What do Disabilities and Winning mean?
What does winning look like?
Does having a winner mean you must have a loser?
Consider the win-win relationship I have with extreme disability survivor, my Attitude Coach Wayne.
A teenage motorcycle crash left me half paralyzed, sent me into a tailspin of resentment and fear and stole my winning feeling. It’s a testament to how adaptable we are that what originally filled me with negativity also gradually increased my emotional stability, so my Attitude is consistently happy and easy and fun to be around.
Physical and Emotional-Two Sides of Same Coin
On some level, I guess I’ve always known people with Wayne’s level of disability existed, but before I actually became disabled, I never gave a second thought to any kind of disabilities. I surely never considered the positive things I would learn by joining this largest of all minorities.
At first, joining the disability minority was a source of pain and misery. My saving graces were
- my hunger for answers, and
- my humble, teachable Attitude.
It seems paradoxical to say that I was humble. I wasn’t humble in every area. In fact, the only area in which I was humble was that I was willing to admit that I was unable to have a healthy relationship with anybody, including myself.
My hunger for answers gave me the incentive to read self help books like Psycho Cybernetics by authors like Maxwell Maltz and Norman Vincent Peale. It took years and lots of different experiences, some negative and some positive, to strengthen my self image, but the more positive my relationship became with myself, the better my relationship with others became.
As I consider the many relationships I’m currently blessed with, I’m filled with gratitude for the positive roles other people play in my life. I won’t go into all the meaningful interactions I had today, but I will elaborate on one.
The one that went so well that I must talk about it was my win-win interaction with my Attitude Coach Wayne. We started out like we always do, playing blackjack. Because of his inability to talk or move anything, but one hand, I keep up a lively banter throughout our time together. We’d only played through the deck once when we heard the activity director announce that Bingo was about to start in the cafeteria.
Wayne loves Blackjack, but if something else is happening while we’re playing, I’ll ask if he wants to do whatever it is. There was a Bingo game in the cafeteria and this time he wanted to play. Since Wayne can’t move well enough to cover the called numbers, I covered the numbers the Bingo caller called out. Wayne’s no slouch. He kept his eyes on the cards, even catching a couple numbers I missed. We won him a new calendar for his room, complete with Olympic Athlete pictures.
At the end of our visit, like I always do, I told Wayne how much he means not only to me, but to audiences across the country who I encourage by including Wayne’s story amongst the other things I tell them. Although Wayne smiles throughout the time we spend together, the smile I look forward to the most is the one he gives me when I tell him I love him like a brother before I leave.
Contributing to Another’s Comfort Winning.
Consider the mighty Oak.