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Thread: Life is beautiful ... and sometimes it's not

  1. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Denver, Colorado

    Amazing... you are an inspiration.


  2. #12
    Hi, faithful few.

    Yeah. Because I don't imagine there'll be that many people reading this. Which is fine by me, really. I'm writing mostly for myself right now. Except, of course, for the part where I'm just narcissistic enough to crave the idea of a potential audience, if not necessarily an actual one. Self-awareness is the foundation of all wisdom, right?

    So. It's been over a year since my original post in this thread, and another fifteen days of outdoors-y, summer-worthy scouting activities have just gone by. Which probably explains my sudden urge to revisit this particular topic on this particular board at this particular time. The hours and days spent coming down from the inevitable post-summer-camp high, induced to varying degrees by sleep deprivation, close-quarters living, and perhaps a little too much emotional intimacy, seem somehow uniquely suited to the sort of reflection I can't really imagine doing anywhere but here. So, here I am.

    A few months ago, I made a promise to myself. Somewhat implicitly (and somewhat less importantly), I made that same promise to those of you who went to the trouble of reading my last couple of posts before I 'left' CCC: I was going to try not to be 'the disabled one' anymore.

    I remain committed to not being just that, or mainly that, or that by default when the going gets tough. And I did take my crutches on this trip. And I used them very nearly every day. And I fell into a friend's arms, laughing out loud, when she pulled me up by the armpits one time, straight off the floor, and I didn't keel over from lack of balance within ten seconds after she had not-quite-accidentally let go of me. And I swam a whole kilometer using just my arms, and earning a measure of respect from several of the onlookers. Some of them had tried for solidarity in the swimming-without-legs department, but mostly given up a few dozen meters into it. I told them I had always been the slowest swimmer in the class, and yet I could outlast nearly anyone. And then, preachiness be damned, I allowed myself to label that a teaching moment on the value of tenacity, and call it good. And I told one of the parents, who expressed some surprise upon seeing 'someone of limited mobility' (their words, not mine) doing what I do (i.e., being in charge of an entire scouting unit), that I didn't see why that should surprise anyone. And I meant it.

    And despite all of that, 'disabled' is still a label that applies to me.

    I came home with half a pair of glasses. The other half broke off during one of many faceplants, most of which were a direct result of my stubborn insistence on using the wheelchair as little as possible. I was of very little use during the days before and after the actual summer camp, which involve the build-up and breakdown of various pioneering constructions that make up the actual campsite. For obvious reasons, I can't really help erect those, let alone climb them after the fact to move the cross-beams into place. I felt royally useless during much of the trip home, when other people jumped ashore like jungle cats every time we had to dock somewhere, and I just sat and watched it happen. I also lost most of my vision for a few hours a couple times, in what I assume, but do not know, must be a bizarro-world side effect from one of the new anti-seizure meds I'm taking.

    The bitter-sweet taste last year's summer camp left in my mouth is back. Bitter because there are so many things that I feel I should do, and, no matter which way I spin my story, I can't. But definitely sweet. Because there are so many things I can do, thanks to scouting, that I never would have imagined possible before. Living with twenty-six other human beings in circumstances carefully engineered to be just this side of primitive, I was reminded of something I've always known, but not always remembered: we each have our own personal hurdles to cross. But nothing ever becomes truly impossible until we choose to stop looking for ways to make it happen.

    Yes, that's a little trite. And yes, I wrote once that if I ever uttered a string of nonsense like that again, someone should slap me and remind me of a certain story, also told by me, which involved me bumping rather forcefully into a boundary I hadn't yet learned to live around. Feel free to consider me duly slapped.

  3. #13
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    new zealand
    Quote Originally Posted by Saranoya View Post
    And when I tell my fellow leaders by the campfire one night why it f*cking sucks that because of my chair, I can't join them on the sailing trip they have planned for later this summer, the only reaction I get is that well, at least I'm here now. I almost want to punch somebody.

    I am in this wheelchair has nothing to do with any of them, and it's not a problem they could solve, even if they wanted to.
    As a follow cper I feel your pain.

    The "at least your here" line has to be the most infuriating answer people who can't solve unenviable problems say.

    Im guessing the comb of cp and being active means your on the light side. Would it be possible to be lifted onto the boat and then have chair tied to the railings(it worked for me on a school sailing trip)?

  4. #14
    Hey, Cyfskid .

    Impossible, as I wrote above, is when we stop looking for ways to make something happen. So, yeah. I'm sure it would have been possible, one way or the other, for me to go on that sailing trip.

    But that story is from a year ago. At the time, I was still new enough to this life with the chair business that I let other people's fears intimidate me into thinking it's too risky for someone who does not have two relatively stable legs under her to go on a sailing trip at sea. Next time we do something like that, I'm definitely going. And if the skipper thinks I shouldn't, I'm going to prove him wrong. Big time.

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