Just lately I’ve been aware that this blog hasn’t been as positive as I like it to be. The fact that I feel like this has been causing me a lot of anxiety and keeping me awake at night. Yeah, I know this is silly cause you guys probably don’t mind, but, hey ho.
To combat this, I feel like I should take a couple of minutes to think about all the good things I’m achieving right now. Younger me would be amazed by most of them.
I can’t recall if I’ve said this before or not but I love walking and knowing that I’ve done as much walking as I can. By this I mean walking around town or to people’s houses rather than going on a 10 mile hike, but I like to think it still counts, you know?
When I don’t do very much of it it gets me down because I worry that I’ll lose my stamina and stuff. Basically, I like to push myself when I can.
So last week I set myself the challenge to get the hang of tying my own hair back. This is something that I’ve always struggled with and I think I only ever managed it once before. I have some news…
I went out and bought myself a huge pack of bobbles to be able to do this because I couldn’t seem to find any of my own anymore, which shows how often I actually ask someone to put my hair in a ponytail for me. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I did.
Then, I started trying and after the first few goes at it I took a break because my shoulder started aching and decided to have a few more attempts later. During that second session I actually managed to get half of my hair into the bobble! It was really loose and not all of my hair was in it, but I still got really excited and reached for my camera to take a photo to show you all my progress. Then I realised the batteries had run out so I had to go and get some more. Sadly, by the time I found some, my hair bobble had slipped out completely and landed on the floor before I could stop it. I’ll admit that I was a little bit annoyed that I didn’t get the picture in time. I made sure that I sorted the camera out anyway.
Feeling spurred on by my recent achievement, I decided to try again. After a few more fails I actually managed to get my hair into a ponytail! Most of the front part of my hair was in too this time so it was even better than the first. I had a quick go a trying to take a photo but I found it hard to get the angle right, so I went downstairs to ask someone else to take one for me, hoping that it didn’t all drop out on the way.
“Quick, someone take a picture before it all falls out” I said as I burst into the room. They all looked at me and realised what I was taking about and they were all really pleased for me. Not only did my hair stay in place while they took the picture for me, but it’s mostly still in place as I’m sitting writing this too. Because it actually surprised my by not falling out before I made it back upstairs to my room, I decided to take a picture of it from the front too. I think ‘selfies’ are clearly not my strong point but I gave it a go.
As you can see, my hair’s not perfect, but that’s what practice is for, right? It still took me quite a lot of tries before I achieved this, but I’ll admit that I got there faster than I thought I would. I was expecting it to be a couple of weeks yet before I got to write this post, if I did manage it at all.
I think I should try taking my friend’s advice and set myself the challenge of trying to get the hang of tying my own shoe laces next. More on that soon.
Today I feel like I need some motivation to do my physio and other exercises, so I have decided to try something a little different with this post. I’m going to write a list of some of the things that I’ve managed to achieve so far in life that I used to think I might never be able to do without help, but I can now do thanks to a mixture of getting creative and hard work.
Take the train on my own
Take the bus on my own
Walk across a coffee table without holding on to anything
Open a pull door by myself while on my walking frame (providing it’s not too heavy)
Being able to do some basic supermarket shopping on my own
Play the Nintendo Wii using both hands
Write shorthand at 70wpm
Now here’s another list of things I want to be able do to eventually, again probably through getting creative and even more hard work:
Learn to drive
Go to a music festival
Figure skate (in my wheelchair)
Self propel my wheelchair down a hill and not hurt myself
Be able to change bed sheets
Swim 100 metres (not at professional level, just to be able to do it)
Play an instrument
Live abroad for a bit
Do a master’s degree
So, there you have it. I know some of these may only sound small but they make a big difference and give me something to aim for.
What have you managed to achieve that you never thought possible, what are you working towards?
One of my stand-out memories of physiotherapy as a kid will always be the time that I had to walk across a coffee table independently. There was a point to it; it was so that I could get my agility badge at Brownies.
I remember being so surprised when I found out there was an adapted version for disabled people that the minute I came across it in my badge book with my grandma I decided that that would be the one that I wanted to earn next.
My heart sank when I saw that the above task was one of the things that I would have to do if I were to get it. The idea of having to walk on something that was raised about the ground with no one holding my hand really scared me (still does, if I’m honest) but mum insisted that it would be worth it.
We had a word with my physio at the time (who had to do the assessments and sign to say that I’d done everything I should) and they agreed to help. I still remember the sinking feeling in my stomach when mum pulled the offending table into the middle of the room and told me that that was the right length for the distance that I had to go. It only got worse when they helped me climb up.
I’d like to point out that at this moment I made matters worse for myself by standing still for ages arguing the toss about why this was a bad idea – when really if I’d have just shut up and got on with it, it would have been over much faster (ahhh, hindsight). I’m pretty sure I even told the therapist involved I’d never forgive them for putting me through it. I said that more than once back then. Whoopsie.
So anyways, after what felt like a very shakey first few steps I made it all the way to the other end and felt slightly amazed that I’d actually gone through with it and not backed out. I got cuddles from mum and I even managed to pass. The brown and yellow badge took pride of place on my sash for a bit. I don’t even remember what the other tasks were now. It didn’t really matter after that.
The reason I’m posting about this I guess is because I still regard this as quite a big achievement. I was afraid of doing something, but I did it anyway (and without falling over, no less!) I think that sometimes I forget to view the achievement in the little things and I don’t appreciate my success anywhere near enough. I think it’s time I started.