Today I released a new post, and translated it to English.
== Updated on March 28, 2016 ==
BASE inc. will be closed by the end of March in 2016.
You can read the original article in Japanese from here.
Do Not Let Your Disability Become A Wall Shutting Love Out
I have never asked anyone out before. I never ever had the courage to do that.
Like other ordinary girls, I had dreamed of being in a relationship.
However, as I grow up, I realized what I can do and what I cannot do with my wheelchair.
I had thought that being in a relationship is not possible as long as I am living with my wheelchair.
When I was 12 years old, my teacher asked me to write a letter to the future me aged 20 years old.
I remember that I wanted to ask the future me in the letter if I would get married by 20 years old.
However I couldn’t ask so because I thought that I could never get married because I am in wheelchair, and I didn’t want to make myself feeling sad when I read the letter 8 years later.
Why didn’t I have the courage to pursue my happiness in a relationship?
Because I was so afraid to be rejected. I would be fine if the reasons are something I can fix.
However, I was distressed if he rejects me due to my disability.
Since I had achieved so many things in spite of walking disability in my life, I was more scared to be turned down due to my disability which I cannot do anything by myself.
I had kept these complicated thoughts to myself in my teenager day.
Luckily, I finally got a boyfriend for the first time in my life when I was 20 years old.
My life completely changed since then.
I know different people wants different things from a relationship.
However I want to share what I’ve learnt with people with disabilities and who are nervous to be in a relationship.
１．You deserved to be loved. Give other chances to love you.
My first boyfriend is from Taiwan.
His name is Jeff. We met in the U.S. where I went to college He asked me to go out first, and kept contacting me everyday.
At this point, many people would notice that “Does he like me?”
But I didn’t have a clue.
Actually I was suspecting that “He must have other purposes. I am not going to be fooled!”
I thought this way because I never imagined someone would ever falls in love with me, a person in wheelchair, at first sight.
When I told him this thought, he had a big laugh and said,
“When I saw you on campus, I thought your smile is really beautiful.
I don’t know why, but I totally didn’t pay attention to your wheelchair then.
I was focusing on talking to you when I found you at the party.”
I finally realized that my thought, “I, wheelchair user, cannot be in a relationship” was wrong when I found out Jeff’s true thoughts.
The burden in my heart became really lighter.
When people falls in love with someone, the disability should not be a barrier stopping love.
That is one I learnt by meeting him.
２． Be a better person. Treat each other well.
Boyfriend/girlfriend is different from either friend or family.
You should not be too selfish like how you interact with your family.
On the other hand, you don’t need to keep a distance like you do to your friend.
Since he was my first boyfriend, it was hard to manage the proper distance with him at first.
When I was in Japan, I was a very self-centered person, because I was always treated “specially” everywhere.
Not too long after we started dating, he got tired with my selfish behaviors, and said one day, “You have been always given what you want in life, haven’t you?”
I was very shocked he said that.
Then I realized that “He is my boyfriend, not my family or friend.
If he loses his feeling of “love”, we cannot be together.
I have to learn to understand his feeling.
Of course, I would ask him for a help on things that I cannot do on my own.
However, asking for helps may give him stress.
I can make him happy by giving something in return.
I can motivate him by showing my positive thoughts and actions.
“Being a woman who he can respect.”
I consider this is very important to continue this relationship.
３．It is okay if you have something you cannot do. If he really loves you, he is willing to figure things out together with you.
Even if I got a super awesome boyfriend, the things I cannot do in daily life haven’t changed at all.
There are stairs in front of restaurant.
The movie theater seats which wheelchair user can access are limited.
It takes twice as much time to go somewhere via train while traveling with me.
There are bunch of barriers outside even if I want to go out for a date.
“Who’s gonna date with wheelchair user?
I pay close attention even to friends when going out…”
I had been thinking in this way in the past.
A person who really loves you has a different point of view.
He doesn’t get mad at something you cannot do because of your disability.
For him, “going to a restaurant with stairs” or “Take a train on time” are not on his priority list.
What he wants to do the most is spending fun time with you.
Jeff often says
“This restaurant might not be convenient for us”.
“There should be another route for us.”
There are places we cannot go, or things we cannot do because of my disability.
However, he always says it’s about “us”.
You don’t need to blame things you can’t do too much.
Please find the best way with your partner in the journey of love.
Everyone deserves to be happy. Don’t give up on being in a relationship.
This spring I married Jeff, my very first boyfriend who told me many important things.
We were in a long distance relationship cross the pacific ocean for 4 years, lived together in Japan for another 4 years, and finally came to here we are today.
I really appreciate what he has done and put his heart right next to me at all times.
We will continue supporting strongly each other as husband and wife from now on.
Being in a relationship cannot be done by only 1 person.
It takes two people to complete. I love someone, and the someone needs to love me back.
In this world, there are 7 billion people and nobody knows who and where the right person is.
It is so hard, but it is worthy.
Therefore people still want to find the one to witness the miracle moment.
The chance is given to people with disabilities, of course.
Disability should not be a wall, shutting love out.
Why don’t you make a first step, go beyond that wall?