Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Frazzled Cashier

Photo by Getty Images

In line at the checkout I could tell that the cashier was a little frazzled as she wrestled with the register and chatted up the ladies in from of me. The elder one asked if she could help me unload my cart onto the belt. She said she was bored and fidgety and it would save her sanity. I giggled and said sure. When they were rung up the tape on the register messed up and I could see panic on the cashier's face. It was a crowded Saturday afternoon at the first of the month and I was feeling for her.

The ladies in front of me left and it was my turn to check out. The cashier said "I thought you were with them." I said. "Nope, flying solo these days. How are you?" She said "I been better, I'm not liking 2016 yet. How are you?" I said, "I'm great!" I gave her a smile and she said, "If YOU are doing great then I have no right to complain." I raised an eyebrow and continued to smile as her words caught up with her. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean it like..." Her words trailed off and I said, "You know what? Let me put this in perspective for you. You are here for 8 to 10 hours standing on your feet and feeling the strain in your feet and your back. I am here for two hours and I'm pushing a button on a wheelchair. It's ok for you to have a worse day than me. Even if I could change my situation, I wouldn't. You know why?" She said "Why?" I said, "Because then there would be no reason to have conversations like this one." She smiled as she finished ringing me up looking at me a little confused and I told her I hoped her day got better and left hoping it did.

Every time I go I encounter situations like this one. I can almost hear the inspiration porn haters saying, "Etha! They don't need to be all up in your business, you have the right to go shopping without having anyone point out your disabilities and invade your space!" I have a few days where I don't want the attention, but I do and most of the time I enjoy the interaction unless someone tries to physically handle me without my permission then there is a fight. The way I see it, if me enjoying my life overcoming physical challenges makes me a "Inspiration porn star," then so be it. Let it give somebody courage and hope. The world needs more of that.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

I Love a Good Challenge!

Readers of my blog know that I have been through it the last few years. The loss of a marriage and our home and our pets followed by the death of my best friend really took its toll on me and my family. I have to admit as much as I tried to fight it off I lost a bit of myself and gained a good 45 pounds that has put me at 197 pounds. I want to make it clear that there is nothing tragic about putting on a few pounds. It is quite normal when you are middle aged, but for me as a woman with a physical challenge it affects my mobility and independence. 

I am starting a journey of recovery. I will never weight this much again. It is not healthy for my 5'5" frame and quite frankly I want to look good when I hit my 50's lol.

Here is a short video as a intro to my process. There will be more to come. :) 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Goodbye Jesi, Hello World

After my husband and I separated last year I deemed 2012 as a year of losses. I found it to be appropriate as I lost my transportation, my job, my pets, and my home. I sold my camera equipment and many other beloved possessions to move back to my hometown and literally started over.

When 2013 came my life was completely different. I had my own apartment, a new job and I declared it to be a year of taking chances. So I blew off the metaphorical dust off of my book manuscript and updated it and through the inspiration of my late best friend Jesi, I published Echoes Through Corridors Silence in Rooms. Jesi recently passed away due to a heart attack. So much of her life was unfinished at 40 years old. This only fuels my intensions for this year and even though she is not physically here to push me as she always has I still hear her voice saying, “Well? What are you waiting for?!”

I have received amazing comments on my book and had many people thank me for helping them realize they were not alone. That was Jesi’s message for the world. While Jesi and I had our differences in the contributions we wanted to make to the world we had the same goals. We wanted to make a difference. While her work is done, her intensions are still alive and well, for every step I take from here on, I take her with me. I have our other best friend Sheila to make sure that happens.

We all went through the healing process together, writing and sharing poetry and cheering each other on as we created new lives for ourselves. As I step into the role of writer and motivational speaker I am aware that this is a natural progression of our stories.

I am now accepting speaking engagements to share my experiences as a writer, photographer and a survivor of abuse, all with being physically challenged. I will share my failures, my successes and the processes in between. All of this I offer with one special message. “You are never alone.”

