What others do
I am starting to appreciate that a friendship with me is not an easy thing to grow.
My very best friend moved to Australia recently and since then I have been blessed with new friendships, many of them. They may not be as deep or have the history I shared with Ryan but there is time for that to grow, the seed has been planted.
Since the accident six years ago I’ve always kept the same circle of friends, only the ones who knew me as I was beforehand. It wasn’t a conscious decision, I just didn’t make new friends. I knew I was lucky to have the ones I did.
Over the last few months things have changed. I have needed to plug the massive hole in my social life.
When I contemplated meeting people for the first time, starting new friendships, I worried about how I would feel. I always have been, and still am, very confident but this was going to be a big step forward.
Would I be paranoid? Would I be quiet, defensive, insular? Would I feel like a burden? Maybe even a charity case? As I said, I was worried about how I would feel. I didn’t take the time to consider the feelings and fears of anyone else.
I realise now, thanks to the honesty of some new friends, that they had just as many concerns as I did. Probably more.
It was all new to them also. Should they mention the accident? Will they avoid looking at the machines and tubes? What do they do if I am unwell? How were they supposed to feed me? To give me drinks? Can they ask me questions about my disabilities? And the main one, will they be able to act normally with me?
I never thought about it, that is a whole lot of stress. I understand now that it would be easier for people to keep their distance.
That is why I am incredibly grateful to those people, my new friends. They don’t see the disability, they see me.
I have experienced the opposite many times in the past. I don’t blame anyone, they feel awkward and I understand that.
Maybe that was down to me. If I wasn’t ready to build new friendships I could have created the awkwardness. Maybe it was them, just not the kind of people who can see past the wheelchair.
Regardless, it is now that I have needed to widen my social circle. Call it fate or call it luck but the right people have came along at just the right time.
To those people, thank you very much.