Remembering Jack

Some odd number of years ago (7, I think) and a few months (3, I think) I was being disoriented, on purpose. There’s a lot about that time I don’t remember, partly because it was years ago, partly because I was jet lagged, over stimulated, and such.

Today (on his birthday) I remember 1 person in particular.

Jack

I’ve thought about Jack more often this year than I have in past years.

I could tell you why but it’s not a point A to point B to point C through point Z thing, at least not at this time. Maybe someday I’ll see the full picture in crystal clear focus, but someday is not today.

This past year has been insane.

There are times when I’ve stopped and said, this is my life! Then there have been times when I’ve said, this is my life?

I’ve also been asked why I’m doing what I’m doing, countless times. I’ve even asked myself, usually during late nights when I really want to go to sleep instead of keeping up on coursework.

The conversation typically goes something like this:

Do you really want to do this?

People think you’re nuts.

People have told you you’re nuts.

People thought Jack Morris was nuts.

Jack Morris would probably tell you you’re nuts.

He’d tell you you’re nuts with a smile on his face, then tell you to go for it.

Maybe I could just finish this class and rethink this whole thing.

That’s even more nuts than subjecting myself to this insanity.

I should keep going.

Saying “yes” to your vocation is not for sissies.

DON’T BE A SISSY!

Yeah, I talk to myself (about dead Jesuits, no less) when I can’t sleep and really want to sleep. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn’t. Usually it gets me to the next day.

Just think of it as my asking for saintly intersession a bit early (because anyone who knew Jack Morris knows he’s a saint, and he did it his way).

A “Fit”ting Realization

I’ve made a few changes in my fitness routine. I won’t go into the details because I don’t know how much of the new will “stick” and how much of the “old” return, or if at all. It’s also more complicated than just feeling the need to change things up; although that was part of it.

In the midst of all of the change and transition I’ve realized something about myself.

I would make the worst workout partner on earth, possibly the universe.

Exhibit A: I’m on an elliptical next to someone else on an elliptical. I’m barely able to keep the machine going under my own power. That someone else inches from me is going close to 100 rpms (or whatever) while texting full conversations and listening to an iPod, like it’s no big deal.

I realize we look like an exercise infomercial, and he has no clue what he’s doing (and how his actions may be effecting the self-image of others.

I resist the urge to push him off the elliptical, mostly due to my personal safety (balance) than any other repercussions.

Exhibit B: I’ve just finished up a few minutes on the recumbent bike. A feat that would have been laughable not that long ago but now I can keep a steady (albeit painfully slow). The seat also has to be “just right,” pretty much the ultimate short people setting but not quite. I hear a lady behind me say she hates the bike (can’t say I blame her) because she’s too short (she’s actually a little taller than me). I think, she’s going to be pretty surprised when she realizes she’s going to have better luck today.

I watch her out of the corner of my eye and she peddles twice (or maybe it was four times) and quits.

I resist the urge to give her a five minute lecture on how it took me years to do what she just did and she gives in, because she probably surrounds herself with people who allow her to throw in the towel far too soon.

Exhibit C: I get to the pool 5 minutes “late” (5 minutes after opening) so all the official lap lanes are taken. I “trudge” down the pool ramp wishing it was deep enough that I could roll my wheelchair to the edge of the pool and “jump” in.

The lady in the lane next to me is doing “the old lady dog paddle.” She shouts to my mother (who has to bring me to the pool because of a lack of automatic door openers) that she forgot to close the door (the door closed by the time she got back to it). She does 2 more laps before getting out of the pool. She uses the ladder (which happens to be in my lane), she almost kicks me in the head in the process.

I stop myself from wanting to shout at her about noticing an opening a barely open door yards away but she can’t manage to keep her heals within striking distance of my eye.

Exhibit D: I’m using the upper-arm bike trying to keep a pace in the 50s rpm range. I realize I’m actually keeping steady in the mid-60s without much difficulty. Someone is using the upper-arm bike next to me.

It doesn’t take me long to realize I’m trying to out due them, without knowing how far they’re going or who they are. But I did get to 70 rpms.

Exhibit E: Lest we forget why I spend the extra money (which I don’t really have), because I’m not the best person to be left to their own devices. For all intents and purposes I need a “babysitter,” because if you tell me to do 3 sets of 10 of anything and walk away I’ll just make it look like I’ve done 3 sets of 10 & then lie to you about it.

But at least I’m honest about my dishonesty, within reason.

Exhibit F: Even when I win (a board game, cards, anything) I don’t consider it a real win unless it’s by a fairly large margin.

