Pride. It’s a touchy word, fraught with different connotations. Pride goeth before a fall. So many adages warning about excessive pride. Then there is the positive side: having pride in yourself, in your actions, and in your life path. As I am sitting here, getting ready for some big weekend plans at the science museum, this word is echoing in my mind. I am an ambulatory wheelchair user. I try to be as mobile as I can, as much as I can, but for anything requiring standing or walking more than a few feet I need to use my chair to be safe, as well as to enjoy whatever activity I am attempting to do. This weekend my friends plan on taking their young service dogs in training to a local science museum. With this in mind, I should totally use my chair, it shouldn’t even be a question. But echoing in my mind is the fact my young service dog in training is still getting used to working with my chair, that people might stare at me as we get our act together. Pride. I am stumbling over my pride that I have, feeling that it is weaker to use my chair. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Were I not to use my chair I would have to leave early. There’s a high probability of me having a fall, which would most certainly cause stares. I wouldn’t enjoy myself because I would be fighting my body. My young service dog in training is, in fact, good with my chair, though he is far from as polished as I would like. In short, it would be fine, and honestly positive, to use my chair.
My false pride is something that I need to swallow, and need to redirect. I need to find the pride in my service dog in training’s progress with the chair and in public. Pride in being able to complete an outing. Pride in my slowly growing skills maneuvering in my chair. Pride in myself at adapting to my new normal. Because I know my new normal is going to change again, it’s part of having a progressive condition. And that’s ok. I am learning to find pride in my ability to adapt, to change, and to grow. To find my smile, and to find joy in every day. There can be so very little in life that we can truly control, especially with medical conditions, disabilities, etc., that being able to control our pride, our attitude, and our reactions is truly where we can find pride and control in life.
Pride. Such a negative, but such a positive as well. So here is to going out and finding where we should have pride, and celebrate all of our successes and strengths, and understand our weaknesses. To celebrate who we are, who we were, and who we will be, and everywhere in between. To being fluid, accepting growth and change, and not sweating the small things. To finding community and support that *allows* us to grow. And I am incredibly thankful that I have started to find that. To find pride in myself, and my community, and share that with the world.