Definition of bound
1: to set limits to : confine
2: to form a separating line or the boundary of : enclose A chain-link fence bounds the yard. The state is bounded on its east by the Connecticut River.
3. intending to go : going bound for home college-bound
So, I was having a conversation with someone the other day about a friend who is on maternity leave. The official term is “confinement”. This is what the person kept on saying: “Oh, she’s not in the office, she’s on confinement.: Really? Confinement? This poor woman who has been growing a life for the past 8 to 9 months finally gets to go on leave to give birth and bond with her baby is now going to be confined! What a prize!
Well, that got me thinking about other words that we use in everyday life to describe a situation or in this case a condition…
I am a paraplegic which technically means that I do not have the use of my legs and that I use a wheelchair to move around.
When I hear the term Wheelchair “Bound” it makes me want to bind or confine someone to a wheelchair to see how they like it!
So, the first definition is: “to set limits to”. Certainly, anyone who knows me will be able to testify that I am not familiar with limits or rather, that I do not entertain them. In fact, the quote on my email signature for the past two years is “Don’t let your limits challenge you. Challenge your limits!”
The second definition is: “to form a separating line or boundary”. Again. Just because I am sitting in my wheelchair and allowed to bypass queues in supermarkets and banks, that does not make me any different. I am a person with needs, likes and dislikes just like you. And, because I never stop talking and doing, I cannot be separated by lines! I cross over them and make my presence felt and known.
Thirdly: “intending to go to”. Now, what does that mean? Am I intending to go to my wheelchair? I don’t think anyone intentionally wants to go into a wheelchair. Yes, it has it’s perks like the high heels and no queues. But, seriously, it was not intended.
Bernadette Francois is a resident of Georginia-South. She is our enthusiastic blogger that wrote this piece, but if you have a CV to be revamped or updated, Berni is you goto person.
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Please people, nobody is Wheelchair “Bound” – I certainly am not or I would have never been able to accomplish anything in life. My wheelchair is an assistive device. It does NOT define me. There is no difference between what I am capable of doing and what you are capable of doing except that I do it from the comfort of my wheelchair (wearing killer heels) while you walk around (complaining about your sore feet). I can cook, sing, dance, swim, exercise, study, work, be a wife, be a mom, be a friend. I am differently-abled. NOT Wheelchair “Bound”.
Unfortunately, these outdated ideas are just as outdated as the terms that we still use. Let’s think about the words that we use, the images that they conjure up which result in the thoughts that we then have about people who are just unable to walk – not unable to live. No wonder people, feel so sorry or so “inspired” by people who use wheelchairs. They think that it must be so HARD for someone who is defined by this “Bound” word to be able to achieve anything. Believe me, it’s not, it takes the same amount of effort as anyone else to get out of bed every morning.
We are really free in our wheelchairs. This image is of a deepsea dive by Sue Austin. This is the freedom our souls are bound to. Please watch the short video below of Sue when she dives off the coast of Egypt (Image and video below with the compliments of Sue Austin)
We have no limits, we are not separated and we did not intend to go into a wheelchair. Next time you want to say Wheelchair “Bound” think of a more positive way to describe the situation.
Try not to be confined or bound by your words!!!
See the video below, just over 4 minutes long
Sue Austin, from Devon, UK, is a disabled artist who aims to change perceptions of the wheelchair. For her, after spending years bedbound, the wheelchair gives her freedom. She ‘flies’ a NHS wheelchair underwater. She has adapted the chair with battery powered propellers and large perspex aerofoils to control turns. She is in the process of applying for a patent and hopes that one day these chairs will be made available at diving centres across the world.
You can read more about Sue and her art at her website www.sueaustin.co.uk
This film was shot and edited by Norman Lomax of Moving Content, UK