Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Learning To Use My Disability As A Weapon: Part 19 of "Miracle Boy”

Dear Reader (yes, this means you),

By now it's pretty clear. As I've said before, I am a poor blogger, social-network user, online promoter, Digger, and Twitterer. Don't really know what to do with these tools, or how to devote the time necessary to keep up with them.

So let me ask: Is once a week good enough? (I sincerely hope that's not too frequent?) No, I'm not fishing for compliments. I'm just trying to determine if more often would be better, i.e., posting new segments every few days.

I also wonder how long each segment should be.

(My teenage daughters would probably giggle here. If there is any innuendo about asking how long it should be and if once a week is good enough, then that's intentional. And if my daughters are not giggling, then we obviously haven't raised them right!)

Nevertheless, though it's been less than a week, I shall take the plunge and post another short segment. Summer is over! Time for me to get back to work on this thing!

But please do share your thoughts in the comments section below, on Facebook or by e-mail. And thanks for stopping by...

How To Wield Disability Like A Saber

The windy, early-spring night they tell us they're splitting, after an oddly solemn dinner, Alec and I fall silent, noncomprehending. Then Alec is full of questions. Where will Dad go? Who will tell us stories now? Will we still get presents on birthdays? I'm too confused for questions and stay quiet, absorbing. Let Alec do the spluttering. Until I start crying and Mom takes me on her lap. "Isn't my life hard enough already?" I say.

My words steal my parents' attention from Alec, with all his questions. Doubtless one of my goals. I've never spoken such words of self-pity before. To my mind, it's a ploy. If I push that button, play that card, I can make them take back this idiotic separation idea. Perhaps I can hurt them in the bargain, just like they're hurting us.

Mom holds me tighter. Dad wails and pats my curly head. And I see the power of words—of my words.

Whether or not I want to admit it, I also intend Mom and Dad to know that despite my well-adjusted cheerful exterior I do have frustrations even they can't resolve. It's not politically correct anymore to blame our bodies' limitations for our woes. It's better—more accurate and more constructive—to hold accountable the "oppressors": the vast, unaccepting "majority culture" of the able-bodied. Yet at some basic level people with disabilities do struggle against their own bodies. That may seem self-evident, but many in the then-burgeoning disability-rights movement minimize these frustrations. They fail to acknowledge the obvious—that no amount of societal attitude adjustment or legislated access will ever solve all the difficulties. Some of the struggle is inborn, like it or not, and unsolvable.

Why any of this would make any difference to Mom and Dad's marital situation, I can't say. But I like the lovely feeling as Mom rocks me on her lap and Dad pats me. It's clear my parents will never forget my simple statement. Besides the power of language, I learn that using other people's sympathy can be a formidable tool. My secret weapon.

No comments:

Post a Comment