Monday, July 21, 2014

I Traded My Prada Bag for Baby Clothes

Bethany & Trevin: Fourth of July 2014
Today I write to you from my home office, which is littered with Duplo Legos, a vintage Marshall Fields ABC baby quilt, and plastic trucks and toys.  This is pretty significant, given that two months ago, my office was only slightly littered with Post-It notes, files, metaphysical and holistic health books, and speech communication and feminism textbooks.  

It was a female's female tableau of controlled chaos consisting of papers, scribbled notes to Self, a half-empty bottle of Chanel Mademoiselle, and lipstick marked coffee cups.  

So why is this Rolling Diva's office now featuring cars, trucks, and legos?  Because through the love and collaboration of close family, my husband and I have adopted my biological great-nephew.  

Yep!  The Rolling Diva has become a Rolling Mommy - again!

Tyson and I were thinking we might be seeing light at the end of the parental tunnel with our daughter's senior year of high school upon us.  We had sat and envisioned the travel we'd be boasting, the cocktails we'd be toasting, the parties we 'd be hosting, and the steaks we'd be roasting Brazilian style.  Honestly, we were starting to call the house The Micro Mansion due to all of the fun plans we had for the joint!

And then we placed ourselves back at "Start!"  The miraculous happened, and through circumstances, all of which are imbued with and based in love, we became adoptive parents to the most magical little boy I have ever known.  Those close to me knew quite clearly that such an adventure was not on my list to do; yet those very close to me knew that it was a secret longing in my heart.  

Funnily enough, a few weeks before all of this synchronized, I was of course, out shopping for bargains.  I love to shop consignments and Goodwill to glean great buys, particularly in the realm of fabulous shoes and bags.  In fact, the Marshall Field vintage ABC baby quilt I mentioned earlier is actually is a Goodwill bargain beauty.  

One day, I innocently rolled into Goodwill to find that they had randomly received a mother load of Chanel, Prada, Gucci, Kate Spade, and Coach bags.  

I nearly peed.  

I trolled through the bins, hugging each and every designer handbag lovingly before settling on what is now my new-to-me Chanel school-bag-purse.  And after some very brief deliberation, I caved and also left with a white alligator Prada bag.  

You know, for funzies.  

I was so happy I took pictures of them and posted them to Facebook, hailing the praises of smart Goodwill shopping.  And then, within a week I found myself back at Goodwill returning the Prada bag.

A week after that I was back cashing in the gift card for a cartload of baby clothes.  

And then a week after that I traded my beloved Smart Car for a Honda Element, shocking the hell out of my husband, the car dealership, and myself.  I admit it.  I cried a little.  Okay...I cried a little at the dealership, and a little more the next morning when my beloved Smart Car was no longer in the driveway.  

However, a week after that, far better than any material possession could possibly provide...I became the mother of a beautiful baby boy.   

Had anyone told me weeks before, that I would ever trade a Prada bag for baby clothes, give up my hot little car, and willingly start the parenting path all over again at this stage of my life - I would have chanted through a bull-horn, "Oh, hell no!"  

Yet, here I am, the happiest that I have ever been, traveling the joys, the highs and lows of learning how to manage a toddler, a senior in high school, an ambitious husband, and my own ambitious self in a whirlwind of effervescent life.  To to try and describe it, I would say that it feels like an out-of-body experience, a rushing vortex of thrilling energy, and a rush of refreshing cold air all at once.  

To try and encompass the unfolding of all of the events leading up to this miracle in my life with mere words, "Divine Timing," "Divine Intervention," "Cosmic Orchestration" (or whatever you choose to call it) would still fall tremendously short.  

Has it been perfection?  

No.  Not at all.  It has been very human experience full of learning, cooperation, give and take, and new ways of maintaining balance.  Everyone in the house has a new role to play.  Everyone in our immediate and extended family have new roles to play.  All of us have grown from it. 

While I have parented an early childhood age from my chair with Rolling Diva Style...parenting a near two year old from a chair has challenged me to pull out all stops imaginable in creative problem solving.  As it happens, accessibility, strollers, diaper changes, tubby time, private time, cooking, dinner time, travel, socializing, and shopping...it's all changed...and hardly any of it fits together naturally, smoothly, or like I thought it would.  

