Hey there beauties! If you are new to reading our blogs, welcome! My name is Shannon and I'm the brains behind our Chick Us Out blog. I'm also a wheelchair user and today, we are going to get real about my wheelchair and my relationship with it. Over the past few weeks, I have had some time to think about just what my wheelchair means to me.
For me and many other individuals who use our wheelchairs for mobility purposes, our wheelchair is so much more than a piece of equipment used to help us travel from point A to point B. It is as much a part of us as our eyes and arms. Often times, our wheelchairs represent so much more than what you see at first glance. Truthfully, we couldn’t function at our best without them. I see it as one of the many tools in my arsenal of independence. I also consider it a main piece in the puzzle of my own productivity; an extension of myself and the core element that allows me to be successful on a daily basis.
Much like people, no two wheelchairs are alike. They each are unique and cater to the individual's needs. Wheelchairs are very expensive and can range in price. For example my first basic model, without too many bells and whistles, came to $2,700 and the current one I use today added up to just over $40,000. To most, these figures may come as a surprise, but for us wheelchair users, it’s nothing new.
Personal mobility is a lifeline to independence. Able-bodied individuals can easily, and often do, overlook this correlation; but people who face daily mobility issues know that your body dictates just how much of the world you can explore and experience on your own terms. To be frank, accepting and overcoming mobility issues can be a daunting task for some people (especially in adolescence) doing their best to fit in with their peers and navigate a world that isn't designed with them in mind. These days, maintaining our mobile independence is so much easier thanks to modern technology. At 8 years old, I received my first wheelchair and it gave me the freedom and independence my legs failed to provide. It became my equalizer, allowing me to live a more inclusive lifestyle. Today, it still affords me the opportunity to maintain the independent lifestyle for which I am so grateful.
Most of us living with disabilities that affect our ability to walk have to use a wheelchair (I use mine regularly) to carry out daily tasks. To be honest, being dependent on a wheelchair daily definitely has its negative aspects as well. Sitting in the chair for the majority of the day can often cause pain and discomfort, many times even leading to pressure sores. It is most certainly not a party. I, much like many of my peers, have learned to just “roll” with the punches. After all, life is a wonderful ride and I don’t want to miss a single second of it.
The fact is, for those of us who face daily physical challenges, a wheelchair is our only option. Is it sometimes frustrating? HELL YES! But the truth is that a wheelchair or any other device that you may have to use for mobility, does not change who you are at the core. It doesn’t change your heart; at best it is a small part of you. It does not put the color in your world. You do that each day with the gifts and talents you possess.
Life is the greatest adventure we are given and I have learned over the years to love my wheelchair. It is simply the tool I must use so that I can experience life to the fullest… just like everyone else.
All of us here at Slick Chicks want you to remember to celebrate your personal independence daily and be proud of just how rad you are!
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