Thursday, August 20, 2009

Making preparations for flight and a challenge!

I could tell you that I have been resting and pondering since the last post (I have 'pondered'). And decided that I need to set strong boundaries which include resting and accepting limitations, like maybe not doing everything all the time. But that would be a lie.

I took a shower and wheeled up to the Y to rejoin. Yes, in the manual. And was told they had ‘changed policy’ and I needed to come back the next day. And that they did not accommodate ‘power chairs’ (the next day power that be wanted to know who said that, but didn’t say one way or another). BUT, I am NOW a member of the YMCA-YWCA and have my Recreation Integration Card and am getting ready to take flight.

The shower and going up to the Y in the heat turned out not so great as I wasn’t good on the breathing by bedtime and at one point breathed unassisted between 5-7 times over 25-35 minutes. I don’t think Linda was amused, since she was the one with the ambi-bag. The next day, after waiting for the person to get my membership for an hour in a hot, unventilated room, and then on the way home, I passed out and had to be brought inside and hooked up to oxygen by the people I was talking to. Then did the, “Look MA! I don't breathe!” trick again that night too. BUT I did accomplish what I set out to. I am however firmly grounded for now, and will be sitting still for a little while. But just you wait; I am going to fly. Not anymore because I think people won’t like me if I don’t or demand it but because I can. Because I want to, and because I want to show anyone, and everyone that what is possible is only limited to what can be dreamt, desired and the willingness to try even if you fail.

This is where you come in. Oh, like you thought you were getting out of this? Cheryl, three weeks ago, after the Moss Street Artist Display complained that she was so sore from the going up and down the hill and the distance. I said, “well, better keep doing a couple kilometers or miles a week so you are ready for the five kilometer events we enter into. Having a pit crew is nice, but having a fellow PARTICIPANT would be better!” She must have thought I was serious as she HAS been doing training. Which is good as the first 5K is in 3 weeks, and the next two weeks after that. Hee hee.

Most of us in our lives, are in some ways like me, limited, but not by heat and walls but by the limits we have put on ourselves. We live a good life, we live a crappy life, we all get by, but..... And that is it, what is it that makes you secretly look out when no one is looking, and what is it you dream, that you want to do?
September is coming they say and if you want to take a class, take it! So what if you are older than other students. SO WHAT?! Or if you are like me and indoors, then is there not somewhere you want to go, whether 1 block away or 10 miles? Is there no way, with planning, with time, that you can make a dream, a goal come true? Something that will only matter to you (and me). A picnic, looking at the stars, starting a new language, starting an instrument, starting a new project, restarting an old project, reading a book you have been putting off, getting outside to a place that is special to you, or just simply going someplace and remembering, honoring. Whatever it is, it is you flying. Like I said, I would rather have fellow PARTICIPANTS.

To fly requires two parts: to dream and to try. Dreaming is something some have let grow rusty, or hidden behind shields. Because to dream is to expose yourself to hurt, to have dreams, to lose them, there is pain there but there is also joy. And to dream you must believe that you can become more than you are, that you ARE a person worth taking risks. That you matter.

We all matter, but only some will choose to dream. And fewer still will risk trying to fly. For years, I have tried in all ways, in tactile ways, in words, in everything that you are unique, and hold unique dreams and desires. And that nothing is impossible, or few things. Many are scary, some are dangerous but the greatest limit is ourselves. It is time to dream what can be.
I am not asking that achieve it tomorrow, I am asking that you start TODAY! Not that you go out and run a marathon but if you want to run a marathon, or wheel one, then you dream it, and you write up a realistic plan on how that can happen. The hardest twenty meters to run during training are the twenty meters out your own door. To do it is to try and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes I try two, three, six, seven times before I simply can get out ANYWHERE with Linda besides here. If you don’t try, if I don’t try, I already know our chance of success and then a dream is just that, something we build a shell over. And something we get resentful about when we see others struggling to achieve the same. Because there will be difficulties. But then, even I am not so sure on how to fly anymore, so there might be some bumpy moments. But as Amelia Earhart said (via Life and Times of Emma), “Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn’t be done.”

I will leave these walls and I will go to the Y with a volunteer, or I will be so ill from trying that I will have to stop, to gather my strength, and to try again. But I will go, I will play badminton and I will box. Yes, that’s right, I am going to box. Because if the pain of muscles ripping is so bad that I can only handle one night of boxing, that is one night more than I have had this year. That is one night that I lived my dream. And nothing will ever take that away.