My name is Sarah, and I think I have a problem.

That or Ronnie’s self-care philosophy has rubbed off on me, and in a rather unique way.

 

The Catholic Thing

“You and I are very much alike, except for the Catholic thing, and the Cerebral Palsy thing.”

You know how you sometimes wonder if some people bother to think before they speak? I wonder the same thing about written comments too (much like the one above).

It’s one of those “um, thank you?” moments, for sure.

You all have those, right? Or just me?

I don’t consider myself to be a Catholic blogger. But I am Catholic and I am working towards a master’s degree from a Catholic institution (which also functions as a seminary), so lines are bound to get blurred on occasion.

I don’t consider myself to be a CP blogger either but I think that’s a better fit, if I had to pick one.

Regardless I dislike when someone who doesn’t know me calls an important part of me “a thing.” Fiends who can tell I’m going through a phase before I’ve realized it’s a phase or “a thing” another thing.

“The Catholic Thing” isn’t a thing to me. It’s my life, at least now it is. That wasn’t always the case but now it is, and “carpe diem,” as they say.

Call me oversensitive but I get offended when anyone calls any faith tradition a thing. It’s probably not meant to be an insult, but usually comes off as one.

Speaking of Catholicism directly, I know it’s an easy target. However that doesn’t mean you need to hit it, or try to. I also know there’s still a level of shame associated with being Catholic for some people. I can’t say I blame them.

It’s not something I’m ashamed of however it’s much disclosure of disability to me. The approach effects how I craft my answer. If I can tell you’re going to bash me for it, or craft an insult wrapped in a shallow compliment then I have no patience.

Diplomacy is not my spiritual gift, and no, I don’t care to “work on that.”

I am not the one to come to for calm theological discussion if you’re not going to give me the same curtesy. If you’re looking for that type of discussion go to someone else.

It is possible to support and belong to a belief system and not completely agree with the human organization that handles the business end of things; I know because I’ve done it most of my adult life.

If you think we’re alike in some way, don’t start out by pointing out the differences. You’re making a point. But is it really the point you want to make?

 

World CP Day

Today is World CP Day.

Confession, I’m never really sure what to do, or rather say, for World CP Day.

It’s hard to plan for, for one thing, since it’s not the same day each year.

March is also CP awareness month, so I’m not sure why World CP Day is so separated. If we’re trying to raise awareness there’s more power in a unified effort instead of several individual ones. There is such a thing as “awareness overkill” much like “donor fatigue.”

I could encourage you to wear green. In fact you should. Green is the color of CP awareness, not to mention one of my favorite colors.

I could encourage you to hit yourself in the face with a pie, similar to the ice bucket challenge, but I won’t do that, for obvious reasons (but if you want to go for it).

I could encourage you to donate money to CP research or time to the CP community, for no other reason that we’re awesome people. But I’ve already done that.

I could encourage you to read the numerous post I’ve written related to CP; but if you’re here, chances are you already know about those and have read a few of them (but you could always read a few more).

What I am going to encourage you to do is watch a TED talk by Hugh Herr. I happened to stumble upon it after watching the Survivor Diary of Adrianne Haslet-Davis and a few other related items.

Dr. Herr’s work isn’t related to Cerebral Palsy, but I can’t help but think of the possibilities.

Meeting Dr. Herr is now on my “bucket list”.

Hopefully you’ll see why after learning about what he does.

That One Moment

One common question people tend to ask is, “Are there ever moments when you don’t feel like you have CP?”

It’s always hard for me to find an answer. I was diagnosed with CP around my 1st birthday; for all intents and purposes I was born with it. Therefore I can’t really tell you if there’s even one moment when I don’t feel like I have CP, never mind any moments. I have nothing personally, like a before and after situation, to compare.

One of the biggest reasons I love swimming, as an adult anyway, is because it’s one of the few times when I feel like my CP is a factor (or as much of a factor).

The same probably goes for growing up as well. I just didn’t realize it, or maybe I couldn’t articulate it. Who knows?

And let’s be real for a moment, it’s the one thing that I got any validation about while I was bullied; although even that wasn’t all sunshine either.

I get in and I swim.

I don’t have to tell myself “put plant your right heel on the floor” or “unclench your right hand” whenever I’m nervous, or on uneven ground, or tired, or just because it’s a Saturday.

It’s more natural than walking, even when it isn’t the prettiest most textbook stroke in the pool. I don’t have to “tell myself” anything other than maybe “left, right, left, right” when I can feel myself drift, or “listing” for the boating folk.

More people on earth can walk than can swim, so that counts for something.

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