Sunday, May 13, 2007


Around the first of December in 1991 I was chosen to talk on a morning show in Oklahoma and represent us folks with Muscular Dystrophy. A highly respected gentleman who owned a car dealership in Oklahoma (Crown Auto World) was doing a fundraiser where the proceeds went to MDA. He came to promote that and I was there to represent. He was a very nice guy with a big heart. We became good friends. It was very early in the morning, and I am sure I had bags under my eyes to prove it! The owner spoke about making an appearance in the ballet performance of the Nutcracker in several weeks. At that time I had seen the Nutcracker a couple of times and loved it! I told him to break a leg for his debut!! He told me he would love it if I could come. He gave me three tickets. I was very excited about going.

My mom, my friend from school Maria, and I went to the show. I brought my wheelchair with me. It would be easier for me, and for those helping me as I was dressed up in a dress and had dress shoes on. My balance is worse when I am in dark places such as the theater, or outdoors and night. My night vision leaves something to be desired as well. You thought I was drunk in the light just wait for it to get dark!! There was a big group of folks that were there to see the owner. Some of them I knew from MDA while some I didn't. We went into the theater together as a group. As we went to our assigned seats we realized it was near the front, and in the center. And of course there were not accessible seats nearby. I did not want to stay in my wheelchair during the play anyway so it was okay with me. One of the guys was going to help me to seat. Just as we were to my seat an usher came over to say that due to fire laws I would need to stay in the wheelchair, and sat in the wheelchair section. It devastated me to not get to sit with my group. My mom and my friend got to sit with me, but I still felt alienated. I threw myself my own little pity party on the inside. It was all my fault, and if it wasn't for my stupid disability we wouldn’t be subjected to sitting in tin buck two away from my peeps! Not only was I sad, but also embarrassed. I cried all during the first act. I tried to not let it show though, and keep a smile on my face. My peeps did come to chill with me at intermission. This did make me feel better, and tried to change my mindset and enjoy the rest of the play.

On the way home after we dropped Maria off at home I broke down and began to cry. I told my mom how I felt. She said "Look Stephanie, if you did not have this disability you would not know any of these people or be able to have the opportunities that you have had." It made me think. She is right. Something good always comes out of something bad. It put a new perspective for me on how I think about and deal with things.

This is something I still struggle with for as you know the saying that the grass is always greener on the other side. Having this happen though did make me think a lot about how I deal with certain issues. Sometimes it feels easier just to give up and be depressed, but who wants to hang out with someone like that. Have you ever had a situation like this that you would like to share?

Thanks for taking the time to read, Miss S


Melissa said...

I have often felt like you did that night. I love going to concerts, but as you know, always have to sit in the "wheelchair section." I would kill to be able to sit up front at a concert (other than the free ones at the fair) just once. The wheelchair seating is always so far away or off to the side where all you can see is a speaker! It is a huge pet peeve of mine. Not only are the seats far away, but they are often in places behind other seats so if people in front of you stand up...there goes the show! My friends have often had to ask people to sit down so I could see and not all people will comply. People in chairs are paying customers too and should have more than one option as to where we can sit. Staying in our chairs is fine, but give us more options. Okay, stepping (or rolling) off my soapbox now...hehe.

MISS S said...

AMEN GIRLFREND...keep rolling on the soapbox!!! I couldn't have said it much better. Of all the concerts, plays, and stuff I have been too I can only name one or two of them that was decent. Not awesome, but decent. Another thing we didnt mention (since my soapbox is rolling too!) is the fact that you are only allowed to have one able bodied peep sit with you in the "wheelchair section". Which makes any other able-bodied peeps sit elsewhere. It drives me to drink let me tell ya!!


melissa said...

I know! Sometimes the fair has free concerts and those are the only ones I've been to where they actually made me sit up front, but those free ones aren't usually big names yet so I want more options where we are paying $30, $40, $50 a ticket. Oh and you are so right about the one person rule. I can understand if the section is sold out or selling out but you know those sections rarely do. In those cases they should reserve the row directly in front of the section for attendants with those in the wheelchair section. My boyfriend and I took my niece to a Driller's game last summer and actually had to call ahead to be sure we could all sit together. Luckily, they said yes but if they had said no, we couldn't have gone. I mean you can't make a six-year-old sit by herself and if I had an emergency and my b/f was sitting separate she wouldn't have time to go find him. It's ridiculous, they don't think.

MISS S said...

I totally agree with you. It seems that unless worker people r in situations like ours they do not think. What about the movies? Some r better than others. It's either break your neck because the last row at the bottom is it or sit in the back where some tall guy w/ a Stetson hat sits right in front of u when he could have picked anywhere to sit! Give me a double on the rocks w/ salt for sure on that one!!

Melissa said...

Amen to that one my friend! I have found that the AMC chain seems to be the best. Yes, you are up front, but they have four or five rows in front of you so that helps. I like them because the spaces are roomy enough that my chair with the vent on it will fit and I still have enough room to recline my chair without being in anyone's walkway. Plus they integrate the seats in the middle of the row so you can actually sit next to your able-bodied friend and not be pushed behind them or off to the side somewhere. There have been times where I have just pulled up on the end of the row and made people walk around me because the wheelchair seating was all the way in the back, but it was not big enough for me to fit in. Most theaters are better now, but they could always be improved. Perhaps you and I should start a consulting firm. I wouldn't know how to do that, but then we could tell people like it really is!

MISS S said...

We could call our place of business "LIKE IT REALLY IS"! I would not know how to start it up either, but it would be so helpful to so many people. Not just us. I have so enjoyed rolling on my soapbox with you!! It's so nice to have a friend who completely understands!! So I raise my glass to Melissa:)