Getting in and out of the car, grocery store, or even the house takes a lot longer and involves far more awareness than balancing a Starbucks, laptop, and files - not to mention loading and unloading the damn chair into the car.  

Shopping has gone from 'serious' internal debates of which shade of red rocks the sex goddess in me  - yet easily transitions into corporate mogul wonder woman -  to figuring out which developmental toy is needed for "lil' man" that isn't too above or below his ability.    

I used to think that trying to make my specialty secret-sauce spaghetti was a challenge with two Jack Russells and a not-so-bright Pug mingling around the kitchen as difficult.  Level Ten of such a culinary  project is that much harder with the Russells, the Pug, and now the Boy and his toys!  

Yeah.  This is definitely gonna be a Rolling Diva Lifestyle Adventure - and you know what? - I am so glad I can share it with you!  While Raspberry Vogue has no intention of becoming a Mommy Blog...it will certainly include the adventures, challenges, and rewards of this new chapter in my life.  

After all...Who would I be if not a storyteller of my Rolling Diva Lifestyle if I did not include my Grit with my Glitter? 

I mean really....This Rolling Diva Mommy carries a Chanel bag with diapers, a laptop, lipstick, and professor paraphernalia in it while wearing stripper heels.  Seriously, my son already knows the words
"Chanel," "Booty,"  and "Excuse Me?" He also dances to "The Gummy Bear Song," and "Ace of Base" on the beat.  

So, Thank You, readers, for allowing me to share this life changing moment with all of you.  

By the way - you can leave comments and ask me questions.  I will personally read them and answer them!   Maybe that way we can help each other solve the world's problems while managing things like disabled parenting, the rights of women with disabilities, education, health, and spirituality...with a touch of spice, sass, and style!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Not All New-Agers Wear Birkenstocks

As many of you know from past installments, I often find myself visually not fitting into the scene I am interested in.  Some of you may recall my first day of Feminist Theory class, outfitted in leopard skin stilettos, a push-up bra, and perfect make-up.  I had a total "Oh, shit!" moment when the course opened with the reading of a poem that harpooned Miss America, Vogue magazine, Barbie, and essentially all the glittery, froo-froo things I adore.  

Glancing around the room that day, literally feeling like Chanel in a room full of patchouli, I noticed a lot of jeans paired with t-shirts advertising different movements, feminist phrases, and nature scenes.  There were head scarves, nature jewelry, and Birkenstocks in late Fall.  I don't know about you, but when you're dressed like Barbie-who-happens-to-be-in-a-chair among hardcore Feministas...you just stick out.

Or do you?

My friend and partner in academic crimes, Lori - who by the way is absolutely beautiful and diverse, fits no one's mould, and is also a brilliant activist and writer - sat beside me in a fit of giggles and leaned over and intoned under her breath, "You're so fucking screwed!"  

I completely agreed with her.  I was screwed.  I just needed a pink pen with a marabou feather festooned atop it to be a wheelchair spin-off of Legally Blonde.

But, as it happened, I sent a home run over the pitcher's plate and hit the learning curve while keeping a death grip on my Vogue magazines, Coco Chanel Mademoiselle, and assortment of heels.  None of which makes me subservient to machismo.  

Maybe I wasn't the only one in the room to rim the learning curve, after all?

The fact is, regardless of what we wear, our thoughts and emotions are who we are, from the heart.  And, frankly...the media has never gotten it right.  Like, ever.  I have never understood the stereotypes associated with different groups.  Like the first two paragraphs of this blog entry...most people will nod in grim agreement that this is exactly what Feminists look like...which in reality, is not truthful and shouldn't be taken as a blanket statement.  Not all of the class members fit the media-based stereotype I gave you with poetic license.   

The fact is, we could choose any subgroup or clique and accurately design a definitive fashion statement around them based on what the media tells us, and believe we have the right to say that if you look and dress like this....then your belief system must obviously be  this.

