Gina’s Online Dating Journey: Part 2 – Concerns, Fears and Strengths

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Profiles in Online Dating: Woman with Disabilities Share Their Road Back to Love, Lust and Empowerment

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Gina – Part 2

First, I’ve been meaning to address the incorrect date in my first video. I was injured October 11, 2003, not 2013. Second, I have been blown away by the positive response regarding my first article. It’s been so encouraging to read all of the messages and comments I’ve received. Thank you everyone! I’ve also been told that I better get on it for an update, because everyone is curious about what is happening.

Before I get into the meat of this article, I have a disclaimer. This applies not only to this article, but to everything I’ve done up to this point and in the future. What I’m expressing and saying represents me, just me. This doesn’t mean every woman in a wheelchair does everything the same way. Injuries are like snowflakes, not a single one is alike. That doesn’t mean we don’t share some commonalities, but just because another woman is a C-5/6 quadriplegic doesn’t mean she’s an exact replica of myself. I am no more identical to another C-5/6 quadriplegic than you are like the stranger standing next to you in the checkout line. People in chairs have their individual identity as well. Come on, we all know that’s a good thing, because I don’t know how many “Ginas” the world could take.

As I came closer and closer to actually meeting guys, my nerves were setting in. I know everyone is nervous about dating, but for me, it’s a different kind of nervous. I am comfortable with my ability to hold a conversation, heck I have to be careful to not dominate a conversation. Instead it’s explaining the spinal cord injury (SCI) related stuff. Not only that, but I have to worry about the place being accessible overall; the type of food being something I can eat without having to ask for help, or looking like a caveman eating with my quad paws; and having an easy escape in case the date is a bust. Ha!

Being a quadriplegic comes with certain, errrr, not so flattering qualities. The first of which is the “quad belly.” Due to the fact I’m paralyzed from the breast line down, I don’t have the ab muscles to hold my tummy tight. I don’t have a huge quad belly, but occasionally it results in people asking me if I’m pregnant, which means that outfit I’m wearing instantly goes in the donate pile.

That’s the sort of thing that lingers in the back of my mind. Don’t get me wrong, I’m confident, actually straight up arrogant and egotistical at times, but don’t we all have those little flaws we aren’t exactly proud of? Well mine is my tum tum.

Beyond that, I’ve got my quad claws. For those of you who know nothing about SCI and just happened onto this article out of pure boredom (and if you’ve read this far you must be crazy bored), you’re probably wondering what exactly quad claws are. Well, due to my level of injury I don’t have fine motor use, or in other words, I can’t move my fingers. However, I have the ability to use my wrists, which allows me to pick certain things up. That being said, I’m not the girl for you to ask to open a tightly sealed pickle jar. Due to my hands, I struggle with some things. For example, it’s rare that you’ll see me order steak on a first date, because I don’t want to; either ask my date to cut it, or have him stare at me while I awkwardly butcher it.

When I was a newer injury and just starting to date again, I realized fairly quickly that I got less attention being in the chair, than I did before my accident. Granted, it hurt a little more because the memory of being able-bodied (AB) wasn’t such a distant memory. Heck, that was a time when I could still remember what it felt like to have two feet on the ground. Just when I was getting a little down, my mom told me, (once again, she’s like a freakin’ database for life-impacting statements…I should call her the Dali Momma…wow, that’s going to stick). “Honey, that wheelchair is like a weed eater. Those men that don’t want you because of your chair, you shouldn’t want anyway. Can you imagine if you had married one of those guys before your accident, had your accident, and they left you in your darkest hour?” DING! The light bulb went off, and I had not only come to terms with my weed eater, but I loved it. Way to go Dali Momma!

There are a lot of other little gimp things; like my wheels being power assist and if you hit the rim you can potentially send me flying; I drive with hand controls from my wheelchair; or the fact that I have spasms. But in all reality, do these little idiosyncrasies have that much of an impact on having a relationship? No, they don’t. Maybe for some men, but not the man that is going to win my love and affection.

After I sent this article to Deborah, (the one who owns this awesome site) for her to read over, she offered a great suggestion. I had ended the article with the paragraph above, and sent it off. She and I spoke over the phone and she said, “Gina, in the first video you said ‘I’ve got a lot to offer’ and I think you should go into more detail regarding what you have to offer.” She was so right. Here I did the entire article and was slightly negative about myself. So, what do I have to offer?

Well, I think the best thing I have to offer, besides my wicked eyebrows, is that I’m a nurturer. I love to cook for people, especially someone I’m dating, and I will tailor a menu to your taste. Like my grandma, I’ll make sure I have your favorite things, and enjoy every minute of it. I love to make people feel at home in my house, and I enjoy social settings. I’m accepting of every type of person; my only requirement is that they are of good character. Honestly, I am extremely open minded.

