Three Power Tools To Lessen Isolation


hand-painted silk robes, 1986
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I’ve written before about particular things I do or pay attention to which ease my ride (and others) on this big adventure we are all on.

It’s the little stuff, ya’ know? I’ll keep posting more of these over time.

THREE OF CATHY’S LIFE ENHANCEMENT TOOLS FOR LIFE WITH MS

1. ENHANCE THYSELF!
Women- find a signature piece of jewelry that is unique in some way. Since my right hand is compromised I wear bright elastic cuff bracelets that are easy to put on.. Some days see me in a series of bejeweled + serious + fun + elegant all worn together. It sounds a little ‘much’ but the effect pleases me and never fails to be a conversation starter. See here. Google: ‘arm candy’ and go to ‘images’ for sources.

One of the things about disability is that we tend to remain marginalized for many reasons: other’s fear over saying the right thing mainly. People really WANT to connect with us so it’s nice to give them a way in. Great earrings work too.

“Love your earrings!”
“Thanks!”

This seemingly small connection is more powerful than we know.

Now, I’m not a man but for you guys I’d say try a hat (Marc at WHEELCHAIR KAMIKAZE distinguishes himself this way) or very cool glasses would make me look twice and have courage to make a connection. There are fabulous patterned or woven shirts out there too. A little outside-the-box is the ticket.

2. TRY TO BE SOMEONE OTHERS ARE INTERESTED IN

I smile a lot. No one wants to see a sad or depressed woman with a walker enter a restaurant. I see people’s wheels turning when they see me dressed well, hip walker (well…better than most) and smiling. They seem confused because I don’t look ill (of course they weren’t there yesterday when I was comatose from the heat..). EVERYone has a story to tell and I find if I have the strength and interest to ask about theirs- they in turn show interest in mine. When I just wait for attention to come toward me- nothing happens.

3. TIP WELL AND ACKNOWLEDGE THE EFFORTS OF OTHERS

One of my favorite things to do is be really conscious with my eye contact and do it a lot. Make sure someone you deal with at the bank or in yoga class or someone risking opening the door for you remembers the great feeling they had when you gave them all you’ve got for just that split second. EVERY person is hungry for appreciation or just the experience of being SEEN. I know.. we ALL want it but give it first and I guarantee you’ll get it back in spades.

And that right there is my take on some good medicine. A good life isn’t so hard to find but isolating sure doesn’t work for me (except on rainy days….).

That was an untruth I just told you.. I do isolate a lot in reality but I’m so much better if I stay connected.

comments

One Response to “Three Power Tools To Lessen Isolation”

  1. Muff on August 5th, 2012

    What a wonderful philosophy! I definitely want to try the jewelry thing — sounds like a great icebreaker!
    Peace,
    Muff

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