Friend or Foe

The blessing and the curse of Facebook is that it keeps you connected with people you never see. It’s fair to say without FB you would never talk to some people, but FB and our insatiable desire for positive reinforcement (of which I am also guilty) means everyone knows everything about everyone. Or so they think.

The wonderful aspect of FB comes to life for people like me when we, after suffering a life changing event, connect with others who are going through the same thing. I had never in my life heard of a brachial plexus prior to my accident but now I am connected with thousands of fellow BPI warriors and have learned so much from them already.

The terrible aspect of FB is that people can abandon you in the ‘actual world’ and by throwing you a few likes or comments on FB it makes them feel like they are actually helping or still ‘in touch’. PS you aren’t.

FB also keeps you connected to people you moved away from decades ago. Like old school friends. I left school at 17 and immediately moved out of home and out of the State. I am now 42, that is 25 years ago for the mathematically challenged. I never saw any of my school friends again until a 20 year reunion. But of course because of the reunion we are all now connected on FB. Wonderfully most of those friends have been incredibly supportive and have sent me messages that have warmed my soul as they were so heart felt and thoughtful.

And then some of them only reach out when they want something. They also presume to know everything about me from my weekly posts on FB. FB is a weird world where people study posts and photos and make, often incorrect, assumptions about everyone.

Here’s a tip – FB does not tell you more than 5% about a person as the person is only telling you what they want you to know. Ever seen a terrible photo of me on FB pre injury. No, no you have not. I police photos of me that go on the internet like a father perusing his daughters first boyfriend. Scrutiny for days. Does this mean I always look like that. Fuck no. I never look like that, except in photos. (But you know, the internet, its there forever).

The only people who give you more than 5% are those that give you 105%, I call them blurters, they unleash a tirade daily about stuff no one wants to know and makes everyone uncomfortable. Those people should be blocked swiftly. Or people who post only food pictures. Kill me. Or selfies All. The. Time. Stab my cold corpse.

Or if they have a blog. Bloggers are not to be trusted.😝

So in my humble opinion everyone else is giving away, in their 5%, a one sided view about something – including me. Just because someone is standing in front of a Ferrari doesn’t mean they own it. Just because someone fly’s all over the country doesn’t mean they are wealthy (or filled with radiation – that is a myth). And even if they do own the Ferrari and fly everywhere, what does that really mean? They might be in debt up to their eyeballs, or have a terrible home life, or children on drugs. They are hardly going to post about that. Or maybe they worked their tails off, made sacrifices and deserve that Ferrari.

Sorry to all the Ferrari owners, I promise I make no assumptions (although all the people I do know with Ferrari’s do own them and did deserve them – bad example). 🏎

A friend of mine killed himself almost four years ago yet I thought he was the happiest person and every photo of him, a beaming smile.  His family were not surprised, the rest of us were dumbfounded.

And just because I am rabbiting on every day about how fucking awesome Husband is doesn’t mean I don’t want to beat him to a pulp with this iPad 5 minutes after posting about his awesomeness (for leaving his jocks all over the floor for example or for telling me the original draft of this blog was a ‘jumbled’ 😳 – I know right. He is lucky to still have a pulse. After talking about him under my breath for three hours I have edited this post beyond recognition. And if he ever says anything like that again Colin will beat him, of this I am sure).

So the reason for this blog is that recently a person from my past, someone who I have only seen once in 25 years, has reached out to me a number of times when he wanted something from me. That is my take on it anyway.

So without going into too much detail, as I don’t want to identify said annoying fucking person, he recently reached out to me as a fellow someone with a debilitating injury. However his debilitating injury was so incomparable to mine it defies explanation. And his explanation of his issues covered page after excruciating page. Much like my blog, but in a single message.

Now I did offer some advice even though the contact annoyed me. I mean when you have lost a limb you have zero extra emotional energy for anyone except yourself and those in your family, but I gave a little. Then to make matters worse this person has recently commented on a photo of mine, a major milestone if you like, saying a number of very irritating things, again in my humble opinion.

One was he hoped I realised how truly lucky I was. Hmmm, patronising. I have been saying that since day 1 so I think yes, I realise.

And then something about the support and resources available to me being nothing shy of remarkable. Ahhhh how the hell would you know?! I have not told you anything additional to that which everyone else knows. Do you know something I don’t somehow?? I have NFI what resources he is referring to so it’s anyone’s guess. Support I understand but resources, no, I don’t understand. I could not even put this down to crystal ball use as it’s not happening so there would be nothing to see.

Lastly and the kicker in my opinion – wishing me all the best on my journey to ‘normality’. PS I will never be normal but thanks for insulting me by insinuating being disabled is not normal.

I know some of you will think the comments seem ‘fine’ and I am ricocheting back into “I’m a dickhead” territory but the comments are what they are and they have affected me in a certain way like it or not.

So my advice is this, anyone with all their arms and legs should not be telling me how lucky I am. It’s offensive. It’s in the ‘are you fucking kidding me’ category. Everyone has problems, serious ones, but this one is up there on the ‘serious as shit’ scale.

Next time just say “good on you” or something similar.

I had every reason in the world to fall in a heap, but I chose not to. I am blessed in that my family have not murdered me as I am sure I have been very painful at times, but I also went straight back to work, like literally the ink had not dried on my discharge papers and I was back at work, I tried changing nappies and making food for the kids day one, I fed the horses, took out the garbage, I tried everything. Some things took weeks to master, others did not, many things are impossible. But I kept going. And that is why my family support me so much, because I never asked for sympathy or special treatment, but they gave it to me because I never gave up.

