Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Accidental Fetish - Watch What You Post On YouTube

All The Kink
Watch What You Post On YouTube

People would ask me all the time while I was laid up and non-weight bearing on my leg how I was able to get around, fix food for myself, go to the bathroom, etc. All the important questions... I really love YouTube so I figured the best way to explain it all would be to make a little video:

Nothing wild in this video, just me hobbling around... I even edited out the sound of my peeing (easily audible in a quiet apt) out of the video since I knew kids might watch it. Anyway... I posted it both on my Facebook to "Friends Only" and out to a roller derby injured skaters group. Now the video is posted as "Public" on YouTube which means it's searchable.

And search it people did.... within an hour I noticed that I had more hits on the video than the relatively small audience I showed it to. Then the messages rolled in...

"Sorry to hear about your injury.... post more crutching videos."
"Really sorry to see you're hurt, can you post pics/video of when you get the cast!?"

Several others just asking for more crutching around... I thought "Wow, this is kinda strange..." but I did post it in the roller derby injury group so I didn't read that much into it. Then I decided I wanted to learn a little more about the people sending me messages and subscribing to the channel. So this is what their page looks like...

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what this person is interested in.... and it isn't in my recovery! Suddenly I remembered the 1996 movie Crash (no, NOT the one that won an academy award, the more awesome one staring the ever-dreamy James Spader!). I realized then with a slow creeping horror... I was being fetishized! *gasp!*

It's not that I particularly mind being the object of a fetish, nor do I have any problem with any fetish entered into by consenting adults that doesn't harm others, I just.... wasn't quite prepared! That's when I realized this is the kind of somewhat-dirty feeling women who are fetishized unwillingly must undergo ALL. THE. TIME.

There's no way to stop it short of taking the video down but I'm going to assume anyone worth their salt would have already downloaded it anyway into their own personal spank bank... I guess my whole thought is that wasn't the intended purpose of putting out a video like that! =/ I would have worn a nice mankini and put some slammin' disco music in the background... put some banner ads on it and made it worth all of our whiles!

The point of this story is... if you can make a video about it... someone out there can fap to that video and fetishize you to pieces even over something as seemingly un-sexy as a severely broken leg. Until then....

Recovery - Crying. Over. EVERYTHING.

Let's just get this straight... when you're hurt it feels like the END OF THE FUCKING WORLD! You mind slips into this state where you're not really sure if things will ever be right with your body again. There is a distinct disconnect between what you WANT to happen and what physically is possible TO happen with your body.

This feeling lasts what feels like an eternity and you miss so many basic human things that you took for granted just months, weeks, days, or even hours previously. I won't go into the specifics of each of these things but I realized that when I was recovering every little step towards what I felt was normalcy was some huge thing to be conquered or celebrated. This usually meant crying. A LOT.
I'm a crying kind-of-guy. I don't think it's unmanly or something people shouldn't do. Keeping all that bottled up is impossible... and it's DEFINITELY impossible when you can't express emotions by running and jumping for joy, or work out your frustrations by hitting someone on the derby track, biking through the woods, or any other physical thing that is your release. So when I need to shed some tears, I just let it fly. I try not to make people uncomfortable with it but I'm not ashamed to cry at sad movies or particularly touching youtube videos... And now I'm crying again after finding those links. Thanks internet. =/

Surprisingly WHEN I actually broke my leg I didn't shed any tears (just a nice loud "FUCK!"). Also amazingly the pain in the ER when they tried to set my leg for over an hour didn't bring me to tears (though I did almost pass out a few times). Now I'm going to give you the list of all the times I cried after I broke my leg (these are in approximately chronological order):

