I Am Not My Chair

Today, I was asked if I was wheelchair bound.  The question actually threw me off guard for a moment and I found myself struggling to answer the question.  I can’t quite recall my exact answer but I babbled something about being able to use my walker to walk around the house 5 or 10 percent of the time.

As the day progressed, I continued to think about that question and my discomfort with the answer I gave.  Why did I feel like a liar for telling the truth.  And then it dawned on me that it was not my answer that was the problem.  My answer was as completely honest as my complete dependence on my wheelchair for mobility.  Yes, I have progressed/recovered enough that I can sometimes use a walker to go from room to room in my home but that is the extent of my freedom from the wheelchair.

Since there is no problem with the answer, then logic dictated that I give some serious thought to the actual question  “So, you are wheelchair bound right?”  There is something about the way in which the question was posed and the choice of the words used to inquire about the extent of my mobility that gave me pause.  It was the word “bound” that disagreed with my spirit.  My faith tells me that I am not bound and I stand on that belief without question or doubt.  No matter what my physical condition or the tools that I use to get from point “a” to point “b”, I am not bound.  I am free.

I have always believed in the power of words, both spoken and unspoken.  I try to be careful about the words I speak over my life because what I profess and/or meditate on has the ability to become reality.   I choose words like; healing, recovery, progress, milestones, success, freedom, joy, etc.   So you can see that “bound” just didn’t belong.   As I reflected on the word “bound” I got the visual that I had become one with my wheelchair and I couldn’t discern where the metal ended and where my flesh began.  My soul cried out “I am not my chair!”

It can be tricky communicating with people who are completely able-bodied because we don’t always share the same vernacular.   Am I bound to the wheelchair?  No I am not.  Do I depend on the wheelchair for mobility?  Yes I do.  One might say that I’m splitting hairs but I will argue that our choice of words can either empower or destroy lives.   I choose to empower.  How will you choose?

Visit RefocusedLives.org and be motivated by some of the excellent choices of people who are living with a physical disability.

2 Comments on “I Am Not My Chair

  1. The other person was insensitive by tone and language. And inappropriate to even ask that question. Your respose was clear and fair. Sorry you were confronted but trust the provoking inquiry served somehow. Even just how rude he was. And dignified you were. It happens…


    • To be perfectly honest, the person asking was not being rude at all. We were engaged in a conversation discussing the conditions that come along with Transverse Myelitis, which I was diagnosed with in 2010. I was not offended by the question as it came from a place of sincerity on her part which is not always the case with others that I have encountered. You are correct, the inquiry was quite thought provoking for me and for that reason, I’m glad we had that exchange.


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