Friday, March 25, 2016

Of Battered Aspect

Image description: A late 18th century man with a stout wooden leg of battered aspect

When you are reading a book, do you ever have the situation where a phrase, or a description of something, really strikes you? Down deep, strikes you? I'm reading the Lord John series of books and a character makes a very brief appearance. He, a barman, is described thusly, "a glance at the barman, who upon closer inspection appeared to have only one leg, the other being supported by a stout peg of battered aspect." That description captured me. It also told me a lot about the barman.

I wonder if non-disabled folk might just note, 'hmmm, peg leg' and go on. But I didn't. I think many disabled people would notice the significance of the leg actually being 'of battered aspect.' This is a guy who lives in the world. This isn't someone driven to the shadows by disability. He isn't some marginalized guy whose life is diminished and his participation in the world around him ended. This is a guy, out doing what he does, and, like any of us who use any kind of alternate way of getting around, we know that, in very short order it is 'of battered aspect.' 

I look at my wheelchairs. The one I'm sitting in, the manual I use to get around work and ride the bus and shop in markets when we are traveling. It's got one arm rest and the other is definately 'of battered aspect.' It's what happens when life is lived in a world with barriers and bumps and bruises.

I was talking about this with a friend with a disability and she made an interesting comment. She said, 'you know it's not just the chair, or the peg leg, or the walker that takes the battering is it?' She went on to say that anyone with a disability or difference ends up having a soul and a spirit of battered aspect. That we all, just by living, by being in a world made uncomfortable by difference, will be bruised and battered and pick up scuffs and scrapes on our ego and self esteem and our spirit. But even so, we motor on.' 

I joked, 'Ah, yes, the people of the battered aspect.'

She said, 'That should be the name of your blog.'

We laughed.

I thought about it. My blog name, Rolling Around in My Head, evolved from the original, Chewing The Fat. I grew tired of that name and wanted something that was more reflective of where I was in my life at that moment. When you have a blog for a long, long, long time, sometimes the name no longer fits where you are or what you are writing about. So it is with, Rolling Around in My Head, it just wasn't fitting any more.

I like 'Of Battered Aspect' as a name. 

So, welcome to the same old blog with the brand new name.


Denise said...

I like the new name! I have never thought of myself in this way, but you and your friend are absolutely correct. Our disability experience does give us that battered aspect.

CapriUni said...

Echoing Denis's comment. Also: it's a name that's "Stretchy" enough to accommodate disabilities beyond the ones symbolized by that blue and white access symbol.

(You'd be pleased by the sight of my joystick...) :-)

Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt said...

My walker is definitely 'of a battered aspect' - as any object that has been picked up, thrown into the back of the van (one smooth motion) or into a cargo hold (rare - but they broke my basket support on one trip) will acquire.

If I leave the house, the walker gets another battering. I'm impressed that it's still working!

Congratulations on your new name.

You've made me think about blog names - a choice made in a hurry four years ago may not be the best thing to keep on the masthead forever.

Frank_V said...

My cane and hiking staff certainly have a battered aspect. But I shield my mind and spirit from the bashing they take on a daily basis. Sure, it's tragic how society tries to bruise me, BUT, even more tragic is if I allow any permanent scarring to take place.

MaLa G said...

I absolutely love the new blog name! My walker, exactly like Alicia said above, is beat up. And it gets two kinds of treatment from observers. Most stare at it and me in disgust because it's a rollator that is made for fat folk. A few people take the liberty of sitting in it and taking it for a spin. Both types leave ME feeling battered. Your blog has helped me developed a different perspective on the battered aspect of my soul: that it's not an inherent weakness of my nature and character that leaves me in tears so much after encountering yobs; it is THEIRS.

As always, thank you for everything.

Unknown said...

Great name for the blog as it is now...we all gets bumps and lumps and scars as we age....

and a question - are you reading the Outlander series, or only the Lord John branch of it? I'm a fan of Diana Gabaldon's writing, tho the TV version on Starz is a bit too 'glamorous" for me. Clairesmum

northlighthero said...

Ah! The mystery is solved -- and I deeply appreciate the logic of this change. As a temporarily-able-bodied person of a Certain Age, I observe that lots of my body parts have a 'battered aspect' which shows that they have Been Places and Done Things.

Jesse the K said...

Thanks for more thoughtful insight. May I suggest you add a "about the name link" in the sidebar, connected to this post?