Walking’s never something that I thought that I would lack,
I’m sick of spending so much time just flat upon my back.
Freedom comes in many forms, can’t always choose our own.
These limbs are unreliable, so I’ll be rolling home.
Freedom comes in many forms, and sometimes it’s a choice,
Today I chose to hop on board the self- propelled Rolls-Royce.
Some people say I’ve given up, that it’s a last resort,
And so to all those skeptics, I offer this retort:
No longer dream of studios, nor I of concert halls,
No longer dream of four white men behind a thin white wall.
Now I just crave freedom, in all it’s many forms,
All I want’s to find a way dance through this long storm.
The freedom to say “yes!” when someone calls with plans!
The freedom to see Belgium, and all surrounding lands.
The freedom to be home alone without the fear and dread.
The freedom on a “bad” day to still once leave my bed.
The freedom to leap up and write when inspiration strikes.
The freedom to find brand new things I do and do not like.
For this I have to leave the cozy house in which I live.
Many things still make this hard which I try to forgive.
I cannot change my body, I cannot change my life,
But I can grant myself this tool to save myself some strife.
I don’t need your permission, you cannot make me beg.
That’s a freedom I’ll still have even without these legs.
I don’t care if you don’t approve, I don’t care if you’re friendly.
YOU won’t stop me falling down from being so damn bendy!
I hope that you’ll accept me, but even if you don’t,
I’ve finally learned to back myself and don’t need you to dote.
I think that that’s true freedom, to know and love yourself,
Even if you’ll always wish that you had better health.
I wrote Freedom in response to the negativity I perceived towards ambulatory wheelchair use. There is a misconception that being “confined” to a wheelchair is extremely limiting. In reality, wheelchairs are tools that enable many people to live a fuller life despite the limitations of their disability.
Although there were several factors involved, the desire for greater freedom to enjoy life is what drove my own decision to become a part-time wheelchair user.
In Freedom, I make reference to my former life as a musician hoping to secure a prestigious orchestral position, and explain how much my goals have had to change due to worsening disability.
Although I have much to be grateful for, the bottom line is that I have had to give up a heartbreaking amount, and taking up the use of mobility aids is one of the key ways that I have been able to re-introduce some independence and joy into my life.
While I ultimately hope the world will come to a better understanding of mobility aids, the core message of Freedom is that true freedom comes from having confidence that you know what is best for your body and spirit, even if it sometimes flies in the face of society’s misinformed expectations.