Oh my goodness, time really flies. It’s days before Christmas and the last post for the year. Another year dealing with the pandemic, but I still managed to have some fun, how about you? As 2021 comes to a close, I’m thinking about all the plans I had for this year, things I wanted to do, some of which happened and others that didn’t. Some of it was in my control and some of it was not, successes and failures as well. Last year when COVID first started, I had already decided to relaunch this blog, but my mom said, ‘you should write things down”. To be fair, she’s always telling me to write things down so I asked what she meant, she said, “what are you going to tell people when they ask what the time of COVID was like 20 years ago?” I started thinking about it and what I can say now is that it gave me to sit and take a hard look at a lot of things in my life. I’ve written reflection posts before, but for some reason this feels like a different vibe or maybe I just feel different writing it. Whatever the reason may be, I digress. Here are my 2021 Reflections.
2021 Reflections: Mindset & Self Care
You have decide to change, then do it
If you’ve been following me here or on Instagram, you know how I started to dedicate time to working on my mindset in 2020, but it was something I had committed to working on this year and I saw a difference. I learned a lot about myself and how much your mindset actually matters. Nevertheless, there were a few times when I didn’t make the effort for and it showed. I wanted to make changes for things, but it was harder to get it done. I’ve made more progress than I thought I would with this blogging business and personal aspects of life and independence, but I know I could have done. This coming year, I’m approaching things differently thinking about the things I want to be able experience more of and things I’d rather not do, such as writing blog posts late at night and not planning ahead. In 2022, I’m making a list of things I want to be sharing with you when December of 2022 comes around, so in order to make that happen I have to decide the changes I want to make and take steps to make it happen.
My Disability Independence & Stuck In A Comfort Zone
I’ve talked about this a few times on the blog and on Instagram, but it can be easy to fall into a sense of comfort and be okay with it, even though doing so may be out of the norm for you. I was a bit of a daredevil from an early age, I liked to challenge what people said I could and couldn’t do, much to my mother’s dismay at times. These days, she knows I’m going to try new things, but she’s always nearby to catch me if I fall. At least, I used to do that. A recent experience called that into question and had me wondering if I’d gotten too comfortable: immediately asking for help, let my PCA, mom, friends, whoever, do something for me, that a few years ago, I wouldn’t have blinked twice about doing for myself.
During my college years for one reason or another I didn’t have a PCA and it was tough, especially my freshman year. I was a full time student so I had full days of classes. It was difficult going from having an aide with me in school to suddenly not having one, especially because with the aide there I didn’t get the chance to practice things on my own. My subsequent years in school, I became great at transfers, opening doors if I had to and a few other things. When I had PCAs with me again, I had them helping me way more than I actually needed them to when I was in my wheelchair, I stopped figuring out how to do things on my own and just let them do it instead. Comfortable.
The last time I went shopping, it was typical weather for the upcoming winter season and people weren’t outside. There was no one to hold the door for me, exactly like an experience I’d had before. My first thought was: I can do this, I’ve done it several times before, it’s no problem, I was wrong. When I pulled on the door I was surprised at how heavy it actually seemed to me, still I got it open. However, I misjudged the placement of my chair and was forced to let go of the door to keep from hurting my arm. Lucky for me, someone was nearby and opened the door for me so I could get inside and on with my day.
I laughed about it when she asked if I was okay, because I was, but then I started to wonder…. had I relied on people too much to help me? I had something similar happen to me when I tried to transfer into my wheelchair another skill I did with little thought during my college years, another that had not definitely not gone as planned and I’m lucky I didn’t get hurt. Nevertheless during my shopping, I had to open another door and again no one was there, this time it took me seconds and it was relatively easy. So why was I so focused on the first door incident of the day? Simple, it mattered.
At that moment I realized practice is so important. Self- advocacy is of the utmost importance and it is okay to tell someone, no I can do it or no we have to find some way to pass the time so I’m going to try to do this. I know now that pushing for people around me to take a step back to let me try doing new things in addition to maintaining skills I already have is about more than just my independence. It’s about self-advocacy.
Society has come a long way in the past decade with adaptive fashion and few other aspects of living,but there is still way more to do. These misconceptions mean that I’ll be speaking up often when someone assumes I can’t or won’t be able to do something because of my disability. It’s frustrating, disheartening, annoying at times but although I shouldn’t have to, continuously advocating means that I won’t accept the limitations that the word disability or the picture of me sitting in wheelchair paints for people who have incorrect misconceptions. I’ll work to get where I want to go in life and hopefully that will be enough for the people around me, to learn a thing or two.
It’s still hard to believe that 2021 is coming to a close. There may not be many reflections for 2021 in this post, but it was certainly a year of successes and lessons that I’ll carry forward with me. Someone reminded me that reflections are important, but now that I’ve looked back, it’s time to think about my intentions for 2022 and get started on making it happen. Happy holidays, see you in the new year. Cheers to 2022!!