Two nights ago, I saw Ellie Goulding play the Hammersmith Apollo. When I bought the tickets, I was worried about the accessibility of the venue but I decided not to ask for any help or for any exceptions or alterations to be made for me prior to the show. I decided to go as though I wouldn’t need any mobility requirements and ask for help if the need arose. To my surprise, everything was fine. I struggled a bit with the stairs, but otherwise I was okay. I was able to just relax and enjoy the show rather than stressing about ‘how I was going to make things work’ with disability management.
Ellie played an incredible show. Her new songs are wonderful and it was nice to sing along to old favourites too, especially Ritual, Starry Eyed, Only You, and Lights. Her music makes me happy and has helped me get through some difficult experiences in my life. I’m really happy that I just accepted my tickets and seats and didn’t make a fuss. I’m glad I didn’t have to ask for any help. I’m glad I experienced the show and I’m glad my impairment didn’t negatively colour the night. It could have posed several problems, but it didn’t. I think this has to do with both my rehabilitative work and my self confidence. I walk differently, balance differently, carry myself differently, and present differently than I used to. I think I believed that I could manage the venue just fine. That helped me succeed. I didn’t go into it believing that there would be problems. I went into it believing that I could do it and I would be okay.
I have not consciously and consistently worked on how I present myself and my sense of self esteem. I work on my physical self and my maturity, but not on my confidence. I think it has just got better with time and experience, and with the fact that I’ve relaxed a little bit. I’m still very hard on myself and I still have a lot of trouble forgiving myself for things, but I’m not as insecure as I used to be.
This successful experience doesn’t mean that there won’t be other times that I don’t struggle. There will be other concert venues at which I will have to ask for help. There will be many other times in my life where I will need assistance. It was just a relief to have an experience where I thought I would struggle and I didn’t. This is, in a way, similar to the sex I had a couple of months ago. I thought my disability would hinder me and I thought that it would pose problems for me – physically and emotionally – but it didn’t, and I just let myself experience it and enjoy it.
I stand in my own way. I allow my disability – and the work I do to overcome it – control so much of my identity, my self worth, and my happiness. In fact, I allow it to dictate everything in my life. I think this experience is proof to me that I can relax a little bit more and that I have come farther than I let myself believe. I often – almost always – focus on what I ‘still have left to do’ with regards to my rehabilitation rather than considering the fact that I have made so much progress. I focus on what I still need to work on rather than what I have achieved, and I lose sight of how far I have come. I have been working to cure myself for nearly six years now. I am certain that if I had been through this experience six years ago, I would have definitely required more help than I did, and I would have berated myself for needing the help. I would have made a big deal out of needing the help (and the fact that I didn’t want to need the help). I just experienced the show like everyone else, and had a lovely night. I had the kind of night that everyone needs. I felt good about myself and I felt alive.