Fat

I’ve been concerned about gaining weight since I started using a wheelchair more.  I’ve never been thin, and I’m usually happy with the body I have,  but I get worried about my looks and then obsess on what I consider my flaws.  I never judge others so harshly and I really like diversity in body shape and personality.

But like many, I also have this illusion of what I should look like.  That I should fit in those “healthy weight” ranges that doctors recommend.  I exercise some and I try to use my manual chair when I can, but the nature of my handicap is that I get tired very easily.  I also really like to eat.  Good food is one of the true pleasures of life.

So I think I’ll continue to struggle with it, with body image.  Does this wheelchair make me look fat?

I visited my 102 year old friend, who is in a wheelchair that tilts back a bit, so her belly pokes out more than she’d like.  “I hate that it makes me look so big,” she once said when she was having her picture taken.  I thought, how can it be this lovely woman can reach 102 and still be worried about that?

A few days ago, a friend of my brought me a fat laughing Buddha.  It’s a white ceramic statue.

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Since I’ve had it, I’ve had such a better attitude about my body, my life, my luck.  I’m lucky to have friends who give me a better perspective than I could ever attain on my own.

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He’s in my studio/bedroom so I see him first thing in the morning.  I once I heard a story, I can’t find any evidence of it anywhere, but I liked it.  After a life of austerity and fasting and working towards enlightenment, when the Buddha got older, he got happy and began to enjoy all the bounty of life.  That’s why there is the austere Buddha and this one.  It’s not true, but I like it anyway.

 

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So, this wheelchair, this body, makes me look like I’m enjoying life, getting out there, trying to get as much light as possible into my heart.

~~~

Thanks for reading my post.  If you like it share it.  If you find a typo, please let me know and I’ll send you a thank-you postcard.  

You can now follow me on facebook here,  Instagram@joymurrayart.

You can get prints and cards of some of my work on Redbubble.  They also print my work on lots of other items, including phone skins, tote bags, shirts and journals:

https://www.redbubble.com/people/JoyMurray?asc=u

If you’d like to support my art and writing, please consider becoming a donor on Patreon.  If I get enough supporters, I can make this blog ad-free!  Here’s a link to my Patreon page:

https://www.patreon.com/user?u=8001665

If you prefer to make a one time donation, you can do so at paypal.com  Please email me at joyzmailbox@gmail.com if you’d like details.

 

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Visual Journal – Connection

I went to a new mental health clinic.  A friend of mine drove me and I used my new light weight wheelchair.

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The clinic takes medicare and medicaid, so there were lots of older people and people with disabilities.  In the middle of the the parking lot, was an older woman in a wheelchair.  Her back was so hunched over that she had to tilt her head sideways to look at anything besides her lap.  She had one leg amputated below the knee.

As far as I could tell, she was by herself, dropped off by one of the non-emergency medical transport companies.  She looked so frail, but was also able to get around in what looked like an extremely heavy wheelchair — up and down the ramp, and over thresholds, into the clinic.  I needed help from with that from the friend who drove me there.

When the older woman saw my wheelchair, she was delighted.

I used to get lots of compliments and questions about my 3 wheel walker, an easily maneuverable thing that didn’t take up much space.  Then I became too unstable for it, so I started using the standard 4 wheel one.  I found that I missed the attention I got with my old walker — I guess I felt I was a cool handicapped person with the 3 wheel one.  None of us are immune to wanting a little attention and compliments.

Now I’m using a wheelchair most of the time.  I have a power chair for everyday use and a manual one for when I need a ride somewhere and can’t take the bus.

So, when this frail, friendly woman started complimenting my chair, it felt really good —  that she noticed me and took time to tell me, in her own way, I was lucky.  And, as often happens, when I go to clinics, I realized how much movement and mobility I still have.

I had a good session with my new psychiatrist, but I think the thing that felt best was my brief connection with this woman, her clothes tattered, her body bent, her eyes a milky blue, her life limited but so alive.  And though it was a short conversation, it lifted my spirits.  What people go through, what they survive — it seems like resentment would cloak us all, but over and over again, I see people find a way to shed bitterness and share their sweetness and light.

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In my journal, I tried to capture her glow as well as the golden autumn light that shone on our brief meeting.

~~~

Thanks for reading my post.  If you like it share it.  If you find a typo, please let me know and I’ll send you a thank-you postcard.  

You can now follow me on Instagram@joymurrayart and Twitter @joymurrayhere.  I no longer have a facebook account.

You can get prints and cards of some of my work on Redbubble.  They also print my work on lots of other items, including phone skins, tote bags, shirts and journals:

https://www.redbubble.com/people/JoyMurray?asc=u

If you’d like to support my art and writing, please consider becoming a donor on Patreon.  If I get enough supporters, I can make this blog ad-free!  Here’s a link to my Patreon page:

https://www.patreon.com/user?u=8001665

If you prefer to make a one time donation, you can do so at paypal.com  Please email me at joyzmailbox@gmail.com if you’d like details.

The Wonder Chair video

Here’s a link to me telling a story at MetroEast Community Media‘s Storytelling festival.  While you’re there, check out the other videos of members of the Portland Storyteller’s Guild telling a wonderful variety of stories.  The Wonder Chair is a story about how stories have helped me cope and rise above my disability.  They put a little spark in me — hopefully, it will help you recognize the little spark that’s in you.  The first time I had to use a wheelchair, I was going to hear stories at the Lelooska Foundation, a magical place in itself.  It’s about 30 minutes long.  Hope you enjoy it!

http://blip.tv/community-media-videos/storytelling-series-april-2011-joy-corcoran-the-wonder-chair-5879442