Tag Archives: abseiling

32: A Year in Review

 

Almost every night for the past month, I have been dreaming about kittens and every night more and more of them appear.

I am not a cat person so I decided these dreams must have a meaning, and I went on a mission to find it.

As you may have guessed, I am the kind of person who will read a horoscope, and pick out the good bits and discard everything else. With dream interpretation, I was no different.

I sifted through information that indicated I was pregnant (I am not, I checked), and that foretold of an upcoming betrayal from a loved-one (“snore”).

But my favourite?  Apparently, kittens in dreams indicate that I have an unrequited sexual fantasy that I am trying to suppress. Really? How interesting.

Then I found one that said that dreaming of kittens meant I was in a transitional phase that would lead to independence.

Ah ha! Now, this is something I can work with.

During my research, I also discovered that I share a date of birth, the 16th of December with Ludwig Von Beethoven and Jane Austin. This has nothing to do with anything. I just thought it was cool.

My 32nd year has been my best yet. I moved to my very own place and finally began living like a proper adult.

Damion moved in and for the record, we are living together out of wedlock (what an inviting term) and we have no plans to get married so stop asking.

I have somehow landed in a job that I genuinely enjoy and that I get to flex my creative. muscle in. I am also a very active member of the team, something that has been missing in my work life for some time.

My blog seems to be gaining steam and I have had some awesome opportunities to appear in other publications and as a guest blogger. I have had a few lovely people get in touch to say they enjoy my writing and are learning a lot. I love when this happens. It spurs me on.

In bucket list news. This year I finally got to fulfil my dream of riding a horse…err pony and I successfully managed to abseil 160 metres down the QV1 Building completely by myself. I even got to see my beloved Fremantle Dockers win a game live and in person.

I learnt that when setting up a home you should always buy a bigger fridge than you think you will need as every man and his assistance dog will assume you are starving and bring you food. Trust me, I had to get a second freezer. I am not complaining by the way.

Best of all, this year is the first one since I went blind in 2009 where I have not been admitted to hospital at all! I have had far fewer infections this year too. This in itself is a major miracle.

On my last birthday, I was not very well. I had a blood infection, which had seen me need to take three months off work. It affected pretty much my whole body. I was really stressed out and as you can imagine, quite depressed.

A lot of this was because I never had a spare second to scratch myself, I was finding my feet in a new job and I was trying the independence thing for the first time.

I found myself in the position I had always wanted to be in but without the ability to enjoy it. There was only one thing for it. I needed to slow down and cut down on my stress. Here is what I did.

As a people pleaser, I constantly feel the need to prove my worth to others.  I just cannot say no.

Consequently, if there is a committee to join or a cause that needs help, you can bet I was somehow involved.

Despite being afraid that people would be let down, this year I stepped down from all of these, always apologising profusely and offering to join back up “next year” to appease my guilt. I probably will not though if I am honest.

I have stop trying to make my life resemble a Hollywood movie too. I decided that I do not need to accept every single invitation I receive.  It is better for me to say no to attending something that would be awkward for me because of my various disabilities if it means I feel safer.

 

What is the point of going, not being able to participate and feeling like a moron? The anxiety in the lead up to events such as this is not worth it.  No one really cares how many Facebook check-ins you make anyway. Further, friends who do not understand why you cannot attend their event and make it a big deal, are possibly not good friends at all.

Ironically, in doing this, I am possibly the busiest I have ever been and I find that I enjoy things a lot more. It is funny how life works!

Speaking of false friends, I have also done a comprehensive clean out this year. As a person with a disability, I had a lot of acquaintances but very few real friends. I defined a real friend as being someone who wants to spend time with me because they enjoy it. Not because spending time with me makes them, feel better about their situation/body. Or worse, because they feel the need to fulfil a civic duty.

To those who have never had to deal with it this might sound harsh. If my being around happens to inspire you then so be it, but I have things to do.  So, if you need someone to make you feel better about yourself see a counsellor

Congratulations to those still in my life by the way.  You have made the cut LOL!

Finally, I have learnt that my relationship with Damion is perfect as long as it works for us.

The biggest lesson that I have learnt this year is that if you constantly feel the need to tell people how happy you are and how perfect your life is, it is probably not. A full social life and a million thank you gifts for favours are nice but a sleep in is better. And, the word “no” is fun to say. Ask any toddler.

