I’m getting married next week! So instead of the usual post every 2 weeks, the next time you will hear from me will be in 4 weeks.
Today I want to share with you one of my favorite descriptions I’ve ever read about the experience and complexity of living with a disability. I feel Rebekah Taussig’s instagram post gives us nondisabled folk a different perspective and a new way to look at disability. I’ll let Rebekah take it away:
“I’m sorry you’re disabled.” It was heartfelt, earnest, and I’m sure kindly meant. Wait, what? I hadn’t seen it coming. I certainly hadn’t been feeling that way myself. But it quickly dawned on me. I’ve been emphasizing the hard lately. The painful, the scary. And this folds into one of the most prolific narratives of disability we’re already used to hearing. Disability as tragedy. Profound, comprehensive loss. Cut off from joy. The slippery part here is that some of these descriptions are true. I’ve named some of these truths lately. This is hard. I’m scared. All true. The problem isn’t that disability is never tragic or hard. The problem is that tragedy alone is a gross oversimplification. It’s starved for the meatiness of the real experience.
There are lots of things that are hard. Motherhood. Graduate school. Running a marathon. Being a HUMAN. But even when those experiences are presented to us with all the hard things in the forefront, we don’t say, I’m sorry you’re a mother. I’m sorry you’re getting your PhD. I’m sorry you’re a runner. I’m sorry you’re a human. (Well, maybe runners deserve our condolences. Marathoning sounds like a miserable business to me🙃) We don’t tend to extent pity for these hard things, because we value them. Even when the reward is so small in comparison to the sacrifice, we imagine some kind of trade-off in the works. We recognize that in the grueling sweat and the sleepless nights and the mental agony, a pearl is being made. It’s harder for us to recognize the loss AND something valuable when it comes to disability, but for me, my disabled body has brought enough pearls to wrap around the moon.
So, I just wanted to pop in to say that in the midst of some of the harder days I’ve spent in this body, there are many many ANDS. Disability has brought with it loss AND sturdy, tender intimacy. Juicy, rich friendship. The innovation of a wizened old wizard, and the resilience of a flailing inflatable arms man. A brain that builds, explores, stretches. My preference for the margins. My scrappy sense of style. A lens that sees the overlooked. A keen understanding that all of this is temporary. And, and, and.
Find the original post here: https://www.instagram.com/p/BtzKt-UFlc7/?utm_source=ig_web_options_share_sheet
How did you react to this post? Have you ever thought about disability in this way? I’d love to hear your thoughts.