Monday, April 6, 2015

The Act of Staying Upright

"I really want to do it," I said to my friend as we stared at flurries of snow.

It was 10 pm and she needed to head to one of the science labs in the middle of a snowstorm in order to work on a project. And for some inexplicable reason, I was dead-set on coming with her. I still don't know what compelled me to go. From a logical standpoint, I was being completely reckless and irrational... it was pitch black outside, and one stumble on a patch of freshly formed black ice could jeopardize all of the physical gains that I had worked so hard to achieve.

But I guess there really is a rebellious college kid that dwells somewhere inside of me. Getting drunk at a party holds no appeal for me whatsoever (in fact, although I recently turned the legal drinking age, I've never even had a sip of alcohol...This is partly for personal reasons but also because I'm afraid to see how clumsy I'd be if I were intoxicated!), but this was my own way of taking a risk, my own act of youthful defiance. I'm not even much of a risk-taker, but I guess when you have CP, venturing out into a snowstorm is its own kind of thrill.

"It'll be an adventure!" I pressed.

My friend smiled nervously. "I really, really want you to come, 'cause it'd be awesome to have your company in the lab, but I don't know...I think it seems like a bad idea. I really don't want you to get hurt."

Just then, someone came inside from the storm. He stared at us, eyes wide, and pulled the scarf down from his mouth. "Don't go out there," he whispered, his tone ominous.

We laughed and thanked him for his timely advice. Then, as soon as he left, my friend turned toward the door.

"Well," she sighed. "I guess that's settled."

"Yep!" I said. "I'm going!"

In the end, we agreed that I'd turn around if it got to be too much for me to handle...but there was just something inside of me that really wanted this chance. I really wanted to prove to myself that I wouldn't let my CP stop me, however stupid I was being.  

At one point, about halfway through our journey to the lab, my friend turned to me. "I wonder if...could I...could I hold your hand?" Then she burst out laughing at the expression on my face. "Never mind. I didn't think you'd go for that."

(Side note: I love that she offered!!!)

Overall, the trip was a success—I survived with everything intact, and we didn't inadvertently cause any explosions in the lab—but admittedly, the trip back was especially slippery and there were a few fleeting moments during which I was afraid I might fall. And then...then there was a fleeting moment during which it occurred to me that other people my age don't have to worry about stuff like this. For most of my classmates, braving a snowstorm is a nuisance but it's not really a risk. For them, it doesn't have to be an act of rebelliousness. 

For them, the act of staying upright is not a struggle.

At about 1:30 am, we stepped back into the safety of our dorm building. My friend turned to me as the tingling warmth rushed into our fingertips.

"Any regrets?" she said.

I stomped the snow from my boots.

For them, the act of staying upright is not a struggle.
For them, the act of staying upright is not a triumph.

I smiled. "No regrets."