Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Redefining Disability Project~ Post #1

As promised last week, I'm joining on the Redefining Disability Project.

I could start anywhere, with any question but I'll start with #1.

1. What is your experience with disability? — Do you have disabilities? Do you have loved ones who live with disabilities? Do you work with people who have disabilities?

It seems I've always had one or more disabilities from birth. This has followed through to my last disabling event, my stroke. I've had a multitude of living with and caring for loved one also from my parents to children and extended family.  It seems that once I was disabled everyone around me was disabled in one form or another. Let's face it. Everyone has a disability or disabling factor even if it is only fear.
I seemed drawn to the disabled and them to me. Whether it be family or strangers. After all a stranger is just someone you haven't met yet. In part because of my caregiver tendencies and my can do attitude. I've never been one to be down trodden without fighting. The disabled are drawn to me because I lead by example and keep a positive attitude. Adaption is a way of life for me and is as second nature to me as my stubbornness. They want the hope they see radiating from my very being.

When I was born, most babies born prematurely either died, had severe health issues, or were blinded by over oxygenation. I was a fighter even back then. At a little over two pound, I lived and better yet, thrived. I was not totally without some complications, my lungs are poorly formed and have low breath intakes even now. Add to this a poorly adapted immune system and you have the makings of a sickly childhood, but it wasn't overly so.

Now it's just hemiparesis, and a funky way of talking because of my stroke. Nothing can keep me from talking, not even the aphasia. I am and always have been an underdog cheering fool. No matter what my disabilities are, there is someone out there worse off than me that needs a cheerleader rooting for them.

These others need to be able to laugh even if it is at another's misfortune (slap stick). They need a cheerleader and someone on their side urging them to try one or fifty-thousand more times until they get it. Who better than another disabled person? They may look at me and feel sorry for me and that's okay. For the briefest second, they aren't feeling sorry for themselves and it sparks a hope in them. I've got more than I need of stubbornness, hope, and being able to think outside the norm to share. And, instinctively another person knows this.

Now to the "norms" (non-disabled) who look at me with pity dripping from every pore, don't. I'm smarter and better able to cope than you'll ever be. In spite of my inner and outer disabilities, I am getting things done just like you are. Maybe not entirely like you would do it with two functioning arms, no brain damage, or two working legs, but I'm still accomplishing goals and the honey-do lists.

Granted there are a host of things that I have to ask others to do, but I'm networking and utilizing services that would have gone untapped if I didn't need them.

Sometimes, I'll ask for help from others to make them feel good. This way I extend my blessings. My neighbor will roll my trash bin out to the road on garbage pick-up day. It's not because I can't. It makes them feel like they are helping.

Sometimes, I ask for help not because I can't do it but because others can do it more easily. Now I could ride my tractor to cut my grass. I'd definitely have to modify the steering wheel for tighter turns and lower the speed way down, but I let my grandson do it because it is easier. He feels like he's doing something for his grandparents and it keeps his boredom down. I just know that he loves helping and doing outdoors things. He built my growing beds and my chicken coop too.

Sometimes, there are just things I find impossible to do right now. Because 1) it seems
impossible because I haven't figured out how yet, or 2) It wasn't designed to be used by a person with one hand.
 I haven't figured out a way to use these yet with only one working arm, but I haven't spent much time working on this problem either.

There are probably a dozen of these things a day I find I cannot work. But I'm not losing sleep over it. These are just minor bumps in the road. There's always an alternative way of getting things accomplished.

Some say the disabled are limited, but I say the "norms" are the ones disabled because they haven't conquered our challenges. You never know what you don't try. You never try some things because you don't have to. How limiting is that?

Nothing is impossible with determination.


  1. You have such a great attitude.
    And fear probably cripples more people than anything else.

  2. And you need a cheer, too! Go, Jo, Go!!!!

  3. To think you thought I went through a lot!! You are one amazing woman. And fierce! :D

    I absolutely love your last paragraph about the 'norms'. I'm going to start thinking that way myself. They don't know what we've conquered.

    Hugs to you; so glad you joined the Challenge. Eva

  4. My "great" attitude is hard won. I'm fierce because I refused to be walked on. Sometimes, you have to shove that foot off your head to stand and be counted.
    And Zan Marie, THANKS.


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