A Positive Mindset: Navigating Life Through the Eyes of Someone With a Disability
Think of a roller coaster about to take off and escalate down a great big hill. Or imagine yourself seated in a cart on a roller coaster all strapped and buckled in, your palms begin to sweat and become clammy holding on to the bumpy rigged metal bar. Your stomach starts to do somersaults as you patiently wait until it is your cart’s turn to go down that steep hill. As you turn the corners, you can hear the wheels on the track squeak, at any time now you are about to descend. You close your eyes, embrace the feeling of the wind in your face, while descending down the hill. All of a sudden, it’s quiet… not a peep of sound…. then… whoosh!!! You take off into the wind and scream at the top of your lungs!
Now think of the process of getting on a roller coaster and think about the process of getting yourself ready for the day. If you compare the two, they both are similar processes, but in many different ways. Stop and read that sentence again. Here, let me show you how they are similar. When you get on a roller coaster, it may seem like a long wait for the ride to start, but the steps to prepare you for takeoff last a only few minutes. Getting yourself ready to take on the day, too, may seem like a long time but you take the prepared steps to get ready and before you know it, you are ready for the day ahead. See what I am saying here? These are two processes that are similar in that they have steps to lead you to where you must go, but these steps lead to different outcomes.
Getting yourself ready for the day can be a piece of cake and a quick process for everyone. In some instances, you wake up, shower, have breakfast, and pour yourself a cup of coffee and go! Easy as pie! Am I right!? Wrong. Yes, waking up and getting yourself out of bed and preparing yourself to get ready for the day is and looks different for anyone living with a disability. Such as struggling with fine-motor skills that don’t work as well; for example, your hands may tremble when buttoning or zipping a jacket. Giving yourself extra time to get ready to be able to feel your best to embrace the day ahead is important! I am not saying that we, with a disability, are not capable of getting ourselves ready in the morning—we certainly are. Our process just looks and is different as opposed to someone not having a disability. Thus, we can do and accomplish anything we set our minds to! That is a fact! More on that subject in another blog.
Whether your disability requires you to be in a wheelchair or in need of assistance from someone such as a PCA—Personal Care Attendant or someone else— have confidence that you will get there! It doesn’t matter how. Some of us just have to program our minds to think ahead to go about getting something done in our day or going someplace. Yes, operating a vehicle and driving to point A to B seems, again, like a piece of cake, for people who can drive. Not if your disability requires you to take a shared transportation service. For us that have to be driven—I like to use the word chauffeured—to some place, a call must be made in advance with the date, address, and times. If something goes wrong during our transportation ride or if the service is running behind schedule and we don’t know if we have a ride coming our way, we have to make that nervous call to see what is going on. Even if we get transferred to multiple people—it must be done. Those of you reading this that take Metro Mobility or a service according to the county you live in, you probably are nodding your heads yes in response because you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Sometimes hearing or talking to someone, a friend or a peer that does not go through the same processes as you, say what they’re going to do..you think, “Okay, I see what you’re saying, but if I do that, I must do that in a different way.” You acknowledge what they are saying, but you know yourself and you go about that in another way to get there. Again, it does not matter what steps you take in how you do anything.With that said my friends, it is important to keep your focus on yourself, navigating the steps of where you want to go and how to get there. No one else's opinion matters, but yours.