The date was July 17, 2015, the day before the Disability Pride Parade. It was also my Nana's 80th Birthday. This was something I was looking forward to all year. I decided to sleep in that day because I knew I had an important speech downtown that night and I wanted to have lots of energy. The speech was something that I had mentioned in a prior blog post called "Do You See Me?" As part of the Disability Pride Celebration of the ADA 25th Anniversary, I decided to give this speech as part of a poetry slam held at the First Methodist Church. I felt like it was a success and I made an impact on people. This is the reason I do what I do. I was very happy with myself because I memorized most of my speech, which is a skill I have been personally working on ever since I started Toastmasters. I knew I had to contain my excitement because I had a performance in the morning as well as my fellow dancers would be expecting me to do my best. However, that night after the speech, I had a difficult time sleeping because it was very hot outside and when it gets extremely hot or cold outside, I have a difficult time breathing. This made me nervous. The next day was very important to me but before I knew it the alarm clock read 6:59am and I had to get up. I made sure I ate a big breakfast which is rare for a "non breakfast loving person." On the way to the parade I listened to all of my favorite music so that I could be all pumped up and ready to go. My playlist was a mixture of pop, country and inspirational songs that I knew would motivate me for the rest of the day. On my way to the parade, I saw a guy who was at the poetry slam the night before. He said,"Hey Jessica Martin! Good job last night!" This made me feel pumped up and ready to go. Then before I could think about anything else, it was time to line up and make history. I would be making history that day because we were celebrating 25 Years of the Americans with Disabilities Act or the ADA. The whole time I was squealing with delight. Then after what seemed to be forever, it was time for Momenta to join the parade. One of my friends said, "Jess you are so excited, we are just walking down the street!" What she didn't realize was in that moment we were making history! After the parade we waited a long time and it was our turn. The music went on and I was in my element. The energy in the crown was indescribable. I was so happy. Before I knew it the group piece was over and it was time for me to do my solo. My friends helped me with my costume change and I got into place and that was it! It felt like a dream. I was nervous but it was all okay. I usually don't get religious in my posts but after a while I forgot about the crowd and I listened to the music and I could feel G-d's presence. It was wonderful. My only regret was not dancing with my friend Maddy this year. We talked about it and we hope to dance together soon I was feeling good about the parade. That was until today...
One of my teachers was at the parade and saw my performance. She asked me if I want to perform at Counter Balance. This is another history making celebration of the ADA 25th Anniversary at the National Museum of Mexican Art on Sept 19 at 2pm. I still can't believe it!! I feel like I just got accepted to Juilliard!!
Even though I am finished with this Blog, I will never forget where it all started. Thank you for your love and support. With lots of love and gratitude,
Monday, July 20, 2015
At the beginning of the summer, in one of my dance workshops, we talked about the difference between core movement or constricted movement and expansive movement or distal movement. That has to do a lot with what I have discovered over the years because as I’ve grown into the person I am today I’ve learned that there are constrictions and freedoms to just about everything you do in life. There is a song called “I am Woman” from the 70's that expresses the singer's gratefulness for being independent about her life and that she is a capable person. This song fits me perfectly this month because I’m getting ready for the next step in my life.
At the end of August, I will be moving into my own ranch townhouse which is a perfect example of the way I have progressed when it comes to my independence and a perfect way to end this blog or first chapter of my independent life. Over the years, like this woman, I have learned a lot about myself, grown as an individual and realized what’s really important in life. Even though I will be closing the first chapter of my independent life I want to continue writing a blog because it is a way for me to help others, along with getting my thoughts out through a forum where I can express myself. I am extremely grateful for all of your love, support, and encouragement over nearly six years of living on my own. It all hasn’t been easy and the road hasn’t always been smooth, but I wouldn’t change it for the world because it helped me to become a more confident and independent person like the woman in the song, like she says in the two lines at the end of the first verse:
“And I’ve been down there on the floor
No one’s ever gonna keep me down again”
Just like the song says, even though I’ve gotten far in my life, I know there is still a long, long way to go, and that is another reason why I want to continue writing my blog.
Before I end this blog I would like to share one more story about finding ways to become more independent and find a way to maintain some privacy. As you know from either your own experience or from what I have told you, when you have a physical disability it is very hard to keep things private especially if you need a lot of physical assistance from others. But one very efficient way to get some privacy if you don’t want other people to hear your conversation is to use technology to your advantage. Try to text or email some one instead of a regular conversation face to face if you are able. I am not saying face to face conversation isn’t important but if you need privacy this is a great way to get it.
Do you have any ideas, as my readers, for my next blog title, before I close the key on this chapter and open a new one?
With Love and gratitude,
Ps. Look for one more post for this blog.