Sunday, February 05, 2006

Miss Cindy Is My Hero

I hardly know her - only saw her once - but I love her.

Sweetie's Totercise teacher at school is physically disabled. I don't know what her disability is exactly, but I know she has trouble walking/walks with a very definite limp. She tends to wear long pants, so I don't know if she wears leg braces. In fact, I've only seen her once - but the fact that she has a physical disability, yet is the physical exercise teacher, struck me as very interesting.

I tried to get more information out of Sweetie, but you know how that goes.

"Does Miss Cindy at school walk like Mommy does?"

"Does she walk more like Mommy or like Daddy?"
"I don't know."

"Does Miss Cindy wear braces on her legs like Mommy does?"
No answer.

"Do you like Miss Cindy and have lots of fun with her?"

So I asked my mom, who picks Sweetie up at school, if she's ever seen Miss Cindy. She has, but she doesn't know if she wears braces or what exactly her "deal" is either. Oh well.

But isn't it kind of cool - and just plain interesting - that this disabled woman does what she does for a living? I personally think it's great. It gets the kids who may not otherwise be exposed to disabled people regularly involved with someone who not only has certain physical challenges, but also lives a positive, active, healthy, "typical" life in spite of them. Yay, Miss Cindy! You go, girl!

Even though I totally admire Miss Cindy and what she does, I really don't think her job is anything that I would think about doing for myself. Yet, from what I've seen of her, we seem to be just about the same level mobility-wise as each other. But I just wouldn't apply to participate in such an active job. Probably because I know I couldn't live up to the ideal of how I think a P.E. teacher should perform. I'd be much too self-conscious to do that.

Again - not to take anything away from Miss Cindy - in my book, she kicks tushy!

I've also recently seen a disabled person or two working at The Home Depot. Again - not something that I would ever consider doing. But in that case it partially has to do with having no interest in tools and lumber, and partially because I don't believe I'd be physically up for the job.

I think part of it also has to do with not wanting to stand out from the norm. Back in high school I could have gone to the huge, public high school that my older brothers went to. But that would have meant having to leave each class a bit earlier than the other kids and also riding in the elevator instead of taking the stairs, just so I could get to the next class on time. Since I didn't want to do things any differently than all the other kids, I ended up not going to this school, but instead to the much smaller private school in town. There I could get around much more easily and in the same time constraints as all of my peers. It was the right choice for me.

And so it continues into adulthood. I still don't want to stand out as different from others.

I liked my job as a bookseller a few years back, but didn't like that I was always assigned to the registers, instead of being on a rotating schedule of sometimes cashiering, sometimes shelving, sometimes customer service. More accurately, I was thankful that I didn't have to do other chores that required more mobility, but I felt bad that I couldn't help out as all the other employees did. Customer service work meant walking the floor in search of requested books and, in general, just standing on one's feet for long hours at a time. At the cash registered I was able to sit down if I needed to, easing my back pain and resting my tired legs. But even this was different, because the other cashiers were not allowed to sit at all. I didn't like being different, yet I was grateful for the allowances.

I now enjoy a nice office position where I mostly sit myself in front of a computer all day. I get up when I want or need to, I'm able to sit when I need a rest, and I basically move through my day just like many of my co-workers and friends. I fit in well.

Whew! What a complex range of emotions I deal with. Who knew it?

Adding to the complexity of it all - I HATE it when people doubt my abilities and/or just assume that I'm not able to do a particular physical activity. Please, don't make exceptions or allowances for my "benefit" without first getting to know me and/or discussing my abilities and needs with me. Thank you.

Well - I didn't really mean for this to delve so deeply into my psyche of what it means to be me. And maybe it doesn't - I don't know, it's kind of hard for me to step back from this entry and read it objectively.

But there you go. It is what it is.

At any rate - rock on, Miss Cindy. You do a body good!

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