I started writing this post early in September and it strangely took me a while to form my thoughts. Whilst I speak about the changing of seasons-summer to autumn-, I think some of the reflections I make can be applied, somewhat, to any time, to one’s own personal seasons too. This is why I have left the wording as it is. I have truly enjoyed losing myself and discovering as I wrote this piece. And so I hope you are able to go with me on this and also enjoy this read.
September sees the last utterings of summer. The shortening of length of light by a minute each day, as September ages. indicated that this warm season is coming to a close. Some of us grow back down into routines, after a period of perhaps adventure or a simple pause from the daily workings, if only a while. Maybe the sun, radiating the last of its warmer rays, is soothing us back into our everyday, or maybe trying to echo an element of hope, if it didn’t have that sparkle that you thought it would have- that everyone says it has.
For some of us summer is the season where life seem the most vivid and has an abundance of colour and everything feels that bit more possible…rose-tinted glasses much? I think so. How many times have you heard recently the phrase ‘holding on to summer’? I know I’ve heard this quite a few times in recent weeks. Don’t get me wrong we all want to spend times in the warmth of the sun, but I think that something about fixating and trying to anchor ourselves on something that is fleeting will always leave us defeated; the passage of time will always win. This is a message that has rippled through out the U.K and beyond, with what’s been in the news recently- that, for a lot of us, draws on parts of our own lives, somewhat, making us reflect.
Wow! That got deep so quick! I don’t know but it’s something that I’ve thinking a lot about recently- that the volume of life left to pass in the timer is constantly shrinking. I say the above like I’ve aced and surrendered to the unknown, but that could not be any further from the truth. If we are going full on confessional mode-the unknown is my biggest fear.
I know the unknown has its sparingly exciting charms about it, like discovering a new dish(linguine is a recent for me and is all kinds of delicious) or exploring a new place (especially if disabled access guaranteed) and not knowing what you might find, or how a piece of work might take shape, like writing this, or the anticipation of what will happen next in Virgin River (new-to me swoonworthy series I have found on Netflix) that kind of thing. But the bigger stuff that plays on your heart strings and have unsettling tones is something that has me reach for the duvet.
For me summer as an air of nostalgia to it and gets me in a reflective mood. I toy with all of the unanswerable questions like ‘what ifs’ and ‘what could have beens’. I am also increasingly aware that in just a couple months’ time will be entering my last year of my twenties-I mean it would be a worry if I didn’t know my own age, good lord I would be more infantized than I am now, by others, as a disabled person- but that’s a whole other story. What I mean is the heart pounding thoughts of not having my ducks in a row, or not and being the person that my eighteen-year-old self thought I would be ten years on.
My teenage self-romanticized what young age adulthood would be like, I think most of us do at when we’re young. We want independence, we want to be seen in our own right and taken seriously. More personally- I thought that I would stop being infantilized but spoiler alert, I haven’t. I was naive to think disabled adults would be treated the same as non-disabled people.
As a disabled woman, the expectations which I am held to are different. You think I would be slightly relieved to be released the from expectations, but in fact I am annoyed at this. Why the hell should I get off lightly?
Do you remember egg and spoon races at school? Well my ball never fell off my spoon… confused? You would be right to. No it’s not that this activity that magically calmed my tremors, in a strange contradictory technique, it actually made them more aggravated. The truth was that the ball was stuck to my spoon as on its own the ball would fall of within two seconds. I did feel bad for cheating- if it’s any consolation I would always come in one of the last places-, but I guess my teachers just wanted me to feel involved somehow and that was their way of doing this.
My adult self is spilt in two about this scene on the one hand it allowed that kid who was the only physically disabled kid in her primary school not to be left out and feeling the odd one out. However, the other part of me looks at the message this sends out for the bigger things- that disabled people goes through life, and must be treated differently. Yes in some respects we do navigate the world that deviates from non-disabled people i.e some of us need an extra pair of hands for certain activities, or accessing a building via a ramp and not a staircase. This is only seen as different because society views it like this, not incorporating this into the mainstream. Another message from this says that disabled people cannot be seen to drop their ball. Because society views disabled people with a fragile lens, and so to everything they can not to ‘let’ us break, no matter the cost, cushioning us from the world. And also because ‘dropping the ball’, so to speak, would go against that other bizarre narrative that holds disabled people on a pedestal (goody- two-shoes type thing ) and says that disabled people couldn’t possibly fail and oversee our humanness and need to fail-and not being over or under berated for this- not that one should ever be judged for their failures.
So if we use the analogy of the egg and spoon- us, disabled people, being the egg, the spoon being the rest of the world, we need the glue, being the stereotypes or ideas about disabled people, that holds the egg (or us) in one fixed position to be eroded and let us be trusted and encouraged to just be . We need to be seen as humans, that can fail.
I digress. As I have written soo many times before it took me years to speak openly about my disability, unlike now whereby I could write about disability till the cows come home! I wonder if I was more willing to embrace my disability sooner where would I be? Would it have led me to taking different pathways? Of course, I will never know the answers to these questions and this pattern of thought isn’t helpful either. It’s an exercise though I’m sure pretty much everyone knows the mechanisms of, which may include pondering over what another life led could have looked like, missed opportunities, saying no rather than yes or vice-versa perhaps even mulling over past regrets. Still, this reflective practice will be unique to everyone who does this.
I don’t think there is any definitive resolution to these woes, as I think it is something that is naturally reoccurring and is a part of what it is to be human But I think in these moments of thinking back, growing quite and almost yearning for time gone by, we can’t let these times be all consuming and keep us fixated on the past.
So as we approach the end of September, the end of summer and the start of autumn, instead of trying to keep a hold of what is moving away from us, to try and release the grip around this. As I said above time will always win, and as much as we can feel defeated we can’t always perceive this character as an enemy. The time we have at this very moment can be used in any way we like-how cool is that. How we use it, is up to us!
I hope this has provide food for thought for you as we transition to the next season.
All my love XX