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Sunday Beams

Sunday Beams by Etha Walters

I was greeted by sunbeams when I rounded this church in Hamilton. It was almost as if the sun was shining just to spotlight this little church. It made me think of how we worship and how taking this photograph was an act of worship itself. It serves as a testimony to the little things that make this world so beautiful. Sadly these little things are often drowned out by the hustle and bustle of life or out weighed by bills and problems and global catastrophes.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Dream Courage

You can tuck all your dreams away in a box and hide it in a cluttered room. But in the attic, in the corner, under mounds of books, clothes, toys and cobwebs; that crushed, faded, mangled and torn box of dreams will find a way to haunt you. The spirit of that box will sneak up behind you through the years and whisper in your ear. Words like “I wish I could” or “if only” will echo into the void and return with “I should have,” and “why didn't I?”

 In to Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee’s character Atticus Finch says, “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.” This kind of courage is the act of faith and determination, it is not about winning in the end, it is about not going down without a fight. After all regrets come stronger in the things that we did not do or try, then the things we did and failed.

 I worry about today’s young people and the oppression of so many dreams that are drowned out by sounds of recessions, depressions and just getting by not to mention the affects of drugs and alcohol that lull them into an acceptance of a mediocre life.. I worry about our teachers who try to ignite that spark in our youth but gets flooded with the dampening effects of overworked parents, poor nutrition and not enough sleep. But our dreams are resilient they can stand the test of time and endure a multitude of war.

Given the right care, our dreams have the ability to live long past ourselves. Steve Jobs who has a permanent place in not only our country’s history, but in the history of the world is a great example. He said, “Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition” By embarking on the journey of perusing our dreams we grow and expand in the respect for ourselves and who we would like to become. The act itself of reaching a little further, learning a little more, practicing more often moves us one step closer to the result that we hope for. The courage to try gives us the opportunity to respect ourselves and love ourselves in a new way; which in tern shapes how we feel about others and how they feel for us.

So tell me… what do you dream of?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Fixing the UnBroken

I started the Dr. Oz's Reparative Or 'Ex-Gay' Episode and couldn't bear to watch anymore of it after 10 minutes. It reminded me so much of a society who believes that my life would be so much better if I was not disabled so they try to "fix me" through therapy, surgery, and the worst one of all, faith healing. This stigma comes from small minds who are clinging to their cookie cutter magazine perfect world and anything beyond the mediocrity just has to be "fixed." After all we don't want to mess with the perfect body fantasy. Never mind that if we have a creator who does not make mistakes created people of all shapes, sizes, colors, abilities and yes, orientation; we are simply telling God how to do "his" job. We are robbing ourselves of the treasures of our diversities and the lessons we can learn from them all because we want to hold on to a idea that is just that, an idea.

What if, my disability could be put into the background of who I am as a person and my ABILITIES, and personality were what people remember me by? What if my physical infirmities were accepted and I could have accessibility freely for work, play and dating without stigma, pity and those with a mission to convince me that I lack faith because I didn't get up and walk? What if I could be appreciated for my unique perspective?

What if, gays were accepted and treated with respect within their orientation, instead of shamed and ridiculed into believing they were some kind of an abomination; and tortured and bullied to the point of seeking out a treatment that could cause a psychotic break, or see no other option than to permanently end their pain by taking their own life?

Most of all, why is it the people who want to fix others the most are the most broken and they don't even see it?

Here is more on the subject...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Beyond the Silver Lining

Beyond the Silver Lining by Etha Walters

I took this photo while sitting on the patio of my new apartment. The blue sky and big fluffy clouds greeted me with such promise for a fresh new start. When my husband told me a year ago that he wanted a divorce, I had no idea how much my life would change. The last six months have been the most devastating. I sold everything that I could to move including much of my photography equipment, and literally felt stripped of everything. This heavenly view, right off my patio gives me great hope in what is to come.

It is just me and Miss Cleo (My cat) now, and I am adjusting quite well to my new environment, and yes, living alone. Moving furniture and boxes around with my body and my wheelchair reminds me that I am still strong and I can still do this. Other challenges take a little more practice and commitment, but that is just life in a wheelchair.

Now that I am settled, it is time to rebuild my life. The kids are gone and I am now single and can go anywhere and do anything. So profound. My plans are to throw myself into my art and just absorbing my new environment for a while and enjoying the people in my life.

I still have my trusty Nikon D70 and so a new chapter is opened...