Saturday, 24 September 2011

Achievements

We all have a perception of what 'society' and 'other people' would see as achievements.


Obviously, getting my books Biscuit Baking and Welly Walks published and arranging the book launch for the 22nd October (details will be published when confirmed) is an achievement which everyone would recognise.


But what I consider an achievement should not be governed by others. 


So here is an achievement which, for me, is greater:


Last week I had friends round for dinner. I cooked. I held my first dinner party EVER and gave others a good time. I loved it. And I didn't use my wheelchair.


The 'Other People' in my head says "Every young woman should be able to do that. Besides, all the food was oven-ready, pre-prep stuff. All you did is put the oven on. And your guests had to take the food out of the oven and clear the table! And by the end you were too exhausted to talk or walk safely!"


But I choose not to listen. 


Because from my perspective to be well enough, for one evening, to give others a good time and enjoy it myself is too beautiful for words.


The daily physiotherapy, the weeks in hospital, the relentless monitoring my activities to keep myself from total collapse, the medication side-effects, the having to ask for help with housework, the accepting retiring on medical grounds while still young - it has all paid off.


An achievement of monumental proportions that I will hold in my heart forever.


I hereby promise to evict the 'Other People' from my head, and acknowledge my real achievements each day.


Today I did some ironing and didn't dislocate my shoulder.


Another achievement I am proud of.







Friday, 16 September 2011

The man on the train

Yesterday I got chatting to the business man sat opposite me on the train. 


At one point he asked if there would be someone waiting with a ramp at my destination station. 


"Hopefully!" I grin. And we chat a bit further how wheels affect travel.


Then he grinned.


"I bet you have great fun on them at times"


I could have hugged him. He didn't see my wheels as a statement of disability. He wasn't afraid of them. He saw them for what they are: a way of getting around that has its pros and cons.


And conversation moved on.


A stranger un-phased by my mode of transport, 


A man holding no predjudice. No belief that wheels need pity.


I doubt he'll ever realise how special it was for me.


I salute you, Mr Man-on-the-train.