Is Fearlessness a Strength or Weakness?
By now you’ve probably realized I take things as they are, and keep a positive attitude. I don’t judge people or their situations. Currently, I’m sitting on a metra train in Chicago at 12:30 am. Why? Because when a friend asked me to venture into a city I don’t really know at 11:30 pm, I decided that was a fun idea. My biggest strength is my fearlessness and attitude I can do anything, but that does get me into some strange situations, and therefore, can be my weakness.
I got on the train platform in Chicago around 11:30 pm. The train was scheduled every 8 minutes and I guess I just missed it. I sat under the warmers with this guy who others may have been intimidated by. Here I am, a 25 year old physically disabled girl by herself in a big city. I’m very good at reading situations and could tell he meant no harm. He just wanted someone to talk to. And I’m a friendly person who lets random strangers talk.
I got onto the empty subway car and spent 5 minutes traveling to my stop. When I reached the platform, I headed for the elevator (the train system is pretty accessible, but albeit confusing 99% of the time) this other man stopped me and handed me a paper – said his name was Jamal, told me he’s a tai chi instructor and he wanted to hang out – his phone number was scrawled on the paper. I thanked God many times he didn’t get on the elevator with me and that was that. I was okay… and if I take that situation at face value, I was just a woman to that man, not some alien life form in a metal spaceship.
As SOON as I got to my stop, it started snowing – not the fluffy Christmas movie kind, the wet, blowing, heavy kind. I hate snow, and it being 70 degrees 2 days ago made me feel even worse – I remembered I brought a hat and sat on the bridge over the Chicago River for a spell. No one was around so you can take it as I was safe, or something bad could’ve happened and no one would’ve known. I didn’t feel like I was in danger and I wasn’t. I was a block or two away from Willis Tower. It’s the financial district. I like the adventure, and I like being able to stop and admire what’s around me. It’s an incredible feeling. (And sometimes I’m just really tired)
I’m always people watching. I watch how people walk. I’ve never known how to walk, so I try to comprehend how it feels. On the flip side, I know an able bodied person can’t comprehend not being able to have feeling or use in their lower extremities. I make up stories for these people like anyone does when people watching. I always try to judge if they’re looking at me. I’m completely comfortable with myself and I’ll create conversation with strangers if the opportunity arises. It’s one of my ways of advocating for people with disabilities.
My fearless adventuring takes me in really weird directions, but in a way, I feel like it’s the reason why I’m so active, healthy and positive about living with a disability. I challenge myself to go ahead and just do it. I’m 25 years old, I’m an adult. Adults travel by themselves all the time so why shouldn’t I?