Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sitting down being a woman in a coffee...

I wouldn't call myself a feminist. The label sounds a bit radical and I'm not big on any. Labelling is restrictive and a bit dangerous. People have labelled me throughout my whole life. Perhaps that's why I don't like labels. I'm thinking about labels because yesterday I went to a women's group for people who have disabilities.(Female people - that is!) Before I realized that it would be a women's only event, I asked if I could bring the Observer. Thank goodness I didn't. One look at the crowd and I'm sure the Observer would have high tailed it to the closest movie theater. The group meets every few months. There are some smart, friendly ladies in the group. Most are older than me and they teach me much just by being there. Seeing articulate, older, well-dressed, successful, family orientated women gives me hope. The women I saw yesterday were particularly inspiring because they face similar daily struggles as myself. If they have survived and thrived here on earth longer than myself, I am optimistic that I can too. Last night we had a barbecue. It rained off and on all day so I was a bit worried that the barbecue would be indoors. The sun came out right before I got there. I love timing that cooperates with social events! Who doesn't?



The place was busy, loud and crowded. Lots of people who use wheelchairs in one room leaves little space. I saw my friend Sarah. Years ago, Sarah and I were part of a summer program on a university campus. I loved being a part of the program. It gave me confidence to be independent and I met amazing friends - including a significant boyfriend. Every time I see Sarah, I am reminded of the summer we met. Seeing her makes reminisce, which is good. Sarah and I sat at our own table for a bit. I'm not sure why no one else sat with us, but we had a good talk. Sarah's health has been poor lately. She spent four months in hospital. Now Sarah is living in a retirement home. I was a bit surprised to hear this update. Sarah seemed to value her independence in the same way I do. She would be one of the last people I would think would go into a retirement home. Sarah said she enjoys being around people instead of living alone. I understand. Still though, is a retirement home really the most appropriate setting for a twenty-six-year-old female? I'm wondering if her room-mates are all sixty-years-old and up. I was afraid to ask as I didn't want to appear too intrusive. Whatever works for Sarah and makes her happy is what matters.



After dinner, there was a guest speaker on an event called Take Back The Night, a rally and march supporting women everyone. I support women, but the whole vibe was a bit anti-male. I like men. The march is considered illegal, because organizers don't want male police officers interfering. I understand why, but don't rally participants need protection, especially those with disabilities? What's wrong with female officers standing up? I don't think I will be participating directly in the event.



The second part of the evening focused on breast health. Hospitals are finally finding the right equipment and support for women with disabilities to have mammograms. By the time I need one, everything should be set. I am glad (sort of...) Women at the BBQ shared their frustrations over the inaccessible health care system. I could relate, but I can't discount how far society has come. At least it's recognized that women with disabilities need paps meres and mammograms period. It took society a bit to get here. Let's not jump too far ahead.



Once home, I felt tired and sunburned. I needed a coffee. I went to Starbucks and ordered a decaf. It was soothing. Seated beside me were two university students discussing the value of optimism ism and kindness. One said that if you see the good in everything, your life will change. His friend agreed but pointed out that by not saying when someone annoys us, we risk blowing up in anger eventually. I agree with both and believe it's all about finding balance between optimism, truth and forgiveness.



Just as I was about to take my last sip of coffee, a complete stranger came up to me and passed a little computerized note that said, "You are beautiful". I thanked her and told her to "enjoy her evening." Did she pass me the note because I'm disabled and use a wheelchair? Did I appear to need a confidence boost? I analysed why the girl chose me to pass her note to. I'll never know, but does it matter?

- OCG

1 comment:

THE OBSERVER said...

no offense but glad I was not there.