As a person with a disability, I try really hard to be open minded to as much as I can.
One area in which my attempts to be open minded could be vastly improved? Yoga/running pants and almost anything to do with outdoor activities. Whenever I’m out and see I people in those super trendy, tight, multi-colored or patterned running pants, I get a pit in my stomach. It’s a big, huge reminder right in front of me that I can’t run or go to the gym and pretty much have zero reason to wear said pants.
Area number two is pretty much anything to do with hiking, climbing, water sports, etc. I love being outside, don’t get me wrong, but all the aforementioned things are items I will never be able to do. And in the state I live in, it seems to be a huge chunk of people’s extracurricular activities.
The bitchy part of me thinks “good for you, you can run and climb and hike and you want to make sure everyone knows it…let me get you a medal.” The more empathetic side says “calm the hell down, Jackie. It’s not their fault they’re able bodied anymore than it’s your fault you’re disabled and they deserve to celebrate their achievements too. They’re just trying to do what makes them happy.”
I don’t think most people advertise their active lifestyle with the intention of saying “look what I can do…nee ner nee ner.” (As my best friend wisely pointed out, I think people throw on those runner’s pants sometimes because they didn’t feel like wearing anything with a zipper when they got up). I think most of the time it’s just something people genuinely enjoy that they want to share with other people. I think the issue for me is more that I wish it occurred more to people who are able to be active, that people exist out there who don’t have that option. That being said, I have some awesome friends who enjoy these types of activities and are still extremely aware and are my right hand people when it comes to my disability and being there for me. So I know there must be plenty of other people walking around in running pants and climbing mountains that are the same way.
There’s a lot of value our society places on not just how we look physically, but even how physical we are in our daily lives….especially in California. If you don’t run marathons or spend your weekends at Joshua Tree, then you’re sometimes considered an outcast, less desirable, or even lazy. Living life to the fullest isn’t always going to entail climbing a mountain or running a marathon for everyone though because some people just aren’t born able to do that stuff. Instead, we’re just finding our own ways to carpe diem and that doesn’t make those any less meaningful just because it doesn’t involve something physical. We all have our own paths to trek in life, some of us just have to do it in a less literal sense than others 🙂