When news of the new reality series “Push Girls” came out in the spring, I was intrigued, and eager to see where this adventure would take all the women involved, as well as all the people who were watching.
The basis of the show is a friendship among four women, all wheelchair mobile, coping with the day to day challenges and events going on in their lives. Their names are Mia, Auti, Tiphany, and Angela. All active women. All trying to figure out life. All successful in various ways. All at different points in their journey.
Three of the women are paraplegics. One is a quadriplegic. Three were in car accidents that left them with a disability, one had a blood clot in her spine that ruptured.
As the show progressed, different situations were highlighted. They included: dating, apartment hunting, exploring available options to have a baby, keeping in shape, job searching, dealing with family dynamics and doing lots of shopping. The issues they face are typical for most people. Most are more complicated because of their life circumstances.
What impressed me most about the show was the raw honesty the women displayed. They didn’t shy away from feeling frustration, or cringe when something happened that made them cry. The emotions were genuine, and I appreciated that. They were not trying to be inspirational, or, on the other hand, say that their struggles were irrelevant. They just went through what they went through, because of the cards that they had been dealt. Plain and simple.
I was also captivated by the bond all the women shared. They are fiercely committed to supporting each other no matter what each one wants to do with her life; from getting on a top bunk to getting back “out there” after a bad break up. Their connection is deep. Each draws strength from the others. That kind of friendship is a rare occurrence these days. And I envy that because those kinds of connections are just really cool…
The thing that irked me a little as I watched were the things that weren’t included. Angela, the woman who is a quadriplegic, has a caregiver. She needs help with things like bathing and dressing and getting in and out of bed. Her caregiver was shown helping her settle the spasms in her legs and putting on her shoes. Take it from someone who knows. The “down and dirty” of caregiving gets a whole lot more graphic than that.
The issue of dating was covered a lot. (My favorite line was from Tiffany, as she was sharing the fact that she liked to flirt. “I have 26-inch rims on each end of my ass,” she said, “how can I not attract attention?”) Just gotta love it! But let me get back to the point I was making…
In my opinion, when a disability is thrown in the mix, dating is about much more than going out in public with a guy that captures your interest. Issues of self-esteem and body image are an enormous part of the process, especially if you don’t fit society’s definition of what is considered “attractive.” Those issues were hardly touched at all. But they may be more prevalent when someone has a disability from birth. Who knows?
All in all, I thought the show was a good thing. Successful, even if it was occasionally sappy.
So, what did the first season of “Push Girls” accomplish? Well, I think these women showed the world that living a positive, productive life is possible no matter what you deal with. Living life is about doing what it takes to live your life the way you want. Not according to anyone’s rules or perceptions except your own.
And sometimes, when what you want lies outside of your comfort zone, amazing things can happen with just a little push.