Saturday, 8 October 2011

Disability Pride?

There are many opinions on 'Disability Pride', many different approaches. From people who think it is the only way to be, to people who think it is all a lie and emotional denial. Today I had a think. Where do I stand? (This is simply my current thoughts. I have no problem with people disagreeing.)

If, 8 years ago and before I became disabled, someone had asked me whether I was proud of being able to walk I would have looked at them like they were from another planet. How can you be proud of something that you were born able to do, something which is easy, straightforward and every-day boring? It was simply a small part of who I was and held no evidence of anything praiseworthy. Why the big deal?

And I think this attitude still works for me today. Proud of being disabled? Why should I be proud of something which life dealt me? I did nothing praiseworthy to become disabled, it just happened. It is my normal. Simply a small part of who I am. Why the big deal?

I am, however, proud of my achievements, proud of my approach to life, proud of who I am. And that encompasses my disability as well as my abilities - because it is only when I include the disability that I am completely me and completely grounded in reality. If I try to hide it or pretend it is not there I cheat myself - I try to achieve things I don't need to and miss perfect opportunities. It is only when I accept who I am as a whole that I can use my strengths, improve on my weaknesses, grow as a person and have a full-filling and bright future.

Proud of my disability? No. A concept I don't really understand.

Proud of me, disability and all? YES!

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