To This Day, It Still Bothers Me……

So the other day I went to the gym….. it seems that this always occurs at the gym however it has happened at other public places as well.  I see your eyes…. looking at me…. watching me….. you think that I don’t notice, but I do.  I might be on an elliptical or weight machine….. I might just be walking from one area to another…. and you watch….. your eyes tell me that you are trying to figure out how I manage to do anything……..

Sometimes, I feel you staring……. I wonder what thoughts are going through your head….. I feel like walking up to you to let you know that I play guitar, I ride a motorcycle, I can tie my own shoes…….. but that would be rude.

Maybe I’m imagining that you are looking at my right arm but after being around for so many years, I think that I can tell the difference between a passing glance and  a stare.

As a child, this would make me feel uncomfortable and I would often want to hide.  As an adult, I get  mad.  In a society in which we are expected to be welcoming and tolerant of people from all backgrounds and cultures, why do I sometimes feel like I’m being isolated?

I sometimes want to walk up to you and tell you to take a picture.  Perhaps I have done that to some of you.  My mouth can often say things which perhaps should remain in my head, but when I feel these stares, I feel the need to prove myself.

As we age, there are certain aspects of our lives which remain with us until the end.  Memories – good and bad.  How we treated others and how we were treated.  I don’t want to be seen as the person with 1 hand – I want to be seen as the person.

Those that know me see me as a whole person – some that see me in passing do not share this view.

I only share this in an effort to help you to understand how your eyes can make someone else feel.  Your eyes can have an impact in someone’s day and life.  Your eyes can be remembered or forgotten.  Your eyes can take someone back to an uncomfortable time in their lives and make someone feel insecure and uncomfortable.

My days of wanting to hide are years behind me yet the anger that I feel when you look and judge me remains.  Your eyes are one of the reasons why I share my story – so that when you next see me or someone like me, you see the whole person and treat us no differently than anyone else.

Would you feel comfortable asking me questions?  I always encourage it but would you?

Until next time, thanks for reading!!

 

 

 

No Disability Here!

Definition of disability

a physical, mental, cognitive, or developmental condition that impairs, interferes with, or limits a person’s ability to engage in certain tasks or actions or participate in typical daily activities and interactions

The above definition comes from the Merriam-Webster dictionary.  I must admit that I find this very interesting having been referred to as disabled or handicapped (having a condition that markedly restricts one’s ability to function physically, mentally, or socially.)  at certain times in my life.

I never felt defined by this definition, despite being born with a congenital birth defect to my right arm.    I have always felt that this was a label which others would assign to me,  assuming that because of my appearance, I must have limited abilities.

Continue reading “No Disability Here!”

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

As 2017 rapidly comes to a close, I reflect on the year that was and the good fortunes which it brought me. for which I am most thankful.  The thing which excited me the most in 2017 was getting my first motorcycle which was successfully modified so that I could ride with one (left) hand.

To learn more about my ride named Hankster 1.0, I invite you to watch the following video;

As a result of this motorcycle, I visit places that I had only thought of in the past (i.e. Gananoque, Kingston, North Bay to name a few).    I also met many people, most of whom I am proud to call friends, and became part of a family that truly accepts me for who I am – no judgement – just like my birth family.

Because of a motorcycle, I came to understand what it means to feel free, to lose yourself in wind therapy, to be at one with the outdoors.  This past summer, my hubby and I spent more time outside than several combined.

Because of a motorcycle, I became a Contributing Writer for The Rider’s Mag and was most fortunate to meet Critter who continues to encourage and support me.

Because of a motorcycle, I will be at the Motorcycle Supershow from Friday, Jan 5 – Sunday Jan 7  2018 – dates and times to be confirmed.

As I say goodbye to 2017, I look forward to 2018 and the many rides that I plan to make – hanging out with old  friends and making new ones, increasing my blog posts and sharing dates for speaking events.

2018 is also the year in which I plan to write and publish a book – to further share my story and tales of determination.

I wish you all a very Happy, Healthy and prosperous New Year and thank-you for your interest in me!!

It’s Been Awhile!

It certainly has been awhile since my last post – there never seems to be enough time in the day!  Due to my long absence, I felt that it is time to share what I have been busy with.

For starters, I have been busy with my band LEFTY AND THE GOONS in addition to researching and contributing articles for The Rider’s Mag which I will post for your reading pleasure.

