In life, one of the most interesting things you can feel is love. The ability to let your guard down and show someone your true unfiltered self can be one of the most terrifying experiences. If you add a disability or a wheelchair into the mix, the feeling can be overwhelming. Over the span of my dating life, I have only dated three girls, and I dated each of them for long periods of time. There is one trait all these girls had in common. They didn’t view me as being disabled. Yes, they understood I had muscular dystrophy and that there were some things I needed help with, yet they loved me for who I am and saw past my wheelchair. I was able to show them my true unfiltered self. I was open and honest about what I physically could and could not do.
I think one of the easiest things to do is to say “I love you” to someone, but do you truly feel love or are you just saying those words? I think one of the biggest challenges we face is trying to find love is to love someone and have his or her love in return. For many people, that is one of the most difficult things. For love to succeed, it cannot be a one-way street. If we are not shown how to give and how to receive at a young age, I believe it may be difficult for someone to truly feel love. I think communication and honesty are keys to any relationship.
Being elevated in my chair has shown me a different side of compassion and love. I can hold hands while walking through central park on a date. I can experience eye-to-eye conversations with someone during an activity. I remember one of the first dates that I went on with a girl that I ended up dating for a year. I called her and asked if she wanted to go to lunch, because I was down in Manhattan for the weekend. So, I made reservations at this small café in midtown. I drove my chair elevated at iLevel a few blocks to her place. We walked through central park talking the whole time while we headed to the restaurant. Once we were at the café, I lowered my chair and we continued our conversation. From when I picked her up to when we finished our lunch, I was completely engaged and attentive to everything she was saying to me because I could make eye contact and pay attention.
I feel that iLevel is a great tool that allows me to get to know someone better. I end up caring for that person and eventually I felt comfortable enough to throw the L word around. Now that I’m in my late 20s, I have learned love can mean a lot of things. Sometimes love is just being there for someone when they need someone to talk to or laugh with. Sometimes it’s a random act of kindness. Other times, it is shown through affection. But I think we can agree that we should always reflect on love and kindness.
About Josh McDermott: Josh is a brand ambassador for Quantum Rehab®. He is a public speaker and has served as a goodwill ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Josh lives in New York and loves to travel. Click here to learn more about Josh.