Does disability define us?

Does disability define us? Unconsciously, disability does, unless we choose to consciously opt out. I have chosen to cut out a niche that doesn’t bring my disability into the equation.

I’m not embarrassed by it, I don’t allow myself to hide behind it and I don’t use my disability as a tool for my writing, because I choose to write from the soul instead. It would also make it difficult for others if I were to constantly draw attention to it.

My understanding and my journey have very little to do with my disability and how I feel about it. I live alongside Cerebral Palsy, because it’s what I was born with and because I have no choice. It isn’t my life and it doesn’t define me.

Some of us will spend our lives hiding behind our disability, whilst others will use what they know about their disability to charity their own cause, bring their disability to other people’s attention, but until society changes its attitude towards disability, we will always be defined.

There are those who use their disability to mock its very existence. Disabled comedians use their disability in this way as a means of communication. Unfortunately, disabilities will define us by the very nature of what they are and depending on how well we manage to live with and cope our disability. The less we cope, the more we will be defined.

Although disability does define, we must choose to opt out so that we become defined by our lifestyle and how we choose to live instead.


24 Mar, 2015

4 thoughts on “Does disability define us?

  1. Growing up my parents always saw my disability before they saw me. My parents when introducing me to people felt the need to apologize for my disability. They would say… ‘this is my daughter Maria but she can’t walk right.’ So because of it, I was defined as the girl who couldn’t walk right.

    It’s been difficult to shake off that definition of me, but I have come to see myself as more than my disability since I have made my own life. I admit that sometimes it hasn’t been easy, especially when I am reminded of my disability by aches, difficulty in doing certain things and the reactions of people.

    I am not my disability, but I am the person I am, thanks in part to my disability.

    1. You truly are one amazing person Maria. Unfortunately your parents weren’t unique in their attitude. It’s a shame they couldn’t get past the disability thing.

      I agree with you when you say, ‘I am not my disability, but I am the person I am thanks in part to my disability.’ We can never turn our backs, or ignore the fact that we have a disability that we deal with; but without the ignorance of others including our parents and families, I’m sure you’d agree we would have had a much easier ride.

      Your parents’ ignorance has made you stronger. You’re no longer defined by how your parents’ saw you. You’ve grown into a more independent you. You’re your own person now.

  2. Unfortunately people do see disability before the person in much the same way as they do with any minority. It’s a human failing, but we seem to have a greater understanding now than our parents’ generation had.

    Hopefully that understanding will only increase in time, so that and all other discrimination based around ignorance of disability, colour, race, sexual orientation etc will be something that does not feature in our everyday lives.

    1. Thanks. Living with CP and having lived with ignorance around my own family, I would say we do have a long way to go; but agree with you that there is probably less discrimination now than when I was growing up.

      I’m not sure why or how society got to this place. Underneath we’re all the same. We really need to look beyond what we see outwardly. You’ve highlighted a list of all discriminatory issues and I agree with you.

      I really hope that in our lifetime, we will go on to see a lot more changes than we’re seeing now.

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