Comments from The Peanut GalleryOctober 28, 2010 at 8:50 pm | Posted in Megan's Blogs, Ramblings | Leave a comment
Tags: communication, disability, disability and love, disability and marriage, disability and relationships, interability marriage, Megan Cutter
First of all, we want to thank all of our readers and those who commented on our last blog post. It’s a delight to have so many voices & perspectives that add to the conversation and dialogue. One great point that was brought up was how we deal with others who make comments- how do you respond to them?
I admit, that when I first encountered questions and assumptions about our intimate life or if we could have children, I had no idea what to say. Should I give an off-cuff humorous remark about sexuality and disabilities? Did they really want to know? Should I be polite and quiet, or not respond at all? For the most part, I realized that most people just didn’t know, and it became an opportunity to educate others about how those with disabilities can live healthy, normal lives. But not everyone wants to be an educator; they prefer more private lives, and there’s nothing wrong in keeping our lives private.
Barton has always used humor in responding to others, addressing their questions or assumptions. He’s found that humor eases someone who may be nervous or feel uncomfortable, and provides a lighter way to connect with someone who has questions. Most people know me as the quiet and calm one, but underneath, there’s a quirky sense of humor as well- so when you get Barton and I together, there’s bound to be a fun conversation.
Since Barton and I are both coaches, mentors, writers, speakers, we have opened up our lives to the public, for several reasons. We hope to give other inter-ability couples a sense that they are not the only ones out there and we can all come together in community to support each other in being successful in our lives. I’m so relieved to hear of other couples as they overcome the struggles in their lives, and it has given a sense of camaraderie that I don’t find anywhere else.
We hope to also give hope and inspiration to individuals, families and professional staff that their family member, friend, client can be involved in the community. “Out of the box” has become an overused expression, but I’m not sure I knew the true meaning of the phrase until I met Barton, and it’s completely changed the way I view the world.
Also, we hope to affect those in the community who may not only believe in the limitations of others, but of themselves as well. In our exchanges with others in the community, there is a moment when you can see someone burst through those limitations and assumptions- it is powerful to be a witness to see someone as they come to a different understanding.
As a writer, I’m interested not only in these connections, but in the context below the surface. In my listening to the man call out to me, “Well, you’re a healthy cripple,” what was underneath his chiding remark (whether he meant it intentionally or not)? How do we relate to one another, on all the intricate levels underneath? The past few weeks, I’ve been given the opportunity to see how I react in different situations, to uncover why I did or did not respond in a particular way and how that affects the community I was in.
So how do you respond to others in the community you come in contact with? It’s up to you, truly. Here are a few questions to consider:
• What does your personality call for?
• How much are you willing or unwilling to expose?
• What are your values, and is there a way to express those values to others in different ways?
• How can you be open to change yet not change yourself on someone else’s account?
No matter what, discover your voice, what you want to say and find a platform for where your voice can be heard!