Photo by Erik Lucatero on Unsplash “Yes” “No” “Maybe” Three words that I am proud to have in the English dictionary. Three words that I am happy that I have the ability to use, being aware that there are many who are unable to use those words for a variety of reasons. When spending time with a mixed cultural couple, I was able to learn that the French do not have a good word for ‘may...
Living with a disability can be hard. Not only can it be hard for the obvious reasons but living with a disability comes with its own trials and tribulations that many do not think of. While I cannot speak for all people with disabilities (because all disabilities have their own challenges), I can speak for one in particular. I have a physical disability called Erb’s Palsy; I can’t use my right arm. Since living with a disability and observing others with disabilities, I can honestly say that the support we receive from others can have an impact on how well we can adapt to difficult situations with our disabilities.
If you have a friend with a disability, try to be mindful when planning events, thinking of things that they can and can’t do. Because I can’t use my right arm, it should be obvious I can’t (or at least it would be extremely difficult) to do something that requires two arms such as rock climbing. However, if you are a person with a disability, be mindful that your friends aren’t mind readers. I hate dancing. Everyone else loves dancing and I’m constantly being questioned for why I don’t. I get aggravated because I get tired of having to explain myself, but [people I know] aren’t mind-readers, these are my friends. I hate dancing because most dance moves require two hands. On top of this, as we all know, the black community prides itself on having rhythm. Because this was something that I sorely lacked growing up, I have since lost the confidence to dance in private in order to practice for the public.
While I can speak on my physical condition, I cannot speak about the conditions of others. My mother is an autistic schoolteacher and from spending time in her classroom, I feel as though I have learned a lot. While I believe it’s important to not push one into doing something that may be difficult or hard for them to do (like dancing with the use of one arm), don’t try to hold them back either. There were other teachers at my mother’s institution who did not believe that my mother’s students were capable of pursuing a job and if they were—they’d be working in a McDonalds. Yet, one of her students graduated and is currently attending a four-year university, preparing herself for a long successful career.
I admit dancing is hard for me but I also admit that I’m self-conscious and not yet confident enough to dance in private, so that I can get better for the public. I’m disabled (She was disabled) but we’re not handicapped. With enough practice (and enough support from our friends and family), we can do whatever we set our minds to.