Contrast Does Not Just Apply to Instagram Filters

Growing up my parents always taught me that if I fell, I had to get back up and try again. Sure, they would always help me if needed and I tried a few times first, but they raised me to be independent and to not rely on other people to do things for me, and I because of this I am the person I am today. I just wish that some other people would understand this concept as well.

The other week when I was out having a late night food excursion with some friends, I was getting out of the car and getting into my walker when someone came up to me and asked me if I needed my walker closer to me. Now, from where I was compared to where the walker was at the back of the car, it was no more than a few feet at most. They then proceeded to push my walker closer after I told them no that I had got it.

Now, I know this person meant well and I am not mad at them in the least for having a good heart and for wanting to help. But I will say that after some time had passed and I got to thinking about it, I got sad that the stigma that disabled people cannot do anything for themselves is still rampant today.

Have I wanted to give up after only barely trying to accomplish something? Of course, I am sure everyone has disabled or not. I have also noticed that while some things may look easy to one person, it could be a difficult feat for someone else. This was the case with me and a step stool.

I am pretty short so it is nothing new when I find myself reaching up on my tiptoes to reach something in a cupboard. Usually when I set my mind to something I will do anything and everything to get the task completed. I decided that I would take step stool and try to reach up and grab a plate that I wanted to get. This ended up being quite a task. Because of my lack of balance, this was very difficult for me. As many times as I tried to reach up and grab the plate, I could not get my balance long enough without holding onto the step stool because I would feel like I would fall off if I did not hold onto the step stool. After a while, my roommate ended up having to help me.

While yes, I did get frustrated with myself that I could not get something as simple as a plate or use something as little as a step stool, I had to learn that it is okay in the end. The important thing is that I did try. Just because I was not able to get the plate, or use the step stool this time, that does not mean I will not be able to accomplish this task in the future. I refuse to give up. I guess the quote, “fall down seven times, stand up eight” is true, you just have to work at it.

Letting Go and Moving On Part II

Please read Letting Go and Moving On Part I before you read this post if you have not done so already.

People always say that hindsight is 20/20, and sometimes you have to separate yourself from a situation to look at it with clear eyes and a clear mind, but then there are times that you think you can see clearly when you are right smack dab in the middle of a situation. This is what happened to me, and boy was I wrong and looking back I could not believe that I bought so much with what my friend Francis was saying.

As I mentioned in the previous post, it seemed like her attitude changed practically overnight. While the old Francis would be outgoing and wanting to talk to anyone and everyone, she became withdrawn and refused to get out of bed for days. Now, when this happened I was not living in LA anymore, but I did talk to her on the phone on a regular basis. When I would talk to her on the phone she was very emotional most of the time. I will say though that during this time, one of her dogs passed away unexpectedly, which I will agree would make anyone emotional with a loss like that, and I did feel for her. But after that, things just continued to get even stranger.

Shortly after her dogs untimely passing, I got a phone call from her and she was absolutely hysterical. It took me a while to figure out what was going on. When I was finally able to understand her, she had said that her apartment had gotten broken into and her laptop was gone. I could understand why she was freaking out and scared, I would be to if it had happened to me. However, my sympathy for her only lasted for a short time after that. A few weeks later, I found out that her new laptop that she had bought was once again “stolen”. This is when I started to get suspicious. Now I knew she didn’t live in the best area and that yes, break-ins happened frequently, but with her recent change of attitude and the recent events that happened, something was telling me that she might be on drugs, which she has admitted to being on drugs at one point in her life.

I have personally been around and seen people who I am very close to that have dealt with addictions so this is not something I am new to. I remember asking her if she was okay because she seemed very weird and off to me and she claimed she was just depressed and that she would be fine, and I believed her. That’s the thing though with people who have drug and alcohol problems, they will do anything and everything to convince their family and friends that they are okay, when they are clearly not.

After the whole laptop incident I started to keep my distance from her. It wasn’t like I was in town to see her all the time anyways. As more time passed she became more and more possessive and stalker like. I would come into town for a couple of weeks to visit and I could not go a day without hearing from her either via Facebook, texting, or calling me on a daily basis asking me to hang out with her. What she did not seem to understand every single time was that I was continuously busy doing my own thing and I had prior commitments that I had already made with other friends. She would either make it seem like I needed to a) ditch my friends and hang out with her every single day, or, b) have her tag along everywhere I went. As you can imagine, this became very annoying. I finally talked to her about it and her explanation was that she really admired me and wanted to hang out with me all the time because of that. Do not get me wrong, I appreciate the fact that she looked up to me from the CP standpoint, but the admiration was honestly starting to look and turn into some sort of obsession thing, because it only got worse from there.

As time went on, she continued to pressure me for attention and would constantly like and comment on almost everything on Facebook that I would post. Once again, it got to be too much so I would talk to her about it, she would get upset and feel bad, back off for a month or so, then she would go back into her old habits again. This is when I decided that I needed a break from her for good, (or so I thought), and I decided to block her from everything social media wise as well as the phone.

It was also about that time that I started feeling like something was once again off with her, and it was not like the first time with the laptops. I had this gut feeling that it was a bit more personal and had to deal with me on a more intimate level. With the way she was acting towards me, as well as the vibes that I was getting from her I started to believe that she may have developed feelings for me on a more intimate level than just friends.

Before I go on with this part of the story, let me tell you first that I am a HUGE supporter of the LGBTQ community and will defend anyone who is getting shafted because of their sexual orientation. However, that does not mean that I am by any means a lesbian. I am straight. Always have been. Always will be.

