Forgetting is Freeing

I am falling. I don't know from where I am falling, or why I am falling - but my entire body has gone clammy and rigid with the knowledge that gravity is going to smack me awake, before I actually break a bone.
Though there are worse ways to be jolted from your sleep, that is one of my personal annoyances. Dreams where I am falling. I then spend the next two or three minutes furiously yelling at my subconscious: how could you forget that I have brittle bones? What kind of sick joke is this? Get a grip on yourself and don't you dare dream it again! 

My friends are all heading towards the staircase, I hang back a few feet waiting for them to notice - already a big smirk on my face. I can't wait to make them feel like jerks. 
"Oh wait, Sandy can't go this way! Sorry Sandy!" 
"Yeah whatever. Some friends you guys are, I'll just go the long way by myself." 
If I call you a friend, it means that we are comfortable enough with each other that you are allowed to make fun of me - and I am allowed to ruthlessly make fun of you. Among my friends, forgetting that I am in a wheelchair is a joke that gets as much play as those well-timed "that's what she said.." lines.

I have never been a person that dog-ears pages in books to remember where I have left off; I just remember the page number. In my family I'm the one who remembers all the errands that each person has to do. When I was younger my parents would stick me into the carseat and tell me "remind me to go get the milk on the way home" or "don't let me forget to go to the bank.." The weirdest thing my memory can do is recall the due date of each library book sitting on my shelf. (But this doesn't explain for why I always had so many overdue library books as a kid - remembering something doesn't necessarily correlate with action).
It was and is easy for me to remember these things because they have meaning for me. They are often the relationship between point A and point B, they are the reason for why C leads to D, or when E then F must follow. I am not able to recall facts on demand, but I am able to build bridges between two facts or concepts - it's in the process of understanding the relationship between two things that I am able to come up with the rest of the picture. In school I was never a flashcard kid. Flashcards were about as effective for me as repeatedly banging my head on a brick wall, trying to find the way out.

This also means that most basic information completely slips my mind. The log-in information to my work computer. The numbers needed to access my voicemail. The fact that when my shoelaces are untied, I need to tie them before they get tangled in my front wheels. The socks on my floor should be folded or put in the hamper, not left there for 2 weeks. The weather says that it's raining, this means I should bring an umbrella. These are some of the things that the hinges of my brain just never seem to be able to close on. Oh, and of course -- I have a brittle bones condition. These things slip my mind faster than raindrops through a child's fingers.

Yep you read correctly, sometimes I forget about the O.I.

I forget that sometimes expecting myself to make it through a day in my wheelchair that begins at 6:30AM, and lasts until 10PM is unrealistic. It slips my mind that as my friends are ordering another round of drinks, I should probably sit the next one out. I don't always realize that driving up the grassy hill to chase after my brother means I cannot safely get backdown. I forget that when I get angry, punching a wall is not the safest catharsis. I don't always remember that when my hearing-aids sound their alarm, it means I should have packed spare batteries in the case. It slips my mind to check to see if a place is accessible before going out on dates. I forget to check to make sure that all the elevators on my subway route are working before heading out in a blizzard. I often underestimate how rugged my wheelchair is by going out in a blizzard. I don't always remember to tell the bus driver that my wheelchair needs to be tied down during rush hour commute. It doesn't usually occur to me that a day of bone pain means that I should go easy on myself the following day.  

I forget about all of that because I'm too busy remembering to live. Sometimes it's just not worth the weight on my shoulders to remember to build the bridge between myself and the O.I. Sometimes it's just not worth my time to continually traverse that bridge over and over again, in hopes that I won't slip-up and end up hurting myself as a result of forgetting.

I forget not because I'm being irresponsible, or reckless. I forget because I'm being cautious in my choices. I am choosing to forge ahead and take risks instead of willingly holding myself back. The fact of the matter is that when I need to trek across the bridge between myself and the O.I., I know how to. It's a journey and path that is well worn and travelled, but the point is that I get to choose when I cross that bridge and when I don't. I am free to forget, and it is one of the most liberating things about my life that I am thankful to get to do.

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