Nikki Frittmann has Spina Bifida and lives in Auckland with her husband and two cats.  Every second month she shares her musings with DPSN.

Wherever I go in my car these days, if I need my wheelchair to get around when I arrive, I need to get it out of the boot and put the wheels on (I don’t have one of those fancy wheelchair lifts, but I’m sure one day I will, and in the meantime I can just think they’re cool).

It’s amazing to me that in Auckland, NZ’s largest – and some people say, unfriendliest – city, someone always offers to help me do this if I’m on my own. I’ve been loading and unloading my own wheelchair for a number of years now, so I can handle it without assistance. But the offer of help is always very much appreciated, especially when I’m tired or my shoulders ache.

Not long ago, a lovely woman stopped to help me and when we’d finished, just before I wheeled off, she said, “I think you’re marvellous.”

It’s fairly common for people without an obvious disability to say such things to a disabled person and I generally don’t mind. It’s a compliment, after all. But it’s based on a very, very small snapshot of my life.  If that same lady could see me on a bad day she’d think differently, believe me.

With the NZ General Election only a week or so away, TV, newspapers and radio stations are busy asking the public who they will (or have) voted for. When the results come out, reporters all ask the party leaders what they think of their party’s success (or failure). But who will the Government be after the Election? No-one knows. Asking the public before Election Day will only access a small piece of what voters are really thinking.

Often, we only get a part of the story. At the moment, my husband and I are catching up on well-known TV series Game Of Thrones, right from Episode 1, Series 1 – the show is currently in it’s 8th season. We’re up to season 5 in our house just now, which means we are in for a lot of television watching!

The reason we’re watching it right from the beginning (which was my idea, I might add) is because when I watched it the first time around, I very quickly got the idea that it wasn’t “my thing”. Since then, however, I see so many people writing and talking about the show, and it made me curious –  why did this character turn out that way? What makes them do  what they do? What makes them tick? These are all questions that I can begin to answer, having since caught up on the whole story.

Life gets so busy now, we often don’t have time to get to know people, or situations, other than on a very shallow level. Sometimes the things we see or hear don’t tell the whole story. Often, we don’t need to know all the deatils. But sometimes, it’s great to get to know someone on a deeper level. Maybe you’ll be surprised.

By the way, I smiled at that lady before I rolled away and said, “Thank you. But I think we’re all marvellous.”  And in our own way, we all are. Why not take time over the next few months, to talk to someone different from yourself and experience some of that “marvellousness”?  Have fun!


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