What is disability and what does it mean to be “permanently disabled”? Sounds kinda grim, doesn’t it? The word “disabled” has all kinds of negative connotations, and that’s not a good thing, because it also is a word that sets apart a segment of the population that is in no way inferior to the rest of society. Problem is, people equate “disabled” with “incapable.”
“Wheelchair” does not mean “I can’t do that.”
The wheelchair symbol means that this particular parking space is reserved for a particular segment of the population and if you are not part of that segment, you, asshole, should not park there.
To me, “wheelchair” can mean “opportunity.” Imagine the pickle folks were in before the invention of the wheelchair. Imagine life before the electric wheelchair and the opportunities that the newer inventions and technologies have given people. Imagine life before vision could be corrected with corrective lenses, namely, glasses, contacts of all sorts, even nowadays surgery.
Imagine life before antipsychotic medication. Yeah, these drugs have vastly improved our lives. Problem is, the meds are overused nowadays or used improperly or marketed all wrong by huge moneymaking drug companies. There are a handful of people who have benefited from the drugs but there are many who have been given these drugs indiscriminately and have suffered huge losses. As you know, I fall into both these categories. I think many folks do.
Psychiatric disability does not mean “I can’t do that.” It does not mean “I am dangerous.” It does not mean “I am dirty.” It does not mean “cross the street next time you see me so you don’t have to go near me cuz mental illness is contagious.” Psychiatric disability does not mean “keep me away from your kids.”
For every person with a psychiatric disability, there are not 26 people lying in a school yard dead. If there are, go show me the dead bodies cuz there must be one helluva lot of ’em and one helluva lot of school yards.
So say I’m on a treadmill running at 5.0 miles per hour. That’s not all that fast, but that’s about the speed I run at right now. I’ll be there are a fair number of amputees who can run at that speed or faster.
Like I said, disabled does not mean incapable. So if a person can run faster than I can, I who has never had a leg or foot amputated, does this mean that this disabled person has “overcome” their disability?
Naw. Nothing has been overcome. I say this because their damn leg or legs have not regenerated. No way. You don’t regenerate, you don’t overcome. What you do is you get creative. This is the key. You work with what you have, and you make it work for you. So what I am assuming is that this runner, who is running at 5.0 miles per hour or 5.1 or 5.5 and running the hell out of the treadmill next to me on legs that have been amputated is either running directly on their stumps, or using something nice and sleek and fancy for prosthetics.
Hey, like I always say, you do what you have to do to survive.
So like my brain ain’t gonna suddenly change overnight to be a “normal thinking brain.” Cuz you figure it’s never thought like a normal brain in 55 years, it ain’t gonna start now. But I figure, like I said, you work with what you got, and you make it work for you.
Guess what? I write.
Guess what? My brain does a handful of other magnificent things.
Might as well have a blast, eh?