So, I love traveling. However, going with impairments, or even accompanying folks challenged with physical difficulties or disabilities, is difficult. You thought paparazzi and tabloids were brutal, try braving the self-proclaimed airport doctors and physical therapists. Initially, I thought, gone are the days of empathy, caring, and compassion. Then, as I thought, as a group of people (humans), have we ever honestly been compassionate, empathetic, and caring. Now, I think, in general, most people have great intentions, but, often, we tend to be selfish and judgmental. I fully understand that a combination of our environment, beliefs, and experiences shape our ideas about others. I think it is incredible that people are breaking records and surpassing established norms. I have some amazing friends that have competed in physique competitions, created a brand, along with an impressive following -@RD90Fit & @The Tina Johnson-by working with people of all shapes and sizes. They continue to aid people in becoming stronger, healthier versions of themselves. One thing I have never seen them do is fat-shame, look down on people with disabilities, or pass judgment. Both are Titan Game ready, but they are humble and compassionate people.
So, back to the original point, I recently traveled with two phenomenal divas that require assistance when they travel. They both experience ambulatory issues that make walking a challenge, especially in the high-speed airport. They, of course, requested assistance after facing significant challenges during previous traveling experiences. We moved through the airport (me, almost-running to keep up with two wheelchairs), and I stopped to assist a remarkable man from Honduras and his son with finding their gate (there’s nothing like speaking Spanglish when you are not completely bilingual, but I got him where he needed to be).
By the time I got them to their gate, my two diva companions were long gone. As I attempted to put a little more pep in my step, maybe it was me, I knew I was gaining on them from the head shakes and whispers. As a disabled veteran, I am a little sensitive about this topic. I have trained myself to ignore pain, tingling, and numbness. You just keep it moving… “suck it up buttercup.” Tell that to my legs when they don’t work, and my spine starts tingling. It took me having surgery after surgery, re-injuring myself (several times), being too exhausted for my limbs to work, before I realized something must give. I asked myself what the purpose of this foolishness? So, guess what? When my body doesn’t cooperate, I use a cane. If it gets really rough, you may see me scoot around in a store. I finally realized, most of it surrounded my feelings about being judged because I looked able-bodied. Well, guess what? Contrary to popular belief, most days, I am in pain, and I am done caring about the uninformed judgments. So, back to the airport.
I learned that, apparently, there are doctors all over the airport with portable MRI and X-Ray machines in their carry-ons (just kidding). It’s funny to see a pack of people passing judgment and staring. Be a little more mindful of the people around you. Come up with an alternative to your preconceived notions, and maybe complete your residency before you start diagnosing people. Happy Holidays!
Keep on pushing,