Let’s Talk About Fear, Baby

That tricky little game our thoughts play with our confidence, paralyzing us into inaction.

Do your mobility issues make you fear leaving your house? Afraid of falling? Paranoid that everyone is staring? You know you’ll be too slow and hold up everyone’s fun, so you choose to stay home instead?

Ugh! I know more than a few of you are saying YAAAAS, especially when you focus all your attention on the HOW you’re going to navigate XYZ, instead of WHAT you can gain from the experience.

So many people with disabilities that include mobility issues avoid engaging in everyday and even once-in-a-lifetime experiences due to fear. Whether with friends, family, or even on your own, you come up with what you think are valid reasons (excuses) for letting life outside your comfort zone pass you by.

I know. The thought alone of getting dressed and ready to go somewhere outside your safe place makes you tired. Might as well just stay home, right? There’s no risk within your four walls. Your bathroom is accessible. Your floors are safe to navigate. Yep. Your friends can go without you. You’re all good, right where you are. But, are you REALLY good? How does missing out feel? How does listening to your friends gush about how fantastic the concert, movie, restaurant, museum, tour, etc., feel? Or, are you so used to saying “No, thanks”, it’s become your default response?

You do realize your family and friends could care less if they have to leave a little early to accommodate you, pick a different restaurant that’s easier for you to navigate, take the ramp into a venue instead of the stairs, or walk a little more slowly so they can enjoy the tour WITH you? It’s true. YOU and your doubtful thoughts are likely the biggest obstacle to you participating in a life that isn’t going to wait for you to decide. It’s going to move on whether you get off your tuchus or not. Here’s an example…

Recently, I spent a long weekend in New York City: a virtual obstacle course for an MSr with foot drop, balance issues and wielding two trekking poles. But, I had tickets for a splashy book launch for Marie Forleo’s new book, Everything is Figureoutable (and it is). I was treated to a VIP (Baller) ticket for my birthday and had the most fab seat waaaaay up front across the carpeted floors (I didn’t trip). The sold out event was elbow-to-elbow, making it difficult to gracefully traverse thru the venue, but when Marie asked the crowd to stand and dance along with her and her dance troop, instead of gently swaying to the thumping beat, poles firmly planted, I said, HELL NO! and bounced back and forth from one pole to another, punching my poles into the air as we all chanted the lyrics. It was a glorious moment!  Having a disability was the very last thing on my mind as I rotated in circles to watch the crowd, savoring one of my very own  “once-in-a-lifetime” events unfolding. Cue the obstacle…

Imagine my dismay when it was time for my VIP photo with Marie and they inform us it’s down two flights of jam-packed stairs with no elevator! This is where it gets good. Seeing that I had a mobility issue, more than a few guests and Marie’s crew offered to help me down and back up the stairs. Luckily, I was physically able to manage it on my own, thanks to HSCT, tools from The MS Gym and a lil’ chutzpah. You see, even in a fast & furious city like NYC, there are always people who are at the ready to lend a hand. I witnessed it all weekend (see pics below). From Brooklyn to the South Street Seaport, to Soho to my hotel in midtown to cabbies, there were helping hands everywhere. I was NOT a liability! I was just another visitor anxious to soak up this city I love, who just so happens to have a disability.
Did I have to do a little research to see if I could safely navigate all the spots I visited? Did I have to leave a little early to make sure I didn’t have to rush (a trip and fall waiting to happen)? Did I pay close attention to the ever-changing surfaces I was walking on? Was I exhausted by day’s end? YES, YES, and YES! So what!!  I did it despite everything that could and did stray from perfection! I could have stayed home, but, imagine what I would have missed!


It doesn’t have to be perfect, or graceful, or easy, but it’s a rejuvenating alternative to being plopped on the couch at home wondering what might have been.

What are your excuses? What tales are you telling yourself that hold you back? LET ME KNOW in the comments below .

Much love,


P.S.  Did you catch that meditation pic my photographer took smack dab in the middle of a busy NYC avenue?!! Nobody even flinched when the limpy chick with trekking poles sat down on the sidewalk. Seriously, people. NOBODY is watching you! 

P.S.S.  Thanks to NYC for refilling my soul tank and to my photographer, Amy Hedges of Amy Hedges Photography, for having absolutely no fear while helping me to visually prove that DISABLED DOES NOT MEAN UNABLE.

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