So I am asking to try flying with me. And yes, there might be a big splat. But there might not….then what? Another dream to try? Lots of reason to not. Truth is that you might have fragile wings, delicate. But if you have wings and never even try to fly...? Yes, scary to try: People can see us, we can see us, we are too old, too young, not experienced enough, not ready, not this month, not this year. There is ALWAYS a reason to not do something. I am asking to please find a reason to get ready to try. I am not the kind that goes, “Don’t ‘try’ but DO!’ as my rock climbing instructor used to yell. Not a well loved person. I, on the other hand, know that the ‘doing’ comes from honest ‘trying’ and that is all we can do, is try, with all our might. And regardless the outcome, I would be interested, if you are willing, to share how things went, or are going.

So, I am going to sleep and hope that I breath independently for the start and when I get up I will start matching postcards. I am resting up, but I didn’t say I was sitting still doing nothing! As for what else, and with me, there is ALWAYS something else, well, you are going to just have to wait and watch this space.


Abi said...

Here's what I love the most about that post. First, that picture of the girl with her violin. I understand it, I think. I don't know exactly how it makes me feel, but it seems right.

Second, "And yes, there might be a big splat. But there might not….then what? "

I want to go with you and do this challenge, except that I already accepted that challenge ages ago. I'm still working on it. The next stage, of course, is to get offered an organ building job next time I see the man in charge. I am working hard on looking like the sort of person it would be excellent for them to employ.

I shall continue striving to fly alongside you, though. I haven't taken off yet, and I certainly appreciate all of your encouragement! I don't think that I would have made it this far without you.

I look forward to seeing what form your next lot of flying eventually (hopefully not too eventually) takes. Thank you for having me along for the ride!

yanub said...

Good, good. I'm glad you are doing what you want to do for your own sake, rather than worrying about impressing anyone. Yay! And also, that your plans for the weekend allow you to stay inside in the air conditioning and still do a thing that you like. Also good!

Ehhhh, you already know what I'm up to. It's time for my bedtime practice! Twenty-five+ words I have and all the kana, poorly pronounced and often confused. It's just like being a kindergartener again, complete with speech impediment. But no one is sending me down the hall to play Uncle Wiggly this time. I wonder if I should get the game myself? Perhaps it is a vital part of the educational experience that I have been missing out on for decades. Bonus carrots for you if you have any idea what I'm going on about.

JaneB said...

I like the last picture - THAT is a very feline cat-girl!

Kita said...

I'll take up your challange!

I have recently bought a horse. Thing is, I should be going up every day and doing stuff with him, be it riding or whatever. Recently over the last few months I ..havent bothered. More recently, I have been in pain and lying up, doing...well, nothing. So your post has made me sit up.

So I am going to go up to the horse from today, every day. No excuses. No amount of pain can stop me.
And, with you, my dear Beth, we will fly, together.

Such a simple thing, huh? Wish me luck, Beth.. as I wish you lots for your flight..

Elizabeth McClung said...

Abi: I love that picture too, I like the one of the girl trying to do a flip on the bars too for some reason, it has realism - she probably won't make it, but she's going for it!

You really did, you were offered and handed the safe option, and you worked really, really hard and are still working hard to go and live the dream, and I really have to say that I am very glad your plan wasn't "Take over Europe!" (or rather, even if for whatever reason the dream stops tomorrow, you have gotten further than anyone would have imagined possible - because you imagined it possible and now you are working on the organs you play).

How about we encourage each other together? Hang in through the bad days, and I will try to as well, because I want my dreams to come to pass as well.

Yanub: Since today a manager at the Y AFTER I told her I taught at university was astounded that I (you know, the person in the WHEELCHAIR) could have a Ph.D. I kind got that nothing I do is going to astound anyone but me, and that I DO want to be inspirational ("to inspire") but not because of some disease or a wheelchair and doing something crazy, but because sometimes sitting and resting and taking care of yourself and the ones you love so you CAN go and do something others might think odd is the true hard thing.

I am astounded at your grasp of Kana already, it is disturbingly irritating from a person who has tried to learn it TWICE! But it is also the irritation and joy of watching someone do what you wish you could do but can't. Or maybe I should try a third time?

Jane: Aim to please!

Kita: Thank you for taking up the challenge!

You have a horse - cool! And I will try to support you as much as I can. And I am NOT saying if that is what you want to do not to do it - I am just saying that if the pain comes from certain things that organs like, um, LUNGS and HEARTS are hard to replace (I hear livers are important too!). But also, the more you move, the more the pain goes into the background. Most mornings, I can't move at all, but after the first hour or two, it starts to become the annoying background noise (or is that the pain killers kicking in? Or both?).

