The best of disability blogs and banter
How Others See Us
HOW OUR FRIEND SEES US …
BODY AND SOUL
The following quote has been widely-shared and is snipped from a much longer and beautifully written article by a man whose friend broke his neck while they were both in high school. It traces his friend’s life from before his injury up to when he drives a van, lives with his fiancé, and is about to embark on a doctorate program.
Discrimination against physically disabled people is so insidious because it is material, built into the infrastructure of bipedal existence. Liberal meritocracy finds ways to subsume women and queers and ethnic minorities, but it freezes in the face of disabled people, who make clear the extent to which we must evolve if we want to broaden the scope of our sympathies. It is one thing to change a law or a bigot’s mind; it is quite another to install a ramp and an elevator in every building in the world.
— Drew Nelles, thewalrus.ca/body-and-soul/
HOW OUR MOM SEES US …
MY CHILD WITH A DISABILITY IS NOT MY HERO
What concerns me is that calling our kids heroes is just another form of dehumanization and marginalization. Our kids are kids, first and foremost. They’re people, human beings, whose value lies simply in the fact of their personhood, not in milestones or hurdles overcome. When we put them on pedestals and call them heroes, we make them something other than human beings. And we give them a standard that, at times, may be hard for them to live up to. They might not always feel like being heroic. Sometimes they might just want to be kids, people, frustrated and fed up and overtired and hungry and in a bad mood and all the other less-heroic stuff we feel from time to time.
Having twins, one of whom has spina bifida and one who doesn’t, makes this really apparent to me. Both of my kids are just people, existing in the bodies they were given, facing any challenges that come their way. Having spina bifida is normal and natural and fine for my daughter. She’s not heroic for existing in her body any more than anyone else is, because she has always been this way. Calling her a hero is just another side of the coin from feeling sorry for her, and I don’t want people to do either. I want her to have the beautiful freedom to be a complex, complicated human being who both overcomes challenges and makes mistakes, who can be joyful and angry and every other emotion there is, with no pressure to be anyone but herself. She’s no hero — she’s something much more magical and mundane: a little girl, full of untold potential, just like her sister.
— Sarah Sweatt Osborn, The Adventures of Ernie Bofflo, erniebufflo.com
HOW OUR LOVE SEES US …
NATALIE & TIM’S GREEN FILLED ACCESS-A-WEDDING
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: My absolute favorite highlights of our wedding can be summed up in a few “D” words: dog, dress, decor, and disability. Our dog, Rush, is a trained service dog who helps my husband with a variety of day-to-day tasks. He came down the aisle with us and delivered the rings perfectly on cue, as if it was just a normal day of work. This of course was met with a 100 peoples’ collective awwws. Rush also toured the room with us and enjoyed many pats throughout the night. A true champion.
Our focus on disability was a highlight for me. You can’t hide the fact that my husband spends most of his waking hours in his giant electric wheelchair (he has cerebral palsy), so we didn’t hide it — we celebrated it. We matched the wheelchair to our wedding colors, we took an accessible bus to the wedding, our food was finger food (which is easier for Tim to eat), and our cake was cake pops (also easier for Tim). We drank wine out of straws, and we even included sign language interpreters in our ceremony. We celebrated disability and difference in all its forms.
— Natalie, as told by Offbeat Editors, offbeatbride.com/2014/01/toronto-access-a-wedding