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Words by Julie - Living Life With Paralysis

Flip it 2

Here is something I am trying. When something is presented in a negative way, flip it. Make it positive. Draw it out so that whatever is being said changes from bad to good or from a put down to a lift up. Every so often I run into someone that I have not seen for a while (or since the collision) and they say how it’s “good to see you out”. Like I’m not supposed to be out? I suppose it is possible that some people would choose to give up (I have had my moments) but staying in is just, well, boring.

Hand controls in my Mazda. Zoom zoom!

I get out alright. On Saturday the kids and I went to market (again), the last outdoor market of this season. Even though I know this is silly, I felt like it was my last chance to get fresh local food. So my fridge is now full – I think I bought three broccoli – it all looked so good.

This is where I was when another “it’s good to see you out” happened. I know it is meant well, really, I do. But how about just saying hello and asking how I am or how my recovery is going? So this is where I have to try and flip it. They mean well, they are just concerned for my well being and are not sure otherwise what to say. So I say that I do indeed get out a lot and then I tell them what I want them to know, how my recovery is going and what we have been up to.

I think that Ella is starting to get tired of me flipping situations that she tells me about. I got told to “stop lecturing me” when we were talking about situations that kids at school find themselves in. You know, the kid who is kicking and screaming their way down the hall to the principal’s office? We don’t know what is going on in their lives, what home is like etc. I’m just trying for empathy – which I know she has a lot of – but it’s my job, right?

Oliver started going to karate lessons about 4 weeks ago. I went to  watch last week. He got his gee for the first time and ran to put it on – so excited he just threw his shorts into my lap and ran to join the group. At the break he came over to see me and said “Mom, I feel so powerful in this!” When we went out the the car I told him that it was evident that he had learned a lot in the past few weeks and that I remember doing a lot of what he had learned. We had karate lessons when we were kids, I think we even went with my Dad for some period of time. I remember it being hard, but satisfying at the same time.

I told Oliver that I wished that I could do it with him. At this point I was keeping my voice steady, trying not to show the emotion I was feeling. He didn’t even miss a beat – “well you can still do it with your arms – you can do it sitting on your plinth!” Of course I can. That’s the thing with adults – we get stuck in our ways (like parking in the same spot every day) not even trying to think outside the box. And here is ten year old Oliver, without even stopping to think about it, flipping it. Making anything possible.

So try it. Next time someone (or even yourself) says something negative, flip it upside down. Say how you want to be not how you don’t want to be. Give it/them the benefit of the doubt. Stop being negative and start being positive. It is hard, and you’ll forget (I do) sometimes. But you’ll feel better each time you try. I do.

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