In my 15 years of this chair, I have managed to experience all kinds of love. Love from my parents, my siblings, old friends, new friends, nieces, nephews, school kids, and well…..men. I guess it’s safe to say some of them may have still been boys because I was still quite a young little girl. I think if someone were to ask I’d say I probably fell in love 3 times. But, I thought I fell in love way more times than that in my previous years when I was experiencing it, but I would learn many years later that was a feeling of lust, or maybe even to wishing something was there!
I’ve had some pretty lengthy relationships. Length doesn’t always mean love though and that’s something I didn’t really understand 10 years ago. Quite frankly, there was a lot I didn’t know 10 years ago. There was a lot I still had to discover, a lot I need to get comfortable with, and a lot of fears (about life) I needed to overcome.
Even though my relationships haven’t seemed to work out just yet, I don’t regret a single one of them that I’ve had. I have learned so much about what I want and what I absolutely do not want. And with every relationship, I learn things about myself that I need to work on. I am far from a perfect person and with each new relationship, I learned about yet another it wouldn’t hurt for me to work on. And slowly over time, I think I have become a better and more friendly person.
Oddly enough, relationships never really scared me after my accident. I was a bit boy crazy and I guess it never occurred to me how much of my life had really changed and how guys would view me differently. That was a blessing in disguise but that’s not the mentality we all start out with after such huge life changing events. However, one thing I know to be true is this: This chair and this disability hold me back as much as I allow it to. And that goes for the dating world as well.
Among all the groups I am in this is quite often one of the biggest questions, how do relationships work when you are in a wheelchair? Well, Ben Duffy made an outstanding documentary that helps to clear up some of the confusion.
A few months ago I came across Ben and his film Take a Look at this Heart. It’s a film that interviews and follows some well known and successful people who have spinal cord injuries and investigates their love life. Ben was approached by AJ Murray, who wanted a documentary made to help with all the misconceptions. And so, he made one.
I’ll tell you, watching this documentary was very comforting for me. It put me at a little ease and made me feel more comfortable even as a person in a chair who has experienced love and am pretty comfortable in the dating world. I can only imagine how helpful it would have been for me to see this documentary earlier on after my accident. The acceptance to that degree would have been welcomed. For anyone in a chair with dating fears, this is the documentary for you!
I’m sure many of you have heard of Chelsie Hill before. She is the founder of the Rolletes Dance Team. A team of girls who are still dancing and doing their things in chairs. Chelsie is one of the girls that are in this documentary and oh my gosh, I love it! Chelsie and her boyfriend Jay may be the cutest couple I’ve ever seen. That, my friends, is what love looks like.
In the film, Ben actually asks someone, “What do you think of me being scared of atrophy? Am I a total shithead or what?”. And of course, Angela explains that’s normal because our brains are not trained to be attracted to bodies like ours. And of course, the unknown is scary.
But the unknown and overcoming fear can lead us to the best happiness this life has to offer sometimes. And I think Ben’s documentary helps to capture that happiness that possible when those of us in chairs overcome any fears we may have in dating.
When talking to Ben about the film and what it did for him here is what he had to say, “I would say the most important thing from a personal standpoint is that … 3 years later…it is still what has brought me the most joy in my life and I’ve never felt anything like it to this day,”.
If you’re in a wheelchair and love scares you or maybe you are not in a wheelchair but you’ve had questions or curiosities, go over to Amazon Prime and watch Take a Look at this Heart.
Thank you Ben for shedding some light on the world I’m a part of.