For me disability is about education and empowerment. Of myself and others.
Not talking about disability, in my case epilepsy, leads to fear and ignorance, it creates taboo and prejudice.
Not embracing epilepsy or disability as a part of me would be to deny my whole self. Until it sits alongside me as my reflected other half I am not whole.
Treating disability with a ‘Fight Club’ mentality (The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club) (1) will not lead to health (you only have to watch the film to see how destructive this type of thinking can be! (2)).
Disability for me is about acceptance of myself, but in the wider social context to be accepted by society would be the ideal.
Not accepting our differences leads to disharmony within the self and society.
There is a fine line between ‘accepting’ and ‘labelling’ disability. It is about how we see ourselves as much as how others see us.
Frank Lipman’s blog about Aimee Mullins is one of my favourite posts from 2012. In it she talks about all the disempowering negative language that is associated with the word ‘disability’, and gives her new definition.
One of the most frustrating things about having epilepsy is people who tell me I’m sick. Actually, they often never get as far as the word disability, I am ‘sick’.
Disability its self is a big label to be handing out, but sickness!
Normally, I might add, my personal experience of the word ‘sickness’ is that it is banded about in the context of work!
I am NOT sick, I am not DEAF, I am epileptic, but I am capable, I am intelligent and I can use my voice and prove everyone who ever said I can’t do something that they are wrong about me! I don’t define myself by my disability but it really did help to make me who I am today.
To crush a spirit, to withdraw hope, to deflate curiosity, to promote an inability to see beauty, to deprive of imagination, to make abject.
Ant. To make poss-able
Aimee Mullins 2009 new (and better!) Thesaurus 2009 Edition
Here she is in her TED talk, which is titled ‘The Opportunity of Adversity’.
She’s my heroine.