Maybe it’s because of the amount of blue shirts I’ve seen around campus today promoting Autism Awareness, or maybe not, but I was very in touch with my own disability today and reflective of disabilities in general.
Are we with disabilities actually ‘disabled’? Sure. We can’t do certain things that others can’t…..but not everyone can hit softballs like I can. Are people who can’t hit softballs ‘disabled’? No…just not talented.
I just took off my BTE hearing aids because while I lay back in my luxurious college funded version of a Lazyboy, the couch was rubbing my glasses, which was irritating the microphone on my aid, which was causing static causing me to be irritated. Just in case you didn’t catch on, there was a whole lotta irritation going on in ym family room. Annoyed, I ripped them from my hear, turned them off and shut the aids in their case.
HMPH. Shows them who is boss. I put my hearing aids in a timeout. What a power struggle.
Sarcasm aside, I finally felt like me the moment I shut those aids in a case. I was able to hone in my writing, my yoga, and just fully relaxing without having to worry about when the next sabbotage of tinitus would strike. With some disabilities it is different…some people cannot just take something off and immediately forget their disability. But sometimes I wish and hope that without so much focus on such disabilities that those with such disabilites can feel comfortable with what they are able to do.
I love my hearing aids as if they were my best friends. (Actually…I have named them and personify them greatly so I suppose they are my best friends.) But I love them dearly because they allow me to enter into a speaking world in which I am not totally a part of because of my disability. However, I was raised in a speaking culture so I am not a part of the signing culture either. My aids allow me to identify with a specified culture.
When I go au naturale, however, I have the ability to see people for whom they really are, Shallow Hal style. I have the ability to see who is willing to go the extra mile to speak directly to me, rather than turn around while speaking, not allowing me to read their lips. I notice who is conscious of not covering their mouth, speaking with food in their mouth, and accentuating their words in order to assist me during a conversation. I have the ability to foresee kindness, empathy and thoughtfulness when someone turns the volume up or captions on without asking or hesitation. I may not be able to hear the words people say, but I read the way their lips move and their eyes shift and see if they are lying or truthful. I may not be able to hear words of love or adoration, but I can feel a heart pump faster in nervousness. Just because I cannot hear does not mean I am deficient in understanding needs of others or myself.
My “disability” is nothing compared to what I am ABLE to not only do, but allow others to do for me. My abilities far outweigh my disabilities and I will never let my disabilities weigh me down, keep me behind or feel left in the shadows or not good enough.
I am who I am because I am me and not a disability.