Catwalk in a Wheelchair

I’m interrupting my CP Awareness series to bring you some breaking news: Yesterday I got to model in my wheelchair.

As some of you know, my uncle was diagnosed with cancer last January. To show our support and help fight cancer, our family has participated in Relay For Life the past couple years. Macy’s does a Mother’s Day brunch and fashion show to support Relay For Life. They use volunteer Relayers to model some of their new clothing. My daughter loves to be in the spot light, so she was super excited to volunteer. They said they wanted mother/daughter teams, and she really wanted me to do it with her, but I wasn’t so excited. Let’s just say she doesn’t get her love of the spotlight from me. I wasn’t so sure, but I didn’t want to disappoint her. A million things ran through my head, the first one being a clear vision of me tripping and falling in front of a restaurant full of people. So I thought, what if I modeled in a wheelchair? I wouldn’t be as nervous, there would be no falling, and I wouldn’t have to worry about how long of a ‘runway’ it was or whether there would be chairs behind the curtains or in the dressing room. I asked my aunt about it and got into contact with the people in charge of the event. Everyone liked the idea, so reluctantly, I went for it. We had a fitting at Macy’s last Friday, and the brunch and fashion show was yesterday at a local restaurant.

There were a few teams of models, including my aunt, cousin, and beautiful 7 month old niece, and the cutest, nicest, spunkiest little elderly lady I’ve ever met. I was pretty nervous up until the first couple teams went, and then I started to calm down. The weird thing is, in situations like this, it’s not the strangers that make me nervous, it’s the people I know. Am I alone in that?  I was pretty sure my mom was gonna start cheering and clapping (Love you mom!), but she didn’t. Somebody did do an “awww”. I hope they were doing it for my 8 year old… but I think they were doing it for my wheelchair.
The ‘runway’ wasn’t too long, but there were no chairs backstage. The fitting room was the bathroom, so there were no chairs there either. I wouldn’t have been able to stand that long, and I can’t get dressed standing up, so I’m really glad I did it in my wheelchair.
It was fun though, and Romi is already making plans for next year’s cat walk 🙂

Here are some highlights:

Romi and me before the show. Rock n Roll!

Romi and me before the show. Rock n Roll!

Macy's outfit #1. Just keep smiling!

Macy’s outfit #1. Just keep smiling!


Macy's outfit #2

Macy’s outfit #2

Outfit #3. The lady called it a jogging outfit. I thought it was kind of ironic...

Outfit #3. The lady called it a jogging outfit. I thought it was kind of ironic…

She liked this dress and jacket so much she used the gift cards they gave her to buy it after the show :)

She liked this dress and jacket so much she used the gift cards they gave her to buy it after the show 🙂

I could never be a real model; I like my chocolate too much. But was a lot of fun, for a good cause; and everyone, especially the Macy’s ladies, was really nice. The clothes I modeled were pretty, but honestly… I still shop in the juniors department lol. Maybe if I still worked at the bank…

A Mile In My Wheelchair

For as long as I can remember, people have asked me what it’s like. What’s it like to limp around on crooked legs? Does it hurt? Don’t I wish I was normal?

I was born with Cerebral Palsy. I’ll spare you all of the scientific medical details and tell you that while my mind is fine, I have a lack of control in my muscles, mostly on the left side of my body. I have an obvious limp, which is what attracts most of the stares and questions.

I’ve gotten used to the staring. Friends and family (namely my husband) notice it a lot more than I do. When I do notice it I admit I do tense up a bit… which ironically makes the limping worse, but I usually just smile and keep walking. I prefer to use my disability as a good example of sorts, as opposed to turning in to that stereo typical bitter, angry-at-the-world, disabled girl. Don’t get me wrong, I have my bad days. But for the most part I try to inspire; not punish.

Let me introduce myself a little better. My name is Ali, I’m 27, and I’m married with two kids, ages 8 years and 5 months. Music is my passion, I’m a little OCD about fitness, and I’m addicted to chocolate. I try (but sometimes fail) to see the bright side of everything, and in spite of my relationship with a loving God Who’s mercies are new every morning, I’m way too hard on myself. That’s just because I’m constantly trying to improve. Some of you are gagging by now I realize, but I’m just trying to give you an honest portrayal.

And now for my intentions of this blog. I’m writing this blog to answer the question “What’s it like?”. To hopefully be an inspiration. Even to help myself realize that sometimes it’s okay if when I did such-and-such it didn’t turn out as well as So-and-So’s.

I’m not writing this blog to complain, or to throw myself a pity party (though I reserve the right to be upset and vent anonymously on occasion). I honestly believe that my handicap can be a blessing in disguise. I’ve lived it. I also believe there is a reason for everything. There is a purpose for this, even if I can’t see it. And if I’m being completely honest, I’m also writing this blog to try to put an end to some stereotypes and judgements about me and other disabled people. Before you can judge and say what I should do or you would do, you have to go a mile in my wheelchair.