Day 310: Sometimes Being Thankful is Hard

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. In my house growing up Thanksgiving was always a time to be grateful and pause to consider the good things no matter how difficult the year leading up to it had been. This year that’s really really hard for me. This year I have basically had my life, turned upside down and shaken and now I have to rearrange the pieces back into some semblance of the order they were in before. To be honest I resent that, for the first time in a long time I was truly happy, I truly felt like I had a home.I’ve spent the last several months feeling cheated and bullied by life in general. Yesterday I saw this.

You can’t change the past. All you can do is use the present to hopefully shape the future. So thank you to everybody close to home and far away who has stuck with me through all of this crazy. If the level of difficulty is proportional to the level of awesome that’s coming it’s going to be off the damn charts.


Day 309: Scenes From a Life

English: A simple wind chime
English: A simple wind chime (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You are four years old when your grandmother gives you a name for this  thing that makes you different. Cerebral Palsy. As you get older you remember certain things from that day, the white coral wind chimes she brought back from the mission trip to the Philippines, the bookshelf sized carvings of the heads on Easter Island. These are the things you remember from that conversation, and as you get older you try to remember if you had any inkling that that phrase would have so much impact on your life. 25 years later you’re still not sure.

You are 21 exactly when you realize that your aunt and uncle have spent your entire life not knowing exactly why you’re in a wheelchair. You find this out because their daughters, the eldest who almost shares your birthday except that she is exactly one year younger than you today and her sisters have gone out with your sister and left you at the house, just like you knew they would. Your aunt and uncle didn’t see them leave and so when they realize they are gone they ask you why you didn’t go too, I mean, it’s just as much your birthday after all. You tell you tried and the girls didn’t listen They are mad, angrier then you’ve ever seen either of them and that is the best birthday present ever. The conversation that ensues reveals that somehow they missed the memo that your condition had a name. For 20 years the reason why you can’t walk, can’t dress yourself, have difficulty feeding yourself… Was a complete mystery to them, and they loved you anyway, without need of explanation or label. For your 21st birthday your aunt and uncle gave you the gift of true unconditional love.

You are  nine years old when you meet the boy  who will break your heart for the first time. The two of you  are as inseparable as it is possible to be when he is a year older than you and not in the same class. Which is actually quite a lot of the time since you both have physical and speech therapy during the school day. You overhear a fragment of conversation between your parents and his when they come to dinner and he stops eating to feed you the peas you have been chasing on your plate. Something about being glad the two of you are not high school age yet.

You are ten , two weeks shy of eleven when you move away. He cry every day for two weeks. Then once a month for the next six then at least twice a year for the next four years. When you’re 18 you find his name on one of those reconnect with your old classmate websites. You beg your mom to pay the subscription fee so you can message him . He remembers you, sort of. It isn’t until several weeks later reading his LiveJournal that you realize he is gay. There is still an indent in bathroom wall from where you punched it.

You are 16  when a boy who might be in love with you tells you you’re beautiful. You are 22 when a man who probably shouldn’t tells you the same thing. You believe the man but not the boy  who said it when you were 16. Why?

You are 27 when your best friend dies. You both knew it was coming . You said all the hard stuff. When you find out he’s dead you are still violently sick . You don’t sing at all for almost 3 years.

You are nine when you decide that you believe in capital punishment. A family friend has been murdered along with 15 other people by a fellow soldier who has a tendency to drink to the point of blackouts. When you find out the details from reading them in the paper you scream and cry until your throat is raw. You plot the murder of this man. Your mother take you serious enough that she insists you see the school guidance counselor, who doesn’t take you seriously at all. She calls your mom when you tell her that you consider your death acceptable collateral damage as long as you took the guy with you . Your mom tells her that this is the first and only time she’s been glad to disabled because he might actually do it. Later when she tells you that the counselor called you decide that it’s time to play along before the guidance counselor had you put in straitjacket.

You are 30 when you realize that love is a lot harder than it looks from the outside. Love is picking your battles and being willing to fight every single last one of theirs with them whether or not they ask you. Love is patient, but a patience that is at times not at all saint like. Patience can be a struggle but it is the willingness to undertake that struggle that is one of the hallmarks of love

Day 308:Blades ofTruth, A Little Backstory

English: Alternate coat of arms of Hogwarts sc...
English: Alternate coat of arms of Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry from Harry Potter book series, by J.K Rowling, with added shading effects. For a reference i used a drawing found on the internet, probably an illustration from one of the books. The motto translates to “never tickle a sleeping dragon” vector drawing,.SVG format. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ll be totally honest I started writing  Walking the Blades pf Truth to rewrite Harry’s fifth yeat because I  couldn’t stand the fact that Sirius died. I think that if Sirius had been able to do something  besides stay in  that awful  place he would not have done half of the reckless things that led to his death. So what job that I give him? The Ministry of Magic still believed him a murderer so it obviously couldn’t be something walking around in human form. At first glance it couldn’t be anything that made use of Padfoot either because the Death Eaters were most likely aware of him. So I thought, and I thought some more. I was already toying with the idea of sending a Muggle born disabled child to Hogwarts and then it clicked. A collar could be enchanted to make Padfoot look like a golden retriever and he could be at school in the guise of a service dog.


