Friday, January 02, 2009


I tussled with writing a blog today.

You see, nothing happened. Well, not nothing - that's impossible, but nothing much. Yesterday we stayed home and watched a DVD box set (George Gently) interspersed with naps and reading. Didn't get out of my housecoat for the entire day. Phoned a couple of friends, did a couple of puzzles, made a few notes for work.

And here I write a disability blog, I refuse to have it devolve into a personal blog (I read several personal blogs and enjoy them, my goal was to have a topic specific blog). So since I didn't leave my house. Since I didn't have an encounter or an insight. Since I didn't do anything that had me even once think about myself as a disabled person. Or a gay person. Or a fat person. I didn't relate to a world that spews negative messages to the different - so I was just the 'me inside' and the 'me outside' had little impact on the flow of the day.

So we were just settling into making breakfast and chatting about what DVD box set we are going to watch today (Dexter Season 2 interspersed with Extras Season 2) and wondering if we could get by without Joe having to go out to buy bread - when I realized something.

So, there will be a blog after all.

When I first became disabled the 'novelty' of the change had me constantly aware of how my life had changed, how I had changed, how everything was slightly different. I didn't react with depression about all this as some do, but I did have the experience of disability filling my conciousness. It seemed like my whole life had been taken over by this new fact about myself.

I think this is what others with acquired disabilities experience. A flooding of disability into conciousness, a belief that 'disability' is all there is and all there ever will be. It seems impossible that there will ever be a future wherein disability simply meshes into the background, like height and eye colour. It seems that it's impossible to go even a second without this new awareness pressing in for notice. It seems unlikely that one will ever hear music, see colours or taste vanilla again.

But, as I discovered today, the newness certainly does wear off. Of course it does. And I should know this. When we first 'came out' all those years ago, it was impossible to go for even a second or two without being gay, seeing gay, talking gay. We spent all our time with gay people, watching gay movies, reading gay books, going to gay bars. But, with time, life reasserted itself and a balance returned to 'the force'. I'm always gay, like I'm always green eyed - but there are times when I don't think about either.

And, yesterday, I didn't once think about disability. It didn't once impact my life. Sure I used my wheelchair to get around the office and the kitchen, but that's normal. Normal. Not different. Just normal. Big deal.

Disability is always my experience but my experience isn't always disability. Does that make sense?

I hope it does.

Because that's what I intend blogging about today.


Anonymous said...

You know what your blog today makes me think about?

The people who receive support from the community living agency I work for. Do they ever get the chance to just be their "inside selves"?
Do they ever have a day when their experience isn't disability? Living in group homes with people they would not choose to live with, having care provided by people they did not choose, in many cases would never choose.
Spending their days on "programs" being told when they can go out (when it works for staff, when it works for "the house")
Working in a workshop doing jobs they dislike for little pay.

Yesterday at work, one of the staff told a 77 year old man sitting in his living room he was not allow to channel surf, he had to pick something and watch it.
Had I not been there to say, tell (staff name) that it is your house - not his, your TV - not his, and you can change the channel if you want to....this man would have been denied the right to channel surf in his own home. Isn't that what the remote was invented for?

Thanks for this blog about "nothing", Dave. It has helped open my eyes (again) and I will remember to do what I can to help people have days (or at least moments) where their experience is not disability.


One Sick Mother said...

Hmmmmm indeed!

Because there are two sides to this: One is acceptance of a new normal; the other is a trap.

Knowing which is which depends on the individual and the particular disability/ illness involved (and I'm not prying here BTW) and how permanent/ treatable it may or may not be.

I wrote a post awhile ago about the other side: How acceptance and adapting may sometimes be bad.

Here is the link

And while I am glad acceptance has found you -and I am sure your acceptance was in the light of full knowledge; I don't believe in blind acceptance.


Anonymous said...

You have green eyes?!?
That does it. I'm boycotting! ;-)

Happy New Year, Dave. From a lurker.

Shan said...

Frankly I'm glad you had a day where nothing happened that you needed to be outraged about - it must have been entirely restful!

Anonymous said...

I have been disabled for several years now and I guess I am used to it most days. I aquired a new disability yesterday because I fell and fractured my right foot. While I use a wheelchair most of the time, up until yesterday I was able to walk short distances. (from one room to another at home) Now I can't bear any weight on my right foot. This too shall pass, but for now I'm more disabled than I was on December 31st. Happy f&%*ing New Year to me! I don't like this at all but I'm grateful it is temporary.
Happy New Year Dave and Joe!

rickismom said...

I know that when Ricki was born with Down syndrome, all I could think about was that fact. After a few days, I said "G-d, how long is it going to take that my first thought in the morning ISN'T 'I had a baby with DS'?"
And of course, that day came (even earlier than I had hoped.)
So you see, this is also applicable to family members, to anyone confronting being different.