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

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


(right) Little Man Pissing

Statue of a young boy err... pissing

and a famous monument of Brussels.

Photo taken by N J Cardona
(my older brother)

Unfortunately, I haven’t found much time to update my blog. After I finished my research project for my studies, I found myself torn between different priorities. First I had to start thinking about my future career and second I was invited to a conference in Brussels. Besides all this, I haven’t been feeling that well about myself. Or more precisely about my impairment.And about how you can get pissed off because of what people think of it...

It all began when I decided to go through the process of finding work as everyone does. And since we’ve all gone high tech here, the process now involves fingerprint recognition system. Good if your fingers are straight and all that. But bad if you have arthritis. I tried it once, twice or thrice but then the machine tells me that I’m not do ing it right. And forgive the machine… some people (who should know better) tell me that my fingers are not, well adapted for the machine.

So, if I got this right… the machine is ok but I must change my body –indeed my whole physiology – for the process to work. What’s wrong with that picture? It fits to the story of many of the experiences I’ve had growing up. My walking is bad, not the fact that the world around me rejects different (perhaps more artistic) ways of walking… Then my wheelchair is badly designed … because it doesn’t fit a lift designed to hold two persons … what else? Yes, I might be consoled by the fact that after assessing my medical history, a doctor sighed and said – wait for it – at least “I got brains!” So it would be pathetically tragic if I had an intellectual impairment as well, would n’t it? As if one could ever measure intelligence with some pieces of paper labelled 'IQ' tests ...

I was particularly struck by a note a speaker made during the last Friday’s Brussels conference on media and disability. He wanted the media to ‘normalise’ our experiences. Of course, I know what he meant … putting us across as part of society, occupying any other jobs or roles in society, having families of our own… etc. That’s my dream too. Yet, I don’t like the word ‘normalise’ or its derivative ‘normalisation’. I remember when I was a pre-teen, praying God to have this ‘burden’ of an impairment taken away from me.

The nights spent crying because no girl would look at me or even consider me as a man in my late adolescence. Pretty personal stuff, yes, but factual. I don’t want that children who have impairments today go through the same issues I faced when I grew up. Because on going through assessments that I’ve been through in these two weeks has reminded me that, irrespective of what I wish to believe, parts of society still would have preferred me physically different. And see me differently simply because I ‘walk’ on four wheels and because I am too gorgeous for them to approach me (I’m being particularly generous with the term here as beauty is in the ‘I’ of the beholder).

And for no reason other than the fact that you are judged by your physical characteristics and largely socially-imposed limitations, you sometimes wonder whether you should dislike who you are or your body and strive for a better body and mind. Then, without realising it, you end up hating what is, in essence, someone unique and irreplaceable. And I’m not speaking about just me. I’ve heard many disabled people who wish to be physically ’normal’. I was one and sometimes become one.

But then, is it a solution for black people who are subject to racism to become white? Is it a solution for women to reject themselves and transform themselves to males to fight sexism? Is it an option for people of minority faiths or beliefs to reject their traditions to become ‘one’? Is becoming ‘one’ meaning we lose all of our diversity, all of our differences, and be ‘normalised’? Would that be a better world? It would be a hellish place I think.

Hope to be able to defrost since it’s getting rather cold over here. I needed to get this out of my system. I hope to compensate by writing a livelier blog in the future. Hopefully after I’ve sorted out the things that need sorting out. Try saying that five times without stumbling in your repetition.