Monthly Archives: February 2013

The Bumblebees Fly Still

 

In a hundred years will anyone remember us?  Will our difficulties, our challenges be issues of the distant past or will people still be fighting the good fight?  What people everywhere want is respect.  I want respect. I want people to see the individual I am and judge me according to the same standards as those without a disability.  But really, in a hundred years will anybody care?  If we are lucky our world will still exist, we won’t have killed ourselves off.  And maybe there won’t be any more disabilities in the world.  Maybe cures will have been found and people healed. I don’t know.  What I do know is that a humble bumblebee doesn’t care if I walk or not.  He doesn’t care that I am banned from some places because I have the temerity to be sitting in a wheelchair.  He cares about his nectar, about rain and the predators that may find him tasty.  My problems, my issues are mine, not his.  Hopefully his kind will continue to fly long after I am dust and a distant memory, because I plan on being remembered.  With luck people will remember that I tried to help.

 

Someone once said that the future will take care of itself, perhaps.  But we need to lay the foundation that the future can grow from.  Just because in a hundred years no one may care about the issues of today, does not mean that they won’t and that we shouldn’t.  We should.  We need to correct the problems of today so that tomorrow won’t have to.  The problems of today are, in part, because no one came forward yesterday to deal with it.  “Do not put off until tomorrow what should be done today”.  I don’t know who said that, but it is dead on.  Politicians thought that if they ignored the issue of those with disabilities then maybe they would go away.  I am here to say that the issues have not gone away in a hundred years and unless we fix the problems now they are going to be here in another hundred years.  So pay attention, the feisty wee bitch is back.

 

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Through the eyes of a child

I love to see the innocence of a child.  Their unquestioning wonder is humbling to watch.  They have faith that all will be well.  A young child does not worry about global warming or drought conditions on a continent half a world away.  They are concerned about a drink of juice and taking a ride on the ‘alligator’.  It is kind of neat to think of an elevator as a carnivorous reptile.  We enter into its jaws (have you ever had the doors close on you?), at the end of our ride we are spewed forth like discarded refuse to continue on our way. What a wonderful way to look at a mundane device that we all take for granted.

 

It would be so nice if we could maintain a little of that innocence, that wild eyed wonder at all things mundane.  Instead, as we grow older, we become jaded, cynical, and suspicious.  We question before we will believe and even then we are not sure.  Who was it that said ‘blessed are they who believe . . .”?  Yes they are truly blessed.  I believe, I want to believe, but I am tainted by maturity and by experience.  I have been lied to, I have been betrayed. I have also known honesty, integrity and love.  I concentrate on the later as the former is distasteful to me.  Beauty does exist around us but we must sometimes search for it. Beauty is not just physical, but also emotional or spiritual.  What could be more attractive than a man (or woman) that is honourable and has the conviction to stand up for what he believes in.  Beauty is not just skin deep, it permeates the soul.

. .to thine own self be true

“. . .to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

Hamlet Act I scene 3

William Shakespeare

 

Well you must admit that words written more than 400 years ago and still relevant today must be pretty incredible words!

 

I for one admire William Shakespeare and his works.  As he so aptly demonstrates it’s the human condition that we all agonize over.  And being yourself is perhaps the hardest lesson we try to teach our children.  With the cacophony of advertisements that try to steer us in one direction or another is it any wonder we’re all screwed up?

 

Who was it that said you can never be too thin or too rich?  Well if you’re too thin you die and if you’re too rich, ummmm, I’m thinking.  Okay I got it!  If you are too rich then you become insulated from the human condition.  Okay maybe not.  I’m not too thin and I’m not too rich.  What I am is too damn tired of Hollywood and its environs telling us how to look, how to act, how to live.  They’re trying to mold us into perfect little automatons.

 

In order to be yourself you often have to disregard the advertisements that tell you what shampoos to use and how your makeup is to be applied, how to dress. If we can be true to ourselves and honour the person we actually are and not the image that society wants us to project then I believe we have a chance. We need to raise children to be forward thinkers and not backward thinking sheep.

 

I don’t have any children so why am I so concerned about other people’s offspring?  Simply put other people’s kids are our future.  If I love this world then I should want it to continue.  The only way that will happen is if we have people at the forefront who care.

 

I was raised by parents who loved me.  They never taught me to hate.  They did teach me to care.  And I do care.  I care about the atrocities I see happening in other parts of the world.  I care about the horrible greed that exists around so many of our politicians.  I see hate, I see rage, I see iniquities, I see despair and I see fear.  What I also see is love, understanding and compassion.

