the hero and the loser

April 22 | 2017

whenever there’s a headline about achievements of people with disabilities, many would often say how “brave” and “inspirational” they are. It’s implying the notion that having an impairment is somewhat of a burden. A lot of activists try to counteract by turning a disability into a part of one’s identity of which they have to be proud of, yet they criticize anyone who in their mind is reducing a person to that very crucial part of their identity.

let’s face it, having any kind of impairment is not fun, much less something to be necessary proud of. Whether you like it or not, your life is tough(er), you have limits that you can’t cross and you get reminded of that every single day. The people around you are sometimes overwhelmed, insecure or downright rejecting. Dating can be a bitch and a half, because you’re seen as some kind of asexual being and you’re expected to be grateful to have gotten the leftovers from the bottom of the dating barrel. As for your career prospects, you can pick between a sheltered workshop/welfare or be married to someone who can provide for you. Then you would sit in your armchair watching TV about some fellow cripple who “made it despite all”. As much as you wish them the best, you know too well that you and 99,9% of your kind will barely get out of the woodwork.

is there anyone to blame for this? The answer is not as simple as one would want to think. It’s so easy to say that it’s all society’s fault but that’s only partly true. Yes, life is hard, and not just for people with disabilities, but for everyone else too. On the other hand, entitlement and too much optimism cause that people are unable realistically determine their own abilities. Having to face the pull from both sides, one keeping you down, the other lifting you up leaves you either depressed or manic, either way having unrealistic expectations about what you can or can’t do.

your advocates and activists aren’t making it any better, ironically enough, they even willingly or unwillingly enforce either side. Many of them are blinded by their ideology, claiming to know what is the best way make people with disabilities a part of society. There are tons of charities and organizations competing for their good deeds for the day. But in order for them to function, they need to maintain the divide and keep pushing for a victim-mentality among those they deem helpless. The few selected heroes are used as a scapegoat for a misguided media representation, showing a problem that has been already created by those who claim to fight against it in the first place.

in all of this debate about people with disabilities, one thing is missing: the people themselves. It’s all about them, but rarely with them. Each and every one is different. Each and everyone has different needs and desires. Don’t expect the world to adapt to them, but let them have the agency to adapt to the world instead.

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