Smiles and laughter are infectious! People are drawn to other people that seem genuinely happy, who seem to be loving life. Because ultimately ALL of us want that, to be happy and to love life.
This past week we traveled to Syracuse New York, which REALLY is not all that impressive, seeing as it is a city – and I really don’t like cities. And worse than that, it’s really not an impressive city. Much like when I attended Syracuse University back in the early 90s it has an old, worn out feel to it. PLUS – it is fucking COLD and WINDY – so doing anything OUTSIDE is not an option – and I LOVE being outside.
SO – not the greatest ringing endorsement for our destination BUT I can say – I had a BLAST! Because even if I am going to the shitties place on earth – even if it is so damn cold that snots freeze up instantly – the point is that I am actually GOING PLACES! I am actually DOING THINGS! I am actually LOVING my life and looking forward to what is to come next!
I am DOING SHIT and not just sitting on my couch THINKING about doing shit!!
That is a far cry from where I was 2 years ago – before I finally decided to get over “all my shit” in regards to cannabis and gave it a try.
As we headed for the airport on Wednesday I announced that I would be getting a wheelchair – much to Shawn’s delight –
“I mean after all WHO wouldn’t want to have a traveling companion that ensures speedy lines and the royal treatment?”
Because THAT is what it is like for me whenever I swallow my pride and admit that although I “could” make it on my own – asking for help, admitting that I need assistance makes it all a whole LOT more enjoyable. I arrive at my destination a LITTLE LESS exhausted. I arrive a LITTLE LESS fucked up and THAT is always a good thing!
But it is SO much more than just the fact that I am not having to physically exert myself trying to make it through the security lines and to the gate. Whenever I have gotten a wheelchair, I have been blown away by how nice and kind people are to me – like people actually go out of their way to try and help me! Shawn pointed out that as I went through TSA – I had no less than 9 agents (male and female) attempting to assist me. Meanwhile, the middle-aged woman going through the line next to me in a wheelchair didn’t seem to have anyone offering up assistance?
I realize that one would HOPE that anyone needing wheelchair assistance would be treated with kindness and empathy, but as I rolled through the airports and I watched my fellow chair riders, it didn’t seem to always be the case. It seemed as if for many, their experience is very different from mine. People often seemed “put out” by the person in the chair “cutting” to the front of the line, or seemed slightly annoyed to have to wait for those requiring a bit more time to board the plane and get settled in.
I don’t know the reason why it is so different for me, but I have to believe that it has something to do with my dispossession – my attitude towards my situation and condition. I am going to enjoy life as much as I can, and that starts with smiling and laughing as much as I can.
I like to think that when people see me having fun- when they see me laughing my ass off while sitting in a wheelchair – that it makes them think “if she can manage to find the reasons to continue to be happy, then shouldn’t I?” Shouldn’t they – as people with bodies that actually WORK and don’t fuck with them constantly be happy? Shouldn’t they enjoy life?
Yet so often, that is not the case. People get bogged down by life. People get sucked into habits and routines that have nothing to do with their health or their happiness. They go about their “grind” and live their lives, never stopping to really appreciate life itself.
I am always making jokes about being the “disabled one,” I joke that my cane should make me qualify for senior citizen discounts – I am the one teasing Shawn that he is only with me for my handicapped parking and others HEAR that and it puts them at ease. They no longer have to try and surreptitiously watch me – trying to figure out what’s wrong with the “normal” looking lady. My openness invites them to ask questions, it encourages them to talk to me.
People look. People stare and I know people wonder “what is wrong with me” that I need a wheelchair. I know that they do because once they realize that I am completely comfortable with talking about myself and my condition, they often will tell me what they had been thinking.
Yesterday, while in the Washington DC airport, my chair buddy in the elevator told me that she and her husband had seen me when I came in. She then announced that I looked just like someone they know. Someone who has cancer??? SO- she assumed that I have cancer??? My first thought was – SHIT – I LOOK like I have cancer? I look like I am sick?!?!? My second thought was – damn my weight loss is going well!!!!!
People go out of their way to interact with me – it’s like by being in a chair, or using my cane announces to the world that YES there is actually something wrong with me and my smile and laughter invites them to ask about it. I look forward to traveling more – because traveling with my best friend, going new places and meeting new people makes this whole MS thing seem a little less annoying.
MS ensures that I will always have something to laugh and smile about. It ensures that I am always going to have a good story about something that happened as a result of living with this disease.
I COULD sit around and feel sorry for myself, I COULD spend my time and energy asking WHY ME? I COULD just stop trying…
but really, where is the fun in that???
**This is my personal blog and all opinions are my own. I am not a doctor, nor do I play one here on my blog. The content here is for informational and entertainment purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of medical professionals. Be sure to contact your doctor before trying any new medications/vitamins/supplements, physical activities or therapies **