I also had no choice. My toddlers do not care I am in pain or armless, they just have needs that must be met either way. And I was not going to stop working and potentially take the roof from over their heads. I would wash cars if I had to, albeit very slowly probably, but whatever it took to keep my family going I would do.

I certainly would not tell someone disabled how lucky they are. Because, as I said, it’s fucking offensive.

And just because I post about a major milestone does not mean I did not fall in a heap the next day, because I did and got kicked in the leg by my own horse for my efforts. That will be a future blog. I wasn’t feeling so lucky or blessed in that moment I can tell you. So please don’t assume to know things based on FB, if you have spent ZERO time with me, like ever, you have no valid say.

So I will keep getting up, keep going, keep trying, moving forward, if I go backwards, I will go again, when I fuck up, I will say sorry, I will try and see the best in every situation.

And yes I am blessed, I have SO much to be thankful for, but the only person who can say that – is me!

A Horse Called Rooster

Anyone who knows me or reads my blog should have gathered these facts by now:

* I love motorbikes
* I love horses
* I love swearing
* Don’t mess with me in traffic
* I am a maniac in many ways
* Oh and I have a brachial plexus injury and onegoodarm (that one gets away from me occasionally)

Recently my poor smashed to smithereens bike has breathed new life again and I have been preparing to ride my other horse power. Preparing involves looking out the window at the horses in the paddock whilst eating chocolate and imagining myself riding with one arm so perfectly that a travelling para Olympic scout who happened to be driving by my arena spots me and says the olympics must include my lazy chocolate eating ass, that is, until today.

Today I had to climb up into the saddle for real. Now I have been riding since I could walk, at least 37 years. There is actually a photo of me being held up on a horse at 6 months. I have been riding forever. Now of course this doesn’t mean I am good. I am ok. People who are good or great ride every day, have lessons constantly and improve their craft like mad witches and wizards. Similarly to motorbikes if you want to be fast you have to ride ALL THE TIME. Otherwise you will be midpack.

Now I have ridden and won a lot with my horse Rooster. I have had him for almost 15 years, we have won everything together, I got him as a foal and when he dies they will probably have to put me in the ground with him, that is how much I love him. So when I got told I would never ride again, not riding a motorbike I could deal with (although I am confident I will do that too) but not riding a horse. No, that outcome is not acceptable.

So today when the weather was perfect, I was full of chocolate bullets, my wonderful friend BT50 (not her real name clearly but who knows and has trained my horse extensively back when I was pregnant) was with me we decided it was time.

So I pulled him out and saddled him up myself, BT50 just tightened the girth slightly after I only got it “mildly tight”, and we took him and the baby down to the arena. Whilst BT50 warmed up the big fella I took the rugs off and bridled the baby (including lunge roller and side reins) – go me! I told you I was awesome. I really need to stop proving it so much.

So Rooster got warmed up which resulted in totally knackering BT50 as he was more ‘pushing cement forward’ than ‘crazy hot forward after 300 weeks off’. So I left the baby in the round yard to get used to his side reins and set to climb aboard my trusty steed.

Now I am pretty flexible and can put my leg in any stirrup. I once mounted a 17.2hh horse I had from the ground into a jumping saddle whilst pregnant. Yep. He bucked me off shortly after and fuck it was a looonnnggg way down, but I got back on him the same way after I caught him and thought about killing him, as I do, frequently.

So I go to get on my trusty steed and realise I have a big bloody scaffolding arrangement impeding me. Oh dear lord I am going to have to use a chair. Please everyone shield your eyes for the travesty that is about to unfold. So I climb very unceremoniously into the saddle. Using an aide! I have one arm, I will get over myself and pat myself on the back slowly regardless.

It felt awesome. Ahhhhh, my happy place.

So I had already cried thanking BT50 for helping me so much post injury (the coming to ride Rooster, the one handed halter, the donuts – oh my the 🍩 ‘s) and now I was crying again. #somuchcrying

So my scaffolding arrangement puts my hand in almost the exact right position and as I have 20% movement of my fingers I was able to hold the rein. Just. However every time the horse shook his head at a fly I lost the rein and as we trotted Colin bounced around like a retard. Bloody Colin.

Despite this my amazing old boy worked in the bridle and forgave Colin for being a complete spastic. I also rode without spurs which I never do as this horse is not forward and is like pushing a train between your legs, but even so he was reasonably forward, in the frame and being an all around fucking superstar.

I managed to ride for about 10 minutes and without putting a foot wrong (the horse not me) called it a day. I was so happy I cried. A lot. But they were tears of joy. My lifelong passion remains a possibility. Thank the lord for that. And thank BT50 (that is her vehicle). I will have to think of a better nickname for her.

So we washed the old boy lovingly, well BT50 did, I was sitting down having a small heart attack as I have zero fitness from being so stationary post injury and starving myself all the time. Except for bullets. Naturally.

So after we fed the old boy and I fed myself I set about getting ready for a show with the baby tomorrow. I washed him and put him in show rugs, hooked up the horse float, got it out, packed it, cleaned stables (which is ridiculously hard with one arm, poo shovels | rakes are not made for one armed peeps! Annoying) and single handedly – literally – got a lot done.

I was very proud. #awesomenessfordays

So my hand hurts from riding, it’s swollen with fluid, my shoulder is now stinging, my hand is burning (that is normal) and I am about to go to bed and prepare for my very early horse show start. But today, the 28th of October, almost 12 weeks to the day post accident I took a big part of my life back.

It’s been an amazing day.