I am just going to say it point blank, being disabled is really rad. It is ONE of the coolest things about me. You might be reading this and thinking why would she say such a thing and this is a common line of thought, especially if you haven’t known a disabled person or experienced disability as a concept before. If this is you don’t stress I am here to help.
I personally actually don’t care that I’m disabled, you can ask any of my friends and they’ll tell you it almost never comes up as a “topic” in conversation unless someone asks a question about it to me or I bring it up myself. I feel like it is relevant to another conversation and this is because I don’t think my disability is a worthy topic of conversation. What I have done, who I am and my plans; which are all topics that include disability as an aspect, these are all worthy topics of ole convo, but specifically talking about the fact that I wheel around is not worthy.
It is in essence just discussing transport because a wheelchair is just how I get around.
(I mean come on we’ve been discussing transport within Auckland for years to no avail; I’m not any different) I should be clear that I never hide the fact that I’m disabled that’d be impossible and silly. I just don’t see my disability as a huge deal.
Talking specifically about my disability, in my mind that achieves nothing.
Luckily for me I have friends who think the same way and that is not because these wonderful people just came to me. It is because I made an effort to place myself around positive people, people who wouldn’t judge me or anything else like that.
For my friends they’d tell you that disability is rad because you get good parking in the city and there is always something to make a joke about, but in all honesty most of my friends would probably say to you that they don’t think of me as “disabled” they think of me as Grace and I myself forget this sometimes, I forget that I am firstly, Grace.
In some way or another though my friends they always remind me of this.
Not only is that a reflection on them and their absolutely stunning character, but a reflection on the time we are living in.
Billy Joel said it best when he said “times are a changin'” but by now, in 2016 times for the most part have changed.
More and more people within modern society are being accepted and valued for their diversity and with technological advancement moving faster then ever, there are no excuses for anyone not to be able to do whatever they set their own mind toward doing.
Yes there are still a few people who might not be as advanced as the rest of us.
People who say silly things or believe people who are differently abled are incapable or unfulfilled, but these people are few in number and we cannot let them effect our rad-ness.
I can understand why disability might be a little bit scary and I could tell you the age old classic “we’re like everybody else” but the truth is, disabled people are not like everyone else.
We do need extra help, but I think what everyone forgets is that there will come a time when we ALL need extra help because we can’t do it alone all the time. So yes, when I go out with my friends, they do need to give me a hand to put my wheelchair in the car, but once that is done the outing can continue and conversation and copious amounts of coffee ensure and there is nothing more rad then that.
If I am honest I want no part of the disability community – I want to be part of the community that has disabled people in it. In my mind community is a place where we all come together no matter what and we can become the best person we can be and help others to do the same.
Being disabled is rad, but actually being me, Grace is even radder.
Just be you. Be rad.