I wish I could blog everyday about my experiences at therapy. Unfortunately, I cannot. It would be amazing if I could because it would be nice to inject a little of the humor I experience each week into this gray-ish blog. It would be a lot easier if Kasper wasn’t here every day, or if my laptop was still working. I spend so much time blogging in my head. Obviously, no one can read those posts. Who even does that, anyway? If only I could plug a thumb drive into my ear and save it all there so I can transfer it here later :(
Therapy is going pretty damn good. I amazed an old man who kind of reminded me of Clint Eastwood from Gran Torino (love that movie). He was just old and white and wrinkly with this unmovable scowl. He laid on one mat doing some sort of stretch, possibly hamstring, and I was being seated on the next mat over for treatment. My tech asked the old man if he needed the pillow on the mat beside him; the old man responded: Pillows are for sissies. The tech and I exchanged glances of uncommitted shock before he reached over the old man and retrieved the pillow. The old man, Torino, watched my tech sit back onto my mat and watched as I rolled up my pant leg, exposing my brace to the room while the tech removed my shoe for me before placing the pillow beneath my motionless foot. For the next 15 minutes, Torino would do what I call ‘scissor lifts’ and watch as gel pads are placed on my leg and arm before wires are attached to each node. Electricity is sent through the wires, into the pads, into my arm and leg, stimulating the muscles and causing them to contract, forcing my fingers to curl back and my ankle to lift.
My treatment finished as Torino began to sit up. I placed my leg into my brace then jammed my foot into my shoe. Torino watched me tighten my laces before stretching out my leg to begin tying it. Immediately, he asked if I needed his help. I simply smiled and politely told him I preferred to challenge myself. “One day,” I said while crossing laces and looping one under the other, “I’ll do this without struggle.” “Are you sure?” He asked, as I undid my loose cross-over to try again. “Of course I’m sure.” I could tell asking someone if they needed his help was not entirely in his nature and it gave me extra fuel to show him I am not a sissy in front of him. He sat in silence and watched me tie my shoe with one hand and no assistance from any other part of my body or anyone else in the room. The tech came and checked my knot when he saw me moving to stand. “I tried to tie my shoe like that,” he said to me in front of Torino. “But it’s too frustrating. I get lost in the loops, somehow.” “Patience and practice,” I told him while looking at Torino.
I have offended a lesbian tech, recently. It was a circumstance I have not considered before and it certainly added perspective to my life. When I first started at this facility, I worked primarily with one woman, Raven. We were discussing kids and family one day while she worked on my left arm, stretching it out. She mentioned her daughter, buying a house and kept saying ‘we.’ Naturally, I assumed she meant her husband and her since she had a kid and she looks quite young…too young for IVF or adoption so I skipped right over the possibility of her being anything but straight. I like to consider myself a believer in equality and not an activist but definitely someone who promotes equality for the LGBT community. After that convo, I got the feeling Raven was avoiding me. Our conversations became passing waves and I found myself often in the hands of this young guy that makes me daydream of being younger, not disabled and not married with kids (how horrible am I, right?). Then, as I sat doing leg curls one day, she approached me to ask how my Christmas shopping was going. We talked for a few minutes and she said, “Me and my…we have 3 kids” when I asked if she just had the one daughter to shop for. It hit me so clearly that she was most likely a lesbian (she is) and I started to think about how offensive it must be to be asked about your husband when you’re not into men at all. Then I started to think, well, she should make it clear she has a partner, not a husband. But then, my thoughts changed mid-sentence. Why does she have to make things easier for me? I don’t care if she’s gay or straight as long as she is happy and isn’t hurting anyone. I started to question why she would avoid me. Because I may be offended by her sexuality? Most likely. I assume gays must have to protect themselves (most especially professionally) from the opinions of those against their choice in lovers. But then I combined my thoughts and had this strange epiphany:
What if she wasn’t avoiding me because I may be against her sexuality, but what if she was avoiding me so I wouldn’t have the chance to be offended?
Going back to my previous thought, she has already accommodated me by leaving out her sexuality and left room for me to still ‘like’ her as a person without being offended or causing her to be offended by my opinions against her choices (which I have no opinion at all about it). It must take a lot of work to be so ‘different’ from so many people when you’re not even different at all. Some chicks like fat dudes, some like them hairy or fluffy or skinny or with a bazillion abs. And some chicks just don’t like dudes at all. I just felt really horrible once I realized the truth of the situation (or what I perceive to be the truth) and then to realize how selfish I was being – thinking she was avoiding me because of me, something I had done and then to follow it up with assuming she should make it easier for others, doesn’t she do that enough as it is?
I knew that going to therapy would help me crack open this anti-social hermits shell, and I knew that since my stroke I have discovered I had more than a few personality and character flaws before my stroke ‘woke me up’ but I had no idea I still carried the thoughts that created the base for those flaws to grow on. I am still learning my new self and discovering how I can change my old self to combine with my new self…my gosh is that confusing enough?! As much work as this takes, all of the analyzing and observing and whatever, I wish more people would take this kind of time to at least think about their behavior, why they say and believe the things they do. I’m not a better person but I’m trying like I never tried before and this place we call home would be so much better if people made a little space to add consideration into their lives; aim their scrutiny not at others but themselves.