Oh yes. There’s more. (And will be more still. ) Shortly after I stopped carrying my cane, I had a moment of clarity on the bus one night. I was feeling annoyed, feeling disrespected, and there didn’t seem to be a reason for it. Then I realized I was angry with my fellow passengers. Because no one had offered me a seat. I don’t just expect to always get a seat. In fact, in the many years that I’ve walked with or just carried a cane, I’ve stood far more often than sat. But once I started venturing out of the house after my knee replacement, I was much more obviously unsteady and in pain — to say nothing of the fact that I had a shiny, new, industrial-strength cane that made my disability that much more clear (my poor little wooden cane was dismissed without a second glance when I presented it before surgery). Post surgery, I was much more comfortable asking for a seat, and one look at that cane made people much more willing to make sure I got one.
And then I got better and stopped carrying my cane. And I stopped getting offers of seats. And I had some misplaced anger about it. And when I realized that was happening, I kind of laughed at myself. Who was I, feeling so entitled that I thought everyone should offer me a seat? But that was just the surface-skimming realization. As I thought about my anger, the real point clicked: these people who
have the audacity to stay seated while I stand don’t see me as the lady with the cane … and I have to stop seeing myself as the lady with the cane, too.
It’s so obvious, it shouldn’t need saying, but I need to say it. Again and again. I’m not the lady with the cane these days, and I have to stop acting like her.
I can’t magically become 30-year-old Stacie again — go back to the understanding I had of my physical self before that accident threw everything out of order — but I can work on building new knowledge, on learning how to live in this new body. During the holidays, I went to a work party and realized that I don’t know how to dance now. I’ve stayed off dance floors as much as possible, or gotten on the floor and moved as little (and as lamely) as possible. So dancing could be a place to start. I was never a great dancer, but I let myself dance anyway. This feels almost as if my body hasn’t belonged to me for the last two decades. It’s a weird feeling. Dancing seems like a good way to get past that, to reopen that door. Time to head back to break out the Prince!
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* So we had a little technical difficulty yesterday, and the first lines of this post were magically published instead of being saved as a draft. Sorry for the confusion for those of you who saw the post go up and clicked over to see … not so much of anything.