I have to say I think this is one of the best blogs on living with a disability I have ever read. I’ve written a lot of stuff on my blog but it never occurred to me to look at all of the things I consider “bad” about my disability and simply shift my focus to turn them into positives. Number 4 and number 6 really struck me too. When I struggle to get up out of a chair or I have a limp, yes that makes people notice me. But noticing doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. I’ve actually met friends and started up great conversations with people because they’ve asked about my limp. And in reality, I would much rather stand out than be invisible like I tried to be for so many years.
I thought I would come up with a few of my own to add to the list too because I definitely identify with each and every one of the things he shared and then some:
I’m extremely resourceful: When you have a disability and stairs without railings (or sometimes just stairs in general), curbs or things like that come your way, you get really good at figuring out alternatives. This carries over into your daily life then. You can figure out how to fix something and you get pretty good at coming up with creative alternatives to things.
The little things to some people can be huge to you: For most people, traveling alone isn’t probably that big of a deal. But for me, traveling alone is something I consider to be one of my greatest accomplishments. Things like taking a cab to the airport by myself in NY or getting my suitcase off the baggage carousel are my versions of climbing Mt. Everest. There are always going to be things I need to ask for help with, so I relish those things I can do totally on my own.
It’s forced me to focus and improve other parts of myself: I could never do sports or anything physical growing up obviously so while other kids were on the football team or running track, I was reading or listening to music. I also love making people laugh and I consider my sense of humor to be one of my strongest qualities. So I may not be able to pass a basketball or run a mile but I’ll get you with my witty sarcasm 🙂
I have great empathy: I think I’ve shared this one before but because I’m different, I strongly identify with other people who are considered “different.” I may not be perfect at it but I really try to understand the other person’s plight and what they might be going through and I always root for the underdog because I know what it’s like to be one. While some might judge the guy with the pink mohawk or the girl with the sleeve tattoos and nose ring, I actually feel at home seeing and being around them because I have something physical that people see and might think is “weird” or different too. I have such respect for people who are just unabashedly themselves and make no apologies for it because that’s something I’m not quite so good at.
As Michael says in the conclusion of his blog…I don’t know who or how I would be if I wasn’t born with MD. I’ll never know, but I like to think I wouldn’t be as cool of a person as I am because I have MD 🙂 Thank you Michael…life changing.