Battle of the Chairs

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Chair vs Chair, Who Will Win

Mikelle and her roommate Taylor check out Hope Farm's stables

In her power chair Mikelle and her roommate Taylor check out Hope Farm’s stables with other members of the CDDC.

Every day, multiple times throughout the day, Mikelle Learned makes the choice to switch from her power  chair to her manual wheel chair. We here at the Shining Beautiful all have different theories as to why she sometimes feels more comfortable in her manual chair but we all agree that when it really comes down to it, it’s an issue of control.

We all desire a certain amount of control over our lives in what we eat, where we go, who we see and Mikelle is no different. In her power chair she can go when and where she pleases (mostly) and she does. In her power chair she is independent and in control of her life’s direction.

However Mikelle’s power chair does present some cons despite the pros. For example; it’s a big chair and much stronger than the people around her, when she rushes forward to greet someone it can be difficult to avoid running over toes or  pushing a little too closely to someone. Though Mikelle would never intentionally smoosh anyone’s toes, her chair is just a machine without sensitivity to our soft feet. Mikelle is sensitive to our feelings though, you can see on her face that she feels anxious or upset about these accidental bumps and bruises.

There are times when the anxiety is too much and she chooses to use her manual chair. When she gets into her other chair, Mikelle visibly relaxes. It’s as though the stress of having all that power is suddenly lifted from her and she can just be zen. In her manual chair she is free to sit back, smell the roses and let life come to her. It never lasts long because Mikelle is who she is and she is; a fiery, independent, youthful woman. Before you know it she’s back in her power chair zooming around at top speed, living live to the fullest until it’s time for another break.

About Katherine Carol

Special needs & community expert, speaker, co-author of The Tango of Publishing and Shining Beautiful, with Mikelle Learned, book coach, mom, and community builder.


  • Hannah

    December 17, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    Mikelle Learned has a power wheelchair, because she got weaker and weaker due to her cerebral palsy.

    • Katherine Carol

      December 31, 2015 at 2:28 am

      Hannah, Mikelle has had a wheelchair since she was three years old.

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