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Gordon's D-Zone Arcive (2006-2014)

Sunday, February 11, 2007

QUESTIONING THE ANSWER

The weekend usually is a time when I can think about the past week and my life in general. And sometimes there are events and people who make you think again about the questions you are seeking to answer, or about the answers you think you have.

I have been in such a position for a number of times, especially when I was growing up and started wondering whether there was anything ‘wrong’ with me…

I could understand that I was different from the rest of my peers … But then why was I different? For most of my childhood, I couldn't accept that my impairment was part of me and I did deny that it existed. After all, I knew that the evil guys in movies or books were usually ‘cursed’ by their impairments…

And believe me, the idea that my difference – however slight – was perhaps a sign of a fault within me could either mean it was:

1. A clear manifestation of original sin perhaps?

2. An ‘abnormality’, meaning I was a freak?

Undoubtedly, it was a shocking ‘discovery’ for a 7 year old at which time I began to become more aware of how others outside my immediate family viewed me.

This truth was simply that I had an imperfect body, something that I should hide or masquerade. A part of me that I should try my utmost to hide or masquerade if not repair for good.

But then were these things true? Was the Answer about me a true one ... Had my life really to be less or even inferior just because my body was different? I still feel the pain when I am reduced to my impairments, when people strip me of my dignity and describe me as if I am something which fell from the sky. As if I was an alien or an exotic object.

I had come to believe I was not human being. Yet, I knew I was not an alien, not anything who fell from the sky. Not even an angel from heaven.

But now the truth as I see it is rather different…

I am human. I am capable of good as well as evil. I have loved, and learned to hate. I committed mistakes but also did good things. I have loved and lusted. I said word and did things I am proud of, and others I now regret. There is nothing sinister or divine that distances me from the world so much. I am, once again, human – with all my faults…

The ‘fault’ people judge me by … well it’s not my own doing. Yet, it’s part of me inasmuch as people might secretly loathe it or frightened of it, it is part of me. For it’s not a problem to be different. The problem is when this difference is regarded as undesirable or s misfortune. And implicitly, it makes you feel as if you’re undesirable or less fortunate.

But does it have to be that way? Martin Luther King Junior., in his famous speech I have a dream against the discrimination Black Americans faced before they were granted their civil rights had this to say:

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they Will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today! I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today!”

Full text available from:
great American Speeches

The situation has improved for Black Americans today but there still needs much to be done. But this message also applies to me as a disabled person…

Am I not judged by my impairment?

Don’t I wish to be included with others in the running of the country and in my social life without having to struggle?

Can the answer about my life be simply a tragic novel, or worse, a case history that is stacked in some hospital ward? Is my body the answer to whom and why I am? Is it not just part of me, as valid as skin color or gender? Should not I be then searching for new answers?

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