25 YEARS (AND FIVE DAYS) ON
Ok. Last Wednesday was my 25th birthday and I should have really written something on my blog. There has been a lot of goings on in my life that it’s been quite hectic and well confusing. I had to read a lot of material to get me prepared and ready for my trip to the UK as I’m starting my Masters again.
There’s of course the new reality that I face as a blind person returning to the sighted world. But that wouldn’t be an issue if not one of adjustment to another way of viewing the world which is mostly visual and not vocal. Unfortunately, my questioning has brought me to ask myself once again who I am in the present. And one of the issues that still troubles me is the one relating to my status as a disabled person.
For as long as prejudice and structures that deny the worth of my life are rampant out there will not be an end to the reality we call ‘disability’. For despite the facts that point to other directions, my life remains dependant on the very forces that defined me in the past. And I’m not referring to classic images of dependency here. But rather the tendency for society to condition our thinking about what is true or false.
I was born in the year 1981, or the year declared by the United Nations as the International Year of Disabled Persons. It’s perhaps ironic then that I find myself 25 years on writing about the same issues that people with impairments had to face then. I’m obviously surprised to note that the bias against people like me is still ever present, if not stronger, as times go by.
I still feel it’s my responsibility to be on alert to the consequences of any negative presumption, however small, that people may harbor in relation to people they perceive as ‘deviating from the norm’. I want to express my disappointment at being labeled as ‘special’, ‘brave’ or childlike. Assumptions based simply on appearances. I want to dispel the myth that implicitly or explicitly favors one form of body over another.
This myth is a product of many hands, be it some doctors, some religious leaders, some media directors, some media producers or some news producers, etc. etc. The story of the myth has many origins but essentially they silently agree on one thing… that the life people like me live is really worse off than theirs.
And 25 years on I do laugh at these views. For these people are really limited in their perspective on my reality. And yet, these pronouncements sadly still retain the status quo. In effect, they also deny that an alternative physical, sensory or even intellectual reality is as valid or as significant as the ‘regular’ experience of life.
Now I’m still awaiting those presents… hope they are not wrapped up in packing that would take me days to unwrap!!!