  • The first time I had a dream where I could still walk
  • The first time I had a dream where I was skating
  • The first time I sat on a stool and was able to wash my hair/body again
  • The first time I fell while crutching (see Slippery When Wet post)
  • The first time I dropped food I'd cooked and realized there was no way to pick it up
  • The first time I was able to get outside on my own to feel sunshine on my skin (which required dragging a wheelchair up several stairs and hopping with no crutches for about 30ft)
  • The first time there was a "pop" in my ankle after it essentially being numb for over a month
  • Subsequently almost every serious "pop" after that =/
  • The first time I put my skate on my good foot and rolled it around while still in my wheelchair
  • The first time I rode my bike again after surgery and felt the wind on my face again
  • The first time I watched my teammates skate without me in a bout
  • The first time I stood up in the shower after recovering from surgery (my birthday) 
  • When I could walk again without a boot on
  • The first time I put my skates on and rolled around the apt listening to disco after I recovered
  • Several times after practice when I would think that the pain/swelling was too much and maybe I should stop
  • The first couple of times I had to do knee-taps on skates because I was so scared of my skate being stretched out and not being able to bend my ankle
  • One or two serious falls during practice that scared me during my recovery
  • The time I hit a skater on another team and he ended up breaking his leg (see blog about that here)
  • NUMEROUS times involving wanting to quit playing derby due to injuring someone else the way I was injured
  • A few times while I was asleep when my ankle would ache
  • When I was walking again and I would have a dream of being back in the wheelchair or being back on crutches (anxiety dreams about not being able to find crutches or missing the bus, etc)
I'm not going to claim this is an exhaustive list... but these were the times I could think of off the top of my head. If you're reading this and you're injured, or even if you're not. Remember it's OK to cry... sometimes the world scares the shit out of you and you have to be upset about it. That's OK! Just remember that you'll recover one day. It may not be the same, your life may be significantly different, but you'll recover. Keep your heads up out there gang!

Worst 'Pay-It-Forward' EVER

My return to the flat track felt pretty frightening, let's start there. I knew that I wasn't in the best shape but I wasn't scared with my team by my side. My Dark Horses brothers really are the best! I always feel stronger on the track with them. I was excited, I'd scrimmaged, re-passed my skills (as every injured skater should do)... "I should be ready" I kept telling myself. Then the bout day came and I was scared to death!

Me during most of the bout /\

We had our bout against the Brigade of Handsome Gentlemen who is an awesome team which have become our "brother" team if-you-will on August 29th 2015. Our team typically plays pretty short so as much as I'd have like to have waited I jumped into the first jam. After a couple of quick jams the Dark Horses were in the lead and I was comfortable on my skates, a couple falls, some butt-clenching moments when I wasn't sure if my leg was really ok or not after falling... soon all that subsided.

Just as I'd gotten over the pre-bout jitters I was out blocking with some of my fellow skaters when I got hit hard from behind and pushed me out of my wall and forward in front of the pack. One of our fill-in skaters was also up there with me so I turned around to see what was going on back in the pack. Exactly as I turned around I see the BHG (Brigade of Handsome Gentlemen) jammer break through the remaining two blockers like a truck and he was headed right for me (us). As a blocker these are the moments you train for... a jammer heading at you full bore ready to freight-train their way over you. I thought ...

BOOM! Myself and the other blocker hit the jammer (my now buddy Hurt U Lees) square in the chest while we were skating backwards... he was toe-stop running at the time. He falls backwards and I start to stand overtop of him to make sure he didn't get any momentum when he got back up... that's when I realized he wasn't getting back up... I was worried that when his head hit the floor it concussed him or something. I wasn't looking at his leg, just at his head as he went down. The jam was whistled dead and I took a knee with my teammates at my bench when one of them said he broke his leg. Immediately I thought...

