An Odd Interview Question

Hello again!  Happy July!  I hope my fellow Americans had a safe and wonderful Independence Day.  I also hope all of my Canadian friends did the same on Canada Day.  Anyway, about a week ago, I was searching through some of my old files from my Eastfield (community college) days looking for a particular poem when I ran across a list of interview questions I had to create for one of my classes.  One of those questions brought back some memories.  The question was “If you could transform into any creature (real, mythical, extinct, or otherwise), what would it be and why?”  For some reason, it always seemed to make whoever I asked stop and really think hard.  Even the teacher remarked that it was an odd and creative question.  Which was weird, because it’s the type of thing that I think about all the time.  Maybe it was because I didn’t set up any rules (no time limit, no information on whether the change is permanent, etc.).  I left everything up to the person being asked.  Or maybe I’m just weird.  But I thought I’d take the chance to answer the question myself, since I never have before.

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Or maybe I just spend too much time on the Interwebz.  Though, my question is broader and approximately 10 years old, so yeah.

So, if I could transform into any creature (real, mythical, extinct, or otherwise), what would it be and why?  That one has always been a no-brainer for me.  Of course, I would be a mermaid.  The “why” is a little more complicated.  I mean, aside from the fact that they’re awesome and Ariel was nuts to give up her fins for a man, what other reasons do I need?  Fine, we can get personal I guess.

First, and contrary to popular opinion, I actually love water.  I miss being able to go swimming immensely, not that I could actually swim, it was more of a vertical doggie paddle.  But yeah, I liked being in water because it gave me much more control over my body (I could walk, and move my arms, and stretch beyond my comfort zone without having to worry about someone assisting me and pushing me too far/breaking something, etc.).  So, the attraction to water led to an early love of mermaids.  Then came the whole gills versus lungs thing.  My lungs suck, so gills became even more attractive as I got older.  But I swear my attraction to mermaids is mostly because they are magical and gorgeous and so fecking cool.

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One of Amy Brown’s mermaids.

It’s not like I want to be a mermaid all the time, though.  So, the power to switch back and forth would be a must.  At least in the beginning.  Who knows, I might enjoy exploring the sea so much that I eventually never want to come back.  Or I might hate it.  Either way, I want the option.  Maybe I’d have a limited number of swaps (like maybe five or something; always an odd number so I’d be forced to choose human on the fourth or whatever try, but always have that lingering option to go mermaid forever) to make things more exciting.  I should probably write about mermaids more often.  Story idea: cripple turns into mermaid.  Must eventually choose between life on land or at sea.  Adventures and peril abound.  I could totally write that.

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Art by NanFe.  Plus, mermaids can be super creepy!

What about you?  What creature would you choose?  Is it a no-brainer or do you have to think about it?  And yes, staying human is an option as long as you explain your reasoning.  It doesn’t have to be a deep, thoughtful reason either.  Go with your gut!

See you next week!

Murphy’s Law for Cripples

Howdy, howdy.  Yesterday (actually, it’s today as I’m writing this) was (is?) one of those days.  It’s always nice to wake up to one of your key pieces of machinery (naturally one of the few you don’t have a good spare for) being dead (again).  Yes, the hydraulics on my patient lift (the thing that transfers me from bed to chair, etc.) decided it would be fun to go out in the middle of the night.  I was stuck in bed until 4:00, 4:30, which didn’t really bother me aside from zapping any desire to be productive.  And surprisingly, the medical equipment company sent someone out to look at it right away.

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Life rises to the challenge.  Always.

 

Bad news!  The hydraulic pump is dead (you don’t say?!).  I’ve had this particular lift less than four years and this is the third or fourth time they’ve had to replace the pump.  Normally, it gives us a little warning before performing a dramatic death scene, so we have time to fix it, but not this time.  Granted, I’d lost complete faith in this piece of equipment long ago (after all, at least two of the replacement pumps had the following sticker on them, so trust is an issue), but I have no choice except to use it (it’s like my relationship with elevators: hate/no choice).  Yeah.

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Front.  They couldn’t spell front.  How can I trust a company that can’t spell FRONT?

 

So, I was stuck in bed trying not to go down that “every bad outcome of this scenario” rabbit hole, and succeeding quite well with not panicking, when the “good” news came.  They (the medical company) had a spare that we can borrow until mine gets fixed or replaced.  The problem?  It’s electric, so it’s not great for me in the first place.  Plus there’re weird boxes that get in the way of my feet.  And I’ve never used one before, so it’s a little terrifying.  When I get nervous, I ask stupid questions and point out obvious problems and all of that, which annoys the person taking care of me (namely Dad) because he’s also trying to figure out how to make it work, which makes him snappy.  On top of everything else, we were both a little hangry.  Needless to say, issues arose.

But, I made it to my chair (which has also been acting up) without getting anything broken.  I tried to figure out some Medicare problems I’ve been having.  Then I wrote this.  I’m officially done with today (yesterday as you’re reading this).

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So done.

 

So, what does all of this mean?  Absolutely nothing.  I needed to rant and I needed a blog topic.  You can take it as a glance into cripple problems if you want.  Feel free to send me a rant since you’ve made it this far!  I’ll gladly listen to your woes since you paid attention to mine.  Fingers crossed tomorrow is better.  Have a wonderful week, everyone!