This does not mean that Harry will not have to deal with Dolores Umbridge. As you might imagine she is going to be just as awful to Pheya as she is to Harry though for different reasons. If you read up to the current installment which is only chapter 2 you know Pheya makes a big deal about actually being special. Growing up disabled you hear that word so many times you get sick of it. I was in high school when the Harry Potter books started but I will tell you that I ate them up because there was a series of books that did not treat the disabled or chronically ill (Mad Eye Moody and Remus Lupin) as unmentionable or nonexistent, that in fact showed them as strong, capable even cool adults.Hephaeta is supposed to be a feminine form of the name Hephaestus Greek God of the forge who was also lame. Her dad would have named her that even if she had been able bodied but wondered many times when she was small if his choice of name doomed her to the fate of her disability. Totally irrational but guilt and grief often are. Pheya is not a transfer student she will start as a first-year and will not be in Gryffindor, meaning that  Sirius’ interactions with Harry will be limited but at least he will be able to keep aneye on him.

Day 307: Walk the Blades of Truth Ch 2 , A Fiction Friday post

Disclaimer: Harry and his world aren’t mine, Pheya and I just visit.

Professor Lupin visits Pheya and her parents to explain about Magic and Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Chapter 2: The Musings of an Unlikely Goddess

She who lays the Blades for those who Walk is often she who is least
expected. She too must walk the Blades before the test is through.

Pheya Stuart looked at the visitor speculatively. The representative the school had sent was polite and friendly, if a little careworn and frayed feeling. He had introduced himself as Remus Lupin, she had thought that was an odd name, but then Hephaeta wasn’t exactly a normal name either. Chalk that one up to her father’s obsession with Greek mythology and artifacts. This is the kind of name you get stuck with if your dad was an archeologist. At least if she’d been a boy her name could’ve been Ansel, her mother’s name of choice because she was a photographer.
Her attention and her vision snapped into focus at the word epilepsy… “The school thought it might help if they sent someone who had similar difficulties. I have epilepsy, you see.” That explained a lot, like why the school would send its History of Magic Professor, (somewhere in the conversation it had been mentioned that the previous Professor had retired to enjoy his, did he actually say after life?) instead of the Deputy Head or somebody like that. She still wasn’t convinced, though. How a girl who is so obviously Muggle born, (she was shocked at how easily those words sprang to mind) could ever fit in, I don’t know. Her parents were smiling broadly, though, so she did her best to mask her misgivings.
The momentary flash of indecision and uncertainty was, however, very apparent to Remus, who’d spent a great deal of his life reading between the lines of body language and expressions for signs of fear or mistrust, and worst of all, any hint that they knew the reason for his monthly illnesses. After tea, while her parents were putting away the dishes, Remus asked, “Pheya, do you like chocolate?” Pheya blinked. Exactly how had that topic come up? At her slightly hesitant nod he said, “So do I. If your parents agree, I could come back tomorrow and take you to a wonderful place I know for ice cream.” Her smile widened a little a little as Remus left to consult with her parents. When he returned and told her to be ready at two o’clock the next afternoon, the smile she gave him could have eclipsed the sun. As Remus left the house that day, he knew how a father must feel. He would give anything to see her smile like that at him.
Pheya stared at the closed door for a long time. Magic was real. There was a school that taught you how to use things like wands and crystal balls. She had always known that these things really existed, but until now, had no proof. As if that wasn’t enough she’d been accepted into this wonderful place. She really was special, and not just in the way people would say when they were lamely trying to be friendly or make her feel better. She clutched at this single ray of truth. But, the little voice inside her whispered, what if they don’t like you? She quickly squashed the thought. The residue of unease it left in its wake wasn’t as easily ignored.

Day 306: Not the Post I Planned to Write or My New Theme Song

So the Ambassadors X song Renegades  has been haunting me for weeks, every time I’ve turned around it’s playing. It’s the kind of song that makes you want to get up and move, even me, who has rarely made dancing in a wheelchair look cool or even coordinated, unlike some people I know. It’s the song you go to the concert to sing at the top of your lungs even though you will have no voice for the next three days. Yesterday I decided to check Youtube to see if there was a music video because I was going to reference it in a “yes we can change the world damn it” type post. I found the official video. Cheered and cried all the way through. Their renegades? Disabled people. A blind person doing Olympic style weightlifting. A blind person skateboarding. A person with one arm boxing. People with no legs or arms wrestling. Growing up disabled, society expects us to live quiet lives. The people in the video are doing anything but and the band thought it was important  to show that. So if anybody connected with thw band sees this, thank you. You had a fan anyway because the song rocks but the video takes the cake. It is my new theme song.

Day 305: Walk the Blades of Truth Chapter 1 a Fiction Friday post

Hephaeta Stewart is coming to Hogwarts. But she is no ordinary student. Born with Cerebral Palsy which necessitates the use of a wheelchair, she is still quite powerful in magic. Remus Lupin is designated as her guide to Hogwarts. Sirius Black is given a unique opportunity to be her guardian and helper so he doesn’t have to spend his time locked up at Grimmauld Place. Alternate POV and AU of Harry’s fifth year.

