My whole family enjoys skiing, which is an activity I have never been able to do. As a child and young teenager, I accompanied my family on skiing vacations but spent most of my time indoors watching movies and reading while they all enjoyed the cold weather and the mountains. I never minded because I didn’t like the cold and I didn’t want to ski. The one time my father convinced me to try downhill skiing with him, he held onto me and skied backwards while I skied forwards and fell. I hated falling, I hated being cold, I hated feeling like I was dead weight to my family (especially to my dad) and I was humiliated that I fell repeatedly in front of other people. One of the most difficult things about having a physical disability is visibly struggling in a public way. I used to give up on activities that I didn’t like or I feared I would fail because I was embarrassed about how doing them made me look to other people (especially since I’d been made fun of for the obviousness of my disability all my life). I hated that any challenge I had could be seen and therefore judged or mocked.
I also tried cross country skiing when I was little; I tried to ski as part of gym class and I can recall trying cross country skiing with my mother (though I don’t recall her intentions for me). Cross country skiing was even more challenging for me than downhill skiing because it required not only balance and stability, but coordination and flexibility that I didn’t have. I recall giving up out of frustration (though people often interpreted it as laziness). This is a behavioural habit that I’ve had all of my life (though I am aware of it and I work to improve on it): if I don’t do well at something at the beginning, I don’t see the point in finishing it or seeing it through if I know that I will fail anyway.
Summer activities have always been easier for me and I took to them better than winter activities. I love swimming and I love spending days at the beach with my family and friends. My ideal vacation doesn’t involve running around doing a million different activities. The best vacation for me involves playing in the ocean or the pool, soaking up the sun, and sleeping late. If I could take a vacation anywhere tomorrow, I would lie on a sun-drenched beach in Malta all day and dance all night. That’s what’s easy, fun, and enjoyable for me.