Our Pride Month

It’s June! It’s Pride month. I am currently way behind on blogging. I am way behind in every aspect of my life. I lost my inspiration these last few weeks, but even without proper inspiration, I felt it is necessary for me to address pride month. 

Let me be honest here, I adore everything and anyone that is part of the LBGTQ community! I think everyone should just be more accepting towards the things they see as different than themselves. I mean seriously, do you know how many people say “no, I’m not homophobic, I just don’t want them to be all up in my face about it.” or “No, I don’t mind homosexuals or lesbians, but I do think bisexual people are just faking it.” Sorry!, I’ll stop ranting now. 

I’ve talked about bisexuality on this blog before, so today I want to address transsexuality and transgenderism. I often wonder why there is so much confusion under the cisgender population about genderfluidity and transgenderism. I don’t understand why it matters to anyone but the person in question. I hear so many stories on all media outlets about transgender people being assaulted or bullied. I wonder why… I mean why are some people so offended by transgenders? If young men are harassing a transgender girl for wearing a skirt they are doing that because she is different. She does not fit into a box, so they want to shame her into a box simply because she is different, or at least that is what they want people to think. What they are actually doing is shoving themselves more firmly into the box they believe to be in. I mean, God forbid anyone would think they were different or not so firmly into that “normal, average, straight” box. I don’t blame these boys or girls, I gave a male example here, let us be clear that does not mean girls don’t bully, assault or harass transgenders. But I don’t blame them, it is just ignorance and insecurity they are suffering from. And furthermore, they often are a victim of a gender-specific upbringing. It is something that is thaught to children from the moment they are born, boys act in a certain way and girls act in a certain way. Boys don’t wear dresses, boys don’t wear skirts, and girls wear make-up and play with dolls. Furthermore, girls look beautiful or cute while boys look nice, tough, manly, or cool. Most of the time we don’t even comment on a young boy’s looks or clothes while we almost always do for girls. wether we do it consciously or unconsciously in creates a dived, differences and boxes we should get rid of.

So, for pride month, I call for change. I call for a more genderneutral upbringing of the next generation. An upbringing and education that about all sorts of people, not just the ones that are regarded as normal. No one is normal because everyone is special, special but equal. So we should all teach that to the next generation, there are no boxes because everyone is unique! 

Labels are the opposite of understanding!

I had an interesting conversation with a friend a few days ago which reminded me of some frustrating points in the current general opinion.

In this day and age, sex seems to be very important for almost everyone, whether you are young, or old consciously or unconsciously most of us have strong opinions about sexuality. We think we have it all figured out. Society has created these perfect boxes, a typical mold in which every group of people gets their own and should fit in there perfectly. Why is that? Why are people so damn scared of anything or anyone that is different? Why do we feel this incredible urge to label people in the first place? Why is it important what label we can stick to a person? Homosexual, bisexual, transgender, asexual, heterosexual.. why can’t we all be sexual beings? Why can’t we evolve to accept that we fall in love not based on gender but based on beauty, personality, physical attraction and emotional connection?

I, myself have a strong preference for men and may never have a relationship with a woman, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t. Does this make me any less bisexual or any more heterosexual? I wouldn’t know. I think it makes me human. Because I am aware I could fall in love with a woman and am sometimes attracted to a woman should I know define myself as bisexual? Am I suddenly a different person? No, I’m still the same person. I’ve always known we are all bisexual in some way, most of us won’t even entertain the possibility and therefore shut it out, living half blind. Because I chose to accept it and consider the possibility am I now a completely different “kind” of human? And furthermore, because I know decide to speak up and broadcast my opinions and preferences does that suddenly make me bisexual? Why define it in the first place? Why does it even matter?

Let’s break the mold and stop trying to fit everyone into one. We are who we are, and no one is the same as either you or me, so how can we expect people to fit into a mold when we are all such unique beings!?

Unnatural non-degradable chemical crap

For the month May, I have decided to participate in the may plastic-free challenge even though I refuse most single-use plastics in my daily life already. I’ll tell you why. I believe it is my obligation to leave this beautiful earth better than the way I found it and I will do everything I can to make sure she survives our egocentrism. It pisses me off like you won’t believe that when I leave my home and take what should be a beautiful walk, I see trash everywhere. Plastic wrap, plastic bottles, caps, bags, cutlery, cigarettes, it is absolutely everywhere. The trash isn’t even where the problem starts, the problem begins when we buy the unnatural non-degradable chemical crap (yes, excuse my French, but I don’t have another word for it).

You see, the problem with plastic is that it does not biodegrade, it just breaks up into micro pieces and leaks chemicals. The microplastics end up being eaten by wildlife, they then die from a stomach full of plastic.
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I fully understand plastic is cheap and easy and everywhere, so hard to refuse but let’s be honest we are just guests here, who are we, such young species to destroy the life that’s been around long before we were, who the hell gave us that right? We should cherish the beautiful, breathtaking earth that gave us life in the first place.