We can give up or give in and wallow in our own self-pity, or we can look forward with anticipation and with optimism.  We need to believe in ourselves and in each other.  It only takes one step at a time to keep moving forward.

The Philosophy

 

I do not understand why it is considered more desirable to give up than to try harder.  It is possible you will not succeed, but you only truly fail when you don’t try. I have given in on many fronts and now I wonder if I was premature.  The doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists all told me it would be easier to give in and accept my situation.  I would never work again, never walk, never again be a contributing member of society. They told me I needed 24hr care. After I cried and spent some time being REALLY depressed, and then I got cranky.  I am one hell of a lot better since I stopped listening to THEM.  I am not done fighting.

 

What is it that makes us who we are?  What is it about one person that makes them pick up a gun and kill another?  Others have had as rough a time as them but they don’t resort to violence. What is different about the person we regard as ‘saintly’ and another as ‘a schmuck’?  I don’t believe there is a black and white answer but then that is what makes life so interesting, the not knowing.

 

Thousands perhaps millions have been spent on research to try and figure out the human quotient. WHY?  It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to change a light bulb so why do we insist we need an expert.  Have a little faith in yourself and give it a try.  You might throw some light on the situation.  Each and every one of us is different from the other.  Even identical twins are different in many ways.  We are ourselves. Once we figure that out the rest is icing on the cake.  We are all part of the same race: the human race.  Many of us are also a part of the rat race.  I must say some people are more a part of the rat part of that race than others but I digress. There is the foot race, the car race, the race to the end of the day, the race to get your groceries, the race. . . is a pattern developing?  Take a little time, smell the roses, loiter a bit, you might like it.

 

Have you ever noticed that when a stranger is dealing with someone with a disability they tend to speak louder, or assume they are not too bright, or couldn’t care about a situation?  Well I have.  Not often thankfully, but more times than is reasonable.  I have, on occasion, answered rather tersely that “I have a disability, I’m not stupid.   Don’t treat me as if I am!!”  That usually gets me a blank stare, rarely an apology.

 

People have to realize that I was a person before I was disabled.  Ergo, I am a person with a disability, not a disabled person.  Cars are disabled, electrical appliances are disabled, not people.  And for the record I am not CHALLENGED.  Everyone faces personal challenges.  That is simply a phrase intended to make people without disabilities appear to sympathize instead of pity.  “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet . . .” Pity by any other name is still pity, and it ain’t pretty!  I don’t need your pity I need you to treat me like a person.  HELLO, I am a person!  Stop looking at the wheelchair and heaving a quiet sigh of relief that our roles are not reversed.  Accept me for who I am, not what disease I deal with.  I want people to see me, not my wheelchair.  I AM HERE!

 

Okay, enough of the sermon.  I can get rather riled.  Of course you may not have notice?????

 

Each individual must look deep within themselves and decide what they want to do.  Okay winning a big lottery is not what I meant.  But rather, do you want to live or do you want to have a life.  The first is easy, just keep breathing.  The second is much harder if your living circumstances are compromised.  For example, you used to be a dancer, now you can’t walk.  Modify your criteria.  Write about dance, design dance studios, etc.  It won’t be easy to find something that you love, can do, and get satisfaction from.  Life is still worth living even if the playing field has changed.  Change your approach or change the field to accommodate you.  You have a lot of years invested in yourself, DO NOT GIVE UP, OR GIVE IN.  Life is for the living and there is still a lot of living to be done!

 

I have two feline companions.  Sometimes I look at my cats and I wonder if they are happy.  Am I off in some strange tangent?  Not really.  Are you happy?  My cats are fed, brushed, played with, cuddle, etc.  But they don’t get to experience the great outdoors.  Are they missing out on life or are they safe inside where they can live.  I don’t know.  I do know that I am not a cat.  I need the interaction with those outside my apartment, the great outdoors.  I need to be needed and I need to contribute in some way.  My cats need a clean litter box.  I need a life, preferably my own.  Now I have to find a way to get what I need.  My cats need me, but that is not enough.  I need to be important, even if it is in only a small way.  If my words, my tirade helps one person then I have contributed in a positive way.  Is my work here done?  Not by a long shot.  I have years to go before I sleep and people to pester on my route.  And I mean that in the nicest possible way.

