Here's What Really Happened
Sometimes having a disability means pretending. At least for me it does. I pretend pretty well - I've been in a relationship for almost 40 years, pretending comes naturally after awhile - no, no, of COURSE I don't mind. But this weekend was full of two days of pretending. And after awhile, my pretend muscles got sore.
Here's what happened:
We moved this weekend. From a three bedroom house, with a full basement, to a two bedroom apartment. The ordeal was exactly like you imagined it to be. I knew from the get go that I would not be able to help very much at all. I don't move well or easily. Lifting was out of the question. Carrying was not even considered. So what did I do?
I stayed out of the way.
I broke tension with humour, when necessary.
And I pretended.
I pretended that I didn't mind that everyone else was working, sweating, accomplishing and I was not. I don't often feel like my disability is much of a disability. After all, I just get around in a wheelchair. But, this weekend I felt well and truely disabled. Compromised. I made jokes about the two best things about having a disability - parking and not being expected to help with a move.
I didn't say anything. My friends were busy enough carrying my stuff, I didn't want them to stop to care for me. I didn't want to be the pathetic cripple watching others and wishing to participate. OK, that's what I was, but sure as hell no one was going to know it! So I did what I needed to do. I pretended.
Yep, I lied. Told a huge fib. Engaged in a big. taradiddle. It really, really, really bothered me. I felt useless. I felt inadequate to the task of living my own life. I felt needy. I felt insignificant. I felt, at moments, unworthy. I knew these feelings were momentary, based on a sense of guilt that they were working and I was not, I knew that I'd feel better in the morning. But that didn't erase the feelings as I was having them.
When we went to bed after everything had been moved into the apartment. I felt sore muscles, just like I had lifted a couch. But not, my sore muscles came from carrying guilt and lifting self-pity.
Who knew they weighed so much?