Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Picture Me

A quick story from the parade ... my big moment ...

I've talked to other's like me, who are considered grossly obese, and know that I'm not alone in this - going out sometimes takes combined acts of will and courage. We are not well received in the world and those of us who use mobility devises are even more reviled ... my wheelchair is evidence of how lazy I am in the minds of others. So, for me to march in a parade I need a double double ... extra fortitude and extra self esteem. But I march because I'm with Vita's self advocates and staff, because I'm with Joe and Ruby, true ... but I also march for me, to prove to myself that I understand, fully, my rights, and that I refused to cede ground.

On the route itself I hear people shout out, 'look at the fat guy, get a picture of the fat guy' often these people are in the crowd right beside me. I can hear them. But they are so intent on their picture that they lose all sense that they are in public, speaking loudly. I try as much as possible to avoid these pictures. I don't want to end up on Facebook with a horrible caption under my photo.

However, when I see these folks with I think, I am DOING and you are WATCHING ... I am PARTICIPATING and you are PASSIVE ... I am IN THE PARADE and you are AT THE PARADE. But they don't get it. Watching has become doing I guess. Anyways, I know what's up before I get in the parade and that's why I get in the parade. There are lots of ways to be proud.

But, going along the route I noticed a knot of disabled people sitting together on scooters and wheelchairs. They weren't in the designated disability access area, they were just together up at the barrier watching the parade. When one of them spotted me, he reached over and tapped the person next who called to the others. I had been seen. Several of them were large like me, others were simply regular sized mobility aid users. I got eye contact with the group and then they started cheering, wildly cheering. Thumbs when up, fists were raised, I spun my chair around to their cheers and then I shot them with my water gun.

It was a moment.

Community experienced within community.

I got the impression that they didn't expect to see someone shaped like them, who moved like them, who understood the world like them. But they did. I didn't expect to get that kind of acknowledgement, but I did.

It was my big moment.

An unexpected one.


Glee said...

Hahaha Dave that truly made me laugh out loud. What a fab time.

Still grinning! Hugs.

Tamara said...

That's one beautiful moment!

Colleen said...

Dear Dave:

I am glad that you got that moment. You're active role made a difference for people who chose to be observers.

Knowing the history of the pride parade and of gays and lesbians in Ontario, I would expect more respect and less ridicule.


Princeton Posse said...

Great Dave, I have participated in several parades and have found it is much more fun being in the parade that at the parade!

Anonymous said...

I am hoping that i do not offend or get myself in hot water over this but here i go...i am a grossly obese woman, who happens to be darn beautiful! I love myself and those that matter to me love me as well. Like you i am a doer. But i am not able to be the full doed i want to be. So i am in the process of getting the gastic bypasse surgery done. I AM NOT getting it done for anyone but for me. So my question is have you ever thougt of going this route? I will admit there are some aspects i am nervous of. 1 being that i will lose my crutch or my reasons for hiding myself. Just curious on your thought.

wheeliecrone said...

Brilliant! Wheelchair spinning. Water gun spraying. Great moment!

Jayne Wales said...

Yes great picture in my mind. It's what parades are all about. Showing you're proud of your reason for parading, joining in, showing off to others your position, stall, float, cause and welcoming their appreciation. Hmmm to shoot them with a water gun...funny and I bet they will never forget you either.

Karry said...

Great story, Dave! I'm smiling now!