Disclaimer: The world of Harry Potter is not mine, I just play in it.

Dumbledore as portrayed by the late Richard Ha...
Dumbledore as portrayed by the late Richard Harris in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chapter 1: A Very Different Staff Meeting

Walk the Blades of Truth with care, for the slightest missed step can bring peril. The lucky few escape unscathed, but none who Walk remain unchanged.

Dumbledore poured three cups of tea as he waited for Professor McGonagall and Remus Lupin to arrive. Albus twirled his fingers in thought. These past few years seemed to have brought more twists and turns than all his years of teaching and the service as Headmaster combined. He smiled wryly at the sudden thought that the years when James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew were in school ran a close second. It seemed, yet again, that they would have a most unusual student in their midst. At that moment the door of his office opened.

A man who appeared to be both young and old at once came through and held the door for the woman who came in after him.

“Thank you very much, Remus,” said Minerva McGonagall as she sat down in a squashy armchair. Remus inclined his head to her and sat on her other side.

“Ah, just in time,” said Dumbledore as he handed them cups. At their looks of polite question he continued, “It has come to my attention that we will very shortly have another student who requires special accommodations.” Dumbledore caught the fleeting look of pain, sadness, and questioning on the younger man’s face and smiled reassuringly at him. “No, Remus, she is not another werewolf.” Remus relaxed visibly in his chair.

“She is, however, very different from any student we have ever had,” he said. “Hephaeta Stuart is a Muggle-born child with Cerebral Palsy, a condition caused by lack of oxygen to the brain which makes it hard for the person to control their body.”

Remus winced; he knew how frustrating it was not to be able to control your own body. “The extent to which a person is effected and the areas afflicted are different for each person; in Miss Stuart’s case she cannot walk and must push herself in a wheelchair, in all other respects I understand she is perfectly normal.”

As he paused for breath Minerva asked, “Albus, how do you expect her to get around the castle? Surely with all the stairs…” she began.

“I have already obtained permission from the Ministry to have a Self Activating Levitation Charm put on her chair which will allow her to navigate quite easily. Remus, I have another favor to ask of you I’m afraid.” Remus raised an eyebrow questioningly. “Since the parents are Muggles, they will need this all explained in a way that they will understand. You possess an aptitude for diplomacy I have rarely seen in any, Muggle or Wizard. Due to your own difference and the difficulties you have faced you are by far the most qualified person to assuage any fears or concerns that Miss Stuart or her parents might have concerning her attendance.”

Remus nodded. Different. That was a very diplomatic way of putting things. Freakish is what he would have said when he was younger; pathetic is what he thought now. He understood why Dumbledore had asked him– an adult who had  been in a similar situation often understood the fears of a child, having experienced them first hand. But what was he going to tell them? I couldn’t very well tell the girl and her parents I’m a werewolf. That wouldn’t go over very well at all.

Professor McGonagall (he would never get used to calling her Minerva) saw his perplexed look. “Tell them that you are epileptic,” she said, it is a Muggle disorder which can cause a person to lose bodily control at random moments.”

“Ah.” He remembered now.When he was about eight his family’s closest neighbor, a man who lived about a mile away had had to take  pills for epilepsy These had reduced the attacks to about one or two every month. The Muggles would understand that. The meeting continued for another thirty minutes longer and when Remus left the office he had the distinct impression that the upcoming school year was going to very interesting indeed.
Author’s note: as per Harry Potter canon Remus is half blood, the fact that his mother is a Muggle makes it probable that he would have a better understanding of the non-magic world than most wizards. Just for fun, in place of the chapter illustrations which were present in the American editions of the series I’m going to use stills of the principal characters of the chapter found using the free image search.

Day 304: Since When is Wanting to Be A Soldier A Bad Thing?

Artificial "remembrance poppies" at ...
Artificial “remembrance poppies” at a war memorial in Ypres, Belgium (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is the second post I’ve seen on Freshly Pressed about poppies  and Remembrance Day in two days time. I am not in any way shape form or fashion a resident of Britain or any other part of the United Kingdom but something has been percolating in my brain since the first post. I agree that the Poppy Police need to shut up and sit down because nobody has any right to tell anyone else how to mourn and remember the dead. I also agree that poppies are being taken out of the context they were originally meant to have but here’s my question… What’s so bad about wanting to grow up to be a soldier? I have family members who  were “oversexed, overpaid, and over here”, from both sides of my family in both World Wars. Both of my parents are veterans. My sister and I were taught to view military service as a contemporary form of knighthood. Knights defend those who cannot defend themselves, they stand in the breach between civilians and great despair and hold the line  and say “you shall not harm these people and if necessary I will perish to protect them”.I am the last person to advocate war but soldiers also build bridges, schools, hospitals. They dig wells so that villages can have clean water to drink. Make sure that the leaders of nations do not enter into war lightly, which I agree, seems to be happening far more often lately, but do not cringe if your child comes to you and says, “I want to be a soldier when I grow up.” There are far worse things to be then a Knight.