Paying it Forward

It’s been a while since my last post, but a lot has happened and honestly, I’m not quite sure how time flew by so quickly. Finally the dust is settling and 2018 has given me a fresh start on life. Some told me in the beginning to take disability and implied that there was nothing much left for me to do, but if you know me, then you know I hate giving up.

It has been over a year with Urvi and I still work full time. Being in the worst shape of my life didn’t stop me from working the hardest that I ever had to in my career. It had been over a year and half since I drove, but I was determined to get that part of normalcy back, as well. I passed my driver evaluation and got a new car with hand controls. There’s an odd pleasure one gets when you are able to drive to any corner of the city without having to worry about train delays and broken elevators. All this is useful, since I recently got a puppy and have to drive him to his veterinarian. Sometimes I take him on a drive to my gym, as well. It’s my choice. My choice to move ahead in life and conquer any obstacle that comes in front of me.

As I reflect back, I can’t stop remembering the random strangers who helped me along the way. I never knew their names. I can’t clearly recall their faces. I only remember their acts of kindness and words of encouragement. I’d walk at a snail’s pace with my walker and didn’t realize the energy I was giving off. Strangers would slow down to let me know that everything would be okay. I never said anything to instigate the comments, but somehow they knew I needed to hear those words on the days I was struggling inside. Other times, I had cab drivers remind me that there is hope. Hope to get through everything and hope to walk again. Strangers would say a prayer for me, hold the door open, help me make my cup of coffee, and even put my shoe on my foot when it would fall off.

If I could find these people again and thank them in person, I would. Until then, I’ve decided to pay it forward. I just ordered 500 cards with the message: “The world is beautiful, because you’re in it,” and for the month of June, my birthday month, I’ve decided to hand these cards out to as many strangers as I can to remind them that they matter.  #payitforward

“How lovely to think that no one need wait a moment, we can start now, start slowly changing the world! How lovely that everyone, great and small, can make their contribution toward introducing justice straightaway… And you can always, always give something, even if it is only kindness!” – Anne Frank

 

Paintings

Society paints images of people all the time.

Sometimes, we blindly accept them as the viewer. Perhaps, it’s even worse accepting it as the subject being painted.

How has society told you how a woman, a person of color, or a disabled person should look like? Do you accept them? I don’t. I plan on painting my own picture and proudly showing it to the world.

Society tends to consciously or subconsciously judge you and put you in a box constructed out of preconceived notions, depending on how you look. There was a span of a couple of weeks in early 2017 when I was reliant on my walker to get around. I didn’t have enough energy to walk a couple of blocks, let alone take the subway and fight rush hour foot traffic, so I decided to take the taxi to and from work. My brother found a cheap taxi service that would charge $60 round trip from the suburbs into and out of Manhattan. I had just started my new job barely two months prior and could not afford to take an extended sick leave. With no other way to travel the 14+ miles to get to work, I had dedicated my paycheck to pay for the cab service.

Most of the cab drivers were nice, but over 1/3 of them had the same question for me as they were folding my walker and storing it in the trunk, “Oh, you work?” Their perplexed looks always had a hint of horror and surprise. A handful of them would pursue the conversation further and would suggest that I go on disability. I couldn’t walk more than two blocks at the time without a good 20 minutes passing by, but luckily my job didn’t require me to make frequent coffee runs. In fact, I had a standard desk job and my arms and left leg worked just fine, so I would reciprocate the look of horror and surprise when they implied that I would not be able to do my job, let alone any job. It bothered me for quite some time how people’s perceptions changed as I walked slower and slower with the help of a mobility device. I realized soon enough that society had decided to repaint my identity without my consent and I wasn’t about to let that happen.

Welcome to Adventures with Urvi! I hope you enjoy the images that I paint of myself in the months to come.