The Wild & Weird Adventures of Scooter Girl: The Final Installment (10 Lessons from 50+ Days of Disability)Reading Time: 3 minutes
As I typed the title, I stared at the word “disability.”
Who is a disabled person? The ADA definition is “a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.”
I guess I qualified for that, as of November 1st. But what constitutes a MAJOR life activity? It’s all relative. During that time I could still write (my major vocation and passion).
But I couldn’t walk for four miles every morning or do a full-body workout (which could be considered minor). I was unable to drive for six weeks. I was unable to attend social activities during the holiday season.
I found that the rush of helpfulness right after my injury rapidly dwindled down, and I allowed myself to wallow in self-pity at times.
But this post is not about my bougie issues related to my abs and happy hours. It’s how the past 50+ days have fundamentally changed my life and my outlook. Here are some tips that you can apply to your own life (maybe).
- Focus on gratitudes and positives. Many people are way worse off than I was with my one busted ankle.
- Be kinder and more empathetic to people who can’t move, see, or hear. Ask what you can do to help.
- When you have a disability and need help or are being marginalized or bullied, speak up! I let American Airlines know about how I was treated while boarding a recent flight and I not only got a sincere apology but also a real-life phone call and 10K miles as an “I’m sorry…we can do better” gesture.”
- Exercise and movement (and healthy eating) are so critical to healing and health. Once I got back into my old habits, I felt like a “real person” again.
- Focus on the things you CAN do and not on those you CAN’T. For example, I knitted up a storm, read, cooked/baked, and binge-watched some new shows.
- During adversity, you discover who your true friends are. Thank you to all the people who were regularly reaching out and checking in over the past eight weeks. My mom’s death in November was a “double-whammy.” The pandemic was the icing on the trauma cake. Even though I often put on a brave face, people who know me well sensed that I was sometimes in a serious funk.
- Related to that, taking time to heal (physically and mentally) is important. Cut yourself some slack. Unplug when you need to.
- During tough moments, project yourself into the future. Create things to look forward to, so you’re more focused on what it will feel like when life returns to “normal.”
- Learn from your experience. Can I swear that I’ll never wear my sparkly high-heeled boots again? Hell no. But I won’t sit in the back seat of a giant SUV and allow people to rush me. I might even go so far as to ask someone to help me down. Asking for help is a skill I need to work on.
- Last but not least, value every second of every day. You never know when the universe is going to say to you, “HA! Do you think YOU are in charge? Think again, Missy!” Don’t sweat the small stuff, use your time wisely, and be grateful to and commit to those people who are truly invested in your well-being.
I have at least eight more physical therapy sessions to go and at least a couple more weeks in my “ankle corset” (I just discovered that’s what it’s called, which is way sexier than a “brace.”)
But I’m now going to write about something other than THE DISABILITY. I sold the scooter on Facebook Marketplace today. It’ll be scooting for a man with three broken toes.
And I’ll lay “scooter girl” to rest and return to my previous moniker of “bad girl” (because of my rule-breaking tendency)! Watch for a new “theme” in 2022.
It’s been real (and very enlightening)!
Happy holidays and stay safe!