What is a “Friend”?

Let us consider what a friend truly is, because I think the internet has distorted the definition greatly. I’m not saying that is a bad thing, just a fact.

The Google definition is fun, if kind of vague. The idea of a friend being someone you know is a bit, well, bleak. I have plenty of people that I consider friends whom I have never and will never meet. We met online, and continue to speak online. I guess you could argue that we know each other mentally, and have no regard for physical appearance. I also know many people who consider me a friend that I have not spoken to in years. Some of which, and I hope no one gets offended by this concept, I would no longer like. This does not change that I would happily tell someone they are a “friend” if the topic gets brought up.

So, if someone says they have no friends, do they mean that literally? I was in a conversation with someone that I consider a sister, and she stated the harrowing fact that she “has no friends.” My reply was asking what I am. She then tried to reverse what she was saying, very non-gracefully. Eventually, she had to change her definition to “no friends around me” which is a point that I was in no position to argue. We do live over an hour apart, and I haven’t spent time with her in over a year.

I shouldn’t bitch. I played in bands for about a decade. I played hundreds of shows and in front of thousands of people. I have gone to cities not knowing anyone, and stayed the night at a random persons house surrounded by dozens of people. In the end of those events, I am guilty for going on a self-pitting rant about how I do not have any friends.

If even in situations when surrounded by people I can feel alone and hollow, what is a friend? I have had more important and impactful conversations with people I have never (and, most likely, will never) meet.

So, I raise the question: What is a friend?

I contend a rather sterile answer. What if friends are who we need at that moment? What if they are who we can categorize as a friend, and not actually “a friend”? That would alleviate the social pressure to be the classical definition of a friend. I cannot promise that this plan would fix much, or even should be considered, but I ask that it should be contemplated.

We all need to relieve the pressure to have a friend. We all need to stop changing ourselves to be a friend.

Important Questions

I have started compiling my list for Depressing Updates.

Now, I ask if the masses would prefer these all in a week? Or should I post them as I do these updates?

I have come up with a few in just two or three hours of contemplating. (The world is funny)

I will be making a category link for these, and however I post them, I will be doing this nearly yearly.

Please help me in deciding how I should post these. Either leave a comment below, or reach out on one of my many social media platforms.

The Wheelchair Questions

(After writing this, I published a video for advertising purposes. I am going to keep the following paragraph as I wrote it because it’s very true: I did not do the video I promised to do. I am just writing this to acknowledge the hypocrisy)

I worked on the video. I really did. However, I only received a couple of questions that only padded out the run-time to a couple of minuets AND so many of the answers are the same!

Now, when I say that, I mean no disrespect. I know the people who asked them were not trying to make me angry, but it is hard to remain calm when the answers are so bloody obvious.

I can answer most questions I received with one sentence:
YOU DON’T NEED FEET FOR THAT ACTION!

Washing dishes, doing laundry, getting dressed, talking to people, etc etc…

NONE OF THEM!

I get it: people are wondering how someone in a wheelchair initiates these actions in a manner that works. It’s just hard to remain composed when the questions are regurgitated without any forethought or consideration what-so-ever.

The only question that might take some explanation is this:
Do people in wheelchairs have to wipe their feet when they enter a house?

I am not going to lie: this question offended me when I first read it. It came off as patronizing and deaf. A kind of jab towards the wheelchair community: forcing people in chairs to look at something mundane to be jealous of. Then, I realized that it is a valid question, just a silly one.

Quick answer: yes.

Long answer:
In the instance of rain, it is always a good idea for a wheelchair user to run over a carpet a few times to remove excess water and mud from their wheels. In snow, I find myself physically removing clumps and buildup of the white shit outside. If you do not take these actions, there is a VERY good chance of leaving tracks or hurting hands. You have to remember, people in manual wheelchairs touch their wheels to move. Condensation build-up is a real issue, as it can leave blisters on ones hands over time. Plus, it’s just uncomfortable.

Still Thinking

I have started on my second book, as I have mentioned before. The intro went really well, but I was floundering for a bit. I am proud to say that I have figured out where to go and it is SO good. I’m probably biased.

Something I am still struggling with is that I have not figured out how I was to re-brand this blog. I have nothing against it, but I am finding having one topic to hold my attention is debilitating. I don’t have many topics that I have barred myself from, but there has been a couple of times where I did not write about an event because it goes too far from “the topic”. I want delve into humour and generally use this ties as it is made to.

Rebranding

To those who check in every week: I am sorry I vanished Sunday. I spent my day thinking about rebranding this blog.

As much as I love what I have written, I find the health angle debilitating. I sometimes feel as if I cannot update with what I want. I know I have Mind the Music T.O. to talk about punk, I am not able to talk about things that I want to from time to time.

If you have an idea for a new name, please feel free to let me know.

Thank you for the patience. I am exited that I might have new information by Sunday!

Bits and Snippets

I was talking it over with a friend of mine how I really do not have any topics right now that would allow me to write for lines and lines. All I have are a bunch of ideas; notes and notions that would not take up a full update. Almost like a status update or FAQ. So, for this update, I will just spitfire some things that should be noted.

