Every year, Montreal and all its summer wonders (and there are many – the Grand Prix, the jazz fest, the comedy Fest, etc., etc., etc… if you’ve never spent a serious amount of time in Montreal, you’re missing out!) cycle in. My MS and I, however, have a tendency of shying away from the aforementioned. The heat and humidity really do a number on me. The closest thing I can use to exemplify precisely how they make me feel is like this – you know when you’re at the gym and you’re coming to the end of the reps in your set when you’re lifting weights? How you can feel your body weaken every time you lift once more, until you’re at the end of your set, and you can barely even lift your arm; it is more or less precisely like that in the heat. The hotter it is, the more weight I’ve been lifting, if you follow me. I want so badly to be able to enjoy the summer’s warm embrace that we Montrealers are gifted with for putting up with 8 months of the daily climatic round-robin we endure annually, with weather ranging from ‘feet’ of snow, lakes of rainfall, to freezing rain. For any of those who wondering, freezing rain is exactly what it sounds like; chunks of ice falling from the sky. This country kicks ass!
Alas, I get but 2 seasons a year that I enjoy. This may not be far from many others; a myriad of potential limitations are put on the population around me, in ways vastly different, perhaps even for some reading this very post. So, just know that if you fall into that category of heat intolerance, know that I feel your pain. It blows, I gotcha. The fun of my MS is that I’m fighting an uphill battle against a list of limiting factors, heat being but one. Wheelchair? No problem! Fatigue? Not the end of the world. But no Summer fun in Montreal?
Well then… (to my family, please don’t take this the wrong way…) what’s the point of even being here? I live in a city where I constantly feel disadvantaged because I don’t speak the language. I can string a sentence together, I understand more or less perfectly, but my vocabulary is limited, my accent is atrocious, and I often find myself stuck not being able to find the words that I need to finish whatever thought it is that entered into my head. The worst part? I could take a French class. I could perfect my French. But I’m so disinterested in doing that… I’d much rather work on obtaining my English masters. It leads me to think; if the city can’t inspire me to bolster a desire to learn the language, what is so great about it?
I’m a Westerner, pure and simple. Montreal is beautiful, but not for me.
Beyond my disease and the fingers of disability that it has grasped me with so furtively and with such inexorable strength, I’m beginning to feel loss. True loss. It’s part of life, safe to say. But sometimes, I can’t help but feel there is a disproportionate amount of “no” to all the “yes” life offers.
“No, I can’t go there.”
“No, I can’t do that.”
Far too many sentences that begin, end, and/or are made up with those words have left my mouth. So there you have it. I think it only a natural part of adjusting. I choose to identify obstacles, figure out how to get around/under/over/through/past them, and then file whatever it is I have to do under “yes” or “no”. Or perhaps under “yes, but…”
I’m going to write a book. I mean it. I think there’s some value in the things that I say, some of the blogs that I’ve chosen to share with no one in particular, yet, somehow, everyone who matters. While the capitalist in me would love to see some kind of profit from the endeavor, the realist in me is thinking “will it even work out so that I break even?”
I have a riveting, monumental story about a long life but not enough living. And in its pages, I will do my best to shine a spotlight on what life has thrown at me. I have a story to tell; it is as inspiring as it is heart-wrenching, it is capable of galvanizing just as quickly and equally as it can weaken you. It is a true story, the truest one I know. I can say with a modicum of certainty that it’s a good story. It’s worth your time – private industry-bred efficiency has left it so that I’ve learned not to waste my time; I wouldn’t think of asking you to waste yours.
It is, after all, important to have dreams, isn’t it?