The pursuit of balance

photo (3)There are few things in the world sexier than being told by your boyfriend “I think you should get a walking frame”. There are also few things more bruising to one’s ego than the realization that he is actually right.

I walk as if I have skulled an entire bottle of vodka. As a matter of fact I do often wonder if I walk that way when I am stone cold sober would the reverse be true if I was drunk? I doubt it!

Walking like this and my less than perfect eyesight can make it difficult to get around. Usually I will rely on the kindness of others to lend me an arm while I awkwardly wobble from A to B in unfamiliar territory  and whether it be because of my charm or the fact that they feel sorry for me, there is usually a willing (or at least compliant) volunteer. The problem is that if I can’t find a victim, sorry I mean volunteer, to help me, I’m stranded. If I am really honest this does bother me and I find this lack of independence very frustrating. The frustration however is not in my lack of mobility but rather my over abundance of pride.

It is only very recently that I have come to acknowledge and more importantly accept my disability. I always knew I had one; it’s just that I tried to ignore it.

This doesn’t work and eventually one gets to the stage where affirmative action is required. So on the advice of a very wise young gentleman I have put my pride in my pocket and am ready to find myself a solution. My first attempt came in the form of a four-wheeled shopping trolley that I borrowed from my 90-year-old Nonna. This gave me stability and the added bonus of being able to carry my goodies but was awkward to maneuver and let’s face it, not very trendy. Attempt number two is a visit to the Independent Living Centre for an afternoon of trialling their range of walking aids and the introduction of an extra hour of Pilates per week to intensify my efforts to train my body to use what I have.

Ironically, what I really want is a power chair to zip around in but that isn’t an option. As they say hindsight is a wonderful thing and I wish I knew all this when I actually owned a gopher which sat in the garage for over a year gathering dust because I was too embarrassed to use it. This isn’t the first time I have disadvantaged myself in this way either.  As a child I was given splints to wear to help my feet and legs grow properly. Despite Mum and Dad’s repeated pleas for me to wear them I refused because I was vain and today am the owner of possibly the most “unique” pair of feet in Perth.  I am not proud of this.

The moral of the story is that image is not as important as health and happiness. I had to learn the hard way but, I have learnt and you can expect to see me waddling independently down a street near you in the very near future.



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