But stop for a moment and realize, that if that method really is accurate, then I have completely misrepresented myself.  On sight, most people who see heels, make-up, sparkly jewelry, and blonde hair automatically think, "Bimbo."  They think, "here is a woman who gets by on her looks, has completely fallen prey to socially engendered roles, submits to men, and is not even remotely in touch with the words Human Rights, Equality, Intelligence, or Hard Work."  

If you met me, you would know instantly that none of those statements are true, or even remotely apply to me.

Let me give you an example of one encounter that I had. I get acrylic manicures regularly because when you use your hands to get around in a manual chair...it wreaks havoc on your hands, fingers, and nails.  I get the manicures because they keep my hands looking and feeling healthy and beautiful.  They save my nails and fingers from rough work...literally.  

But, instead of making the connection between hands on wheel rims and forward motion, I had a woman say to me at the copy machine at work, "Well!  Judging by your hands you obviously don't do housework!"

My instinct was to zip back at her, "And judging by your cracked and dried heels, you don't have a pumice stone or lotion."  

Instead I curved a cat-like smile at her and said, "No.  I'm not very domesticated.  My husband loves that about me."  

And rolled away.

Lately, I have been sharing more of my spiritual, new-ager, metaphysical self as I prepare to complete my degree, and begin to see clients.  I have always had an affinity towards the concept of "there are many paths home," and I am finally getting to a point where I can meld my passions, beliefs, and training into a very flexible occupation.  

I don't have to give up who I am to do it...I can keep my spirited self with compassion, come from light source but in a very human way, be spicy, be open-minded, and not pretend that I have reached higher levels and plains that keeps me from making mistakes.  I will make mistakes every day.  I think I've made at least 50 mistakes today already and I haven't had lunch.  

Yet, what I've been running into as I have begun to share my near-future plans with others, is an immediate commentary on my appearance, that goes something like this:  

"You don't look very spiritual."  

"Aren't new age people all stuck in the 60's?"  

"But you wear makeup."  

And my favorite, "You don't look like a hippie."  

Hmmm.  

Well...here's the deal.  Neither do the majority of the holistic practitioners that I have been meeting along the way.  In fact, I am finding that in the holistic community, you get just about every flavor of person imaginable, just like the Feminist community.  They are all unique, they all have a personal style, they blend in to the fabric of the crowd.  I have not seen one practitioner that might fit the media's portrayal in any stereotypical way.  Just like none of the other group-sets tend to fit media portrayals - and we know what we think about the media portrayal of women (with and without disabilities).

So today's lesson is this:  Not all new-agers wear Birkenstocks.  

In fact...this one wears stripper heels.  


Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Truth? Drop an F-Bomb and Just Breathe.

I don't know about you, but it seems I am not very Politically Correct, and this is sometimes mistaken as being not very calm or centered.  Obviously I know when to tailor my words in public to be more acceptable, sensitive, or in some cases silenced...but the inner dialogue I usually have going on?  It would probably make a sailor blush...and I don't think that is all bad.
  
Research shows that people who swear (even well educated people) tend to be more honest than those who monitor their words very carefully.  I think that maybe after years of personally hitting so many highs and lows just by living life as anyone does,  I have come to holding sort of a 50-yard line stance, regarding nearly everything, that comes complete with bullshit detectors and self-protection shields all wrapped around an insistence to Speak My Truth.  

Sometimes, lack of PC Vocabulary, Direct Honesty, and Calculated Responses batted back over the conversational net get misinterpreted by others who had expected that I will either react meekly, be clueless as to the game being played, or that they will be mindlessly agreed with on their point of argument.  When the conversation doesn't play out that way...most people react to me first in a stunned manner, second in an offended manner, and swiftly to a third defensive manner.  Occasionally, while in their defense mode, assumptions are made about me (and verbalized) that I am unenlightened, rude, or unsympathetic.  

At first, my knee-jerk reaction inside is to flicker to the thought that, "Wow...to be enlightened and helpful, maybe one does have to be more gentle and non-confrontational.  Maybe I'm not a peacemaker, a helpful person, or someone with depth of understanding after all. Maybe I do need to be more politically correct in my conversations.  Maybe I shouldn't drop the F-bomb so much - even though it does brighten and solidify the message quite strategically."  