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Okay, so now we are all clear on the fact that we should all stop being so damn selfish and not live like we own the place, let us talk solutions. Walk around your house for me, look at every plastic bottle you have in your kitchen cabinet or in your bathroom drawer, how many of them do you really need? How many of those could’ve been a result of an excellent and cheap DIY or could’ve been bought in a glass bottle instead?

When you go to the supermarket, how many times do you buy a plastic bag? Please, try to bring your own! And now we’re on the subject, in the supermarket, look around, try to become aware of how much plastic you see. Why is there an onion, peeled and wrapped in plastic? An onion has its own peal. It is ridiculous. Let’s make a pact, once you’re in your local grocery store, try to buy your produce without plastic. There will be instances where you don’t have a choice, in that case, buy the product and leave the plastic behind so the store will see you refuse the plastic and they will have to dispose of it.Creatively-Cut-Down-On-Plastic-Pollution-Through-Mindful-Food-Choices 

In the upcoming weeks, I will be showing the steps I take in my home to produce less plastic waste. I hope it will be an eye-opening experience for all of us. I mean these are all simple steps we can take to make this world a better place for the next generation and more importantly to apologize to our fellow earthlings for the damage we have already done. Who are you not to take this change? Who are you to destroy this earth? Who are you to enable other to kill other living beings every single day?

My savior

So, let’s talk Aki, my hero in so many ways. He saved my life in so many ways I thought it was time to share my love and appreciation for this incredible soul that I am blessed to share every aspect of my life with.

About 5 years ago, I was in a dark place. I was bullied by classmates, best friends and people who I was supposed to be able to depend on. I’m not a person that is affected by name calling or physical bullying and abuse but I am a very social person, and I thrive on sociality. Bullies figure out where they can hit you the hardest pretty quickly, so when the name calling and physical bullying was not getting the expected results, they decided to just ignore me. They made most of my time in high school a living nightmare. It was like I was contagious. People only spoke to me out of obligation. I didn’t have any friends or anyone that enjoyed my company. I felt the loneliest I have ever felt in my life. So you can probably understand I was so happy when I graduated high school and could finally leave that place behind me, or at least that’s what I thought. Unfortunately, it was not that easy. Spending a few years in so much mental and emotional pain had taken its toll. Life was a little better, I had some social contacts studying law, but I still felt super lonely and never felt like I belonged. To be brutally honest, I was so depressed I couldn’t see a way out anymore.

Little did I know that seeing a movie would change all of that. I saw the movie Hachiko on tv with my parents, and I was hooked. That dog would’ve gone through fire for his owner, he loved him no matter what. The moment I saw that movie, I knew exactly what I needed; I needed an Akita, to train, to cherish, to spend my life with! However, my parents weren’t the type of people to just by a dog. They didn’t want a pet in the house, not a dog anyway. They perceived dogs as being annoying and badly-behaved, so I did all the research I could possibly find on training, the breed, and bonding. With all that information I went to my parents to make my case, they said no at first, but after lots of discussions, they agreed to buy me an Akita after all. While looking for breeders, I found one not so far from our family home and went for a visit. It seemed like a good fit from my perspective even though they were slightly hesitant because of me being in a wheelchair. But in the end, it didn’t matter.

I got to choose from 5 puppies, which was so hard, I went to visit them every week, held every single one of them. Because I knew I wanted male there were three left for me to chose from. One of them wasn’t for me at all, I knew that rather quickly, but the choice between the last two was a little hard. In the end, I have to say Aki chose me, and I couldn’t have made a better choice, he was so calm and content all the time, just what I needed.

The first few weeks were hard, he was happy spending his life with me, but physically he was not doing so well. He was sick all the time. I knew something was wrong and in the end that gut feeling I had turned out to be correct. After I got him treated and listened to my instincts more, he started thriving, pushing me and enjoying life to the fullest. He thought me what pure happiness looks like. To not worry about the past or the future but just living in the moment and enjoying that. His love for me despite my flaws and imperfections helped me to find the confidence that I lost. He showed me I didn’t need to change for people to like me if they didn’t that know was and is their issue.

He also paved the road to a vegan lifestyle for me. After getting to know him better than I knew myself, I understood that he had such an amazing personality and wasn’t and still isn’t any less worthy then we humans are. So then the question arose: If he is my equal, why aren’t all those other animals that are being slaughtered for my food? After that, I couldn’t come up with a justifiable answer to continue consuming animal products. Human, animal, tree we are not the same, but we are equal.

