Got to keep moving

It’s seven o’clock in the morning and the sun is rising. It’s near the end of January, so I think this is probably standard for this time of year. I never noticed before, so I cannot say otherwise. Whether it is, or is not, it is nice to observe.

It’s a brisk morning though and one can feel the chill in the air. I like it. I find that the colder air is also the freshest air. I found this to be true wherever I lived. Although, I only lived in two provinces and three cities. But I would think, discussing this with others, it is much the same anywhere in Canada. It was why I enjoyed shoveling snow as often as I did when I was much younger and in my twenties. I liked the cold fresh air that winter brought that’s a strange think I know for one to enjoy shoveling so much. But I did.

By shoveling snow, I discovered that it gave me time to reflect on the day, or how I was doing or feeling. It was good exercise too. I felt tired but re-energized too (exercise does that – it revitalizes you). When I used to workout in the gym, I would hit the zone. I was tired, but I would get in the groove and I found I enjoyed exercising.

Unfortunately, those days are gone. On cold and/or wet days, my osteoarthritis prevents me from much movement, but I discovered that I need to fight the urge not too move. At the very least, I should walk more (Others with cerebral palsy have warned me of the urge to be stagnated and not wishing to move more). I am trying, but I find it tiring and frustrating. Still, I must prod on and keep moving. Perhaps the coming warmer temperatures will help motivate me. I should at least try a little bit every day.

I guess that’s good advice for anyone, “Keep moving people.”
—Robert Confiant 29 January 2019

Nothing special

I have a buddy who once stated that I should write about my life, but my life; well, it’s boring. Truly, I am not understating here. Most days are the same, I get up, go to work, come home, surf the net or write, and then I go to bed. On weekends, I generally get up with my partner, have coffee, and go back to bed after he has left for work, then I get up again, surf the net most of the day or write, or clean the apartment. See, my life is boring.

leaving

What my friend really wants me to write is the real story. The struggles and preservation to achieve my goals. If you are a regular reader to my blog, then you already know I have spastic cerebral palsy (CP) which affects my legs, but more so my right leg. I have had 10 operations on my legs with 3 on my left leg and 7 on my right leg; sometimes I had the operations on both legs at the same time (3 times to be exact).

Life with CP hasn’t been easy. It’s been a struggle at time. I have had to work harder than most people just to do the simple every day life things like putting on socks and shoes. For me this is a biggie, putting on socks and shoes, it takes me more time than the average person and sometimes I get the shakes which make it worst and it makes me have to do numerous attempts at putting them on.

I have learned much by being a person with CP. It is this that my friend wishes me to write about. I could write a whole volume about overcoming one’s limitations, about never giving up easily (perseverance), and doing all this and remaining humble, happy and well adjusted. I don’t believe I am that spectacular. We all have our issues and no one said life would be easy. I feel the same as everyone else. I don’t see myself as any different than anyone else. I have a physical disability which I cannot hide; others have issues they maybe able to hide, but they are real whether they be psychological, emotional or spiritual. Most of us are dealing with some issue or other. We are all humans just trying to make our way through life the best way we know how.

It’s nothing new, life. Life is what it is. I struggle sometimes, but there have been great times too. Life is what it is. We can only prod along the best way we can. See, there is nothing special or extraordinary about life. We all have one and we all are just figuring things out as we go along.
—Robert Confiant 19 January 2019

I don’t like asking for help

RobertConfiant

Three days ago, I wrote about work load and stressing out. It occurred to me afterwards that the reason I take on such unrealistic amount of work, or why I hate to quit something I am doing is that I don’t like to ask for help, or I don’t want to admit I can’t do something.

One might think this is due to pride and/or stubbornness and these reasons are probably somewhat valid. I take pride in what I do. I work hard, so why not? I am also very stubborn. I like my independence. There is nothing wrong with it.

The real reason I am stubborn is due to my Cerebral Palsy (CP). As a person with CP, I must be stubborn. Stubbornness is the one trait which keeps me going, or keep me at something. I don’t think I would be as independent, or have accomplished as much if I wasn’t as stubborn as I am. I message with other persons with CP on-line and most of them share this stubborn trait. It is what keeps us trying new things, or staying with doing difficult tasks. For most of us whose CP affects our legs, even something simple as putting on socks and shoes can be challenging. There are studies out there that prove people with CP use more energy to do every day task than people without physical disabilities. Most of us take this in stride, this is our “normal.”  We don’t know any differently.

