And the thing is; I do have options, so the question isn’t that weird. Even though I do have a disability, I am lucky enough to be able to walk with the assistance of a mobility aid and have been known to use a number of different things to get around: crutches, which I use for short distances, a walker which I use for longer distances and a wheelchair, which I used for even longer distances. Now, The Aisle is a pretty short walk, and you might assume that I easily came to the conclusion that I would use my crutches, for this most important of walks. But it was not a decision I came to lightly.
See, I can walk, but that doesn’t make me a fan. Walking is not just a pain in the ass logistically, it's a literal pain. My feet, ankles, knees and hips have all on one occasion or another decided to rebel sending me sprawling and I would prefer, NOT to make that kind of an entrance on my wedding day. Also, I get nervous when I know people are looking at me, which I know seems odd because people are always staring, but that’s different. At weddings people REALLY look at you, and my nerves get to me so bad that I have used a wheelchair during almost every other wedding experience.
But the wheelchair has its own set of complications. I would have to make sure that the aisle is wide enough for me to get down the aisle with someone walking beside me, in many weddings I have been in where I used a chair, the person walking with me had to walk behind me because the width of the aisle was not wide enough
I also didn’t want to be looking up at Tom during the whole ceremony. Or have him have to stoop down to deliver the big smooch. I feel like using my chair would create a barrier during a moment where we are supposed to be very close to one another.
Most of my friends with disabilities assumed off the bat that I would walk, simply because I had the choice. Those that don’t know me well assumed the wheelchair and my closest friends were just curious what my decision would be.
I will say that from the start, I felt a lot of pressure to walk down the aisle as opposed to using my wheelchair, although I cannot remember actually being pressured by any one person. I am not sure where it came from; I just remember having this overwhelming feeling that that is what people expected me to do.
When I was little, in the eighties and early nineties the most important thing in the world was to walk. It was the one thing that my entire life circled around; I was even pulled out of classes regularly to receive physical therapy. There were surgeries, braces, walkers, crutches, canes; every effort put forth was put towards walking. By walking I do not mean “better mobility” but rather just walking. It didn’t matter if I was slow, or if walking was exhausting or even painful, as long as I was upright and putting on foot in front of the other, I was a success.
I never really agreed with this line of logic, and felt no guilt upon getting my first wheelchair in tenth grade. In fact, I was giddy at the freedom it provided me, but there are others in my generation who are still taking those slow agonizing steps and calling it independence. Maybe it is their whispering voices I hear in my mind, maybe it is my parents', or my physical therapist's, or those surgeons' all who wanted nothing more than to see me walk. Or maybe it’s me.
I ultimately came to the decision I will in fact be walking down the aisle. My daddy will be supporting one side and a crutch supporting the other. God willing, I will make it down the aisle without performing any swan dives, however, my wheelchair will be there also, just out of view, incase my brain and body are not on the same page.