Aki thaught me that and I am forever grateful that he made me let go of my ego, my shallowness, my prejudice and taught me compassion and empathy instead. It has made me a better person, he has made me a better person. Now I am proud of who I have become and am excited to see what the future holds for the both of us…

Pain, the slain dragon (2)

A few weeks ago I faced my biggest challenge yet. The surgery that has changed my life in more ways than I could ever imagine.

It was one hell of a fight; sometimes the pain would be so severe all I could feel was my mind entering this black hole. At that point, there was no past or future, just pain. Only pain. It reached into every corner of my mind, turning off all the lights one by one. Just before I lost my mind and all the lights were gone, I found a way, some small crack in the darkness to fight back and be the master of my pain.

The days in the hospital were hard, tedious and extremely painful. I kept getting sick and vomited for days. It made me weak and unable to heal. My body was fighting to repair the damage done to its sacred self. My heart rate was very high for days, and so was my temperature. My body was craving nutrients, but I couldn’t keep anything down. I found out the painkillers were what made me sick, so I stopped taking them. During those days I found the corners of my mind. The edges I never needed to visit before. Although the pain was excruciating, I could feel my body recover. I managed to keep some food down. I was craving my whole foods plant-based diet. But couldn’t muster the strength to fight for it. The hospital did provide me with vegan meals, which I am very grateful for. But it just wasn’t the same. I craved my fruits and at the same time didn’t have the strength or energy to eat much.

After a while, the doctors found me a painkiller that didn’t make me sick. So the day before going home I could finally leave the four walls of my room to go for a walk around the hospital. It was so wonderful to take Aki, my service dog for a walk. He supported me every single minute I needed it. He never once complained although it must’ve been hard for him to spend day after day confined in such a small space. He helped me deal with the pain; he cheered me up when I needed it and brought me peace when I felt overwhelmed.

Discharged from the hospital, I spend some time with my parents. I needed to, I was in too much pain to be able to go home and take care of myself. I couldn’t even sit in my wheelchair for an hour. The first few days were great, having my mother take care of me like that. We all know the feeling when life sucks, and you’re sick and feeling sorry for yourself you crave motherlove. However, after a while, I was longing for my own personal space as well. I mean, I was feeling better every day, and the house was getting a little crowded since my sister was also staying there with her awesome son. I mean I love the little guy to pieces but I needed everything I had in me for my recovery and to then also have a two-year-old running around was just way too much. At some point, I could feel myself losing it a little bit, that is when I knew it was time for me to go home. I needed my own space. Unfortunately, I needed my mom to help me get settled back in, and she was swamped for a few days, so I had to wait. Waiting is not my strongest suit…

Those last few days of waiting were hard, I was mentally exhausted and very emotional because of the exhaustion. At night, when everyone was in bed, I would text with my best friend and just cry silently of exhaustion, unhappiness, and sadness. I reached my breaking point, and there was nothing else to do but hold on and hope life would get better soon.

So now I’m home. Been home for a few weeks now. It was and still is so good to be in my own home again. It does come with its own struggles, I mean I can’t wait for my recovery to go faster. I want my life back, I am so damn tired all the time it’s hard for me to even make food and eat it sometimes. But let’s be honest here, there are good days, and there are bad days. I do have some days where I almost feel like myself again. Like I can take on the world (read: finally get pregnant). But those are not most days. I still have a long road ahead. But I am grateful and determined to make the most of this extraordinary opportunity I have been given by this fantastic surgeon who has changed my life in more ways than I can count.

Pain, the constant companion (1)

Pain is a strange thing. Sometimes welcome, sometimes unwelcome. Pain can be a friend and an enemy at the same time. After spending so much time with this enemy, it can become a safe haven. Sometimes you even look forward to this enemy’s personal brand of torture.

Tomorrow after years of pain, physical pain, a pain I’ve gotten to know so well, who’s been my constant enemy sometimes disguised as a friend I embark on a new journey. A journey without this enemy pulling my strings at every turn. I will face off with him in the upcoming weeks. He will push my buttons like never before, he will show me his true colors. But I am strong, and I won’t back down. I will teach my enemy that I will no longer allow him to dictate my life and my actions. From this day forward I will be free. It will be an arduous journey, but it is one I embark on with my head held high. Secure in the knowledge that I will survive.

In the upcoming years, I will always appreciate everything my constant companion has taught me and I will sometimes let this companion visit me when I want him to, for old times sake in the disguise of a friend. However, he will never have a voice again. He will be mute and always in disguise because I don’t want to see his true identity again, not now, not ever!

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A peek behind the curtains…

People often have a misconception on why life in a wheelchair is so hard sometimes (read: most of the time). Usually, it’s not because being in a wheelchair is hard… 95% of the time it’s because of all the hassle we have to go through to have a fun and fulfilling life.