Stubbornness can be a good asset.
—Robert Confiant 15 December 2018

 

A day in the life of

I am not quite awake yet. I think it’s “another coffee,” kind of day. I am commuting to work on public transit.

It’s coming on to the fall season. It is getting dark in the evenings and pitch black when the alarm goes off in the morning. It’s also cooler now. I took down the screen I taped up in the living-room to keep the cat from falling out while the window was open (the window opens outward with a gap of four inches) with nothing below it. I also placed candles and other knickknacks in front of the window to keep her away (It worked).

Fall, the season is different here in the Vancouver area. While some trees change colour and drop their leaves, many other trees remain green. It also rains in late Fall and Winter months, but the Farmer’s Almanac is calling for a colder winter across the continent, so it’s going to be a “wait and see,” kind of year. I don’t do well with snow. I cannot walk in the snow anymore, so I am hoping not.

I do walk better than I ever had thanks to my Dantrolene prescription. I tried exercising again, but then my hips, knees and back hurt. Even with just the cooler weather, I feel aches in my knees and hips. It’s a no win all around. Sometimes, I hate getting older. I wish they had known about the drug a lot sooner, then a least there might have been less impact damage to my hips and knees. Oh well, bothering to be done about it…

So, it’s just a bus ride into work. It’s the same old routine of going to work. This is what comes to mind. This is what I write. A bit boring I know. It’s just another ordinary day in the life of “me”.
—Robert Confiant 19 September 2018

My complete coming out story

I’ve written about parts of this in other posting here on this blog, but I haven’t put the whole story together.

gay & disabled

I first came out to myself where I really admitted to myself that I preferred guys over girls. I hated myself. I tried to pray it away – God, how I tried. I cried and prayed. I did everything I could think of hoping I would change. I did not want to be any more different than I already was. I think this was one of the reasons why my downward spiral began.

High school was okay, I wasn’t teased or anything like that it was fine. I had a handful of friends, but I still felt like I was always on the outside. I grew up in the projects and I know that if it came out that I was gay; it wouldn’t have been good for me. It was different times. It was the mid-1970s. It was never mentioned, but it was known to be frowned upon. I grew up Catholic, so you can imagine what that was like. So, I kept quiet with things being what they were. Still, I had good friends; not a lot of friends, but I kept the key aspect of my life private. I didn’t tell anyone. Not even my closest friends. My disability avoided a lot of unanswered questions.

For a lot of my life, I remained celibate. I never dated; although, I did start to fall for one or two guys over the years, with one who “scared me straight” for quite a while. He was older. We never told each other outright, but the feelings and the flirting were there. He invited me over one night and I am sure that the only reason nothing happened was because he was waiting for me to make the first move something I wasn’t ready to do at that time.

When I was in my late twenties, I was ready to come out. My brother beat me to it. My parents soon asked me if I was gay, but he came out because he was sick and I didn’t want to cause any further worry, so I said, “No.” I should have said, “Yes,” and gotten it over with. I am a hundred percent sure that my parents would have been cool with it (the way they dealt with my brother leads me to believe my parents would have been okay with it).

When I moved away and eventually came out. It was freeing. Imagine the one thing you don’t want others to know about you and then imagine it getting out to everyone. At first, you think, “That’s it, no one will like me now,” but it is also freeing. Everyone knows. You’ve reached the point where either they do accept or they do not. Those who don’t; well, one has to wonder… Doesn’t one?

Anyway, that’s it in a nutshell is my full coming out story.
—Robert Confiant 18 September 2018

Depression and life

I just listened to a TEDx talk on suicide and life. Once upon a time, I could not do this.
I am told quite often that I am a strong person. They say this because I have dealt with having a disability, so well. And if I am honest, in some ways they are correct. I am a person who happens to have Cerebral Palsy. Back when I was younger, I didn’t let my dis-ablity stop me from doing what I wanted to do. My dis-ability (sic) is not who I am. I am not defined by my dis-ability. I live with it. To me, it is not brave, nor heroic, nor anything special. I have always had a bum leg. I don’t know any different, so this is my “normal.”