Note I said flicker.

Right on the heels of any momentary self-doubt, I quickly realize...wait..."Oh, Hell No!"  

The fact is, there are Lightworkers who are Light Warriors.  They speak the Truth, they cut the cords of deception, and they slice away the nets and snares so many people are caught up in.  They don't hurt others.  They don't even open up cans of whoop ass on some that have potentially earned a few cans to be opened on them.  

No.  They use their words of Truth for Freedom.  Freedom for others to breathe the fresh air, break the chains of their own personal silence, the prisons of their own making, and the limits others and society have placed on them.  And sometimes, out of necessity...those words are salty, spicy, and very intentionally placed.

It is true - sometimes it is painful to hear the truth - especially when the delivery is peppered for perfect grilling.  Sometimes it is more painful to deal with the truth of a situation and gain personal freedom, than it is to remain limited, small, and entrapped; so people sacrifice themselves to limitation, and never get to experience their full potential because cutting the cords, being honest with themselves first and others second, really does hurt too much.  It is excruciatingly painful.

But I believe in short term pain for long term gain if it means there is a positive outcome.  I believe that sometimes as wounds to our Spirit heals...it often hurts far worse than the trauma that left us wounded in the first place.  I believe in and completely understand that the darkest hours are just before the dawn.  

But that means that I also know how exhilarating it is to grab that first gulp of fresh air.  I know what it is like to realize a toxic relationship is finally over.  I know what it is like to lose, because losing the battle wins the war in the end.  I know Spiritual Warfare.  I know wrestling with Self and seeing the Higher Self come out the winner.  I know the indescribable elation that comes from bouncing back to life- time after time, over and over again.  

Perhaps its simply the peaks and valleys of my life that have opened the door for me to be far less concerned with being politically correct, and instead getting right to the kernel of the issue, or perhaps I was just born with my finger on the pulse of the power of words.  But, I like that about me.  And I like that about the friends that I attract into my life.  I love that about my intimate relationships.  My family.  My marriage.

If I could wish for anything for people, whether they are dealing with pain that is physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual...it would be that they could swiftly find their Truth and be brave enough to tread the waters further out from the shore and find they can swim like a mermaid in their own inner peace, inner knowing, inner wisdom, and inner freedom.  Our battle in life is internal.  But we take it so seriously, we think it is something very real, very physical, and very tangible...and we mistake it for being reality, when it isn't.  

Something that I began to do years ago, back in the beginning of learning my truth, was a heartbeat breathwork meditation exercise.  Give it a try...

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Heart Beat Meditation

Sitting comfortably in a meditative pose, or in a comfortable chair, start to take note of your breathing.  Is it shallow?  Is clavicular?  Is it diaphragmic? If your breathing is from the clavicular area, start to bring your attention down to your diaphragm.  Ease into breathing from this place.  Begin to breathe from this place more deeply. Next, gently place your right palm over your heart and focus on your heart beat.  Begin to breathe in for two heart beats, and breathe out for two heart beats (especially if you are a shallow breather).  Work your way up to drawing in breath for three heart beats, and exhaling for three heart beats.  Work your way up to drawing in and exhaling likewise for four, then five, and then six heart beats.  Spend time becoming comfortable with each counted intake; don't move on to higher counts until you are completely comfortable diaphragmically breathing in and out at lower counts.  

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It is totally okay to only get up to three until next time.  The important thing is that you have slowed your breathing down, you have begun to get acquainted with deeper proper breathing, and you have moved your breath placement to the belly.  

In stressful moments of your day...just tune into your heart and your breathing.  They are the doorways to your truth.  They are calming.  There are no mantras to memorize.  No extravagant set ups or special outfits to wear.  

It is just you.  Your heart.  Your breath.  Your truth.  You.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Garden Grows

Words can't describe how happy I am that it seems we've gotten past Old Man Winter!  I am such a Spring and die-hard Summer person, that while the winter months can be comforting and reflective...I am not myself.  

