Living with disabilities takes a tremendous level of resilience. The simple acting of being alive is traumatic, from the societal oppression and marginalization to the internal conflict between self respect and limitations. I have thought a lot about what it truly means to experience the life span as an individual with disabilities and I have come to the point where I can finally admit to myself that living with disabilities is traumatic. Some people might argue using the word ‘traumatic’ is too extreme (and I can only speak for myself), but I have a feeling that a significant number of other people with disabilities would concur with me.
I recognize the topic of this post lacks positivity, but the realities of even successful professionals living with disabilities needs to be acknowledged. I posses a competitiveness, a drive, and a need to prove to myself I am equally human. The battle is both internal and external, resulting in a constant reliance on my resilience. However, my resilience never has the opportunity to rest and that is what makes living with disabilities traumatic. Society labels me one of two extremes, either special or dependent, so society presently allows no middle ground, no average, no normalcy. I am constantly fighting to prove a middle ground exists for people with disabilities while society refuses to acknowledge it. Especially during times of high competition due to the economy, the belittling and oppression of people with disabilities becomes a convenient way to push some people out of the race. Having a disability morphs into a relevant argument against inclusion without any contest because it is convenient. That is right, it is easy, and the only people who get hurt are people who cannot do things anyway. After all, that is why we are called dis-abled.
Society makes discrimination, humiliation, and oppression of people with disabilities so easy. It is traumatic. Only a limitless supply of resilience can handle the relentless trauma of living in a society where having a disability means being a pioneer or incapacitated.
If you are aiming for normal, you are not wrong. Society is wrong about you. Keep up the good work, pal.