Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Searching a Life

*This blog post was written about a week ago and edited today.*
   First of all, forgive me. We've been busy and I've been a thinkin', and I decided that I'd rather combine all of my ideas in one larger blog post than write a bunch of separate, shorter ones. So now's the time where I satisfy all of the emails by writing this.
    As we've been in circumstances that call for increased amounts of walking (in this case an amusement park), we use my wheelchair. We purchased it about a year ago, and I have a love/hate relationship with it. I know I need it, but I hate having to use it. I love that it keeps me out of pain, but I hate how it makes me dependent. I don't like feeling dependent. 
    So let us discuss wheelchairs a bit, shall we? 
    First of all, they are super hard to get around places where roads and sidewalks have indentations, which brings about a considerable amount of frustration and even stress. Thank goodness for my father, who has smartly tackled and conquered the situation. You have to go over them at a 45 degree angle, because if you try to do it parallel, you'll fail, and if you try to do it perpendicular, it will get stuck. You have to make sure that the brakes are off when you're moving and on when you're sitting on a hill. For kids with hand (finger and wrist) arthritis like me, it is virtually impossible to wheel yourself around so you always have to make sure that someone is there to push you.
    Also, you have to make sure that your friends don't try to run over squirrels *cough cough Taylor*.
    One of the worst parts of riding in a wheelchair is that people stare at you virtually nonstop. It's not just little kids, either. Adults are most definitely including in my little staring-population. First, they look at your face, then they scan your body up and down, looking for a deformity or a brace or a cast or something that they can put their finger on.
    I've been curious as to why people do that, and I'm pretty proud of the little theory I've come up with. I think that everyone knows that everyone has struggles in their life. But we look at people and we cannot tell of the drugs, or the jail time, or the death, or the depression. However, when we look at someone who is in a wheelchair, we feel as though we are tapping into a life. We can finally peer our heads through, and in the mass of unreadable people we have found clear words.
Sick.
Disabled.
Weird.
    So it's usually pretty awkward when I look around and people think I'm looking at them and turn away frantically. But I've figured out how to use these annoying situations to my advantage. After all, one of the things that can brighten someone's life is a simple smile. It doesn't have to be huge, energetic, prolonged, any of that. It just has to be a small and gracious gesture.
    And if everyone is looking at me anyway...
    I smiled at so many people riding around in that wheelchair. Sometimes they look absolutely horrified. As rude as that may seem on the outside, I've learned to laugh it off. I don't know why I don't care more, but I guess I'm learning to prioritize.
    Then there were those people who smiled back. Bingo! That's two days brightened: mine and yours. I'd like to represent the wheelchair-dependent population here by saying thank you to everyone who smiled. It was better than you thought.
    Recently, someone asked me what I think about. I didn't have an answer for that, so I pretty much just shrugged the question off. I know now. I don't think about things, facts, and the obvious. I think about the why's and the how's. I don't care that everything we toss upwards drops back to the Earth. Instead, I wonder why it does that. Most of all, I wonder how we can make such a huge assumption as the theory of gravity. If we can make an assumption as large as that one, maybe we're more dangerous than we think.

Love,
Rachel

1 comment:

  1. I have arthrits to and im 14 ! I also have a wheelchair which i despise :) i understand the odd looks i just wave to everyone who gives me an odd look :) you should try it to and i will try the smiling approach.

    ReplyDelete

Feel free to comment or shoot me an email - thekidwitharthritis@gmail.com I'll try to get back to you either way!