Viewport width =
February 28, 2016 | by  | in Token Cripple |
Share on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter

Token Cripple

“It is a beautiful thing, that you are getting a degree.” I stared at the woman seated across from me at the trestle table at the Italian restaurant. She looked back, taking me in—my wheelchair; my imprecisely moving hands—probably thinking she’d said nothing worth raised eyebrows. I however, was floored. She was flanked by disabled people. The host of the party on one side had Muscular Dystrophy, her own daughter, on her other side, had Cerebral Palsy like me. Our disabilities, to my mind, were having little impact on the conversation. Up to this point it had been sensible, engaging—I’d felt treated like an equal.

Then I was reminded. I remembered the occupational therapist who had objected to my move to Wellington, the best place to pursue my study interests: “But there are hills there!” I remembered every cab and bus driver, every stranger in the street who felt the need to stop and call me inspirational. I remembered the way my efforts in Physical Education had warranted awards that none of my able-bodied friends received.

People are trying to make things easier because by being disabled there are certain things I have to contend with. I don’t deny it, there’s the whole not-being-able-to-walk-deal. But on a daily level their comments irk me more than my body does (I quite like her, tbh). Comments that imply I am doing something exceptional in using my brain betray dangerous ideals we have about achievement and independence: that my achievement should be valued differently because I sometimes ask for help. That under “normal” circumstances we get there on our own, and moreover that we should want it that way.

Perhaps a useful note for the beginning of the trimester is, that we will not get to graduation on our own. We shouldn’t try. We will need help and should be working together as a community. Where my achievement, or yours, is recognized as a communal effort. That all these diverse paths towards our goals will feed into each other and take us somewhere good.

 

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter

About the Author ()

Comments are closed.

Recent posts

  1. Freedom of Speech
  2. Dark Objects
  3. Better Living (Wage) Everyone
  4. Presidential Address
  5. A Mental Health Crisis Among NZ University Students?
  6. Women in Action
  7. Disenchanted Prophets — Matakite Matekiri
  8. Super Science Trends
  9. VIC UFO
  10. Te Ara Tauira
badgirl

Editor's Pick

NOTE TO SELF: HOW TO WIN AT THE ART GAME AND STAY IN YOUR LANE

: - SPONSORED - Written by NZ’s #1 art world bad girl   The art world is a game. It is a game Have you trained? Are you ready to run the race? Do you own New Balances or Nike Frees? You have to be comfortable, because it’ll take decades to run the race and get [&hellip