Yesterday was a fun day! A happy day, we had a birthday party at my best friends’ house. I can hear everyone thinking ”what is she going on about, the only thing she had to do that day was a birthday party, that isn’t so difficult is it?’ Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but unfortunately, life just isn’t that simple when you’re me…

The day before I had lots of errands to run, so my body needed every bit of rest I could give it. Which meant I spent all morning in bed and got up around noon, I called for assistance with showering and getting dressed. Unfortunately, they were busy, so I had to wait for 20 minutes or so. By the time I was dressed and had done my hair it was 1:30 pm. So I went out to take Aki for a walk. By the way, did you notice I didn’t mention breakfast anywhere? Well, that’s because I time flies and I didn’t have time. While outside I ran into a friend, so the walk took a little longer than planned. On my way home I went to the bookstore to buy a birthday present…

The bookstore is small, and the isles are narrow it is hard for me to maneuver through it with my chair. But I won’t let that stop me. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to shop anywhere. So I find the book I’m looking for and go to the counter to pay for it, but the counter is so high I can’t even reach it! So I tell the lady standing behind the impossibly high counter ”this thing sure isn’t made for midgets!” she looks at me like ”WTF?” and takes the book from my hands. I tell her I don’t want to pay cash when she asks, and I can see her wondering how she’s going to fix this because the pin machine is so damn high, so like they always do in severely inaccessible places like this she pulls on the machine like crazy wishing the cord was just a few centimeters longer… I look at her with a crooked smile on my face and tell her I’ll manage. So I reach for the machine, put my card on top. Fortunately, I don’t have to spend 10 minutes trying to get my card to fit in that tiny opening in the front, thank God for technology! Anyway, after my card connected, I needed to punch in my code without being able to see the buttons because they were so freaking high. Finally having paid for my purchase, the lady behind the counter was kind enough to bring the books to me in person instead of reaching over that giant counter.

By the time I came home, I was tired but still hadn’t had any breakfast, so I called for assistance. Like the lucky person that I am I had to wait for another 30 minutes for help because they were extremely busy. I’m not the kind of person that then sits around waiting for 30 minutes, in the meantime, I gave Aki his lunch, booted my MacBook to see what time I needed to take the train and logged in to book the assistance I need to get in and out of the train since Dutch trains still are not wheelchair accessible. I mean seriously, the 1990’s just called, they want their trains back. Anyway, I fixed that, and while I was busy, the woman who’d be assisting me came in and asked for instruction. I told her what quick very late breakfast to make me and went on preparing my trip to my friends’ birthday party. The taxi I decided to book for the journey home I booked for 2 minutes after midnight because it was a few euros cheaper if I did so, yes, crazy I’m aware!

Before I called for assistance, yet again, I Facetimed my mom real quick to let her know I’d be at my friends’ house, because my mom worries a lot. After changing clothes…

I had to hurry up like a mad person to be able to catch that train, but we did. Arriving at the station, I even had a few minutes to spare, and by the grace of God, the person who has to help me get on the train was there as well. Because 80% of the time they are not and then there’s even more hassle, but apparently I was lucky that day.

After I arrived at The Hague Central station, I had to take a bus to get to my friends’ house. After having waited for 20 minutes, the bus arrived, and when I saw a female bus driver who wasn’t looking all that happy, I knew she was going to make some issue about my wheelchair on her bus. She did. She made a whole point about me not being allowed on her bus if I wasn’t going to be strapped in like I made an issue about it, which I didn’t. So everyone on the bus was looking at me… Strangers started to touch me trying to get me strapped in because that bus driver couldn’t even make an effort to do it herself. Anyway, after lots of fussing, they got me strapped in, I couldn’t see which stop we were at or where we were going in that position, but I tried my hardest not to get annoyed until some concerned citizen kept asking me a hundred question in a very degrading way about where I was headed and explaining how public transport works. I tried to tell her I go with public means of transportation all the time, but she just wouldn’t listen to a word I said. To make matters worse, she asked me if I am blind…

So I got out of the bus and had to walk 5 minutes or so to the party. On my way there the sidewalk was blocked by a street light in the middle. So I had to go on the road in the dark until I reached an accessible path. Dangerous of course, but it happens all the time. The people planning these pavements don’t seem to have a logic bone in their body.

Anyway… The party was fun! Amazing, kind, gentle and caring people. I stayed until my taxi came at midnight and brought me home. Once I was home an hour later, you’d think I wanted to go straight to bed. You’re right. I did. But I had to wait another 20 minutes for assistance to get ready for bed.

As you can see just a birthday party is never just a party for me… As you can see the wheelchair is not the issue here. It’s the rest of the hassle that comes with it, so this is precisely the reason why being in a wheelchair is so damn tiring and hard sometimes!