Disability, in the minds of many, is an experience to be learned from, either as directly experienced or though second-hand experience as a parent or a care provider. "I've learned so much about life from having a disability." "My clients have taught me more than I have ever taught them." Haberdash and bullshit! If you are paying attention you learn from living the life you are given. And, no other group has to suffer through, "I learn so much from you," like the disabled. "I just learn so much just from being around women." "Gay people have taught me more than I have ever taught them." Bletch.
I say all this because I keep getting asked the question, "What are the most important lessons you've learned since becoming disabled?" Well, yeah, I have learned stuff, I mean 10 years have passed, you'd think I'd pick something up over that time, disabled or not, right? Have I learned things that are lessons from 'disability' ... I don't know. I've learned stuff from how people regard disability and about how discrimination lives in houses with only one step. I've learned that ...
Disability simply is.
It just is.
It isn't a classroom where your heart gets to grow simply because you assisted someone to do something. It wasn't created, like Dickens created Tim, as a lesson for others to consider how lucky they are.
So, I'm going to answer a question I was asked yesterday, tomorrow. That question was, "What's the most important thing you've learned from having a disability." But I'm going to change the question to ... "What's the most important thing you've learned in your life and did disability have anything to do with it?"
Today's post was simply to state that I don't like disability as an object lesson for the non-disabled to help the nondisabled self actualize. And I don't like the idea that disability is an experience from which one is supposed to learn special lessons to make you an extra special person. Both ideas make me shudder.
But I do want to answer that question ... tomorrow.