Secret Complexities of a Crip’s Life

April 15, 2012

Waiting for guests to arrive for a jam.  Thinking. Forgetting that I’m a crip is usually a good thing, as long as I don’t hurt myself. But sometimes, it causes me disappointments. 

I tweeted today, “Now set the dye on two  floral items I painted. Green god! Then, long bath, next monthly old timey kitchen jam! Then teach. Great day!”

But there was no leisurely nurturing bath. Ok, there are bigger problems in the world. But it is really difficult being a shut in. It is lonely. And nurturing myself taxes my inventiveness, there are only so many things you can do at home as a cripple, even less if you’re low income. 

Mind you, I do not want to wallow in my problems. But I do not want to be in denial about them, either.

The bath: I cannot manage a shower, and a bath is difficult, sometimes painful. My doctor prescribed a daily caretaker to help me do things like bathe. Typical American health-care bureaucrats turned me down. 

So bathing is quite an operation. (Don’t judge crips for being grubby.) Even a “quick” wash takes a long time. 

Nevertheless, sometimes I can manage a pleasant bath, with time to soak. 

Today, I forgot I had disabilities, forgot I’d already done too many things to also relax in the tub. In other words, after what I had accomplished, being in the tub quickly got painful. 

Relaxing in a tub is usually too strenuous for me!

At least I am a clean crip. 

I need to complain, vent a second more. Because it is not just the bath. It is a series of events all day. Many of the most basic functions can only be executed by carefully planned time-consuming measures. One simple task complicated, then another, then another, snowballing into what constitutes a crip’s life.  

What positive attitude can I glean from this? I can affirm the idea that I am lucky to be stubborn enough to do all this. 

And I can recognize that I am not the only one with this sort of struggle. And it is not just people with disabilities. Many folks live with invisibly complex challenges and the disappointments thereof.  I am not the Lone Ranger, I don’t have to feel poor me and nobody knows the troubles I’ve seen. 

The other thing I can glean? My isolation has impelled me to draw and paint, new skills which give me great joy. 

One more goodness for me to affirm: The jam was great! A kitchen full of love and joy. We even had someone playing spoons and someone else playing jaw harp. And many other parts of my day have been good. It is vital I enjoy those, vital to forget – or at let not dwell on – being a crip. I will not let myself be defined by my disabilities, least of all in my own mind! Yes, as my tweet said, it is a great day. 

Now, to go rest before I teach that class! I do enjoy my naps. Hmm, maybe I will lie down outside, I bet my cat would join me. 

This entry was posted in Art, Writing, and Music, Spirit, The Whole Thing. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Secret Complexities of a Crip’s Life

  1. mary says:

    I’m so sorry about what you’re going through. I’m having similar issues. Blech. Well, Goddess bless you and your cat! :)

  2. Bonnie Lynne says:

    Dearest Franscesa,

    As is so often the case, your honesty and the simple shared truth in your beautiful words bring tears to my eyes. Especially the following lines you wrote resonate within my being as if I were speaking of myself:
    “Ok, there are bigger problems in the world. But it is really difficult being a shut in. It is lonely……I do not want to wallow in my problems. But I do not want to be in denial about them, either…… It is a series of events all day. Many of the most basic functions can only be executed by carefully planned time-consuming measures. One simple task complicated, then another, then another, snowballing into what constitutes (my) life.” (My susbstituted words in parenthesis – not willing to namecall myself even in jest just now anyway.) And then the balance you also provide – the learning – the search for the JOY in all of these difficulties… your self affirmed tenacity, new skills born of the necessity of the soul’s expression, the physical delight of sweet fruity jam, the joy of making music together, and so on.

    Yet again, I want to thank you for your generous sharing of the intimate details of your life – the struggles and the joys are so very familiar to me. There is something so healing in being seen, being thus witnessed, albeit over tiime and distance especially when I so often also feel so very weary and isolated. Strange that this can be the effect of your offering/teaching when I am on the west coast and you on the east; but we both know that LOVE has no boundaries and compassion circles this beautiful earth in an instant.

    From my heart to yours, much Gratitude. Thank you for teaching by your life’s example.
    Love and Peace, Bonnie Lynne

    • Francesca De Grandis says:

      Bonnie, I am moved by your post, thank you so much. I am glad you felt it was a mirror. That’s part of why I wrote it, to help not only myself but also others feel less invisible. I am humbled by your praise and eloquence.

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