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I Love When I’m Forgotten

The title of this post seems really masochistic, but I promise it’s not that. Everyone knows the feeling of a close friend not remembering your birthday, or a loved one not recalling an anniversary, but that is not the feeling I am talking about. That feeling sucks—I absolutely do not love that.

The feeling that I’m talking about is when people see me not as somebody in a wheelchair, but just as a somebody.

One of my favorite examples of this is when friends leave me in the car. Whenever I go somewhere with people and we don’t take my truck, I usually transfer into a seat and then whoever I’m with proceeds to dismantle my wheelchair and stash it in the trunk. Occasionally when I’m with a close friend, we’ll arrive at our destination and my friend will get out of the car and start walking away, completely forgetting to get my chair out of the trunk. A few times they’ll even turn to me and say, “Come on Arielle, let’s go! What are you waiting for?” I usually just smile and wait for it to hit them….”Oh shit! Your chair!” they laugh as they race back towards the car and grab my other half out of the trunk.

fail

These are the moments when I know my friends truly see me. I often feel guilty when people have to go out of their way to help me, whether it’s taking apart my wheelchair, pushing me through the snow, or carrying me up a flight of stairs to get into a friend’s apartment. I know being in a chair isn’t my fault, but I also know that it can be a big inconvenience to people besides myself. I’ve been incredibly fortunate throughout my life to have such an awesome group of friends, both in Florida and Illinois. They’re always willing to help and literally never complain about it.

A time that will always stand out in my mind was during an eighth grade field trip to a local waterpark. I knew going into it that this theme park would not be accessible, but I also knew I loved my friends and loved rides, so I was going to make it work. With everyone soon parting ways for high school, I was determined not to miss out on this experience.

When we got to the waterpark I instantly realized that the only thing I would be able to do there was swim in the lazy river. For a thrill seeking thirteen year old, that sounded like the dullest day at a theme park ever, but all the water slides had a minimum of 2 flights of stairs.  There was absolutely no way I was going to spend an hour bumping up stairs on my bum for a 30 second adrenaline rush. Then after about ten rotations around the ever so lazy river, two of my friends proposed carrying me. I immediately knew it was not a smart idea; wet, slippery stairs and two 13 year olds carrying me under my arms and legs was definitely going to be dangerous, but with their persistence and my own longing to feel on top of the world for the first time since the accident, I agreed. We didn’t pick a small slide of course, the effort wouldn’t be worth the ride. No, instead we picked the biggest slide at the park, the Power Surge, a whopping 457ft tall, or 5 stories. I have no idea how they did it, or how we didn’t get stopped by a lifeguard, but somehow we made it.

The Power Surge

The Power Surge

The view of my home town from the top of the slide was unbelievably stunning, and in that moment, I felt invincible.

And just because my friends are that incredible, they didn’t carry me up once or even twice, I rode down that damn slide three times.

It’s moments like those, and amazing people like that who turn my life from challenging to breath-taking, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

The friends that carried me <3

The friends that carried me <3

8th grade

8th grade

Let's take a moment to thank the gene pool gods that I no longer look like a 13 year old

Let’s take a moment to thank the gene pool gods that I no longer look like a 13 year old

3 thoughts on “I Love When I’m Forgotten

  1. Arielle –

    This is so awesome! My aunt fosters children from Haiti who are in the U.S. for medical treatment and many of them are disabled in some way shape or form. Growing up, I never thought any different of them – regardless of a walker, wheelchair, etc. and I often caught myself running ahead thinking they could do the same. I’m so happy to see that even though for a slight moment it completely sucks and serves as a reminder you can’t do those things, you see the good in it! Obviously your friends here in IL and in FL love you, and we would all do anything in the world to help a girl out! Stay strong =]

  2. Tony Venditti on said:

    Oh, my God!! That was SOO freakin cool! I’ve been a quadraplegic now for 13 years and absolutely LOVE learning about other ‘adventures’ like that! Since then, I’ve been VERY, VERY BLESSES with going on a cruze to Mexico, & a week in HAWAII, and doing water sports in Santa Cruz @ shared adventures.com! (Check it out!! Great fun!!) What else can I say to you, besides keep it up, stay strong, thanks so, so much for sharing, and God Bless!!!

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