When Sage asked me if I wanted to contribute to his “Gimpy Monologues”, I was flattered. He is doing something that few people do with their lives: using it to make a difference in the world. So, thanks for the opportunity to play a little part.
Okay, now for the hard part…what to write.
After writing and deleting for a while, I decided to write about is something that has been a really hard thing for me to learn. Many self help books try to tell you to move past these, or to push beyond them, but I’ve learned that sometimes limitations are a good thing.
When I started using handicap aides, I was miserable. I felt incredibly self conscious, and to make matters worse, I wasn’t even good at using them. If you’ve never tried walking with a cane, it’s hard to get the rhythm right.
Anyway, Multiple Sclerosis can be progressive, especially if you keep falling and eventually break your hip. Problem was, I’m stubborn, and although I had a wheelchair in my home, I didn’t use it enough to keep me from the consistent falls. You see, I’d heard all the “push yourself” and “don’t give in” messages. Come hell or high water, I wasn’t going to give in to MS by using a wheelchair. I broke my hip hobbling to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I’ve wondered since then what my life would be like if I’d accepted the fact that I needed help, a long time ago.
The fact that I can’t walk is a very visible limitation in my life. I could spend all my time and energy trying to regain enough strength and control to maybe take a few steps, but is it worth it, or is it better to accept my limitations and try to do the best I can from where I am?
When you’re disabled, many of your limitations are obvious to the world; but everyone has limitations in their lives. Maybe you struggle with the fact that you aren’t model material. Maybe you are financially limited to a certain lifestyle. Maybe you have to avoid certain foods or locations because of allergies. There are many limitations in life. Acceptance is the hard part.
I’m not saying to give up, or give in, but some boundaries shouldn’t be pushed. “Don’t ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.” – Robert Frost. Life within the limits doesn’t mean you are missing out. Limitations can serve as a guide. To what? I don’t know, but I’m not going to miss out on the journey because I was too stubborn to use my chair, or too obsessed with my flaws to become who I was meant to be.