Are you worried that you are getting married to an invalid, a question my fiance fielded the other day? When she told me I was taken aback for a while, short on words which if you know me, is an unusual occurrence. I have sat on this for a while as I try to process it.
How we see ourselves is often vastly different to how others see us, perhaps that is a of a function of an unrealistic appraisals in our own head and sometimes it is a result of other people just not knowing who we are and making assumptions, a truncated definition for sure however it is a place to start this conversation from. What is an invalid is a place to start from perhaps,the oxford online dictionary says “A person made weak or disabled by illness or injury”. Well at a certain level that is true for me t the moment, there is a distinct difference between a definition of invalid and a societal construct of an invalid. Essentially in my experience society constructs its meaning of invalid from that which someone does to earn money and how they participate in society.
Some people will moot that being an invalid is just a state of mind, if you have enough will you can do anything, well with all the will in the world I am not going to be an All Black winger, a waterboy perhaps but likely not. I don’t have any context as to what the comment arrived from, I know that the last few years have had their challenges for sure. Perhaps the result of old injuries although it is also a result of a health system that just doesn’t work well if yo have a chronic ongoing problem, especially if you are seen to cope.
The reality for me of this strikes home today, back relief teaching and already after a short time of writing on the whiteboard I am having significant difficulties, and I am writing this because I am unable to stand up for the 40 minutes of assembly, not a pain in the arse but in the foot and shoulder. Almost a year from when my shoulder was injured and I am not any better than when I started. possible surgery looms which would be great, unfortunately it is not just the shoulder that needs surgery. if only… This brings me back to work, can’t walk far, stand for long write on the whiteboard… Not allowed to lift, I can’t do the alternative things I would do for a living, perhaps I am an invalid.
Sure there are things I can do slowly, I have learnt to paint left handed, any vacancies for a lefthanded, rough but slow painter? Well I can still write, my brain is apparently working still, which is a good thing. I am trying to develop business ideas and I need to write more. Can I turn these into income streams? Perhaps, that remains to be seen. The frustration is not so much about income, although that is always a challenge, but participating in life, it is about exercise, about day to day living, it is about life. At 52 I am not quite ready for a wheelchair yet and I have some goals to reach. If I could wave a wand and fix it all I would however a fairy I am not, nor have I found genie so that leaves few options. So what to do..
I am painting my house through at the moment, time for a shift, however it is a big task, I can achieve it, but only by doing it one bite at a time, just realising that actually there are some limits to what I can do and what I can’t and working within those. If I focus on the overall size of the task then I would just trow my hands up in the air and capitulate. I think that is a truism in life. I have often read how people get into really deep holes because of not breaking down things into manageable chunks, I have heard people say that they just gave up and the end result has been something huge and unmanageable for them. I certainly understand that as well, especially when the path to progress involves battling with authorities to get surgery. that becomes very boring and takes a lot of energy and frankly seems too hard. However sometimes that is the only way to get what one needs.
Well quite a ramble really but it comes back to the construct of do I see myself as an invalid? Well I guess by the definition of the dictionary I am , by my own definition well no. I engage with life as much as I can but I know I am out of balance, can’t walk for exercise and not supposed to ride my bike, I might stuff my shoulder up more. I am more worried about my head space than my arm space so watch this space….