Growing Up Cripple: Halloween Edition

Hi all!  I had no idea what to talk about today, so I was chatting with a friend when she asked what my first Halloween costume was.  Honestly, I have no idea what my first one was, but I have had some pretty cool ones since then!  Thus, since it’s October, today I will ramble a little about costumes/Halloween and how the whole crippleness thing plays into that (or doesn’t).

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How about both?

Personally, I love the idea of dressing up as someone you’re not and getting to be a superhero or a ghoul or whatever for a little while.  I always have.  It’s fun.  And it’s probably the reason why I like cosplayers so much.  What’s not to love?  Plus, on Halloween, free candy is involved!

Some people might wonder how Halloween is different for people in wheelchairs.  Does the chair affect the costume choice?  Does it inhibit where you do your trick or treating?  What about haunted houses?  For me, the general reply is that it doesn’t make much of a difference to me.  Depending on what I wanted to be any particular year, I chose whether or not to include the chair in the costume.  Yeah, I couldn’t get up some driveways, but that’s what siblings and friends are for (someone to lug your bag of loot up to the door and point you out so you get candy regardless).  I’ve never been a fan of haunted houses, but you can usually find accessible ones if you look hard enough.  It’s all about what the cripple person is willing to try.

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Sister, Mom, and I.

My favorite part of Halloween was always the costumes (though the candy was a definite close second).  When I was really little (like five and under), I could walk holding onto things and I could be carried, so for the first few years, a chair didn’t play too much of a role in choosing what to dress up as.  In fact, even once I was wheelchair bound, it took me a while to realize the chair could be part of the costume!  I honestly don’t recall many of the non-chair outfits aside from the tiger above (I was freakin’ adorable once upon a time) and being the pink Power Ranger (yes, I was one of those children).

Once I started wanting to include the chair in my costumes, things got a little weird.  I remember being a zombie truck driver one year (before zombies were cool) and having the cab of an eighteen wheeler built around my chair.  I don’t have any pictures of that one.  Another year, I was a hippie in a VW Bug (seen below).  I’m sure I was a lot of other great stuff, but I can’t remember what.

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Hippie, not hipster.

Anyway, being cripple doesn’t have to make something like Halloween difficult.  Especially if you’re surrounded by creative people, which both of my parents were.  Mom was the artist and Dad is the craftsman.  Hell, even to this day, I plot out costumes and different things the chair could be!  The only reason I don’t pester Dad with the technical parts is because I don’t know any seamstresses to help me with the outfit parts.  I’m sorry, a steampunk chair needs a matching outfit or there’s no point to it.

So, what are you doing for Halloween?

Growing Up Cripple

Hi all!  I really had no idea what to blog about, so I procrastinated for a while with the help of social media, and that’s when I noticed something strange.  I’ve seen a lot of “growing up” hashtags on Twitter (growing up a girl, growing up black, etc.), but there isn’t a hashtag for growing up cripple.  Yeah, you can find growing up disabled and growing up in a wheelchair, but they’re few and far between (plus, they’re mostly depressing).  Since I’m not all that Twitter adept (140 characters just isn’t enough), I decided to blog about it.

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It’s me! According to the copywrite date, I was four. I used to be so cute. What happened?

People act like growing up anything but a straight, white, able, cis, male puts you at some kind of disadvantage (cue the “privileged” arguments), but I disagree.  Growing up, I never really felt like my crippleness put me at a real disadvantage or made me any less of a person.  Don’t get me wrong, back then and to this day I’ve encountered people who seem to think I’m invisible, people who actually cross the street when they see me (I’m not contagious, I swear!  Though, I do bite.), people who say or ask less than intelligent things, and the like, but I learned quickly that that was their problem, not mine.  Just because some people are idiots doesn’t mean their behavior is in any way my fault.

Were things ever more difficult than they should’ve been?  Yeah, of course!  I mean, when stairs and curbs are your mortal enemies, you’re going to run into problems.  Luckily, I was raised in a family where finding ways around obstacles was a challenge readily accepted.  Can’t reach your mouth with that fork?  Let’s tape a plastic one to a skewer!  Can’t reach the keyboard with your right hand?  Try this backscratcher!  Keep getting stuck in the mud out back?  Let’s build a deck!  And the list goes on and on.

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Prom. I designed the dress and Mom made it.
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High school graduation. Most of the immediate family.

Granted, the whole stuck in a chair thing also makes outings much more annoying (no, it’s not just something that affects home life), but it doesn’t stop me.  That’s one thing Dallas has going for it, most places are accessible at least to a point (SMU, I’m looking at you when I say “to a point”), so I go to clubs and concerts and out to eat and to cons and renfests and all of that delightful stuff.  You want to talk about privilege?  Try being a cripple at clubs and cons and such.  I was raised never to expect special treatment, but you’d be surprised how often places offer front of the line privileges among other stuff (and who am I to turn such thoughtfulness down?).  Let’s see the straight, white, able, cis dude get that kind of treatment on a regular basis… I think not.

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I miss my purple hair. And the red hair. And the teal. You get the idea.

Anyway, I guess my point is that life is what you make of it.  Yes, my crippleness makes life a pain in the ass sometimes, but it’s the hand I was dealt.  I’m not inspirational (though I kindly thank those who think I am, because they’re being nice when they say that kind of stuff).  I’m simply living my life.  Life is hard, but do you want to know a secret?  Everyone has problems (even that privileged white guy).  You can either deal with your own issues and try to live happily for the most part, or you can focus on all the bad and be miserable forever.  It’s your battle.  No one can fight it for you.