if that is to the park, so I can see squirrels or just to go around the block and photograph flowers but I will go out and I will record what I did this weekend. So that is part I (that means there is a part II).
So my challenge whether you are disabled, or not disabled, as your friend is to ask you, to challenge you, to go OUT. Go do something. Get outta here! Stop reading (wait until the end) and think about what you are going to do! Okay.
Now if that means that you get your caregiver to help you to the porch, that’s fine, that is OUT, outside. And if you are in the UK or here and it is raining, maybe you will need to wait a day or find somewhere ELSE indoors. But the thing is, we as human beings take BIG risks and we take little risks, and every time we go out, we are risking ourselves emotionally (we have expectations!) and physically (for some of us that is a higher risk than others). So being able bodied or disabled we are all human beings, and we all have fear and we all NEED to take risks (hey taking a shower is one of the riskier things around!). So go outside, take a risk, and see what happens.
The second thing is that this week I was sort of accused again of being a liar because I guess when you see me on youtube and pictures and all that, well, that just can’t be true or something. Or I am one of those unemployed people with some ‘fake’ disability who just suck down money from hard working people and the system (Except I don’t receive a penny from any agency). So for me, I will GIVE something to someone this weekend. That is a very human act I think, the act of giving.
I have been blessed from readers and other people who have given me things: postcards, hello kitty stuff and last week an anonymous gift of a human heart (seriously! It was very sort of E. A. Poe. Also what about me says "Give human heart" - never mind, don't answer that, I actually know that answer.). I appreciate each postcard and act that goes behind the gift. And sometimes I am able to tell them that and sometimes I am not but it doesn’t negate the act, or the effect, does it?
So my second challenge on this long weekend is to GIVE something to someone, or prepare to, if it requires mailing. If you are looking for something small and manageable I recommend a postcard or a letter – you probably own it already and then there is just a cost of a stamp, or you can hand deliver it if that is possible. Or give a book. Or give a flower.
I would ask this actually NOT be an act of spontanous kindness, to NOT be paying the change of the person ahead of you in line or counting helping someone carry groceries. Not that I am anti-kindness and kittens. I am very MUCH for kindness (and kittens). I think helping people is super!
But here is the challange to GIVE, to choose, to think, to decide who and what and why it is right for them is not spontanous, but something altogether different. It is the tangible way we humans say, “You make a difference to me.” Or “I care about you.” Or “I though you might like this.” Or “I wanted you to know I was thinking about you” or whatever the message is in why you give what you give (please, NO LUMPS OF COAL!).
So that is it, 1) Get out of here, go outside (just once in three days is enough to please me).
And 2) GIVE – give something to someone, if that is possible at all.
Why, because we are not people BOUND, we are not BOUND to our house, BOUND to the ideas that people have of us, BOUND by fear, BOUND by the idea that risk of doing anything is too great.
And as humans, it is rather normal to think of us, of ME, quite honestly, and while ME is a word that is fine and good, I am asking as a friend, pushing a little if that is how it feels to you, to think of how to make someone else happy. And I know that there might be in your life the pain and the stress and the condition, the family problems, the work and relationships issues. But just a little time, a little something for someone. Surely there is a co-worker or a relative you don’t HATE (well maybe at least a co-worker!). Someone you know, someone you have heard about, some child (kids actually LIKE presents), some old classmate or friend whose address you have sitting around and you just happen to have a pen and paper…hint, hint!
I will report back how things go. You can too if you want, or keep it private if you want or say “Elizabeth is a freaking nutcase”, if you want.
Also if you have no postcard and WANT a BLANK postcard sent to you, so you can send a postcard to someone else, let me know okay? I did a post on my last little batch over at the Postcard Project if you want some ideas(I made a new post today - hint, hint; you can go look even if you don't want some ideas - hint hint. You could even whisper: leave a comment).
Go outside – take a risk and care about yourself
Give something – take a risk and care about someone else.
This isn't a challenge to you, this is a challenge for me; it is just I want a little company for my risk taking.
We are not bound, I am not bound. I am not a person who is ODD because I have my conditions and yet I still choose to go outside. Part of being human is the ability of choice. I choose to expand my life, I choose to try and expand another’s life. I am a human being, unbound.
55 minutes ago