Wednesday, February 15, 2017


Until arriving at this hotel last night, I've done really well with using my own power to get myself around. It's something I'm proud of because it's a goal that I set for myself. Even yesterday, when the venue had a difficult pathway to the disabled entrance (it always annoys me when we are expected to go in a different door) I managed to push myself several meters on a steeply sloped sidewalk and then turn a sharp left to face the door and push through it. It was a tough push, but I managed.

When we arrived here last night, I immediately noticed the slope up to the door. It was ramped such that it was straight up to the door but, again, it was pretty steep. I got out of the car, got over to the bottom of the ramp, got my front wheels up over the small bump created by the fact that the curb didn't evenly touch the driveway. The on one push, I knew I was defeated. It wasn't the slope, although it was steep and I'm not completely confident that I could make it. It was the salt.

The entrance way was covered in a thick layer of salt. Big chunky pieces of salt. My front tire crunched on a couple pieced and then was stuck, I simply couldn't push through it. Joe was up at the door not really paying attention, and nor should he, I've been doing this independently for quite a while. I waited as I fought an internal battle. I knew I couldn't do it. I knew I didn't want to have help. I think this isn't an uncommon thing for people, I think maybe for disabled people that battle means something slightly different than it does for others, thought I could be wrong about that.

In the end I called out to Joe for help and we, together, got me up the slope and through the salt and into the hotel. Once through the door, though, my need for help was over and I went to register while Joe went to park the car.

For maybe an hour after I had to struggle with what happened. I had to examine myself to see if I gave up to easily, if I should have tried harder. Then I had to examine what asking for help meant and, then more reasonably, what it didn't mean.

Disability brings with it, for me, all these moments where my definition of myself is challenged and my own internal ableism and disphobia are up at the front of my consciousness. In a way, I'm glad of that. In a way I'm exhausted by it. I finally settled all the discussion in my head and was able to move easily away from that to figuring out, along with Joe, what we were having for supper.

The only thing I'll tell you about that, was that I insisted, for my meal ... no salt.


Unknown said...

Though I do not have a physical disability, I am struggling mightily with the need to ask for a new place and a new job in a different field, my usual 'just work as hard as you can and you will get it done' approach to life is not working and i'm getting exhausted battling these challenges.
I recently went back into therapy...after 2 years of 'not needing' it. Le sigh.

Frank_V said...

ife is too rich to worry about what we cannot do. We all bring our talents to every relationship we have.

Some people can't walk, some people can't play music. I was once called the "rate limiting factor" during an outing with friends. Needless to say, I'm no longer friends with the person who called me the "rate limiting factor".

What I should have answered was "So, I can't walk fast. Gimme a break, do I challenge you to a musical duel, and insult you when you can't keep up?" (He was my music student at the time).

WE ALL need help, and we all help others. It's what makes the world go 'round :)