Dating – a word loaded with so many emotions and often, a word that evokes the feeling of being utterly overwhelmed. If you add in dating with a disability, heightened anxiety tends to be the “norm” in our community.
After I broke my neck in 2010, becoming a C6 quadriplegic, I spent the better part of six years believing dating was a fairytale conceived for the able-bodied population.
I went through internal struggles living in hospitals for years on end with seemingly insurmountable medical complications and learning to accept my body the way it was. I didn’t see myself as a sexually beautiful human being. Essentially, I felt as if I was asexual, and I couldn’t fathom the concept of another person finding me sexy because I couldn’t muster up the strength to even look at myself in the mirror for nearly two years.
When my medical life started to become stable, something very interesting happened to me almost overnight – I decided to take on the Herculean mission of trying to date. I didn’t know where to start. Prior to my accident I had no trouble dating. I simply went to a bar and there were men everywhere. When I went back to bars in my wheelchair, trying to meet men, I was devastated to realize men were not looking at me as they used to. I didn’t look any different other than the fact that I was in a wheelchair. This changed everything for me.
I quickly came to the realization that I was going to have to change how I date. I spent several weeks researching different online dating websites and decided to take the dive into an unfamiliar world. I asked many of my friends in wheelchairs what their experiences were like and most responses were quite negative, unfortunately.
I had a different philosophy – the worst someone can say is no. ….”
I never critically stopped to ponder why being a great communicator can also lead to a very lonely existence at times. Since I was a child, I have always been “perky” as they say and never had a problem in social settings. I love people, communicating with them, helping them, and always trying to find a middle ground between disagreeing viewpoints.
Since my accident so many people tell me that my patience levels, communication skills, and calm demeanor are extremely admirable. This is what I’m told to my face anyway. I believe it’s true though as I have this odd ability to stay unusually calm in stressful situations, and be patient for far longer than I probably should be at times.
I attribute much of this to Blue Cross and Blue Shield with the hundreds of hours I’ve spent on the phone with folks that are not particularly bright trying to get medically necessary equipment approved. I recall this one day I spent nearly 7 hours on the phone calling back Blue Cross and Blue Shield trying to find someone who could actually help me or transfer me to the right person. On that particular day I do recount losing my patience as I started to raise my voice, which is very unlike me.
On a serious note, and I’ve written about this on my social media before, living with a disability where you are physically dependent on other human beings to help physically take care of you each day is a blessing, and a challenge wrapped up in an emotional bow.
Really honored to have worked with Help, Hope, Live, a non-profit national organization dedicated to raising money for medical bills and expenses through crowdfunding.
This is a topic that is certainly not new, nor unfamiliar to many of us with disabilities. It’s so expensive to live with paralysis, especially if you have to pay everything out-of-pocket or if you’re trapped within the governmental system.
I dive into some of the challenges of navigating the financial burdens associated with life as a C6 quadriplegic.
New YouTube Video Out — Quirky Quad “Shower Talk with Ali” — UNCENSORED!
I bet you don’t know a lot of people that have spent a year in bed. Why would you? This is definitely not normal. I’ve written about it before, but I take you on my video journey with probably more information and photos then you care to look at, on what my life was like when suffering from a major pressure sore down to my tailbone in 2015.
This is a story of hardship, triumph, mental fortitude, sexy ICU Photoshoot’s, a ton of dark humor, and how I survived an extremely traumatic experience in my life.
Most people think the physical side of living in your bedroom for nearly a year looking at four walls was the most challenging part with all of the surgery, but it really was all mental!
Some of the strategies I employed in my own life have allowed me to get to where I am today and be who I am today! Leaving my professional skill sets aside, having a lived experience with disability makes so many of us profoundly capable of so much more than society and companies give us credit for.
We only need the chance to prove that we are incredibly resilient human beings, intelligent, resourceful, seriously organized, incredible at paying attention to detail, and determined to succeed more than most I would argue.
Enjoy, but I will warn you there are some graphics that might be a little bit disturbing, but are 110% real life.
Living with a spinal cord injury as a quadriplegic is no joke. Death is quite literally around every corner every day of the year. Food for thought when you think about perspective in life.