Surreal Moments

In Columns, Life With Laura by Laura Stinson

The following is an excerpt from my personal journal:

Sometimes, I have these moments of surreality. Where everything that is real feels like it isn’t and everything that isn’t real seems like it should be.

I had one of these moments just now, when I got home from work. I was getting out of my car, putting my chair together—a perfectly normal thing to do. I do it every day. But, suddenly, it flashed through my mind that this was ridiculous. Why was I putting a wheelchair together? For half a second, I truly believed I could just step out of my car and land solidly on my feet. My legs would not buckle beneath me and I would not fall to the concrete with bone-shattering results. For half a second, I thought about trying.

Even after the moment passed, I sat staring at my chair for several seconds before finally coaxing myself to get moving. I wasn’t trying to understand why I am one of few relegated to being disabled. I will never understand “why”, but I have come to terms with the reality of my situation and I’m okay with it.

I was simply trying to understand why those moments happen to me. I’m not purposefully trying to fight the truth. It just happens. I know logically I can’t, but sometimes it seems so possible for me to just stand up and walk away.

I can’t be the only person who feels this way. Disabled or not, at some time we all feel—surreal.

Isn’t it true, though? Aren’t there times in all our lives where things just seem out of place? It’s not that things are wrong exactly, just…not quite right. Why is this?

I think it’s because of a theory many ancient philosophers had. The mind transcends the body and the world. The body is transient, it is mortal. The body may cease to be but the mind and soul continue on.

In a sense, this means that our minds are not completely connected to our bodies. This sounds odd, I know, but it is true. Ask any paraplegic. His mind may tell his legs to move, but the legs rarely respond. Being disabled, I have often surprised people with the way my mind works in opposition to what they expect after seeing my body. I often make the comment that my wheelchair is not attached to my brain stem. Many people seem to expect it to be.

There is nothing “wrong” with my situation, it is simply different. Despite that, there are some times when my mind just doesn’t want to cooperate. That’s okay, too. Maybe sometimes my dreams are unrealistic. I know that there will never be a time in my life when I won’t need a wheelchair for at least minimum mobility. But, how do we keep going if we don’t have dreams? Even unrealistic ones.