I thought that I could make it through the last of the icy fingers of cold damp Southeastern weather without rolling myself straight into a tanning salon, slapping down the money to thaw myself out.  Not quite.  In the end, I bought myself a sweet tanning package and I now look like my sunny Scandinavian little self inside and out.

I have started my adaptive box gardening, too.  We had a warm spell, which helps run the maple sap rather nicely.  But it tricked me, once again, into loading the Smart car full of plants, herbs, and veggies a bit too soon.  One unexpected frost later - like a day after we hit an uncommon 80-degrees - I lost some Sweet Basil, the outer leaves of Hostas, and a good percentage of my German Thyme.  

This year's gardening is otherwise going well.  I've reconstituted the Cilantro, added to the Curled Parsley, placed Lavender on the front walkway to entice guests, and replaced the Rosemary.  New to the veggie section is Romaine Lettuce and some Spinach...which is a great idea since we load both of these greens into nearly every at-home dining experience.  

It strikes me how working the garden beds, watching the Tulips and Hyacinths bloom, and nurturing culinary herbs and organic veggies brings back pieces of myself I sort of thought had gone missing. 

I don't know about you, but I have noticed that the daily grind, the routine of life, and the focus on solving all of the problems that bubble up sort of erodes our Center.  This past year has had some interesting and unexpected highs and extreme lows that caused subtle and not-so-subtle shifts inside of me.  Navigating those peaks and valleys shut down an aspect of my nurturing self.

Whenever I hear someone say that they have lost a part of themselves, particularly that nurturing side of their persona, I automatically think that they mean they are finding it hard to care.  They are being challenged when it comes to caring about others, family members, friends, the environment, the state of the world.  It hadn't crossed my mind that what they may have meant was that they had lost touch with the nurturing side of themselves for themselves.

Routine can make you chilly.  Constant problem solving can turn you rather robotic.  When you're chilly and robotic, there is a pretty good chance that you're also exhausted.  Referring back to Old Man Winter, for me the length and strength of this past winter season did not help the situation.  It was abnormally cold compared to the last decade, and it just kept hanging on.  

I am thankful for the Sun.  I dare say that I am a worshipper of Ra.  With my fingers in the dirt, taking the time and living the process of watering, trimming, watching, and enjoying life springing from the Earth while soaking in the rays as been a tonic for my Soul.  I have taken to meditating in the garden, in the sun.  I've begun drinking loads of fresh water.  I feel like the very plants I am taking care of...I feel like I am stretching, growing, and rejuvenating.  I'm paying attention to Me in all of the right ways.

And that feels Extraordinary!

                                                                                                                               

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Flying the Friendly Skies

With loads of excitement, I booked round trip flights for two to Los Angeles...I was going to present a workshop at the L.A. Abilities Expo!  Personally, I love to fly...my favorite parts being the take-off and the landing.  They are a huge rush, which probably explains why one of my items yet to cross off my Bucket List is to sky dive!

In terms of flying, from when I was single through to being married, I have never experienced a single problem.  No lost luggage...in fact airlines only lose 6 to every 1000 bags it handles, and those odds are almost always when a quick connecting flight is happening.   No snapped-in-two wheelchairs, which in fact rarely happens (although I have friends who can unfortunately relate to this disaster).  No air-sickness.  No annoying passengers seated with me, and only mild encounters with screaming/kicking children.  I've never even experienced a glitch going through security.

I had avoided all of these flukes until I flew to Los Angeles earlier this month.

For starters, to say that I had an evil little weather man following me around on this trip would be an understatement.  Throughout the whole adventure, we found ourselves leaving good to mild weather, waltzing straight into cold snaps, ice storms, and inclement/unusual weather patterns.  As I keep saying to my friends and family, "I have been freezing cold for over three weeks!"

We left Nashville on a relatively mild day, daydreaming of the West Coast weather, warm breezes, and California sunshine.  Unfortunately, we arrived during a freak rainstorm pattern that had Los Angeleans as confused as Nashvillians when it pretends to snow.  In fact, relatives that have lived just outside of L.A. for nearly two years told us they had never seen anything like it.  I promised I did not bring the weird weather from the Southeast.


