Lets talk about Consent

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I use a wheelchair to get around but I walk a little bit everyday with a frame, but because of studying I have stopped walking in the morning and started walking to bed at night. I did this last night but the problem is the next morning I need my wheelchair again – because I need to be supervised in my frame. I usually walk with braces on my legs so I have to have my parent or another adult watching me to make sure I don’t fall over.

However my numero uno problemo this particular morning was that my wheelchair was down the other end of the hallway and my walking frame was in my room with me but my parents were out so I couldn’t walk to get my wheelchair and to top it all off I needed the bathroom.

I had to decide what my action plan would be. I ended up army crawling down my hallway to get my wheelchair and then I was able to carry on with my day.

Things like this happening to me, they aren’t a big deal, but I assume to 90% of you this situation communicates difficulty or comedy depending on which way you look at it.

For most people, not being able to take yourself places is a completely foreign concept because walking and moving comes easily to you.

For most people no thought goes into sitting down or moving from one place to another. However for people like me, way too much goes into things like this.

For me to be able to move or sit every muscle must engage and I have to think about each movement as I do it because these movements don’t come naturally to me. I am the equivilant of a giraffe on roller skates, the giraffe could balance but it would take him longer to find his centre and his way of moving.

The fact that I have to put so much thought into my physical movements has allowed me to put equal amounts of thought into everything else that I do. I am able to break things down and think about what they mean in a greater depth then most.

I have had to do this out of physical need.

As I move onto a chair I have to actively think about where I am in space, where I am placing my arms and how I am moving my torso, so that my legs can move in tandem with the rest of me. I work as one unit.

I am only doing this successfully because I consented to what was happening for my body and I was in control of my movements. I knew what was happening and where I was going.

The thought that goes into me doing these movements is not just because if I didn’t think, I’d fall.

It is also because I cherish the ability that I have to think to move and I have worked since I was a year old to maintain this function. My mum used to say I was like the tin man in the Wizard of Oz because I’d need to be oiled if I didn’t move. If I didn’t keep working at moving I’d lose the ability to do so entirely. But for most people moving isn’t something you have to work at – it’s just natural progression, you crawl, you walk, you run and that’s fantastic.

But have you ever taken a step back and thought about your body, because what it does, what you consent to it doing, requires more thought then is often gave to it.

On a day to day basis our bodies allow us to undertake actions. When you run it may seem like you just do it, but it is important to remember that all physical actions leave a mental impact as well and you have had to put thought into what your body does because you control your own being.

You come back from that run either immensely tired or on a high, because your mind is engaged in physical actions too and both your physical being and your mental being must consent to every action that your body undertakes.

It is too often that we allow or put ourselves in situations without thinking about the impact on both our physical and mental states.

Your mind and your body is yours and what you do with it matters, always think about why. 

‘Why am I doing this?’

What is my intent and it is something that I can be proud of. You may not ever have to army crawl down a hallway, but I can guarantee that you do need to think about the same things I do because you decide what happens with your body. You are in control and every action you undertake does matter because you matter, and so does your body and mind.


Featured Image: Dexter Murray

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