“The Necessity of Falling” by Ricky Tsang

about the author:

Ricky Tsang was a pillar in our Duchenne community for years. From his website DearRicky.com to his Facebook group We Are Dystrophin, to his first book, Ridiculous: The Mindful Nonsense of Ricky’s Brain, Ricky’s priority was helping and advocating for our community – well, that and romancing women.

Shortly before passing in 2016, Ricky shared the manuscript of his second book with me. It was never published, but now we would like to share it with our Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy community.

The Necessity of Falling
“Inspirational: My Big Mechanical Derriere”
—Chapter 3, Part 1—

Why me? It’s a question that has been asked throughout history, particularly by those who’ve faced adversity. Perhaps there’s no definite answer and it’s a dead-end road… sometimes, you have to stop crying and live.

As a child, returning home with bruises and crimson stains, cries never found my cheeks. Yes, there were times when I laid alone in bed with immense leg cramps that kept me up through the night, reducing me to tears. While mom rubbed them with deep heat, I wept wondering why I had to remain with so many struggles. My life changed forever when I came to the realization that things weren’t getting better no matter how hard I tried. It allowed me the opportunity to establish a foundation of acceptance and understanding.

Back home, Mom was educated in a Christian institution, but it wasn’t til we moved to Canada that my family and I started attending a Baptist church. That was how I learned to pray when I slipped and fell at the corner of the school restroom.

At church, I loved hearing stories and memorizing verses to win stickers and other prizes. I loved singing hymns and making arts and crafts. I had loads of fun with the friends I made, while my favorite class belonged to Sunday school teacher, Crystal. It was a wonderful time, and I even gave my life to Jesus. But as the icing began to melt, I resented God and blamed Him for my physical disability. I realized I didn’t care about Christ because all of it was nothing but a social gathering.

In Ajax, my family, along with others, helped the mother ship in Scarborough establish a new congregation in Pickering. By that time, I was already a (rebellious) teenager. I was furious that I couldn’t stay home, which further fueled my anger. You could say I caused a bit of trouble, while the internal politics didn’t help.

Being a troublemaker included getting kicked out of Sunday school for driving around poking everyone with my finger, scribbling caricatures of classmates on the blank pages of my bible, squishing a dead spider in Jacob’s NIV, and changing lyrics in songs…

“You’re in a wheelchair and you can’t do anything,” Kathie said to me in class. I don’t think it was very Christian of me to run a couple tables into her. I might have gotten what I deserved while sitting in the front row. The teacher with the Romulan haircut became a shower of saliva whenever she opened her mouth. Everyone had to use their bibles to shield themselves from something worse than acid rain. I never had much luck with the older crowd either; especially at the bowling alley when Elina threw the ball backwards and nearly smashed my face. I was forced upstairs to the food court with no regrets whatsoever.

A disobedient churchgoer I was, and deep inside, there was a grudge against God. Unbeknownst to me, I was completely lost, but I’m thankful that I never reached the point of hating the Lord. I believed in His existence and didn’t want to be a follower because I misplaced my will in the confines of anger. I was stubborn and bullheaded, and peer pressured, but I never succumbed once. Okay, maybe that one time in the first grade when everybody was treated to cherry tomatoes. I threw up in the hallway before I could reach the restroom. I think I pissed off the white-headed janitor as he had a sarcastic vendetta against me ever since. 

But there was more to my resentment than Muscular Dystrophy. My explanation was that since he denied me of romance through physical limitations, why would I want eternal life? I needed my “forevermore,” as I called it. I needed someone to remember me in heaven and didn’t want to die alone. 

I was too stupid to be afraid. Selfishness kept holding me back. It was always about me – me – me, how I wanted someone to love me, and how I wanted her to take care of me. However, as my journey of romance continued, it gave me the chance to realize the truth. 

Love is selfless. Its purity is sacred. It’s something to give without asking for it in return, for receiving a woman’s love isn’t to fulfill your needs, but hers alone; to realize that maybe her heart deserves the same. If all you do is focus on the search, how is discovery possible when no one gives? 

I was vehemently against Christianity. I’d use the fruit analogy whenever churchgoers visited, saying that Jesus was an apple and I preferred oranges. I became angrier every time someone claimed He gave me this disability. I refused to attend church following my adolescent years, which resulted in a voluntary seclusion that allowed my mind to wander even further…

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