But....even before we encountered the deluge, I got stopped in security.  Okay...confession.  I don't know if this is part of my Pops and my Paternal Grandpa coming through me or what, but I love jack-knives.  And, I usually have one in my backpack, in a purse, and at one time I had a small one on a key chain.  Obviously, I'm not planning on any "cross on the switchblade" action, but like Swiss Army Knives, my little jack-knives have come in mechanically handy on more than one occasion for quick wheelchair repair, opening packages, and even car maintenance.  This particular beauty happened to be antique, freshly oiled and sharpened, and all but forgotten in a small compartment of my purse that hangs on my chair.

I know I went several shades of pale when the security woman dangled it in front of me and calmly said, "And what is this?"

Goodbye, awesome antique jack-knife.

Next, they stopped Tyson for having a huge Appalachian Trail camping sized water bottle full of water.  Not just full of water, but a full water bottle with a quartz crystal in it (which is a metaphysical/spiritual way to charge and energize filtered water).  I'm sitting there slack-jawed looking from my lost jack-knife and the security officer, to Tyson being led away to dispose of the suspicious fluid and a rock.  

He had to start through security all over again.

Now we were time-crunching to make our flight.  And when we time crunch for any occasion, I start speaking most unlike a professor of communications, and more like a seasoned sailor.  

We made our departure flight, my chair was safely stowed and later returned in one piece from under the plane as we switched flights in Denver.  We knew better than to leave the secured area, and so we ate some food and hung out napping like the airport minions we'd become, askew in unforgiving seats.  
We arrived in Los Angeles, and quickly learned the best way to get to the hotel was by Super Shuttle; which we waited for over the course of an hour, and sat in as it circled the airport filling up for nearly two hours.  We arrived at our hotel nearly three and a half hours later, with a better understanding of having a car sent the next time would be well worth the investment.  We were lucky enough to meet up with the 3E (Embrace, Educate, Empower) entourage and chat in the lobby while we checked in, and got directions to the nearest fresh Mexican restaurant in downtown (Cholo's).  

We stayed in an older hotel that had some historical meaning, and it was beautiful.  It had recently been refurbished.  I had booked a small room knowing our hang-out spot would not be the hotel.  Unfortunately the room held enough space for a Queen bed, and the narrow door to a shower only bathroom where the toilet was stationed in the doorway.  No joke.

Back to the lobby we go.  Switching rooms, we got into a room with a bit more space and the precious commodity of a bath tub and a commode that didn't block entrance to the bathroom.  

On a much lighter note, Los Angeles and the Abilities Expo itself was amazing!  We walked around downtown the first night as temperatures cooled, and we hit the Expo floor running the next day with a juice drink and granola bar in tow.  It was truly an honor and privilege to meet so many wonderful like-minded people, each of them with a story, each of them inspired to make the world a better place.  Despite the pouring rain and cold temps...the trip to attend the conference was fabulous!

The interesting stuff hit the fan on our attempts to make it home.  

While we were in the deluge, Colorado was having an ice storm.  And, Denver being our connection hub, all flights were delayed by a few hours.  After standing in Customer Service for nearly an hour to square away some details, we learned we had been misinformed...we couldn't be assisted at customer service.  We had to go online or call on the phone.  So.  We called on the phone.  And right when we thought we had things fixed for our flight, the agent said we couldn't make changes to our itinerary because we were categorized as "In Flight" status.  

My sailor self began to resurface.  

One of best perks to our delayed flight which resulted in a  missed Nashville connection despite the Captain coming over the speaker saying, "Welcome to your flight to Denver, let's fly this thing like we stole it!" was an extra two days of vacation that we were able to luxuriously spend with family who live in Denver.  

We met friends of theirs, had family game night, went out to dinner, and slept comfortably...knowing other options would have been a hotel with a minimum voucher, or the airport.  So, even though we landed in Denver at 10-degrees...we were genuinely warm with family, reconnection, conversation, and love! 

