When your disabled, physically or mentally, an amputee or a paraplegic, people hover. They open doors and they move objects, they carry bags, they seem to just ooze sorry and don’t get me wrong they for the most part mean it.
A small percentage however are just assholes who do it to show their assumed superiorority.
So when a chance to be, even if but for a moment, self reliant again, yes reliant on your own wit and your own muscle, for just a few feet of rock wall, of mountain you can do it all on your own you take it!
You take it because the universe, the IED, the non Hodgkin’s lymphoma took it from you. So when the Kareemah Batts of this world, the adaptive climbing groups of this world, the Brooklyn Boulders say we’re here for you, for you to be the best you can be, you grab it with both hands. No matter whether or not those hands are graphite or fiberglass or whatever the technical best our geniuses of prosthetics can produce you take it.
I met the amazing Kareemah Batts, a amputee from a cancer that tried to stop her but came up against an immovable force and when she beat it she got back to a life worth living and then she got back to her love of climbing and when she screamed “wow I bloody well can do it,” she wondered how many more of her community can, if given the chance.
So with Kareemah at the helm and Brooklyn Boulders saying if Kareemah can give her time we’ll come to the party, I showed up and was strapped into her very own black diamond rig and was taken to the wall. I sat in my wheelchair. I’ll admit scared shitless that I couldn’t do it anymore
but with a great volunteer belaying I went from scared disabled woman in a chair to slapping the top of the wall after climbing on my own under my steam with every muscle above the waist screaming.
See me do it here:
But whether I failed or whether I won I BLOODY WELL DID IT MYSELF and because I gave in to that I topped the wall. It wasn’t a huge wall but for the ten minutes to me it was El-Capitan and I, a wheelchair bound aussie dyke who will never walk again summited and I will be back next week. I see custom shoes and my own black diamond rig in my future and if you want to believe in yourself again drop me a line and meet at me at Brooklyn Boulders any Thursday at 6 pm but prepare to become addicted, addicted in believing in yourself.