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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Inspiring, Heroes, and Men of Steel at the X Games

The X Games were on this afternoon. I spent much time reading and watching the games with limited interest. I like the X Games but have a short attention span. My main reason for watching is to see the mono skiers compete. These athletes, world class athletes, are not only gifted but on the cutting edge of adaptive ski technology. For the most part, the announcing was good. The principle focus was on the competition and the technology and skill involved. For the first time, a short special segment was included that explained how mono skis work. For a general audience, the mono skiers were compared to stand up skiers. I came away impressed and the segment reinforced what I already knew--adaptive skiing is physically more taxing and technique is of paramount importance. The only problem I had was the announcers made a point of stating how "inspiring" the adaptive skiers were. Apparently "they all deserved a gold medal" and one announcer crowed "they were true heroes". Oh spare me! The men that competed are athletes--gifted athletes. I have no idea what sort of men they are--they may be great guys or they could be not so nice people. I also know they are no different than any other athlete that competes during the X Games. However, only the adaptive athletes were labeled "inspiring" or "heroes". To me this is as bad if not worse than being labeled "special". It is in essence demeaning. Athletes that walked onto the slopes were not inspiring or heroes. They were just athletes.

The coverage of the adaptive athletes made me cranky. Combine this with a penchant for people to describe me as "strong willed", "tough", "hard assed" or that what I am experiencing with my skin is "unimaginable". I think all of these statements are way off base, dead wrong in fact. I am not that tough nor am I strong. Strong men do get depressed. Strong men do not cry. Hard asses do not feel sorry for themselves. I am guilty of all these things and more, far more than I am willing to admit on this blog. I have been unkind to friends and family. I have lashed out at those who want to help me. Worse yet, I have said things I deeply regret. The reality is I am a man with no options. I must stay in bed if I want to heal. I desperately want to heal. In short, I have no other choice but to endure day in and day out. I am enduring but I am miserable. Yes, I know there is an end to my time in bed and that I will be healed in a month or two. To me, that means more dependence on a daily basis. The knowledge I will heal at some point in the future does not help me be happy when I wake up. The reality is I am doing the best I can. It is what any other human would do. It is what paralyzed people do. It is what people that can walk would do. My experience, paralysis and the way I cope does not make me anything other than human-a deeply flawed one at that.


ginger said...

Sorry William,
You're not going to like what I have to say.
You'd better come off your crying "poor me" jag pretty GD fast!
You have more help than the average person does in everyday life, disabled or not.
Your family may get pissed off and step in and put you in a nursing home and you won't like it there. Ever see the inside of nursing homes??? The staff there can go on strike, get used to you very darn fast and leave your basic needs unattended!
This is a rough winter. Crews, fire depts, police, all medical staff are risking their lives to save others. 5 feet of snow and ice with more to come is nothing to sneeze at. Yet, little old ladies are risking their lives pushing grocery carts in the snow to get basic food.
The elderly are basically ALONE making do. Some die. No one person on earth is more or less important than another.
Hang up you crying towel now!

william Peace said...

Ginger, Tell me how you really feel! I know I am very lucky--having a large supportive family is a blessing. I am tired and cranky. I want OUT. I am on the back end of the healing process--like a marathoner hitting the wall after running 20 miles. I know I am not as isolated as most elderly and people with a disability. I remind myself of this daily.

ginger said...

A degree is just a sheepskin. Genius is 99% hard work. During your free time you could make steps to contact organizations to fight for enforcement of the ADA.
Why spend such a large percentage of your time going off on tangents?
You could also be instrumental by helping your town with natural disasters. There are many people who organize and help from home.
I'd say you just need one hella push!

ginger said...

I will spell out the worst possible scenario happens to some people. Whenever there are two nickles to rub together, a friend and/or family member can turn.
Make yourself useful to the community. This will not only protect yourself but give you a purpose for living during difficult times.