I had a somewhat rough realization while traveling today, that felt like a fucking oversized carry-on shifted in flight and clobbered me the second I opened the over-head bin. Now, I know I have sprinkled some tidbits about my travel escapades here and there so far, but for the purposes of really getting into why I’m making poor similes about luggage to explain my feelings, I’m going to give some background.
Basically since I could climb stairs unassisted as a wee one I’ve been rather independent, what child puts herself to bed when tired? Bizarre, I know, but I’ve always made things happen for myself if I wanted them and travel was no exception. From like age 3 be it weekends with grandma, slumber parties, to weeklong camps, whenever I bid my mom adieu it was a “Bye Felicia” situation, my wonderful mother who I love dearly being Felicia in this case, my bad.
So with such a history of being unbothered by the solo journey the older I got the more I sought out these kinds of experiences that just pushed me further into realms I didn’t know, and I loved it. Not to mention I ended up focusing my degree in Pre-Colombian Art which is basically everything before the “discovery”(which is a term I think is a load of shit) of the Americas, AKA the PERFECT excuse to run around the deserts, mountain tops, and jungles of central and South America. All this to say in my 27 years I’m pretty good at traveling and doing it solo.
That brings us to me feeling some type of way in seat 15A of Delta flight whatever because I definitely did not feel like a well seasoned passport-all-stamped-up jet setter when I got on that damn plane. I just felt like someone who was out of breath, tired, and a bit embarrassed for holding up the line. The plane was a smaller one too so the aisle was harder to maneuver with my carry-on and bag o’ drugs (medical bag) plus carrying/lifting. By the time I got to my seat I was huffing and puffing and could’ve blown all the three little pigs homes down. And I was just sitting there thinking to myself, fuck since when did this get so difficult?
The whole thing was basically what you’d call a rude awakening, because before that moment I had never for a second considered I wouldn’t be able to do things independently. Sure on bad days I use my walking stick and like to make sure I’m not home alone for showering, but outside of that and standing on ladders I was good. Because of the excellent care of my home health husband, I haven’t had to travel, get groceries, or even really go to the doctor alone in months. During those months my body managed to seriously sneak up on me.
I don’t know how to do life independently with this body yet. I still manage to somehow drop my walking stick whenever I need two hands for something. I need to figure out what kind of bag I can carry that won’t further fuck up my neck and get in the way of my stick. There are just so many things to consider and modify, then you add regular life stuff on top it’s so much my brain hurts more than normal.
There is a serious learning curve with this whole chronic illness shit, and I’m struggling to keep up. But you know what? I’m just doing my best. Sure I kept bumping everyone in the aisle seats of the plane with my bag, but guess what? I was just doing my best. It is going to be a messy process, I have a lot to learn and for now my body feels like chaos. So sometimes I will take more space in line, go slower, or drop something, but I’m not going to apologize. Because just like Drake says, I’m doing me, I’m living life right now, and this is what Imma do til it’s over…over…but it’s far from over.