I’m back - on (a few days late) #InternationalDayOfDisability.
Who even knew that there was such a day? But, in today’s world there seems to be a “day” for everything. And it still hits me hard saying out loud that I’m living with a disability - that this is my life and it’s not a story that I’m reading online or a documentary but here I am fully submerged in this, new to me, disability community.
It’s even stranger to me that there are people who only know me as the girl in a wheelchair. My disability is so obvious. It’s the first thing that people notice when I roll into a room. In the book Suffer Strong, my girl Katherine Wolf talks about this idea that we are all disabled and have invisible wheelchairs. She says, “No one enters life or leaves it without feeling bound by something. Some of us have physical wheelchairs, but we all have invisible wheelchairs inside of us. None of us can do life by ourselves. We need God, and we need each other.”
One thing about this idea that I can’t get past is that if we all have invisible wheelchairs then we’re all “wheelchair-bound.” This concept makes me feel a tad uncomfortable - I don’t want to feel wheelchair-bound or like my wheelchair is a limitation. It’s weird to say, but I love my wheelchair. It’s my little home base that gets me from point A to point B. I am safe in my chair and it gives me freedom. I can’t get very far without it. It’s when I am out of my chair that I am completely helpless.
I certainly am not wise enough to even begin to summarize Katherine Wolf’s chapter on redefining limitations (you’ll have to read Suffer Strong yourself) but I will leave you with this little paragraph:
“I no longer view my wheelchair as a shameful constraint. It’s no longer the painful reminder of what I can’t do. In fact, it’s the means through which I can now do so many things I otherwise could not. I’m not wheelchair-bound; I’m wheelchair-free. The wheelchair is the tool that helps me to be in the world again, to go farther distances than my own two legs can take me. And it’s a visual reminder to myself and others who see me that I couldn’t do life on my own if I wanted to, but the good thing is, I don’t have to. In the kingdom of God, this seat is my seat of honor. And your invisible wheelchair is your seat of honor too.”
As for me, I’ve been kinda discouraged on how slow my feet are healing. I’ve been dealing with this for 9 months now. It didn’t bother me as much over the summer because it seemed to be fine to not wear shoes when it was hot outside but now I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with the cold weather and very swollen toes. I’ve spent a lot of time at home painting - I’m not as artistic as it may seem because this is a paint by numbers. But nevertheless this is good therapy for my little paralyzed hands and a happy way to keep my mind off of my wounds for now.