Fast-forward about four or five months later, and by this time I am living in LA full-time once again. I was minding my own business one day, going about my everyday life, when my friend tells me that she got an email from Francis and she wanted to talk. We decided that we would talk to her together and work out our differences and move on. A few days later, we headed over to talk to her at her place and we ended up talking about everything and make up so to speak. I was thinking, “Okay, maybe God wants to restore the friendship and maybe, just maybe she has changed and isn’t as weird anymore.” I was willing to give it one more shot. But honestly, as time went on and as I was hanging out with her again, I could not get the nagging voice in my head and gut feeling to go away that she had stronger feelings for me than just friendship. It honestly started to eat away at me. I would get physically sick. I am not one for confrontation usually and ESPECIALLY on a topic like this one.

After many, and yes I mean many, days and nights of praying and talking to family and friends about it, I finally decided to bite the bullet and just ask her straight out if there was any deeper feelings there, and believe me I dreaded having this conversation like the plague. Once again, I was physically sick. I could not sleep at all the night before I had dinner with her to talk to her about this because my brain was going a million miles a minute.

When I got there, she knew something was up and that I was nervous about something, and I was not quiet about being nervous either. I had told her that the question that I had to ask was probably the hardest question I had to ask anyone because 1) I did not want to come off as a hateful bitch in the slightest and make gays and lesbians think I do not care for them because of their sexual orientation, and 2.) I have never had to have a conversation with someone like this before so I was uncomfortable and did not know what I was getting myself into. When I finally blurted it out, I felt this huge weight being lifted off of my shoulders, but at the same time, a look of shock was replaced onto Francis’ face. I also noticed she would not look me in the eye and would just focus her eyes more on the ground. She instantly started to cry and deny anything of a sort. She has admitted that there have been other people in her life that have thought the same thing, which honestly to me raised some red flags with whether or not she was being honest with me or not. I also told her that if she was that it was okay to tell me and that I would support her in that, but I would not share the same feelings that she had.

At the end of that conversation, I was left feeling a mixture of emotions. I felt very drained from the conversation and it also did not help that I was running on no sleep and was basically living off Starbucks. Also looking back, since hindsight is 20/20, I felt very confused. I was not sure how to take the conversation as a whole, and maybe that is because of the red flags that were raised. I only got it more confirmed for me the next day when she called me to see if we were okay and she had told me that she was up all night crying because of the topic I had brought up. Personally, I thought that was strange considering she swore up and down that she did not feel that way.

Because of this conversation that we had about six months ago, as well as her getting a little bit more obsessive in the past few months with doing the Facebook liking and commenting, as well as text and call me constantly wanting to hang out (after I had told her that I was super busy since I had come back home from the holidays, which fell onto deaf ears), I finally decided it was time to cut her out of my life for good. I was done trying to explain myself.

I fully believe that friendships are put in our lives for a reason and I believe that she was put in my life to really help me see how a lot of people with disabilities as well as other people who are not disabled label and stereotype themselves or others basically saying that they do not and cannot get the independence to do everyday life things independently. Because of this situation, a fire was lit under my ass to start the Stereotypically Able movement, so for that Francis, I thank you. And goodbye.

Letting Go and Moving On Part I

Life has a funny way of giving us what we need. Whether it be necessities, situations in life, or the people that come in and out of our lives. And sometimes these things will not be the greatest of things. That is where it all comes down to choices.

I have been lucky to have some of the best friends that a girl can ask for. But that does not mean that all of them were good for me in the long run. They have all been there to teach me a lesson and yes, some of my friends that have taught me lessons are still very big in my life today, but with some others it was time to say goodbye and move on. This is my story and my way of finding closure with one of them..

The friendship with Francis started about five years ago after I had moved to Los Angeles for a year. We met through church and I noticed that she was in a wheelchair. Turned out she had cerebral palsy just like me and I would be lying if I said that I didn’t like the fact that there was someone like me around who could relate to me. With that being said though, I was quick to realize that we had two totally different ways of thinking when it came to our disabilities.

While I use a walker to help me walk in large crowds and can walk without any aids while I am at home or work and it doesn’t effect me as physically, I am fortunate that my cerebral palsy is more on the mild side. With her though, just walking around can be very difficult for her, which is why she uses a wheelchair and while she can walk without anything she cannot do it for very long without stopping, or the support and aid of others, so it is clear to me that she has a more serious case of spastic diplegia. While it is okay to not be the same in the disability department, the thing I tended to have a problem with was her attitude towards her disability.

As time went on I noticed that Francis would complain about how she hated being disabled and because of that she would wouldn’t help make her disability become any better because she didn’t do what she needed for her body, like exercise and stretching. She would also obsess over the fact that God was going to heal her, so much so she completely forgot to live in the moment. Now, don’t get me wrong, God can heal, but I believe that it will come in a time that God wants and that he wants us to live our lives in the meantime. This is why I do not focus so much on being healed and focus more on being an inspiration and living my life positively without that hanging over my head. I believe that I was created this way for a purpose and damn it, dare I say that I am comfortable with the woman that I am today. I would constantly tell her that while I understood her struggles, that it was important to work her legs so that way she could become stronger, but as time went on it felt like my words were falling on deaf ears.

As more time passed though, our friendship became more awkward, weird, and forced on her end because she started to want more attention and she would want people to drop everything so that way they would pay attention to her. By this time, I had moved back home to be with my family so I was not around to hang out as much. But when I would come back to visit with friends I would hang out with her a couple of times, and through the times that I would see her, I could tell something had changed and something was telling me it was not a good change.

I am the type of person that would do anything to help my friends and yes, I wanted to help Francis, but for the next couple of years I had to learn that sometimes you can’t help them and they have to help themselves, and this was a lesson that I had to learn the hard way.