I really like nature writing, and I especially like nature writing by women. I was recently reading an anthology In her Element: Women and the Landscape and one of the pieces really resonated with me
The piece is called Walking Through and it’s written by Christine Evans
She writes about how much she used to love to walk, how much joy she got out of it and then she broke her ankle, badly, in such a way that walking for pleasure was mostly no longer an option for her.
My body has always been built wrong and it always hurt (In ways I didn’t know weren’t normal for a long time, I thought bodies were just supposed to feel like that) but I was still pretty active when I was younger and I used to do a lot of walking until my legs pretty much gave up on me. I walked the in the Brecon Beacons, I was a silver Duke of Edinburgh expedition trainer, I used to take my dog out everyday along the cycle path. I always used walking as thinking time, as time to sort and process my thoughts, and as a way of noticing and appreciating the world around me
And it’s like, I love the Superhero machine, it changed my life, I am absolutely accepting of my disabilities and that they will be part of me forever. There’s a lot of rhetoric about being disabled isn’t a bad thing, about how disabled peoples live are just as active and full as able peoples live and I totally agree with that and there are totally conversations I would never have with some able bodied people about what I’ve lost. But I think somewhere along the line I forgot to grieve the things that I did lose, the ways my life has changed through disability, I think its easy for people who are disabled later in life to push down the grief because we have to prove to able bodied people that being disabled isn’t terrible (which it isn’t) and if we have emotions that can be read as negative we are used as weapons by the able bodied world to PROVE being disabled is a terrible thing. Which is clearly abelist bullshit
And I think, it’s okay to admit to the sadness, the grief that I will never again stand on a mountain looking out over the horizon after having walked up it with my legs, that while being disabled isn’t a terrible awful thing, that while the superhero machine is fantastic, there are still things that I used to love doing that I just can’t do any more. It’s okay to own that, admit that, to make space for that.