I find the majority of the population would look at James and I with pity, assuming our life is difficult and unfortunate.
Maybe, in hindsight, it is a little bit…. I guess, I just never looked at it that way! I have always known James in a wheelchair; I fell in love with him sitting down, I don’t know him any other way. There have been times when I would lie in bed and envision what he would look like if he were able bodied. How tall would he be? Would he be skinny/muscular? How would he act? The harsh truth is James would not be James if he wasn’t in a wheelchair. Our relationship would never be if his legs didn’t work. He would be the first to tell you that by adding wheels to his ass he changed in many ways….for the better. Now I know many of you might squirm in your seat by me saying James’ accident was a positive thing. It wasn’t. It was a very hard time for James but it is what it is and was what it was. Positivity is all you have. So when I say James’ spinal cord injury is a positive aspect in our lives that is because that is the only way to look at.
Wheeling instead of walking has given James many experiences, good and bad, but it has shaped him into the guy I love today. Nothing is impossible and no idea is too big. When I say let’s throw a party, he says let’s throw a concert, when I say Mexico sounds nice he says “well, let’s go to Africa!” Okay, the dude drives me a little bonkers! Haha!
Besides the prime parking and skipping lines at airports and theme parks (I’m not even going to lie that all those things are AWESOME!)
my world exploded when I met James.
I learned the word respect and how vital that is in a relationship; it took a wheel man to teach me that. When we do things together we do them as a team, I will grab something from the top shelf while he grabs something from the bottom. Life has become an adventure and anyone in a relationship with someone in a chair will tell you the same thing…. It IS NOT a boring partnership. Adventure is abundant and the excitement of “can we do that?” turns into f*$# it let’s try!
I think the number 1 positive thing about wheelchair life is the people you meet. My best friends are in wheelchairs and they are the most awesome people I have ever met (you all know who you are). And they are not awesome because they are in wheelchairs, they are awesome just because. I would have never developed the close and meaningful friendships I have now if I would have never met James.
I guess what I am trying to say is that a spinal cord injury, or being mobility impaired sucks the big one sometimes; however, there are some amazing things that come with rims and spokes. There are times when you just can’t change your situation but you can change your attitude and embrace what this community has to offer. I highly recommend that if you or your partner has not gotten involved in some sort of wheelchair sport or peer group, DO IT NOW, it is one of the most positive and fun things you can do with the situation given.
Chelsea (with Sam’s permission!)