I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the word “disabled.” Obviously we’ve come a long way from using such flattering (and downright cruel) terms as “cripple,” but lately, every time I hear the word “disabled,” it just rubs me the wrong way.
For the majority of my life, I never thought twice about it. I was disabled and that was pretty much it. But as I get older and start to embrace my MD more and more, I like the word less and less. If you break it down, “disabled” basically means not fully able. If you look it up in the dictionary, this is what you’ll see:
- Inoperative: a disabled vehicle
- Impaired, as in physical functioning: a disabled veteran; disabled children
I just don’t like either one of those definitions. Obviously I’m not a disabled vehicle but inoperative? I don’t want that attached to my name, that’s for sure! Even impaired doesn’t really sound good.
I’ve talked before about realizing that there’s certain things that I’m not just going to be able to do in life. I get that. But I like to think this doesn’t make me “impaired.” Words like that seem to indicate that those of us who are physically challenged are somehow less than others. It almost makes us sound like we’re damaged even. I may not be 100% physically strong but I don’t think that really means I’m “impaired” or dis-able to do anything. It just means I’m…modified. I’m just a different version. I’m Windows 7 instead of Windows 8.
I’m not going to be one of those people who gets offended when someone uses the word “disabled” or anything even though I may not be comfortable with the term and I think maybe a better one could be used. But it just happens to be the PC term of the time. However, in terms of how I label myself and how I think of all the wonderful people with MD that I know, I’d rather call us handiable thank you very much :).