Hurt was a great sport about it though... after being initially assessed by EMTs on the scene at the bout he was taken out on a shipping pallet to a car to be driven to the hospital. We all lined up to send him off with as much love as we could.
Hurt getting taken to the hospital giving high-5's on his way out!
He was taken to the VA and then over to UK (my place of employment) for his surgery the next day. Hurt was still in the hospital on that Monday... I decided to leave work, take a break and go see him. I owed him at least that. I came into the room with my UK blue shirt and khaki pants on and the conversation went about as follows: 

Me: "Do you remember me...?"
Hurt: "No, are you here about my lunch?"
Me: "Umm... not exactly. I'm Jack Flash... I'm the guy that hit you when you broke your leg."
*I take off my glasses*
Me: "Listen man, you can have a free shot... just watch the teeth, mom paid for those when I was younger..."
Hurt: "Don't be silly, it's a contact sport! I knew what I was getting myself into-"
Me: "You say that now but in a month or two you're going to wish you punched me in the face!"
Hurt: "NAH! Now if you wait until my wife gets here SHE might punch you in the face!"

Then we laughed and he showed me the x-rays he was getting ready to take home... turns out he had the EXACT same type of break I did. Same leg, same bones, same multiple breaks in precisely the same place.

I'd spent the weekend racked with guilt. When I broke my leg it was just dumb luck... but here was a guy who I didn't really know, who under most circumstances I'd call a friend... and I did that shit to him. I asked around on the Gimp Crew (a roller derby forum for injured skaters) and a few other places if anyone who'd ever been hurt then hurt someone else in the same manner... I couldn't find anyone. I asked around to some of the most vicious blockers I know if they'd ever hurt anyone before, most didn't think about it if they had, most hadn't injured someone seriously. Part of that is because roller derby, as physical and violent as it can be, really doesn't have a huge "serious" injury rate. I tell people that basically you'll see one 'season-ending' injury per league, per season. That said, the likelihood that a given person has injured another (as some are just done messing around and falling) is pretty rare.

It was after thinking about this a LOOONG time that I seriously considered giving up playing roller derby. I was SO excited to return to playing and skating but I was SO upset about this particular thing... I knew EXACTLY how much it was going to suck for this guy. EXACTLY how shitty his next 3 months of his life would be, how he'd still have pain 6 months to a year later... I thought "OK, this is it, I'm done, I'll just ref now. I can skate, not hurt anyone, still be involved, etc." I had some long heart-to-hearts with teammates, friends, family and I'm very VERY lucky to have those people in my life. To tell me that it's OK, that it's OK to try again, it's OK to feel responsible even if you're not. Hurt had a bad fall, I know that now. I love him and the rest of my derby brothers/sisters with all my heart and would never wish injury upon them. With that said, accidents still happen all the time even when you're not doing derby (like my break).

If you're injured or have injured someone... welcome to the club!
Obviously as much as I've come to terms with it, it still weighs on me. I've had time now, played many other bouts... I've come to terms with the fact that people can get hurt and out of an astronomically small chance it could be me that lays the hit on them that does it. I'd just like to think that those of us who've been there, who've been hurt and laid up for months on end... well. We know how it feels so it's just harder for us to come to terms with.

In the end I hope none of you ever have to deal with an injury yourself or the next worst thing which is being the last person to hit someone else who then becomes injured. Stay safe out there!
Don't be afraid to go out and kick ass!

Feeling Inhuman - How People Hate Dying

No Really People... I'm DOWN HERE! *waives arms above head*

On a certain level I knew that people who were different, that is to say not upright, walking properly, healthy, etc were treated differently. As a white male of decent means however being looked at as not "normal" or not even really a "person" was an experience that was very eye-opening for me. I feel I'm self-aware enough to say that with some level of certainty.

I realized it first when I started taking my first strolls outside in the wheelchair with the help of my girlfriend. We live in downtown Lexington, KY which is a beautiful city with a very vibrant and alive downtown area. The first (and this is VERY consistent) thing that I noticed was that no one looked at me. EVER. If I spoke to people they would find ways to avert their gaze to somewhere else, anything else really, just to not have to look me in the face. Even with some children that I coach, coworkers, etc... particularly the FIRST time they would see me in my wheelchair usually a little gasp would escape them and they'd lament how they really weren't ready to see me in the chair. That I, "..looked 'different' in the chair." 

