For those of you who are not aware, it has been six months since the second surgery on my right ankle to fix the fracture from a car accident. I am still recovering and each day I get a little stronger. I am getting my graduate degree at Missouri Western State University and have been on campus through this whole ordeal. From a wheelchair to now walking with a cane, I am doing better than I ever dreamed (since I do not have physical therapy to help me). People have been wonderful to me around campus, with helping with doors and carrying things for me. One even pushed me from one building to three buildings down when my wheelchair got stuck.
But, I’ve noticed a change since I started walking without my boot and crutches.
On campus yesterday, I noticed that if I don’t walk with my cane, people are not as “helpful” as when I had my boot on or had crutches. It’s not that people are slamming the door in my face or impeding me in any way, but there are many less people trying to help me.
Then, my mind started to process this observation and my insecurities creep in. I felt (and still do feel) like I need to have my cane (nicknamed Cane Bob-Minions reference) in order to justify why I have a limp. I tried to go a few days without Bob, but every time I felt like there are people judging me. All my life I have felt that way and now it’s more with my “temporary” disability.
It is NOT temporary.
I, just like so many others out there, have to deal with the pain and agony of a “fixed” limb for the the my life. There is not escape the damage done and it won’t be the same. Yes, I have to use the scooter at Walmart to get around and yes, I have to work harder now to just stand. I keep hoping and praying no one is judging me behind my back or snickering at my weight as I pass by on the scooter.
It’s probably just my own insecurities I have battled all my life. But, with all the things I read about on social outlets about body shaming, I wonder. I wonder if there are people who amuse themselves by laughing at others pain. I wonder if I am a target. No one has said anything loud enough for me to hear and I hope they never do. Also, I hope that I can continue to fight the feelings of doubt and worthlessness that creep about in my head. I hope everyone does.
I accept my fate and will probably have to use a scooter for the rest of my life, but I will rock it! I will not this or anyone else (including the old me) define what I do and how I feel from now on. Let us all keep fighting whatever battles we face and strive to be the best versions of ourselves as we can in this topsy turvy life.
And Cane Bob?
He will be by my side until I no longer need him.