Independence Ahoy!

I credit this new philosophy with the massive improvement in my health.

As I write this my 33rd birthday is two days away. I wonder what lessons the next year will bring.

Happy birthday to me!

 

XOXO

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Nina the Narcissist: The World’s Best Abseiler

nina abseil April 2017

A year ago today I attempted my first abseil down the QV1 building in the Perth CBD.  A week ago today I tried it again. What a difference a year makes!

 Long story short (a first for me I know) this time, I actually did it.

 I had everything going for me on this attempt.  I had a super supportive instructor in Rob (I have never met anyone so encouraging. I am thinking of hiring him to follow me around all the time now). Miraculously I was feeling well (despite being unwell with suspected kidney stones just days before). And the weather was good.

 I had been planning this attempt in my head all week, determined to do it all by myself this time.  That was my measure of success.

 In my mind, last year I failed. Not that anyone else thought so though.  I kept being told, “you stepped off the top, that’s more than I could do.” But that wasn’t enough.

 What people don’t understand is, I don’t do things to impress them. I do these things to prove to myself that I can.

 Although this can’t be strictly true. otherwise I wouldn’t brag about it on my social media channels (did I mention my blog has its own Facebook page?). 

 I have just realised that I posted my “success” photo almost immediately after. Mentioning that it only took me less than five minutes (The time is still a subject of debate) and that I did it completely by myself.

But I neglected to mention (or thank) the people who donated to my cause which allowed me to qualify for the abseil in the first place

 I completely forgot about the reason I was doing the abseil to begin with. 

 Oh my god!  Am I a narcissist? It’s probably narcissistic to ask that.

 By the way, thank you to everyone who so generously donated to my fundraising for the Perth Children’s Hospital. I am very proud to announce that with your help  I raised almost $1,000. 

 Thank you especially to Revolution Pilates who allowed me to post a begging flyer on the wall of the studio. 

 The problem is, I am so used to being congratulated for wiping my own bottom that when I actually do something worthwhile I can’t help but brag.  And even worse than that, I get a kick out of it.

 Dear God, help me, I’m Donald Trump!

 Ironically, by putting this down on paper I am going to get (having said it, it would be very embarrassing if I didn’t) people leaping to my defence. And the cycle continues…  Aargh! 

 Where is the line? On the one hand, isn’t pride one of the seven deadly sins? But on the other hand, if you don’t respect yourself enough to be proud of your own achievements then you are effectively sending out a product that (at least to you) is below par.  That’s not being respectful to others. You wouldn’t deliberately give someone a rotten apple, would you?

 My head hurts!

 Oh screw it! The fact is I did actually did it (Come on, you didn’t think I wasn’t going to brag a little bit did you?).

 I did cheat a bit though. I can’t even walk 160 m in less than half an hour. How on earth did you expect me to be able to abseil that far in under five? Without falling that is.

 I had to admit that my legs were pretty useless. So I abseiled with my hands.  No, I didn’t do a handstand all the way down.  I simply sat back in my harness and lowered myself hand over hand with the rope (I  think that’s how people in wheelchairs do it). It proved to be quite effective. I’m thinking of getting around that way all the time now.

 I was quite thankful that I am a girl though, if you get my drift.

When I got to the bottom I couldn’t stop smiling. And my (dare I say it), fan club who had come out to watch me and were screaming their support the whole time, only made my smile bigger.

 I had mentioned a few weeks ago that after I did my skydive in October 2014 I have never been able to find a rush like that again. 

 At last I think I have found one.

 XOXO 

 

Training Day: I even surprised myself!

abseilingnina and Cecily.jpg 

Lately I have been feeling decidedly unable.

 

My legs have been feeling weak and wobbly. My ears have been hindering my social life and my eyes are seriously contributing to the black hole that is my apartment.

 

So, it was no wonder that I was feeling very nervous about doing the training for my abseil. 

 

I know I say I am nervous before I do anything “exciting,” but considering the disappointment I felt when I had to be helped to the bottom of the QV1 building last year, and my aforementioned wobbliness, I really didn’t think I would cope.

 

The training takes place at a quarry where the scariest thing for me was not the actual abseiling down the rock face but walking the path to get there.

 

There are so many rocks and trees to trip on, it’s a miracle I did not break anything.

