Monthly Archives: December 2017

The heart of the matter

For me, that moment when everything comes together, it is indescribable and yet I still have this drive to mark that moment, to let it fill me up and create something new.┬áThe way I imagine I tell a story and the authenticity of one’s response. The vibrancy of laughter and breadth of understanding and engagement. To celebrate the present and shared experience. To realize potential and feel content. To be crushed and angered and fearful and lost and to have those close to your heart help you up. To be human. To be alive and living all of it that you can. If there is way to convey my philosophy in 150 words or less, then this is my attempt. It is not always black and white or linear or logical, labeled or limitless. And I thank those whole-heartedly who have shared and grown and changed alongside me, and otherwise.

–Sam

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Tick tock, tick tock

Dec 21: Feeling really solid today ­čÖé Saw Tessa and Dom for brunch and a wander which was superb. Otherwise, I’ve done nothing else so far today except smile and eat, and still, I’m ready for a nap. It’s 3pm and I’m in denial. There is so much to do before the day is done that I am both excited for and also dreading.

That’s all,

Sam

 

Friendship inside-out

The working title of this post was ‘The F-word’ – and I just cracked myself up. Today was a good day. Any day you can laugh at yourself is a good day… Joking aside, this is a topic I’ve been poking and pondering for a while now. This is my take:

Friendship is an openness, a connectedness a small smile or nod, a warm handshake or an easy laugh. It is a story told between people and shared between souls. I would call many people I meet friends even if it is in passing and consider it no small thing. Friendship is underrated and overstated. It is something that on bad days, keeps me going and on good days gives me so much joy — and I don’t think it should be all about the numbers nor some state of being so arbitrarily assigned as so many social networks both on- and off-line seem happy to promote without knowing the real story. And being a friend to yourself is maybe the hardest, or at least most interesting thing one might try in a day ­čÖé

If you have two friends in your lifetime, you’re lucky. If you have one good friend, you’re more than lucky. ┬á ┬á ┬á ┬á ┬á— S.E. Hinton

16 December

Christmas, I find, makes me light on my feet and wanting to be everywhere doing everything all at once. Today I walked the city, had soup and chocolate and made a concerted effort to be present and open. It went well!

Sleeping in until 10 was wonderful. I made a friend on the seabus. Got some shopping done downtown. Didn’t get too cold, wet, tired or hungry — miraculous really. I can’t believe the year is almost over. Life is never boring, lately! So much so that I’ve made it my goal to become bored in the time that’s left ­čśÇ

I’m clamouring for 2018. And tomorrow will be full of surprises I’m sure.

–Sam

NVCI+PWD = ??

A few weeks ago I attended mandatory workplace training in Non-Violent Crisis Intervention and learned a few basic practical applications and physical intervention skills 

As the aggressor one may decide to grab, hit, throw, punch, kick or yell. As the  person being targeted, one may have to avoid, deflect or escape various holds, blows and violent behaviours intended to do you harm.

Each person ideally wants these 3 things in play: Movement.┬áStability.┬áSafety. If you can’t move, that is a problem. If you fall over at a whisper, that’s a problem. And if you’re not able to maintain relative safety, that is a problem.

Here’s my problem. On either side, aggressor or target, in this scenario, with my current skills and training, I can never have all three in play. Rehearsal was laughable and entirely unrealistic for me as a disabled person, crutch user and general non-combatant (arm-wrestling and logic aside). All this training did for me was to highlight how vulnerable I really am, how invisible disability still is, and how fantastic it would be to have an All Bodies┬áDefence Project* to go with All Bodies Dance Project**(www.allbodiesdanceproject).

The messaging I took away was basically, ‘Girl, you are done for.’ The training session was an ablest convention where disability was simply not part of the conversation, there was no awareness, no adaptations or suggestions or even acknowledgement that someone might have limited mobility or other impacts on their participation or experience from either side. It was geared toward the angry, middle-aged, able-bodied white, male stereotype, and everything else was simply out of scope. Everyone played along. I improvised and was invisible until the final 60 seconds when the facilitator gathered everyone round, thanked them for their participation and then pointing a finger right at me said, in a sing song tone suitable for babies only, with not a clue about how fast the day’s work could be undone and his ignorance confirmed, “And you too, dear –you did a great job. Thank you for coming!”.

Respect individuals and their experience. Please! Don’t single me out in a crowd as ‘other’. Don’t talk to me like I’m a child. I am an intelligent, strong, independent, capable, full-grown woman and human being. I have a name, I am actually wearing a name tag: My name is Sam. It is not Dear. Now is the time to practise what you preach.

I wanted to hit him. Instead, I walked away. And nobody noticed. Nobody understood.

It was a very disappointing day.

–Sam

 

*I’d love to attend a class on self-defense where persons with disabilities and without could learn and practice skills together to stay safe and there was input from and representation of a variety of people and disciplines (ie: differences in strategy for sighted vs blind or partially sighted persons, crutch vs wheelchair users, youth vs senior, etc.)

**As a dancer with All Bodies Dance I feel respected and valued. Rehearsal is a place where everyone comes to learn together and share experiences, where differences are acknowledged and new ways to move and work together are discovered. Where I never feel out-of-place or at a disadvantage. We dance and have fun doing it in all sorts of non-typical ways!