I realized pretty quickly what that meant deep down. Wheelchairs in our society are most commonly used by the elderly. I think that's the experience most people first have with a wheelchair... pushing or watching someone push and elderly relative in some hospital or nursing home. It was something that someone was in when they were at the end of their life and I strongly believe that is the deep-down-emotion that it brings to the surface in people. They think (maybe unconsciously) "this is a person close to death, or that has been close to death..." 

I think we can all agree being dead sucks. No one even really likes the idea of dying... and I think that's what it all boils down to. Ultimately people don't want the disabled person to die (which is nice) but that makes them uncomfortable in dealing with you in general as you remind them of mortality with your mere presence. It's the same reason people don't feel comfortable visiting people in Hospice. I was once that kind of person but I can tell you that it doesn't hurt you to see those people what hurts you is NOT seeing those people when you can.

It's not just looking at you... but talking to you is apparently difficult for some people too. I think the big thing is for most people is whether or not to mention your disability. As someone who's been there, if it makes you more comfortable to know what happened, then BY ALL MEANS ASK! I'd much rather spend a few minutes explaining my situation to you than to have you ignore me for the duration of an interaction with you.

Finally, for the love of god, don't bend down to talk to me. I realize what you're doing, you're putting us on even footing... but trust me, it's not necessary. I know that you're doing it to make me 'feel more at home' or something along those lines, but really it just reminds me that we're different when I'm in the wheelchair.

I think what all people who are disabled want is to be spoken to like we're normal human beings and not children or somehow unable to understand the words coming out of your mouth. If you want a good list (and the source of the above funny pic) check out this link which has some other great things NOT to do/say to a person in a wheelchair.

Recovered And Angry At EVERYTHING


The mind is a funny thing. While I recovered my mind was always lagging a little behind my body. Like it hadn't quite come to terms with the fact that I was healing up. I found that I was about 2 weeks removed in my dreams from what was happening to me physically in the waking-world.

Particularly after I began walking again my dreams reminded me of how pre-occupying an injury is in your life... like it's all you can think about or concentrate on most of the time. Then you heal and you think "I won't think about that time in my life anymore..." But you do. It's transformative being disabled (temporarily or not).

So now when I walk down the street and see a garbage can pushed way into the sidewalk, far enough that I know a wheelchair can't go around it... I hulk out... and it takes everything in my being not to sling it with all the force I have into their yards loudly yelling the whole time. Seriously, it's bad enough to deal with the sidewalks when they're in working order... let alone when there are piles of yard clippings or trash cans weighing 50+lbs sitting on them that no person in a wheelchair could have any hope of moving. So yea, I have found in my able-bodied-ness that I'm a rage fueled monster.

I try to remember that maybe not everyone is out to cause misery and suffering to their fellow humans through the placement of rubbish bins but I can't help it. I think of how I felt, how helpless and alone, doing the best I could to get around from place to place. The 10-15 minutes it took me to even get up the 3 steps to the outdoors or the 30-50ft of single-leg hops I had to do to get out of my apt door and to my chair waiting outside. I think about large sidewalk holes and heavy trash cans and the people who, unlike myself, won't ever be able to stand to move them again. *steps away from keyboard to reduce blood pressure*

All I'm saying is that in the United States of America the last ADA survey revealed that there are "Roughly 30.6 million had difficulty walking or climbing stairs, or used a wheelchair, cane, crutches or walker." And that's pretty substantial number... or about 10.1% of all Americans that this included in the 2010 statistics.

Ultimately all I'm asking you to do is notice when there isn't room for a wheelchair on the sidewalk. You don't have to hulk out and throw it or raise a ruckus but you can kindly and quietly push it out of the way. Just think "could a grandmother in a wheelchair by themselves deal with this obstacle?" If the answer is "No." and you are able, you should do something about it. If the other 89.1% of people made sure that the paths (as wrecked as they are sometimes) are as clear as they can be for these people... there'd probably be less angrily thrown trash cans... at least here in Lex. ;-)