The question I dread. And it was asked by a total stranger. Well I think she is friends of a family friend but I don't think I have ever met her, let alone seen her before.
What's happened to me? Has something happened to me? Does my physical ability define who I am? I know I am taking this question to places she never intended but it sure makes me think and wonder what has, if something has indeed, happened to me, and if that implies something is wrong with me...?
"I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome," I replied but quickly added sarcastically, "it's been fun" because I was worried what her reaction would be towards CFS/ME. Had ever heard of it? (Click here to read more about it if you haven't heard much about it). Did she believe it was nothing and that I needed to push myself to walk instead of letting my dad push me in my wheelchair (which by the way is new and wonderful! A dear family friend brought it over for me. It is much more comfy and stylish with its turquoise frame than my 'granny chair', as he affectionally called it, that we got at Canadian Tire for 50% off)?
I was worried she might scoff at me or just look at me weird.
Why did I say "it's been fun", however sarcastically, because it definitely hasn't. And why should I care what a lady who was riding her horse down our road thought about me and my diagnosis?!
But for some reason I did care. I didn't want to feel devalued or that I was less of a person. Weaker or a hypochondriac.
Thankfully, she corrected me and said, "I bet it's not fun. One of my friend's had that a while ago."
Confirmation. It was okay for me to be in my chair. I was okay.
And to that I replied, "Ya, it really hasn't been fun. I've had it for 7 months."
And we chatted briefly before my dad and I continued on our 'walk'.
My dad convinced me to get out and go for a 'walk' to test out the new chair and I am glad I went. Even though it was interesting and hard to see how forward some people are and what my own reactions are, I am glad I got out.
It is a gorgeous day. Sunny but thankfully not too hot. I managed not to overheat too much and the fresh warm summer air, gorgeous soft scent of clovers in blossom, the sighting of some wildlife and simply a new view, was a welcomed and wonderful change.
Although the view from my window is beautiful and always changing, it was amazing to be apart of the life that occurs beyond my window. To engage with what is around me and enjoy life anew. Everything was beautiful to me. Even the cracked pavement and empty greenhouse. It was taking everything in as if I was in a new place. I was looking with awe and wonder at the things that surround me. The things that I normally I wouldn't have paid attention too.
We saw a heron in a tree, a new family of baby ducks, the fast growing family of geese, wild flowers blossoming away, and looked around at our garden. It was wonderful. It was almost perfect.
But I still wonder why I was scared and taken back by that lady's comment. Just because I was in a wheelchair, there had to be something wrong with me.
Yet at least she talked to me. Some people ignore me all together when I am in a wheelchair, speaking abov me to whomever is pushing me. It is shocking to me. Appallingly sad and wrong. But I know I've done that before too. Or just avoided the situation altogether. Not knowing what I should say in worry of offending or something, so I would avoid.
Avoidance isn't the better option. It doesn't fix anything or make anyone feel better about them selves. It doesn't make the situation go away.
So please, try not to avoid. But also think before you speak. Ask how people are doing rather than what is wrong with them. Or even just smile.
Even if you are just smiling because I look funny wearing two pairs of glasses or at my beloved pug on my lap (who happens to have three legs which also doesn't make anything wrong with him), a smile is still a smile and is worth a lot.
PS. I came across this website called Story Cartel where you can get free ebooks in exchange for your honest review of them! And since my brain fog is slowly lifting more and reading no longer takes quite as much energy nor produces an overwhelmed feeling causing me to stop, this has been a wonderful find. Check it out!