Not Disabled, Just Human

December 15, 2010 at 6:59 pm | Posted in Barton's Blogs, Ramblings, The Nitty-Gritty | 4 Comments
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Recently we’ve noticed a new theme developing among several of our newest connections. This theme seems to revolve around how or even if people can fully recognize wholeness in the face of a disability. For those of you who know me, you know that I strive constantly to recognize that innate wholeness in myself, as well as everyone else. And while I don’t always do this perfectly, it is foundational to how I approach life and to any of the accomplishments I have been fortunate enough to encounter so far.

Because of this, I’ve been caught off guard when several of our newest connections have clearly struggled to recognize themselves as whole. The result of this has been several surprisingly awkward interactions in which, whether they are not are aware of it, they become outwardly uncomfortable as I challenge them with a more expansive perspective of who we are as human beings, regardless of individual ability levels.

While none of us are perfect, there is within us a core that is a whole in and of itself. It is this core that gives us the richness of our humanity! Through focusing on this essence, rather than our shortcomings, we can discover both the strength and the courage to understand how we can best utilize our gifts, while at the same time, face our own difficulties with compassion. In expressing life through this paradigm, it becomes easier to let go of an identity that is intrinsically disabled by its limited perspective and step into who you are as a human being and become simply a person. 

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  1. What I love about this post is that when you talk about your newer connections, it’s not clear whether you are referring to people with physical disabilities or people who appear whole (on outside) but who disable themselves — we all do to some extent — by maintaining rigid identities. I believe most of our struggles stem from seeing ourselves as not able or from being uncomfortable with stepping out of our constricting identities. We may not like who we are but it’s an identity we know and we lie to ourselves that we/things can’t really change. But they can!! Scary stuff, change… but worth it. Barton, thanks for this. Keep ’em coming!

  2. Barton, thanks for this post. As I commented on this blog in February, I am a 23-year-old with cerebral palsy. It bothers me often when people expect me to want or need less from life than a physically capable peer, and bothers me even more when they are surprised to learn all that I have accomplished thus far in my life (an editorship, law school, independent living). It will take a long time for people to realize that I am a whole person–not in spite of my disability, but because of it. Thank you once again for your insights, as I am sure all your readers benefit from them. 🙂

  3. Beautifully written, Barton! I particularly love the part where you said, “It is our core that gives us the richness of our humanity.” This is the thing that we not only as disabled people, but everyone needs to remember. There are those who may see our wheelchairs before they see the people sitting in them, but it is up to us to push through that so that we illuminate our inner core for the world to see. Although that may be easier said than done at times, it does put life into prospective.

  4. We are all whole. I love this thought.


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