Half of the reason for writing this post maybe because I’m secretly hoping that if I procrastinate enough the big pile of work I have to do will disappear, (ever the optimist) but lately things that I’ve read and felt have made me think about the way people feel about their own disability and other people. The phrase ‘own disability and others’ is a problem in itself really, allow me to elaborate, and I’m sorry if I covered this previously!
Many things make up the identity of a person; age, gender, sexuality, likes and dislikes, education… Disability? Some people embrace it, some people ignore it (if either one of those is actually possible). People make friends based on common ground but there is something different about disability. Some people who don’t have a disability assume that most disabled people will get on with each other just because they have this ‘shared identity’ but in reality that is not true. One thing I’ve found is that sometimes disability, for some, can be a bit of a competition, visible vs invisible, disabled and non-disabled, but aren’t we all forgetting one thing? People are people and deserve the respect and understanding of each other.
I’ve spent 24 years kind of living in an ‘abled-bodied world’ and 80% of the time I love it in a way. No competition, no nothing. This is not to say that I dislike disabled people, not of the sort. But I am more than disability, I love people, I love people that see past my chair but also understand some of the difficulties that I face, not for sympathy but for inclusion. Its hard living with a disability, or understanding what it’s like but it’s easy to segregate ourselves into boxes and see an ‘us and them’ scenario. That, that is easy.
Maybe what I’m saying is, people need to start listening to other and see more than a disability, disability should be trivial, disability shouldn’t be a competition, there is more to life than a disability so don’t let it define you and segregate you. Disabled or no