(Quotes come from the following website: disabled-world.com)
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Whether we want to admit it or not, each and every one of us has a disability. Be it physical or mental.
But those with the greatest handicap are not those confined to wheelchairs or missing limbs. Or slow learners. Or those who suffer from cognitive impairment. Or suffer from some mental health disorder. They are NOT the ones with the disabilities.
It is those who have disabilities stubbornly locked between their ears…..and in their hearts. They cannot see people with disabilities as real people. They are being blinded by their own prejudices, their biases, their narrow minded attitudes.
It’s a form of abuse. It’s a power struggle……….. And it is their loss.
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Because of one’s disability, it takes extra courage to step out of one’s “comfort zone.” And by doing so, we subject ourselves to abuse. Actor Morgan Freeman once said that “attacking people with disabilities is the lowest display of power he can think of.”
And I have to believe that those who inflict such abuse are so insecure within themselves.
Writer Georgiann Baldino said that “we all have a disability of some kind; all are lacking in one way or another. Saul has an injury to his leg. What if his personality was deformed? How much worse if his soul was lame? Preachers or teachers look for the good in all of us. (Bless them for doing so) I don’t see a cripple. I haven’t met anyone yet who isn’t handicapped in some way. So what’s the big deal? Don’t hide your deformity. Wear it like a purple heart.”
And we must realize that most of our fears that are holding us back are of our own making. Based on our own imagination. It’s not the fear holding us back but peoples’ reaction that acts as a roadblock.
As aviator, author, inventor Alexander de Seversky (1894 – 1974) said:“I discovered early that the hardest thing to overcome is not a physical disability but the mental condition which it induces. The world, I found, has a way of taking a man pretty much at his own rating. If he permits his loss to make him embarrassed and apologetic, he will draw embarrassment from others. But if he gains his own respect, the respect of those around him comes easily.”
And writer Audre Lorde (1934 – 1992) adds: “When I dare to be powerful – to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”
And there those who do need a helping hand, a guiding force, motivated by love and wisdom to break down the walls of bigotry. Even a broken leg needs a crutch. It is there we can step in. And we would be wise to heed the wisdom by inspirational writer William Arthur Ward (1921 – 1994): “A true friend knows your weaknesses but shows you your strengths; feels your fears but fortifies your faith; sees your anxieties but frees your spirit; recognizes your disabilities but emphasize your possibilities.”
We must take on a “no holds barred” approach in conquering our disabilities.
Writer James Baldwin said:“Not everything that is faced can be changed but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
A student at the school I used to work at had a truly positive attitude toward her disability. Forced to use a wheelchair much of the time, she was exiting the building. I told her to be careful of the students along the ramp. To which she confidently replied: I’ll just run over them.”
Finally, we should be careful to whom we look down upon. An unknown quote sums it up nicely: “I dreamt of heaven the other night, and the pearly gates swung wide. An angel with a halo bright, ushered me inside. And there to my astonishment, stood folks I’d judged & labelled as quite “unfit” , “of little worth” and “spiritually disabled” Indignant words rose to my lips but NEVER were set free, for EVERY face showed stunned surprise, not ONE expected me!”
Ken works as a security guard. He’s a struggling writer of sketch comedy and pieces on spiritual issues. He wants to set up a non- profit comedy troupe for the community, entertaining in hospitals, drop-in centres, etc. He has established a troupe for psychiatric and physically-challenged communities to participate in. He is also interested in the plight of psychiatric patients and other poverty-related issues. Ken can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org