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Cooking is my passion. Sharing a love of food is a must

 

I’m also a very logical person, who will discuss issues with you and do whatever I can to avoid emotional drama. I don’t play games; I don’t have time for games. I’m independent and confident, so by no means am I easily threatened, or the jealous type. Heck, I’m the first one to point out a beautiful woman! I’m not looking for someone to make me happy, or take care of me. Instead, I am a huge proponent of self-responsibility. I’ll encourage my partner to achieve their highest potential, and do whatever I can to support them in achieving their dreams. I only look for the same in return. I hate unhealthy competition, but love healthy competition. As my parents say, “You need a completer, not a competitor.”

I have a budding career, and I am self-driven to achieve my highest level of success. I have my own home, and four beautiful children. Ok, so they may be furry, four legged, and either meow or bark, but they’ll add joy to anyone’s life. Well, except Molly, she’ll add frustration, bubble busting, and occasionally joy.

I derive great joy out of laughing and making others laugh. I’m the first person to make fun of myself, or a funny situation. I am an equal opportunity offender. I am completely carefree, and I could care less what people think of me. So what does that mean? You get the real me, 100% of the time. I am who I am, and there won’t be any surprises. I love to experience new things and pushing people out of their comfort zone; so I can guarantee you’ll have some firsts with me.

Photo by Loren Worthington

Photo by Loren Worthington

Growing up on a farm, I have that total tomboy side. In high school I was into welding, power mechanics, and wood shop. I worked on the farm doing primarily irrigation. I have a dream of restoring an El Camino (no older than early 70’s) and I’m an overall fan of classic cars. I absolutely love live sports of practically any kind, and I’m a huge ‘Giants’ baseball fan. In fact, I have season tickets to the Arizona Rattlers Arena Football team here. If you are in Arizona, and you’ve never gone, you HAVE to go, the games are a blast!!

Beyond that, there are actually benefits due to my chair. You’ll always have a place to sit (my lap) while waiting in a long line. When I can actually get a disabled parking space, we get to park close. Unfortunately, most of the time, we’re circling around for 20 minutes or so, due to the amount of disabled parking abuse. Therefore, you get to spend 20 blissful minutes in the car with me. Of course, there’s always the whole front of the line Disneyland thing, but with so many people abusing the system, you will still need to wait a while.

Then there’s the kicker; you get automatic good guy points for dating a girl in a wheelchair. I don’t know how much I like that fact, and I can’t tell you how many times I would be out with my ex and someone would say to him, “Ahhhh, you’re such a good guy.” Then turn to me and say, “You’re very lucky.”

Which, if he didn’t get it out before me, I’d sarcastically say; “What?! He’s the lucky one! Hahaha!”

They’d then realize what they’d just said and would usually respond with, “Oh, yeah, you’re both lucky.”

I won’t lie; that false perception irritates me. A person like that assumes I don’t make any contribution. They’re way off. I shop, do meal planning, and as much cooking of that meal as possible (which is usually everything except getting things that are up high in the pantry). I run errands, and thanks to caregivers, the laundry is all taken care of, and the house cleaned. I am actively pursuing a law career, and aspire to be not only a successful lawyer, but am big into giving back to the community. Trust me, I know whoever I’m with will contribute a great deal. It’s just demeaning and offensive to know what they’re really saying when they make a statement like that. I know that for all the people that say it, there are others who won’t say it, but think it.  I have to believe they are just ignorant of the facts.  So, if you decide to date someone disabled, you will be able to hold your head high, because you get instant kudos; kind of like a guy with a super cute puppy with three legs. What they don’t realize, is that I’m more like a Rottweiler. ☺  I might be a Rottweiler, but to those I love I’m a loyal, protective, and big o’l cuddle bug…most of the time. 😉

 

Read Part One – Feisty, 20 Something, C-5-6, Independent, Professional: Wants to “get out there, try new things, meet new people, laugh and have fun!”

 


If you would like to introduce yourself as a dating candidate to Gina, you can do so here and we will share your info with her.  Your information will not be shared publically.

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Gina Schuh, Editor, Law and Advocacy

Gina, a C-5/6 quadriplegic, describes herself as a “politically incorrect foodie who is an equal opportunity offender.” Beyond that, Gina is a law school graduate who grew up on a farm in California. Gina’s true passion is food, and you’ll often find her posting food pictures on her Instagram under Culinary.Quad . Raised by a strong mother who had an insatiable appetite for any educational psychology materials, Gina swears she was raised by an unlicensed psychologist which led to her being so introspective. After people observed her success in dating, they asked for tips, which eventually led to her regular contribution here at Push Living on issues of dating, disability parking, and medical supply reimbursement, leading to the role of Editor of Law and Advocacy.

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