It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Fun*Run Time

It's ALREADY that time of year again: The ADAPT Fun*Run for Disability Rights is April 22nd 2012. Maryland's fundraising goal is $8,000 this year. Yes, that's right, $8,000

Donate $1! Donate $10! Donate $100! Donate $1,000! JUST DONATE so we can FREE OUR PEOPLE! I thank you very much for your support!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Having a lot of Allies: A Sign of Weakness or a Sign of Strength?

What is an ally? Usually this term is used in relation to PWDs to mean any AB who truly understands our collective struggle in society and fights for our rights. One of my many goals right now: learn to look at my life on a micro scale as opposed to a macro scale. So, to take the idea of an ally and apply to a smaller scale, to me, an ally is someone who’s got your back. In this case an ally can be virtually anyone. A good friend, a parent, a significant other, a doctor, a teacher, a lawyer, even a service dog. An ally is anyone who has your best interest at heart.

I think I’ve probably had more then my fair share of allies over the years, but an ally can only be as good as you want him/her to be. If you don’t want allies, well then you’re going to be stuck spinning your wheels in the mud. Trust me. Been there, done that for much too long. This doesn’t just apply to PWDs, it applies to anyone, blind, sighted, gay, straight, white, black, or purple. Humans are social animals. We need someone in our corner.

Allies are support. As PWDs we all need more support then the “average person.” Leg braces/crutches are support, Braille is support, and extra time on tests is support. After we must manage accepting all that, who has room for the people supports? I sure didn’t. I tend to take self-sufficiency a bit too far sometimes. Yes I have orthotics in my shoes, but isn’t that enough (in the philosophical sense)? Don’t open a car door for me (I can do that myself), don’t help me clean my room (I could do that if I wanted to), and by all means do not offer to help me to not flunk my classes. I’ve flunked a lot of classes in my time. I’ve also had a lot of people offer to help with the executive functioning issues that lead to this. But I don’t need help. Really. I can do it.

This leads to now, where, to put it vaguely, my academic status is anything but static. Hmmm… In the last 9 working days I have had 7 meetings with either a combination of faculty from my department, or yesterday morning someone from disability support. Next week is spring break, but the week after I know I should have at least 2 other meetings of this nature. This doesn’t include the psychiatric help I’ve been receiving. I can’t even count the number of classes I’ve had/have that have been taught by someone with a social work background. At the moment, my life might make an interesting “B” horror movie: Attack of the Social Workers.

A (social worker of course) professor said in a meeting Monday that she is impressed at how much I’ve been open to suggestion from everyone lately. Well, besides looking at my life on a smaller scale, another one of my goals is being proactive as opposed to reactive. Finding my way out of the shallow hole instead of waiting until I’ve dug it too deep. Very few people get out of holes (figuratively or literally) by themselves. Either they have a rope, a latter, or maybe someone up above yelling “PUT YOUR FOOT THERE!” Is there anything wrong with that?

I’d have to say that I have at least 7 people who are very actively in my corner right now. Maybe more, but the other people have been around too long, have seen me fail too often, and are understandably distant. Either way 7 people are a lot of people. At the moment, 7 people seems like an army. What person has to be this dependent on so many others to sometimes just make it to the end of the day?

If other people can make it without having to check in with the entire world, well then I must be a very weak person right? Why did it take me this long to get this through my very thick skull? Maybe it’s the mood stabilizers, but NO!!! On the contrary, asking for help (accepting allies) is a sign of great strength. It means that you are not only cognizant of your shortcomings, but are also open to bettering yourself. Doing something is a whole other level then knowing something. Actions speak louder then words. It just seems so odd to me that people think more highly of me now that I am actively seeking/accepting help then before when I was just as actively pushing it away. Logic says that it should be a sign of weakness.

I’m working on 6 self improvement goals simultaneously at the moment. Just over the last 3 days I could list several examples of positive steps I’ve taken towards 4 or 5 of them. That feels really good. It feels even better when there are allies around to validate that yes, I am making improvement. Also, to use another cliché, 2 (or 7 or 8) heads are always better then 1. So in a sense I guess I feel bad for people who have few or no allies. They’re missing out on frequent warm fuzzies. Now if only I could keep telling myself this…


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