Thursday, February 28


At various times in my life, people have expressed admiration for my positive attitude despite handicapping circumstances. Mostly I shrug this off. It's no big thang, I think.

Clowning around
While employed at a bookstore in my early twenties, one such admirer came up to tell me he thought it was great that I was working. This seemed ridiculous to me as I'd never thought I had an alternative. Was I supposed to be at home, hiding in a closet?

My aerial class started again this week. There were a lot of new students, a happy thing for the oft unknown subculture of circus arts. But I proceeded to watch a young woman with obvious ability get most of my instructors' attention. I felt side-lined. They were teaching her moves that I knew I could do, but no one bothered to show me.

After watching her perform the 'mermaid,' I asked to try. My teacher immediately called for a spotter and went for the mattress in case I fell. Wrapping my legs around the hooped lira, I arced backward, hands free. I did not fall.

In the car after class, I cried. I was so tired. More than missed practice, I was tired from years of stepping into the ring, believing in myself without any real sense of certainty--taking a risk that only I could take. I've become so accustomed to proving myself that I seldom stop to admit how hard it really is, all this believing. It is exhausting.

I've had many cheerleaders over the years, of course, and I wouldn't want to slight them, but it is a singularly lonely experience to be the one on whom hope rests. I carry this hope, mine and others', like the most precious of jewels. It is not a responsibility I take lightly.

Truth: in recent weeks, I've come the closest that I've come in three years to quitting this blog. How many weeks have I sat down to the keyboard without an inkling of inspiration?

"Writing is not a profession, but a vocation of unhappiness," said Henry Miller. I think I'll use that the next time someone asks me if I support myself with words.

In an impassioned email that can only come from a hurting heart, Mountain Guy recently told me that I lead the most privileged life of any one he knows. He challenged me to stop writing about my life and start writing from my soul.

I was immediately offended, of course, but I had to ask myself, am I missing the point? Am I living in such denial of my own hurt that I make a mockery of others'. And I got thinking about why I do what I do––why I write the experience of disability with witty nonchalance, making the handicapped life sound like fodder for sketch comedy.

I've often felt that OneArmGirl is more a caricature of myself than a journalistic representation. But I make no apologies. I am not dishonest in my light-hearted romps, but this may be mistaken for ease of existence. Life is a shipwreck. Humor is merely my life vest.

No one puts it better than the tragic humorist Oscar Wilde: "Life is too important to be taken seriously." If you're road-weary and life-worn, so am I. Now, let's see if I can make you laugh...



  1. You always make me smile, Tasha, but under that smile is the understanding that in your lightheartedness there is great depth to all you say and do. Please keep writing...for me, for others and for yourself. You bless me!

  2. I love this post. And please, don't quit your blog! I love reading all about OneArmGirl and your many adventures.

    I agree that life is hard, especially living with a disability that most people don't know how to react to. It's hard to believe in yourself when you're the only one who does. I faced that when I taught myself guitar and even when I perform mundane everyday tasks. It's such a lonely disconnect between the moment when I'm the only one who believes I can do something and the moment when I actually prove to people (and to myself, of course) that I can do it.

    Excellent post, and I relate to this so much. I'm sharing this on my Stream of Caitlinness Facebook page, if you don't mind. :)

  3. As a mom of a little girl with one hand who is often told that she's an inspiration for just being her... I consider that a huge weight to bear for her. Luckily she's too young to feel that burden and instead I encourage her to keep her positive outlook and focus of "just keep trying and trying." Thanks for your honesty and your blog.

  4. Thank you all for your kind affirmations. And, Caitlin, share away!

  5. I love your wit, and your heart!

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  7. I've herd that there's more courage in being weak and vulnerable than there is in always being the strong one. It leaves more room for Gods grace.