You really want me?Apr 10 10:00
A couple of years ago I was asked out to dinner by a man I met online. Innocent enough, right? He was a bit older than me, but he seemed fun. He was into aromatherapy, Italian motorcycles and he was a massage therapist. Awesome. But…our blooming friendship didn’t have a very long lifespan. I knew I should’ve took that weird vibe I got from his pics seriously.
As a woman in a wheelchair, like all women in wheelchairs, there are times where I struggle with my identity. Which group do I belong in? Who will accept me now? Being disabled in an able-bodied world isn’t easy. You’re constantly wondering if people will accept you. I was always a loner before my injury, but it's been hard.
And you begin to let your mind wander to which group will accept you….the geeks….the jocks….the smart kids….(what is this high school, again?). You wonder where you’ll fit in. And religious groups are a group many of us will sign up for - hook, line and sinker. But me? Nah…. I grew up Presbyterian, was even confirmed in 8th grade, but after my injury, being involved in any group that had a religious mission made me uneasy. I loved God, but I didn’t want to be become a puppet.
So when I met this guy for dinner, things started out great. Yummy Mexican food, lemonade, light conversation. And then he started talking about this “group” he belonged to. Queue in the “wah wah” sound effect. His group, he said, were people who met a couple times a month at this house. They were intelligent, peaceful people who were passionate about the Earth, healthy food and then he got to talking about spiritual energy. Uh-oh. He told me I was good enough to meet them. A cult invite? On a first date? Woo-hoo I‘m a lucky, wucky girl.
Being in a wheelchair, you always wonder who will accept you, and I finally found a group who would certifiably take me. I smiled at him, faked an excuse and gracefully left the dinner a ½ hr later without him knowing I was freaking out inside. Even though I left completely disturbed, I was admittedly a little flattered.
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Tiffiny Carlson is freelance writer and writes the “SCI Life” column for New Mobility. She's also a C6 quad from a diving accident that occurred when she was 14 years old. A lifelong resident of Minneapolis, Tiffiny has been a writer in the disability community for over 10 years and writes for several publications and blogs, as well as her personal blog BeautyAbility. Her work has also appeared in mainstream publications such as Nerve.com and Playgirl.