 

Here is a question for the Philosopher in you.  Are we programmed to fail?  Think about it.  If a Doctor or someone in authority tells us we will fail does that presuppose that we will fail?  How about the alternative?  If a Doctor or someone in authority shows enough faith in us and encourages us to win, to overcome our difficulties, does that not then predispose us to succeed?  The power of the mind is an exceptional thing.  It is a machine (in simplest terms) that ‘programs’ our body and our behaviour.  How then do we ‘reprogram’ this marvelous tool?  I don’t know. But now that I have thought about it, I am going to find out.

 

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is to BELIEVE in oneself.  Let’s face it, we can’t change the facts.   We have MS (or any other really bad condition), that is self-evident.   What isn’t self-evident is how we live with it.  Yes certain realities will have to be met, the scooter, the canes, the wheelchair, etc., etc., etc.  When you wake up in the morning, make a conscious decision to smile, to live that day to the utmost.   Make the decision to LIVE not just exist.  The truth of the matter is that death is easy, living is hard.  And anything worth having is worth the effort.  Anyone who

lives with a debilitating condition knows just what an effort that can be.  So concentrate on the positive.  Accentuate the positive.  You get better parking.  You have a youthful appearance. You have all your teeth/hair.  You get the idea.  It may take a little time to find the positive in your situation but it can be done, with, you guessed it, a little effort.

 

Groundhog Day 2013

I’m sitting here looking at a blank page and I don’t know what to say.  This is my first blog and I want to say something monumental and pithy and life affirming.  And all I can think of to say is hello.  Perhaps it’s a tad banal but I mean well.  I’m hoping that I will enjoy writing this blog and I hope that you will enjoy reading it.  Together this could be one hell of a ride, so welcome.  Welcome to my blog.

I HAVE FOUND A CURE.

 

 

I have found a cure for sadness, it is laughter.   I have found a cure for hunger, it is food.   I have found a cure for fatigue, it is rest.  I have not found a cure for multiple sclerosis, but I’m looking.

 

The Participant

I have never skied down Mount Everest. Or given birth to twelve children at the same time or even invented a cure for selective hearing in men.  I am, in simplest terms, just myself.  But what, you ask in horror, does that mean?  Why would anyone want to know what I think about anything?  Well, the truth is, I am just like you.  I have had some fun times, some sad times, and even some incredible times.  And that makes me a pretty incredible person.  Even if I am the only one that thinks so.  So read on, you never know, you might learn something interesting.

 

My journey began many years ago.  I had a wonderful childhood. I know that is not particularly popular to write about but it is the truth.  I have a wonderful family.  They care about me and about each other.  Anytime I have called them for help, they have come.  I have friends, true friends, who like me for me, not for what I can do for them.  This sounds a little too perfect, too easy.  Well life is not easy.  We all have hurdles we have to overcome.  Mine is multiple sclerosis.

 

The Disease

Multiple sclerosis is an incurable disease of the central nervous system.  It can manifest itself in so many ways.  Some people lose their sight, are in pain, have spasms, lose the ability to walk, control their bodily functions, and on, and on, and on.  In many ways I am lucky because I don’t have any pain.  I have my sight and most of my bodily functions are under control, mostly.  I cannot walk.  I have some spasms. I no longer go to work every day, I’m on long-term disability.  However that doesn’t stop me from being busy.  I started this blog because I wanted other people to know that having a disability does not define who you are it is merely part of the definition.  Maybe what I went through will help someone else get through the rough times.  You are not alone, none of us are.

 

My future is filled with tomorrow after tomorrow after tomorrow.  I will live in the today but I will strive for tomorrow one step at a time.  Remember it was the tortoise that won that race, not the hare.  He won by plodding on and never looking back to ‘what if’s and ‘might have been’s.  We can learn a lot from that tortoise.  We have to have a strong shell to ward off the na-sayers and the pessimists.  We have to continue to plod on and never, ever, look back.  We CAN win this race. With a little patience, a little courage, and a little luck we will prevail.  I will prevail.

 

There is a saying ‘what does not kill you makes you strong’.  It’s true.  I have multiple sclerosis and I am a better person because of it. I would however not recommend it as a means of self-improvement.  Mind you, I do get better parking.

 

Life is a journey, hopefully one full of joy and accomplishment.  One of my favourite sayings is “we are here for a good time, not a long time”.  Of course we can always hope it is a ‘good, long time’!

 

Please join me on my journey through this world of bogging.  It will be glorious!