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!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I Have Cerebral Palsy...

[image description: a green rectangle with the words I have cerebral palsy... cerebral does not have me, a green cerebral palsy awareness ribbon, and one of those green awareness bracelets. Did you know that green is also the awareness color for both organ donation and save Darfur.]

A few weeks ago I saw this clipart as the footer on someone's blog. I will not say who, as I do not want them to feel bad. Anyway, I've seen that ribbon icon on more than 1 blog. The ribbon has always made me feel uneasy, but this clipart even more so. It's those words, "I have cerebral palsy... cerebral palsy does not have me." I almost had a pit in my stomach when I saw this. You ever get that feeling and you just don't know why? Well I decided to think it over and to my surprise, it didn't take long to figure it out.

First there is that ribbon. What are ribbons associated with? If I polled 100 people I'm sure the top 2 answers would be AIDS and breast cancer. Following along would also be a whole long list of DISEASES (although somehow I don't mind ADAPT's orange ribbon [left]. I've fully embraced the orange). By associating CP with an awareness ribbon we are conceptualizing it w/in the context of the medical model, and I REFUSE TO BE MEDICALIZED. This is one reason why autism advocates detest that horrid puzzle ribbon. Even when I go for my semiannual botox appointments I cringe at the word patient. My doctor works in a hospital even. doctor + hospital = patient (did you know that it gets billed to insurance under a code for outpatient surgery. 7 injections do not equal surgery) I know that; but patient is up there on my list of most damaging words, along with inspiration, special, the r-word, and wheelchair bound. And those bracelets, when the first ones came out they were for testicular cancer. Ick.

Then there are those words, "I have cerebral palsy... cerebral palsy does not have me." Cerebral palsy DOES have me (so does bipolar) and that is something I take much pride in. It took me a very long time to get to this point where I am so comfortable with it, but I would not be who I am if I did not have disabilities and I DO NOT WANT MY IDENTITY MARGINALIZED. By saying this you are implying that I am supposed to push one of the biggest parts of me aside, and I just don't see how this can be done. There would be no Cheryl were it not for my diagnoses (there I go medicalizing). I know what the phrase is supposed to mean. See me as a person, interact with me as a person. I am not wheelchairs and orthotics, but these things are parts of me. I want you to see, interact with, embrace the sum total of my existence in it's entirety, and that does in fact include CP and BP. Don't push them aside, think of them as part of the package deal.

*off my soapbox*


Emma said...

I used to say "I have CP it doesn't have me." but I haven't for a long time. To me it was more a way of saying "I'm more than my CP." Interesting to see this post and your take on it.

What's your take on the whole "no longer disabled after death" take that seems to be popular? I heard yesterday that an acquaintance with MS had died and it's got me thinking about such a post but I'm not sure it's appropriate.

Cheryl said...

GAG ME! It'll take me awhile though to come up with something more intelligible then just ick...

Adelaide Dupont said...

I don't think I like no longer disabled after death.

I'm sure it meant a lot, say, about a hundred years ago. For example, Helen Keller was a Swedenborgian, and that was one of her solaces/comforts.

Many people, however, with disability may be agnostic or atheistic or just not Judeo-Christian.

And well done you for addressing the puzzle ribbon.

I found a similar sentiment when people might say, "So what?"

What about the cyborg perspectives? We all of us are carbon and other elements.

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