Monday, 17 August 2015

Rollercoasting

It's been quite an interesting thing so far, having wheels. For the most part it's been quite an amazing and empowering thing. I have definitely had more staying power when out at festivals.It's made a massive difference. And to be able to save my energy for dancing..just fantastic! I have encountered some really touching things too. The kindness of my "tribe"! I have had offers of money, of engineering help, all kinds of people offering support - I have felt really lifted by this. I have even been donated a new wheelchair that is much, much better than the NHS one (to whom I am however, very grateful). It has chunky wheels for off-road stuff, and slick tyres which are perfect for pavements and dancing!
 I never expected to attract attention like this. It has really blown me away! Likewise, it really threw me when I got judged and disapproved of by someone for messing around and being silly with a friend of mine who is also in a wheelchair part-time. We were dancing and bumping each others chairs in high spirited silliness, and apparently (as someone told us later) there was an outraged woman, who was outraged by us because her grandma was also a wheelchair user! I'm not exactly sure what she was offended by, but I can only assume it's one of a couple of things..1. she thinks we are able bodied people behaving inappropriately with a precious bit of kit, or 2. that we were behaving inappropriately as wheelchair users! I'll never know which it was because she didn't confront us herself to find out what the story was with us. Either way, her reaction has made me really think about things and I have come to the conclusion that attitudes like that need challenging, and it has made me even more determined to use the wheels as I would my legs, and that is to have (often silly) fun, and to not give one stuff if anyone else has an issue with this!
My new wheelchair is light as a feather and zippy, and a joy to use, though I am yet to fully master it! I have been dancing with my fella quite a bit with this wheelchair - something a bit like ballroom dancing - very glidey and spinny and exhilarating!  I thought that, as the last festie we were at had a concrete dance floor,  it would be  a perfect chance for a bit of a wheely ballroom boogie, but it turns out that chunky tyres are not at all good for dancing with, and I ended up on my back with my legs dangling in the air after about 30 seconds! So back to old fashioned legs this time (dancing in a similar fashion: I chuck my stick to one side, and cling on to T's hands for dear life and loop out in confidence that generally he can counterbalance my exuberant wobbles!)
This weekend I also overcame my fear of going downhill in a wheelchair! The festival arena was down a steep hill, ans we were camped at the top. I watched T, with all his mountain biking skills, take it down a few times without breaking either the chair or himself, downed a pint or two of Dutch courage and went for it myself! I kept my heavily booted foot on the ground to stay slow and it was fun!
The next day I tried again, this time sober, and without a foot on the ground! It was even more fun! I loved how exhilarating it was, and how stupidly proud I felt of myself for doing it. It's not exactly an epic achievement, but tidy enough for a dyed in the wool wuss!

video

I shared this video on Facebook, on account of me feeling so proud, and one of the responses I got was an offer of me jumping it through a ring of fire! This was not an idle offer, I have every reason to believe it's a genuine proposition! I didn't mention to them that I am a sucker for a challenge and will have to do it now! Watch this space for videos of that! Though maybe learning fully to walk before you run might be a wiser plan!

x