Hello again, Zachary Fenell here with another guest post. I’ve been meaning to sit down and write this for a couple weeks now but I’ve been rather busy. I’m spending much time writing for The Mobility Resource, a leading provider across the United States in handicap vans. Additionally I just started working for a few new writing clients, which I always find exciting. Anyways, enough excuses. Time to dive into today’s subject matter.
Please allow me to expand upon a topic Laura blogged about Tuesday, November 27th in her post “Myths About Disability and Social Interactions.” Laura explored how she struggled to feel equal to her able-bodied peers. Like my teenage memoir Off Balanced documents, I encountered similar circumstances. I might not use a wheelchair but my differences still left me feeling inadequate compared to others.
For instance, in Off Balanced I recall going to the 2003 Cleveland Auto Show. My friend Sami invited me to go with him and his friend Brad. Now while I enjoyed myself, I didn’t make the absolute most from the experience. I struggled to keep up with my more agile counterparts. Looking back I should’ve spoke up and asked them to slow down, but I didn’t. Why? Because I didn’t want Sami and Brad to think I’m weak.
Thankfully over time I came to realize this notion’s ridiculousness. Truth be told, real friends will accept you for you. Case in point, last summer I went on a road trip to North Carolina with my friends Sheila and Tim to visit our friend Mike. At the time Mike worked on a farm in the region. We previously discussed going hiking, quite a difficult activity for me given my less than stellar balance.
Unlike high school though I possessed confidence with what I could and couldn’t do. I felt no shame needing to use a cane to embark on the hike or asking for an extra hand when needed. And guess what? Tim, Mike, and Sheila didn’t care either. In fact the whole adventure created some entertaining memories.
Furthermore that single afternoon enhanced my friendships with Tim, Mike, and Sheila. I felt closer to them afterwards because through their actions they demonstrated they genuinely value my friendship. Interestingly enough over the last year-and-a-half two out of these three friends frustrated me to great lengths. Not once however did I seriously consider ending our friendships. Our hiking trip keeps my thoughts in perspective and lets me appreciate how lucky I am to have the friends I do.
Ultimately if you take one lesson away from my post today, I hope you remember the following. Around the right people a disability can become a catalyst to grow stronger friendships rather than a trigger which causes social anxiety.
To learn more about Off Balanced or myself, visit http://www.zacharyfenell.com.
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