So here I am at the Singapore Grand Prix. I know nothing about cars and absolutely nothing about F1 but I am addicted to the noise, the shiny roller skate vehicles and the extreme speed. I think there is some thing raw about watching powerful cars race. I surprise myself by loving F1 and yet I couldn’t recall any detail of our family car.
In preparation for the qualifying race – the safety cars did a couple of laps. The safety cars were silver Mercedes; one a regular saloon car and the second an estate. I am totally ignorant of why the safety cars have to run in front of the race at full throttle but it must be for fun! I just had to smile as the family estate was thrown around the circuit with a couple in the back firming strapped into their seats. I could imagine the family pooch in the rear having the ride of its life. I think the only safety stipulation would be that Fido isn’t allowed to hang out of an open window, tongue lapping the breeze .
Now the reason I am writing this is because we were lucky enough to be at the Singapore Grand Prix last year and I was so excited about everything, I took pictures of the cars, the track, the camera men and the puce fireman in full flame retardant outfit. We arrived each day as the gates opened and were the last to leave as the cleaners swept the Padang. This year is only my second experience and as a seasoned spectator I am so much more discerning. We arrived in a more relaxed manner and are not so impressed by the practice laps.
My sentiments regarding F1 are the same with life after serious trauma. The more I am exposed to SCI the less I am overwhelmed by it just like my exposure to F1. The reason I think it is important to write about experiences whether SCI or F1 is because repeated firsthand knowledge alters perception. As I attend more F1 races I have become more accustomed to the noise and speed and as I experience SCI as a carer I get used to the challenges so much so that daily challenges become normal.
It is a feature of coping with SCI or trauma that what appears difficult or unimaginable at first becomes do-able. And the more we practice and do stuff, the easier it becomes and then we realise we have overcome issues, we have achieved something and that success is there on front of us to be grasped.
Success revolves around familiarity and exposure to life, expanding individual boundaries and pushing towards a goal that originally evaded us. I can see SCI as a parallel with F1 as we watch the drivers push their physical skills to race in Singapore’s humidity, racing at night on a course with more acute corners than other competition circuits worldwide.
I think we enjoy the fighting spirit of competition and I see that spirit in Emily. I see her tested by her ‘course’ and the limits of her physical ability but she smiles and displays an inspirational effort to drive through to the checkered flag and a win.
Robbie Williams, as the evening’s entertainer put it all into perspective. He came on stage as the heavens opened, a Singapore soaking. He was drenched, we were drenched but loved singing in the rain. Emily went home rolling through a river!