In addition to this, I have been working on writing my story.  As I write, it is amazing the amount of memories that start to come forward – things that I had forgotten or not thought of in years.

An example of this is a memory from the early late 80’s which I just shared with my husband.  I recall that I  was watching a talk show (maybe Oprah – that I can’t recall) and the topic was “CLUB KIDS”.  The Club Kids were an ‘It’ group of young party promoters who dressed up in flamboyant attire and were stars of the New York nightlife in the ’80s and ’90s.  While I didn’t agree with everything that they represented, I was drawn to their appearances – the fact that they chose to look different than everyone else – mostly for attention and I suspect for having an outlet to express their creativity and artistic sides.

I was in my mid-20s when I first heard about them and at the time, was a frequent patron of clubs like The Big Bop in downtown Toronto where DJ’s played rock records (yes records!! lol) all night long.

I remember that I wanted to start dressing outrageously too – crazy make-up and a bright blue wig were my initial thoughts….. but I would need an outfit to complete the look.  As I began to think this over, I shared the idea with some friends and remember hearing  “….If you dress like that, we won’t go out with you”

As a result of that, I stopped.  I gave up on pursuing my new look and went on to something else.

Looking back, I find it interesting to see how I was influenced by what others said.  I changed my behaviour for fear of being excluded.  But would I have been?  And what if I did move forward, and I was outcast?  Would true friends do that to someone because they did not agree with their appearance?  The answer in my opinion, is no however I feared the possibility of this becoming reality so gave up on my desire to be outlandish.

This memory reminded me of other times when I would “dress up”….. as a teenager, my “go-to” was dressing up as Gene Simmons of KISS…. like so many other kids at the time, I was drawn to the outfits, makeup and performances.  In high school, I once asked my teacher if I could wear make-up to class.  With a bewildered expression, I recall him saying “yes” very cautiously.  That afternoon, I showed up to class dressed as Gene Simmons and every time he looked at me, I made faces.

I also got a school boy suit made in my late teens while living in Montreal so that I could dress like Angus Young.  I would go to bars in Old Montreal (The Cave, Fortifcations – all gone) with my suit in a bag waiting for the DJ to notify me that AC/DC would be played.  I’d run to the washroom and quickly change from my “rock” clothes to my schoolboy suit and then play air guitar a la Angus Young.  The beginning stages of my tribute band BARE RUMP… lol

I also went through a phase in the 70’s when I dressed like Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin.  I remember dragging my mother all over Montreal as I looked for satin pants so that I could complete my look.

Why did I do these things?  I know that whenever I “dressed up”, I no longer felt different as the attention was on my complete appearance.  The first thing that people would see was the entire outfit.  By the time my right arm was noticed, I had already been “accepted”.

Moving forward, my posts will become much more frequent.

Please continue to share your comments and keep in touch!

 

 

 

How Judgement Can Impact You

In February of 2017, I purchased a bright red 2017 Honda Rebel 300. (named Hankster 1.0)  Once I took delivery of the bike in May, it was transported to Mission Cycle in Angus  Ontario so that Todd could work his magic of modifying it for me so that I could ride with one (left) hand.

The modifications were actually very minor – a finger throttle and centrifugal force clutch which disengages the engine based on rpms was installed, followed by my front brake being attached to the front left lever which is the clutch for everyone else.

I took my training in early July and successfully passed the evaluation, losing only 3 of 12 points, and as a result obtained my M2 license.

Continue reading “How Judgement Can Impact You”

How To Ride A Motorcycle….. One Handed!!

Riding my own motorcycle would not have been possible without the support of people who helped make my dreams come true!

It all started with the Motorcycle Show in February 2017 where I met Sid from Barrie Honda who introduced me to the 2017 Honda Rebel 300.

Fast forward to May 2017 when I took delivery of Hankster (named after NY Ranger goalie Henrik Lundqvist) and had it  transported from Barrie Honda to Mission Cycle in Angus, Ontario.  Once in the shop, Todd worked his magic and modified my ride which I named Hankster

Rider training was done at Learning Curves in Markham, Ontario in early July, 2017.  I could not have asked for more supportive trainers – it was an awesome course!

As a result of these wonderful people, I can now go for a ride whenever I want!!