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."

8 comments:

  1. This, this this, this this this. I have no intelligent comments to say, because end of term brain mush, but this. Is. My. Life.
    Thanks for writing it down for me ;)
    P.S. Hi, friend. Hope you're well. And I hope the snow/ice is all gone where you are! (Though it may be replaced by the nemesis Loose Gravel, but hey.) I've still never met anyone who sounds so similar to me.
    P.S. again- I might be facing a transition to elbow crutches since my legs have all but given up, got any advice for me? I can't remember if you use crutches or not. I'm determined to stay out of my chair but that might not be reality.. we'll see.

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    1. JACQUELYN! It makes me so, so happy to hear from you again! I've missed you so much and was wondering what you were up to! Thank you so much for stopping by and for leaving a comment...I love to know when others can relate! Before I started this blog, I didn't really know anyone "like me," so it's awesome to see that there are so many others with similar experiences.

      Luckily the snow and ice has melted! Ohmygoodness I feel the same about loose gravel, hahaha...fortunately there isn't much of that on my campus either! I know exactly what you mean though. We have some outside our house and I always have to tread carefully.

      And regarding the forearm crutches - sure! If you'd like, we can correspond in greater detail via email but for now... I used forearm crutches for about three years after a bad break. If you're planning on using them for a while, you might want to get some spare crutch tips because once the tips wear down, walking with them can be difficult. Also, be careful when using them on icy or rocky terrain; they tend to slip and slide on these surfaces (I learned this the hard way!). I liked that I could carry stuff with them though; if you have bags that you need to carry, try slipping the bag handles onto the hand grips of your crutches...pretty handy. :) Also, during my last year with my forearm crutches, I started using just one crutch, and I liked that a lot because it gave me enough stability but left me with a free hand if I needed it. If you're kind of in between walking unassisted and needing two crutches, you could try using just one and seeing how that goes, because it's nice to have a hand free! By all means use two if you need both crutches though.

      Best of luck!! I'd love to catch up with you some more...I miss you and would love to hear how your life has been going. :)

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  2. I love that you didn't let yourself be swayed! :)

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    1. Thanks Tonia! :) (I see that double meaning! haha) I'm glad I went too, and I'm reallyreally glad I didn't fall.

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  3. Yes you rebel, YES!!!! Although the mom in me is thinking what was she thinking the cheerleader in me is much louder at cheering and drowning out that mommy voice (which you do not need!).

    But even better, you know who I write (too much) about Bridget's milestones and celebrating them? THIS this right here is a milestone worth celebrating.

    Now be careful during mud season :)

    PS--Can I say how much I adore your friend that wanted to hold your hand? That is a friend in practice and kindness

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    1. Kerri! :) When I finally decided that I was going to go, I silently apologized to my mom and to you! I completely understand where your voice of reason is coming from but I think the riskiness involved is part of the reason why I felt so compelled to do it...because life isn't always about what's easy and safe :) Thank you for being my voice of reason AND my cheerleader!

      I love reading about your Bridget's milestones! And I didn't even think of this as a milestone, but you're right...this WAS a milestone for me. :)

      UGH mud season! Thanks for the warning, haha...I'll be careful!

      PS--I adore her too, huge. She's one of my best friends and she is hilarious and amazing, but above all she is one of the kindest people I've ever come across!

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  4. You ROCK and are brave and I can completely see the appeal to going (even though I'd have had to drive up there and be mad at you if you'd gotten hurt) but GO YOU! I love that your friend asked if she could hold your hand and that the look on your face made her realize "um no." :)

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  5. I am bad at walking in snow because I live in a desert.

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