 

I don’t think this has anything to do with me though. Possibly it was the fact that I was being held up by the back of my harness and thus being moved around like a marionette that did it. I am certainly not complaining either.

 

Cecily was absolutely no help at all. I really need to get myself an off-road walking frame.

 

While everyone else had to trudge up the mountain I was chauffeur driven up in the Ute. This was no picnic mind you, the ride was so bumpy that I bopped my head on the roof of the cabin at least twice. Luckily, I was already wearing my helmet. 

 

Thank goodness I only had to “walk” along the ledge at the top.

 

I really love working with Urban Descent. They don’t presume to know the best way for me to do things, they ask me. They probably would even have let me go by myself if I wanted. Yeah, like that was going to happen!  

 

In the end, I did three abseils. A 20 metre, a 30 metre and another 30 metre where I had to lower myself with my arms by going down a rope instead of walking down the rock face.

 

The idea of this freaked me out. I was sure my arms were not up to the challenge. But they were, and so were my legs.  Damion couldn’t help saying “I told you so!”

 

I was amazed and in such a good mood that it hardly even bothered me that I heard someone say, “you’re such an inspiration” as I went over the edge.  I was doing what everyone else was doing, and I had help.

 

There was a lady there who is terrified of heights but she was doing it. I’d say that is far more inspirational, especially when you consider that I’m only doing it for the attention! LOL

 

It is so annoying that I get so much credit for being disabled. It’s embarrassing and to be honest very discouraging.

 

I had learnt last year that a successful training session did not guarantee success on the day. Even though they tell you that abseiling a building will be easier. So, I’m still a bit nervous.

 

I needed to do it again this year. My ego won’t be beaten by a mere 160 metres. However, after this I think I’ll hang up my harness.

 

If it doesn’t rain I might be ok and, at least I get to wear real clothes this year.

 

Wish me luck!

 

XOXO 

 

Abseil 2.0: A New Hope

 nina-abseil-1

 

The abseil for the Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation (formerly known as Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation) is on again. 160 metres (40 stories) down the QV1 building in Perth’s CBD. Just me, a safety rope and the relief that my vision impairment stops me from seeing what I’m really doing.

 

I must confess, I almost opted out this year.  Last year’s effort didn’t go the way I hoped, resulting in me spending the majority of the descent perched on someone’s lap. Don’t get me wrong, it was a very nice lap, but I wanted to use my own legs.  I felt like I had failed not only myself but everyone who had contributed to my fundraising. Would anyone be willing to take another chance? And what if I become one of those friends that people avoid because they’re always nagging you to support their cause?

 

But then I realised, it’s not actually about how I did it but the fact that I did it at all. And the fact that I did it is largely due to being cared for at PMH.

 

During my childhood, I spent a lot of time in that hospital and barely a year went by without having some surgery or other. My greatest claim to fame (as far as PMH is concerned) is that I have been a patient of every department except oncology.  Of course, at the time I hated the place as i came to associate it with misery.  But now as i wobble around, type this blog or do anything really, I realise that I can do these things largely due to the “mean” doctors and nurses who treated me there.

 

Well dear reader, i have become one of those friends, and I ask you to help me to raise as much money as possible for the foundation. You may not have been the frequent flyer that I was but we’ve all been touched by PMH at some point either personally or vicariously.

 

Last year with your help I raised $1,680 which went towards the purchase (at a cost of $1.7 million) of a super-duper machine (sorry to be so technical) that assists in the diagnosis and treatment of potentially thousands of kiddies. The funds for this year will go to the project of greatest need and will be decided on later in the year.

Donations can be made at: https://abseil2017.everydayhero.com/au/nina-marie-butler-abseil-for-pmh-foundation 

 

 

 

I often find myself thanking my lucky stars that I was born in Perth in 1984. A place where a disability is not seen as a curse as in some countries and at a point in history where I have access to technology that means I can live a relatively “normal” life.

 

In the unlikely event that I ever compete in Miss Universe and I get to answer the question “What is your greatest wish” I’d say “Stuff world peace! Just give every child the same opportunities as I’ve had.”

 

Might as well, it’s not like I’d win. I’m not built for bikinis.

 

XOXO

 

PS: stay tuned for photos and details of this year’s attempt coming soon.