Cripples of the World – Why do we Underestimate Ourselves?
I was reading a Facebook friend’s posting on my newsfeed. It was about some new, cool scientific discovery. I am fascinated by anything about science and archeology. As I read it, I considered commenting back, “If I wasn’t so creative or cripple, I would have loved to be an archeologist.” That second part or cripple is what I’m talking about. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we immediately look at the able-bodied world and pinpoint exactly our cans and cannots?
For years, I wanted to dance. I eventually got to the point where I realized such a dream could never be a reality, for me. Color my surprise when I found out groups like AXIS and Gimp (a company my friend, Lawrence Carter-Long dances with) exist. Why do we put ourselves into boxes where can’t is a reality when people of all ability levels are proving they can and WILL do anything they put their mind to? It is certainly mind over matter for our community and even the most complex, physical jobs are accessible to us with some adaptation.
I remember when I met Nick Dupree online. I don’t know why, but I was shocked to learn he animated comics. He has the same disability as I do, but his progression is worse than mine is. I can draw okay, but it’s still rather elementary, so to see someone so artistic with such limited arm and hand mobility blew me away. Why was I shocked? I’m a cripple who sings, acts and makes films. I defy creative odds, but here I am – Mr. Open-Minded and I was shocked. His work is GOOD, too. You’d have no idea of Nick’s disability if you just saw his work. Nick is defying the odds and proving to everyone physical ability level does not matter. You can check out Nick’s work at Superdude Comics.
I believe it is ingrained in the very fabric of our society to assume people with disabilities are lacking something therefore, they can achieve less. The government does not help. It puts barriers in our way that prevent us from getting the tools and resources we need to truly be independent. At the same time, we consistently hear we are less, so we deserve less and end up being our own worst critics. If we do not have faith in ourselves to overcome our disabilities how can we expect people with no experience with the disability community to think we’re capable?
What this boils down to is moving past what is ingrained internally and realizing we CAN and WILL do anything we put our minds to. Maybe I will never be an archeologist, but as fascinated as archeological finds are, I don’t want to be one. What I cannot discount is my ability to play one on TV, one day.