Starting this week Brian Muchiri joins the Potentash family as a contributor. Brian had an accident that left him paralysed. Every week he will share a snippet of his life, his thoughts on disability, the challenges he has gone through and why we need to make sure that the disabled have proper access to buildings and sidewalks. Brian is also actively involved in pushing for awareness and inclusion of people with disabilities through his foundation; Strong Spine. – Potentash
For the first 19 years of my existence, I lived an oblivious life; unaware of how fragile life was. I was young and I was excitable, I wanted to believe that I was adventurous but looking back, I don’t think I was. What I was, was hormonal and really stupid….as we all were at that age. Poets have likened life’s fragility to an egg; a slight fall and the shell breaks, the yolk breaks and from that moment it ceases to become an egg. Its identity reduced to a stain on the ground.
I never thought my life was interesting enough to be written about. I thought it not necessary to tire people with what I believed was a half baked journey. Then I remembered how I would steal a scoop from my mother’s pilau while it was still cooking. The hardness of the rice and the rawness of the spices had an unexpected appeal. So, here is my almost cooked meal. Enjoy its rawness and savour the promise it beholds.
I am a disabled man. Before you are inclined into feeling sorry and sad, lets first establish that with me, “disabled” is not a bad word. I own it because it is part of my current identity. I find it surprising endearing and it gives me a sense that I belong to a community of really strong people. My disability came around the same time I realized how fragile my body and life was.
I was involved in a car accident and just like that, I went from being a charming son of the countryside to an unidentified stranger on the hospital bed battling with death and almost losing. It was supposed to be an easy thirty-minute commute from town to home if only that trailer would have stuck to its lane. Oh, how I wish it did. The three guys in our car shouldn’t have died that day, but I am just one man, I doubt the forces of the universe care about what I think.
It was when I regained consciousness hours later that I finally gave out my best friends number who in turn made the call to my parents; a call that flipped our family upside down. I am the first born, in Gikūyū we are referred to as ” irigithathī “. The brother that follows me is four years younger and the one after him is seventeen years my junior.
I was in university at the time of the accident, carrying out the first step to my well thought out plan. The plan was simple, to get my degree and use it as a stepping stone to join the army. Well, that never happened. What happened, however, was me losing bowel and bladder control; that’s a euphemism for not being able to control how I go pee pee or poo poo. I felt like I had to throw that little detail in there because able-bodied people often find us interesting for two things. That, and how we do sex.
I will be first to admit that sex is all so exciting and inspiring but we have other stories. We are not always depressed, we are not always bitter and neither are we beggars. Just like you, we are forging our way in this thing called life. We seek to live a good life and we desire good things too. Now that I have introduced myself, I hope that this is a start to a good thing. An empowering journey that we will all embark on together.
Brian Muchiri is a passionate writer who draws his inspiration from the experiences in his own life and of those around him. He is candid and he seeks to inspire society to be more pro active and vocal about the social issues that affect us. Brian is also actively involved in pushing for awareness and inclusion of people with disabilities through his foundation; Strong Spine.