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

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

NOTHING SPECIAL


If I had to write my autobiography today, I would probably call it 'Nothing Special' or something along those lines. OK, it's not exactly the case that I am humble or anything. But, if I had the choice, I'd rather stand out for who I am rather than for what people think I am. Of course, this revelation came to me after I look back at the way I have resisted being labelled as 'special' ... a thing that I was rather ambivalent to when I was a pre-teen. I won't go there now but there are many reasons why I seem to have risen against any word that represents me, whether intentional or otherwise, as someone 'apart from others'.


My recent experience has proven time and time again that my impairments do NOT change who I am as a person. And let's face it, I have never known a life without impairment. What I never understood perhaps was why did the fact I was different bothered people more than it did me. And, of course, now that I have regained sight in my right eye (at least), I am aware that my body is in constant change... as is yours!But, then, should it really matter - at least when it comes to being valued - whether you have an impairment or not. Unfortunately, it does... try to imagine discovering that most buildings you could access with a wheelchair are fairly limited, that media often disregards its blind or deaf audiences, or that your opinion doesn't count much if you have an intellectual impairment


So it is sometimes refreshing to be in a position where you are made feel comfortable being yourself (impairment included) without the chains of misguided attitudes and decisions in the way. That is perhaps what I will miss most of my nephew's short visit. The feeling that you are not questioned or scrutinised as if you were some kind of fairy tale creature (not that I am really). And you also start to think about the possibilities if society worked in such a way when it relates to you. I've had my fair share of people who try to analyse my experience relating it to the fact I have an impairment. It's not always the fault of people but it is rather the fault of something higher. No, not God. But the way we think about society. Yes, even our values placed on what is perceived as 'healthy', 'normal' and 'beautiful' are based on such a limited view of the world.


And no, I am well aware that I have my own pre-conceived notions about what is 'beautiful' (at least) ... so I am not free of biases and of ideas that naturally exclude certain people from falling in that category. I cannot call them 'ugly' either. What I'm trying to say, perhaps, is that inasmuch as I want to free myself of being perceived in terms of someone 'alien', I cannot escape the fact that I am - at least in terms of social status - 'lower' than other people my age and background.


And that is why, I am disabled today. I have always wanted to share the experiences of being in a relationship, and dreamed of having a family of my own in the future. I don't say this to invoke sympathy or that purple-eyed monster ( pity) but am just stating facts. It's difficult really to express this in simple language but it's like I am realising that I don't need to justify my existence, or try to explain to others why I'm nothing special. And that's not a negative thing to say. For I remain, like other members of the human race, someone searching for my purpose and doing the best to keep going. That's not heroic in my books. And neither is my life as a man once told me 'a cross that I have to carry' ... And even if I would have not achieved my dreams in life, or really equity with others, I can say that I have fought to dismantle the falsehoods that artificially separate me, and disabled people, from the rest of the world.

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