  1. Wheelchairs do not rust. They are made from aluminum and rubber, and do not just stop working in poor weather.
  2. I wear gloves, as I have discussed before, because I touch the ground with every foot I travel. Yes, there are bars that prevent me from touching the wheels, but they are smooth and cold. Fuck that.
  3. A PSW is a helper. They do things that I cannot do myself.
  4. Wheelchair doors are for everyone and you should not feel shame if you need them. A bunch of people in wheelchairs will not ridicule you for using them, unless you are being a dick bag.
  5. Wheelchair users take up approximately less than one percent of the world population.

That is all I have this week. Comments? Questions? Points? Leave a hello below or shoot me an e-mail @ jygrdn{at}gmail.com.

Physical State vs. Mood

Pull up a chair! Get yourself a drink. I am now going to tell you about the awkward state that I live in!

First off: I am not clinically depressed.

Just getting that out of the way. I have been asked by friends, family, and so fucking many social workers, if that was indeed the case. In Toronto, they even offered me anti-depressants!

I really do understand why everyone asks: I went from being totally able bodied to not. I cannot play drums how I used to; how I did for over twenty years. This was all to be taken in pretty well in one conversation after I woke up.

Did I cry? For about a month straight. Maybe even a little longer.

It would be like waking up and you are told “WELL SHIT! Everything is different and we assumed you were dead.”

Oh wait: It was exactly that.

I digress. My mood is dandy. Is everything fantastic? Fuck no. I have some of my friends still. I have my family. I still have music. Though it is NO WHERE near where it used to be, I even still have drums.

I have destroyed every expectation of what every professional assumed that I would have. I know that sounds a bit exaggerated, and it kind of is, but it really is not. As I have stated in this blog, as well as past updates, I was going to die. It was not an assumption, it was a fact that everyone had to deal with. Then, life support was pulled, and I did not die. I was “never going to be able to breath, speak, or eat” on my own. I now do all three. They were going to surgically open my stomach to put in a tube so I could eat. We said no. A month later, the surgery would have been taking things too far.

So, am I still sad? Of course. How can that be, considering how much I have accomplished compared to what I should have accomplished? Simple.

I am twenty six. I am finally going to school, which was more than I would have done assuming the last year and a bit never happened. I am forced to, not only live on residence, but have a PSW (personal support worker) come and assist me doing mundane things. I get tired doing very little. I, after seven years of having one, do not have a licence. I mean, the though of me driving a car right now is hilarious:

“Stop signs!!?? OH NOOOOOOOOO…”

I know these seem like juvenile things to dwell on, but as it stands now, I will never be able to live the “normal” life that I once dreamed of. I cannot go out to Toronto to see the most important person I have ever known whenever I want to. I cannot go back to work where I have for seven years because the building is fifty plus years old and the everything is not even pretending to be accessible.

Even making a coffee then taking said coffee to a window to watch the rain come down is very difficult and results in me burning my lap and probably doing damage to the new nerves I have in that place.

I bitch, but hey: At least I’m not dead, right?

OH SHIT! I ALMOST FORGOT THE MOST IMPORTANT PART!

I have been asked many times over and over how my humour is. I usually reply with “bleaker than ever.” I also respond at times with “blacker than before” and “you tell me.”

I will now poise it as a question directed towards you: How is my humour?

Things I May Have Forgotten…

Well, I am done catching you up on the hospital visits. This has left me at a very bizarre crossroad where I am not sure where to go next…

So, for this post, I will talk about the little things that happened! There are a few that matter, and a few that did not even matter to me at the time!

I think I will start with my first public appearance after all this had happened. I went to the Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto, Canada. It was just a hop skip and a jump from the hospital, and they offered to cover, not just me, but my mom and my brother as well! It was very cool. There were sharks going over my head at a point or two. I also got a Manta Ray cup! It is blue! :3

I digress; I was completely hooked up to machines as we ventured down the halls and bore witness to the creatures of the deep. I had oxygen tanks, my own nurse, my own doctor (ICU Specialist), I still had a trach tube to assist me in breathing. I had IV’s in both arms and had a very hard time looking to see all that was around me.

I was happy. I was finally out in the world for the first time in a very long time. My gaze was a bit fixated on viewing other people. It was almost like I could not conceive of the idea that they did not care that I had been in hospital for four months at that point. I had a hard time accepting that they did not know how close I was to death just a few weeks earlier. That was a mixed view: both a blessing and a curse. I was so happy that they may not have to deal with what I had just gone through, but I wanted some kind of recognition. This was before I was able to use my hands. I had not touched my cell phone by this point, and there was a plethora of people who assumed that I was dead.

The greatest impact from that day was the weather. Oh, how the snow accumulated. It was actually quite beautiful, especially since I was unaware that the snow had kept up for almost a month at that point. I was completely oblivious to the fact that we were in an arctic vortex and we were in the midst of the coldest weather we had seen for years. Fuck: we were colder than Mars. That is cold. I WAS IN A BED! I HAD NO IDEA! AHAHAAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHA

So, that was around my first memory. Some people would argue that it was a very important moment and I should hold it in higher regard. I was just so out of it at that point, I cannot express that enough.