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  • Alison Chancellor

From Wheels to Wings

Why am I 43, and just now getting back into the dating pool? The water’s fine, really.

I previously dated a guy who used a wheelchair for 14 or so years in my 20s and 30s. We were good for about the first year. Please don’t think that I’m going to make this story Taylor Swift’s newest hit. I’m not here to bash him. We had fun, found things in common, and talked daily about everything, except politics and religion. We talked about what made us happy, and the frustrations we had in common that we could vent to one another about. That way, neither of us felt so alone. When our relationship started we helped each other, like I would remind him to pick up his medicine. However, as time went on, the balance in our relationship became uneven and I felt like I was giving more to the relationship, for example arranging all of our dates. After several years, I became tired of doing so much and not getting the same in return. I felt alone again and wondered how life would be different if I was in a new relationship or even one that was inter-abled and how my attitude towards dating would change if my efforts were reciprocated.

After breaking up with my ex, I spent about 4 years single. I started to wonder if there was something wrong with me. I was sad and depressed - much more than I remember being during the lockdown in 2020. Why am I alone, was an almost daily automatic question. Is it because I’m not good enough for anyone, or am I just at a point where I must accept that my ex was “as good as it gets'' and it was a mistake to leave and spread my proverbial wings? I gave up on finding someone.

Then my life changed in June 2023, when a sweet guy approached me. He saw my wheelchair, yes, however he said, “it doesn’t matter that you sit, and need a little extra help. I’m looking at the hockey fan sitting in it, and I want to get to know HER. (Cue awwww). See what I did there? I’m here because I want to be, not because I have to be.”

Fear still loomed because of my past. I wondered how long the joy would last, until I saw how different he was. Since meeting, we talk almost daily, sometimes several times a day, about all different things including disability -- he even helped with this blog idea, ironically. We never talk about my disability specifically, just generally about how he can adapt his lifestyle to include me and to try things I haven’t tried before. It will take research and adapting but life is 90% how I react to 10% of the not so good. He’s a welcome part of my day, and I hope I am for him as well. It’s funny how life works at times. He found me when I wasn’t looking. I hear almost daily that he’s intrigued by my mind, and “he’s the lucky one.” Actually, I’m the lucky one. He makes me a better version of myself. I have reason to smile every day because he’s my first and last thought before laying my head on the pillow at night. It’s so nice feeling like he sees me for all the parts of me, that I am an ambassador, hockey fan, music lover, person with a disability, and more. My disability is not the focus, but rather a part of me. I am more than what happened to me, and he knows this after a short time.

Alison Chancellor is a diehard Blues hockey fan from St. Louis, proud woman on wheels, who loves spending time with her family and friends, and her amazing service dog, Lambo.


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