You know how life has its ups and downs?  Well...visiting with family in Denver was an Up.  

Testing positive for explosives at airport security was a definite Down.

Planning ahead, we knew water bottles must be empty.  Done.

Getting to the ladies room before standing in line, going through security, and tagging my chair...Done.  

We weren't as time-crunched, thankfully, but we were cutting it close enough that I wasn't feeling tremendously confident in our relaxed traverse through the airport to the one and only connecting flight to Nashville.  I knew I didn't have any unintended weapons on my person (still feeling somewhat sad for my lost treasure), and I had drained my huge Fiji water bottle in the ladies room sink.  We should be good to go.

After the initial pat-down, I thought I was done, and so I reached for my stripper heels when two security people yelled, "Stop!  No...leave those there!"  

"Um...Okay."  I gingerly backed away from my diva shoes mentally chanting a mantra of protection over them.  After all, losing an antique jack-knife is one thing...losing your heels?  Total new level.  They inform me their hands had tested positive for explosives after my pat down, and asked if I would kindly follow them to a private screening room.

Huge WTF moment on my part.  

So, there I am, grabbing Tyson by the arm and dragging him with us while they explained that they would do another pat down, only instead of the back of their hands, it would be palms.  And then they would chemically test my chair, my feet, and my hands.  

Oh my God.  This is not happening.  The closest I get to explosives is...well...my temper.  But, in true fashion, that would be my Yankee Candles.  You know.  Lovely household scents to make your home a calm refuge?  Yeah.  That's the extent of my explosives knowledge.  Not very deep.  

While I know they were trying to lighten the situation...small talk does not go over well during a pat-pat down.  Just sayin'.  We can talk about the weather.  We can talk about....hell, you know what?  Let's leave it at weather.  Please, don't ask if I've just had a great vacation.  Or where I get my fashion sense.  Or that you like my haircut.  Obviously, everything was an all clear and I got my shoes back.  And we made our connecting flight.  

I guess it makes you pause when, as you roll through life educating others, treating others fairly, doing the right thing, and consciously trying to make the world a better place, that you suddenly get tagged and frisked at the airport.  I know they are all just doing their job, and I know I do all that I can to cooperate and make it as easy as possible, especially considering my accessibility concerns.  I go out of my way to make others, including airport security, as comfortable as possible.  I think the thing that bothers me is that we, thousands of us each day, are going through these extra security measures because of a few.  

It's sort of like, the idea of accessibility and equality for the few is too difficult a task for thousands to bear....Yet, we have gone to extreme lengths and measures against the thousands (at the cost of millions) because of the actions of a few seems incredibly skewed.  Like, maybe we're investing the wrong direction here.  What if millions were put into accessibility, education, food, and security for all the same way it is for....well.  Other things.  Still, I am for the idea of being better safe than sorry.  So if extra precautions save lives, then I accept that our social norms have permanently changed.  And that's okay in the name of prevention.  But, isn't it inspiring to daydream that money like that could be funneled into issues and social gaps that would make everybody's life easier?  

And by the way, if you are traveling and have mobility issues...here are a few tips from Apparelyzed:
 Think about the location you're heading to and the level of their accessibility - especially when traveling internationally.  Look into airline lifting policies before you book.  When I am single, I use the aisle chairs, transferring at the last moment to keep my manual chair with me as long as possible.  When I'm with Tyson, he carries me on board, as I infinitely trust him more than others to physically help me.  Consider having your doctor write a letter of medical necessity regarding your medications or anything you need with you on board - particularly if you are going through customs.  It might be a great idea to have more than one copy of this letter, as well.  

So, sadly my winning streak of "No Issues Whatsoever" in air travel has come to an end.  I still don't know what made me explosive one moment, and clear the next.  I know my Coco Chanel Mademoiselle is powerful, but I didn't think it would result in a pat-pat down.  Or, it could be that the cleaning agents in the ladies room may have gotten on my body, chair rims, or jeans.  I will never know.  

I just know that if I ever have to go through another pat-pat down....could we please just chat about the weather?