I wish you luck and I'd love to hear how it goes, every day with you horse is a dream fulfilled.

yanub said...

Beth, I'm sure all you have to do is practice what you already know.

Neil said...

Konnichiwa, Beth!

I'll take your challenge, but with something a little less physically daunting: I WILL get through Professor Hawking's "A Brief history of Time." I've started it at least half a dozen time, then put it down for some reason - usually in favour of a library book. Well, library books have to be returned, and I might as well read them before I return them. Then I get more, and Prof. Hawking gets misplaced and forgotten. Again.

But not this winter. He's my reading material.

But I wish I could get my head around the belief that light isn't subject to the Doppler effect.

Love and zen hugs - something I CAN manage today,

Lene Andersen said...

That last catgirl is hot...

Thanks for the reminder. I've been so pissy about this injury that I've been stuck in looking what I can't do. I need to go think and dream and find something I can do, even with the injury.

As ever, you're blazing trails. Thanks for flying high and reminding us that we can all fly.

wendryn said...

I wish I could accept your challenge. At the moment, the thing I dream most of is having a whole day to sit and read. I know that sounds silly, but I'm working 69 hours a week. I barely see my husband, dog, or cats, and when I do, I'm pretty tired. We're working on it, but I think, at this particular moment, Xander would be very irritated if I added to my list of things to do.

I still dream, though. Once he's working again, we will both get to fly, I can go back to taking Russian, I can do more performing rather than just dancing, we'll swim more, and in a few years we have big travel plans. From now until next September, though, I'm just watching the light at the end of the tunnel and hoping it isn't a train. :P

I look forward to hearing your dreams and how you are achieving them. The pictures are perfect, especially the grounded one.


cheryl g said...

I am glad you have rejoined with the Y. It would make me very happy to play badminton with you again, wheelies against Linda maybe? I am glad you are stretching your wings again. I have been working on stretching mine too. I WILL be up to doing a hilly 5K in time for Terry Fox however slowly I need to do the last part. It may be that big splat you talk about but it may not.

I am also considering some night classes this fall. One is for American Sign Language and the other is Thai cooking. Then I also found a series of books that teach Kanji using manga so there’s something else to consider.

Recently I have begun working on my driftwood sculptures again. I had remembered something you had said about the only thing stopping someone from doing things was them making a choice so I chose to make time to sculpt again.

You fly and I will fly and if one or both of us fall we will help each other up and try again.

I also want to mention the pictures. The girl with the cape has that same determined look I see on you a lot. I like the pictures of the girl with the violin and the girl standing in the water. The girl trying to do the flip on the bar reminds me of me in junior high gym class – gonna try even if I don’t quite get it. As for the last cat girl…here kitty, kitty, kitty…

Dawn Allenbach said...

You know I'm living my dream right now, or at least the first stage of it. I've flopped around quite a lot, and I've fallen from the nest a couple of times, but the flight feathers are coming in. In the next few months, I may be taken up with flying TOO fast, but at least I'm finally getting somewhere!

And on tap tomorrow (Saturday)? Any-damn-thing I want, because it'll be MY BIRTHDAY!!!

Raccoon said...

I like the girl in the kimono-style outfit, and the last one, with the long hair and a tail.

I'm doing things. I'm getting up almost every day, and going outside, even if the temperature is above 40°C (that's roughly 95°F, right?).

And, Monday (three soons from now) I'm going to call the SCI exercise program, and find out why they haven't replied to my application...

And I'll see if I can find more postcards this weekend, so I can send them out to you on Monday.

CJF said...

"we all matter but only some will choose to dream"

you have a beautiful mind.

jana said...

This past year I joined an outrigger canoeing team and I've been racing all summer long. My longest race is coming up in three weeks--paddling from Newport Beach to Catalina island (30-something miles). I am so excited, I can't wait to accomplish this goal and then set another one. :)

Stephanie said...

Elizabeth, I love the way you think. This post is just what I need. I've always wanted to be able to run without collapsing from my asthma. Well I've had a bad couple of weeks with my asthma but I can start doing some gentle exercises in the mornings and in a couple of weeks work up to running on a treadmill, which I'll have for free at my school gym. I've always always wanted to overcome that limitation. You're right, we put too many limitations on ourselves. But how do you grow if you don't go beyond your limits?