Resilience Required

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.


4 thoughts on “Resilience Required

  1. “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.”-you
    That is such a powerful statement. Yes. We do polarize drastically in our western privileged, culture. I feel compelled to add that your discovery may ring true for any person who falls outside of a narrowly acceptable ‘norm’…persons of color, those living in poverty, those with significant trauma history, people who live differently than what we tend to see in commercials…I say this not to take away anything from your experience but rather to join you in empathizing with the fact that yes, it does take a great amount of consistent courage to be comfortably ‘other’ in our society of people who are made famous for nothing and can’t understand why someone wouldn’t aspire to that status. It doesn’t have to be that way…famously great or famously tragic. The normal good-enough I hear you describing is a really healthy and balanced ego state to aim for. You make a solid point about social projections for those like yourself living with, I’m assuming, a visible difference. We live in an emotionally immature culture. People are ignorant and differences make them very uncomfortable so to compensate they project.
    I have to go be mediocre at my job now. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I need to apologize because I only now just saw your comment. I completely agree. I hope this kind of conversation can normalize the experience of being “different” while also functional, mature, capable, and yes, completely ordinary! Hope you are having a peaceful day.

      Liked by 1 person

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