It is much easier to walk if I use a walking stick.
It is safer to walk if I use a walking stick.
I am more balanced, less likely to fall down, and more importantly, people are less likely to bump into me, or jostle me, and inadvertently cause me pain, or to fall.
There are days when I need a walking stick to walk.
I have been stubbornly refusing to use my stick. I bought it, then promptly hid it away where no one could see.
I told myself the people I was with would be embarrassed. My kids would be embarrassed. My friends would be embarrassed. People will stare. People will think I am faking. People will feel sorry for me. People will treat me differently.
It’s none of that. It’s me. I am ashamed. Like, somehow this is all my fault. Like, if I was stronger, tougher, I wouldn’t need a stick.
I should be able to manage. Push through the pain. I am strong. I cannot admit defeat. I cannot show weakness. I do NOT want sympathy.
I am ashamed.
I don’t know. I have always been fiercely independent. My entire adult life I have never relied on anyone. I have gotten myself into trouble, and I’ve gotten myself back out.
On my own. No help required. No (figurative) walking stick.
Last night I had to go to my son’s new high school. Next year will be his first year of high school. I needed to attend. There was no option. I needed to walk the distance from the car to the school library. And there were stairs. (Aren’t there always stairs?)
So I took the walking stick. I apologised to my (ex) husband who very kindly drove my car so that I could ride in the comfortable car, and we could park as close as possible, thanks to my disability tags. (Getting those tags was another one of these pride moments…)
While we are no longer living together, since we separated, my husband has become a very good friend. For this I am thankful. So I apologised to him. He was fine with it. I was sure he wasn’t, but he assured me he was. It was actually *me* who wasn’t fine with it.
I was ashamed. I felt like I was weak. Like I was admitting defeat. That RA has beaten me.
This is all complete and utter rubbish. The truth is the walking stick helped very much. Few people noticed. One of the teachers did, and very kindly directed me to a chair. She brought me an information pack, and assured me that if I did not feel well, I should go home. All the information was in the pack and I could email her any questions.
She was very kind. And now she knows I have a chronic pain condition. And she helped me. I appreciated the help immensely.
Because of the walking stick.
Last night the walking stick spoke for me. It told people that I have a physical problem. That I need help. Something I am still completely unable to admit aloud.
And it helped me to walk.