Getting Disability Wrong
I've had a few complaints over the last week or so about my 'attitude' towards my disability. Apparently I'm 'too cheery' and 'not angry enough'. My blog posts and my writing is too 'sunny' and 'upbeat' ... they didn't say 'inspirational' because I think they knew I'd kill them. I take criticism well, which is to say I get angry and fume for several hours then calm down and think about what was said. It is true I am an optimist by nature. I think it's that optimism that has allowed me to survive the childhood I had, has allowed me to take on challenges once though impossible and to keep going ... And yes, it has served me well in my transition to life in a wheelchair.
My annoyance came from the idea that there is a 'way' to be disabled. There was a mood, a posture, a viewpoint that I'm supposed to espouse.
And I was worried that I was failing at being crippled - how bad is that? I mean the bar isn't high.
So I reviewed. I came to a sunny view of the world long ago. I saw and experienced abuse. I saw and experienced prejudice. I saw and experienced disenfranchisement. But it never occurred to me to let what others did define who I was and determine how I would react to the world. Those who had power over me as a child, those who misused that power didn't need me handing them more - giving the ability to destroy my adulthood. I refused then, refuse now.
I choose to live a happy life.
Yeah it sucks that I can't get onto transit, can't get into a variety of places, can't be accepted as an equal. It really sucks. I work against those barriers and prejudices. I fight my own fight in my own way. I see the oppressor and I act when I believe action is necessary. But I don't let inaccessibility in the outside world make happiness and joy inaccessible in my mind and heart. I don't want to be 'the friend that is so much work to be around because he's angry, bitter and depressed all the time' ... I have those friends. Not that I want to be happy for them ... I want to be happy for me. This is my one kick at the can.
So I can't kick the can, I can sure as hell knock it over.