Dear Mr. Melissa Blake:
So I was re-reading The Rules I described in my last letter, and I hope you’re not scared away by them. Well, I suppose you’re not scared completely away because, let’s be realistic, you did marry me. And we are sitting here together after our big shindig of a wedding, and you are reading these. Just like I’d planned.
I just hope those rules didn’t shock you too much. I’m a writer, you know, and writing is the best way for me to make sense of things sometimes. I suppose I just wanted to get everything out in the open from the beginning. You’ll learn pretty quickly that I don’t hide things and I’m always honest – both good and bad qualities, I guess – so I can’t help but wonder: Did I describe all those rules more for your sake or for mine? Was I trying to sort things out in my own head? That’s at least part of the reason, I think.
But what else did I notice in those rules? I hardly mention my disability. At all. Interesting, don’t you think, Sweetpea? I’m always so quick to associate love with my disability as if they’re a tangled mess that can never, under any circumstances, be separated or even compartmentalized. That’s something I’ve struggled with; I often wonder how much I’ll struggle with it after we meet.
However you slice it, though, I’m thinking not mentioning my disability, at least in those rules, is a good thing. At the very least, it’s a step in the right direction – no pun intended. It gave me a moment to breathe, to, if only for a few minutes, just be a woman. Not a woman in a wheelchair. Not a woman who couldn’t sit at a bar stool (not that I’m much of a bar-hopper anyway…). Just a young woman trying to figure out what she wants in life and love. Just like the millions of other women out there.
Ahh, the word like. Similar. One of many in the same group. In so many instances where I stand out, maybe it felt nice to blend in for a moment. A moment that I could create for myself, and wasn’t at the mercy of outsiders thrusting that moment on me. I could do it on my own terms. When I think about it like that, actually, it all sounds very, very liberating. Does that make any sense, Sweetpea?
Maybe I was trying to show myself that, “Yes, Melissa, you are more than your disability when it comes to love.” True, some of my rules may have been a bit strict, but maybe I’m finally starting to see that I can talk about love without having to explain my disability along with it, or even explain it at all. Sure, I’m still trying to find a balance, and of course I don’t mind talking about my disability (Hellllloooo, blog!!), but what if I was just me?
Not denying nor highlighting my disability. Just having it be there. Maybe if I pretend it won’t get in the way, I actually just might start to believe it myself one day. A sort of self-fulfilling prophecy of the good kind.
This was my typical thinking pattern in 2010 – OK, well, probably more like my entire life:
He couldn’t possibly ever be interested in a girl like me.
Oh, that’ll never happen.
But, you know what? Why the hell not? What do any of those other supposed perfect girls have that I don’t? Well, besides the obvious ability to walk instead of roll. But I think rolling sounds cooler anyway, don’t you, Sweetpea?
Maybe I should start approaching love – and life – from that vantage point. You never know: It just might bring us together.
Here’s my advice for you, then, Sweetpea: When you meet me, don’t let me get away. The fight could just be the one thing that changes both of our lives. Forever. What do you say to taking chances? Until we meet… xoxo
[Photos via Audrey Hepburn Complex]