Somewhere on this path of life, I lost my confidence. I stopped believing in myself. I developed a low self-esteem about myself. My depression resulted because I believed that I couldn’t do anything. I was told, by kindly meaning professionals, that I couldn’t do this, or I couldn’t do that. I don’t blame them for what resulted. It just I took their statements to be realistic about my career choices to heart. I felt that I couldn’t do anything. It’s strange, how my all or nothing attitude played a factor even back then. I am an “All or nothing” kind of guy. I don’t like to admit it, but I still am. The result is that I suffered from depression in my late teens and early twenties. The fact that I was gay didn’t help. I was closeted, gay young man who grew up in the projects. I was supposed to be tough. I was also a strict Catholic and these two aspects were “polar opposites” in their views. I still joke about going to hell (I don’t believe it, but I still joke about it). So really, my depression stemmed from my lack of confidence in myself and the loathing I felt about being different. I gave up. I stopped living and I couldn’t see a good future for myself. I was depressed.

After I hit rock bottom, I went to counselling and I sought out help. I wasn’t working because of the recession at the time and because I felt I couldn’t do anything with me having a dis-ability. I got work eventually after I went on some job training course. It helped boost my confidence again. I later returned to school to upgrade my skills. The success I found there also contributed to my confidence boost. Step-by-step, I began to snap out of my depression and my confidence returned. It was a slow process, but one that built a strong foundation on which I could stand upon.

Today, this is all history. I have had my bouts of depression, but I have figured out tricks to help me snap out of it. My depression now stems from Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD). With this realization, I find that my depression is manageable, if I caught it. Sometimes it can be a week before I realize I am in a state of depression. When I finally do come to realize this, I do the opposite of what I feel I want to do. Namely, I go out, instead of staying in; I socialize, instead of shutting myself out. For me, this doing opposite works. I also purchased a light for the winter months. It helps.

I am at a good place. I can’t say I never get depressed, but when I do, I can deal with it. For the most part, I am happy with my life. I no longer worry about the past, and I don’t fret about the future. I stay in the now. This was another issue back then, I couldn’t stay in the now.

Most of the time, I am that strong person I appear to be, but sometimes I am not. For those times I am not, I work on it. Over all though, life is good.

For those of you who are struggling. I am reposting this image:

Mental health continuum-mobile

Get to know the signs and if you are in any phase other than healthy, seek help. There is no shame in asking for help. We all need a hand up occasionally.

My life may not always be exactly what I want, or I wish for, but it is a good life. I have my health. I have a good family, partner and friends who are always there for me, and a decent job. A hobby that I love – writing, contrary to what our income obsessive materialistic society wishes to sell us, these are what truly matter.

Peace and love.
—Robert Confiant 15 September 2018

I don’t give up

I don’t give up, or I don’t give up too easily. I was always this way growing up.

I never personally knew anyone else who had a physical dis-ability (sic) growing up until much later. I had four brothers and a lot of friends in the project where I grew up, and I wanted to participate in the same activities that they participated in. I had to work twice as hard to meet, or just function enough that I could join in.

It was the same when I got employed. My mother helped me get my first job. We didn’t have a lot of extras when we were young, so when I hit sixteen I wanted to get a job, but I told my mom that I didn’t think anyone would hire me with my bum leg (I still call it that sometimes – my right leg is worse than my left leg). Anyway, she spoke with her boss at the time, and her boss gave me a try. It was a janitor position, which required that I be on my feet all shift (weekends and the odd evening). I proved that I could achieve this by working extra hard (well, harder than those I saw around me).

It was the same many years later when I got hired over the phone for a clerk position at a bookstore. I was hired as magazine stocker. It was gruelling and heavy work: Storing overstock in the back (climbing up and down), stocking the racks out front and shipping and receiving bundles of magazines. As I was hired over the phone, when I walked into work the first day my manager thought he had made a mistake. He told me this a few years later, but he figured I couldn’t be any worse than anyone else he had hired, so he gave me a shot (he never regretted it), but I worked really hard to keep this job. I loved working there. It was a good group of people and I loved to read. When I decided to go to university, he called me back each summer.

I never gave up to easily on anything I tried. It was many years of attempting to ice skate before I threw them in and gave up. I felt like I wasn’t getting any better, so I gave it up. If I saw some improvement, I am sure I would have stayed with it. Alas, I sucked at ice skating, and I felt, “Why beat a dead horse, when I saw no improvement?”

So, now I am realistic about what I can, or cannot do. I try something for a while, and if I don’t see improvement, then I give it up. Why waste my time and energy?

Some people think I am stubborn, and they are not wrong; I definitely am. But, my stubbornness has given me the “Stay with it” attitude. It has gotten me far in life (It can also tee off some people at times, I am sure 😁). Stubbornness has its benefits.
—Robert Confiant 12 September 2018