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!

Monday, February 8, 2010

I Wouldn't Be Me If I Didn't Have This Funny Brain

A crip friend of mine is reading Waist High in the World by Nancy Mairs (which looks like it's on a good sale at Amazon). I'd heard of it; it's been on my recommended list for years. She came to me with a simple quote. Something to the effect of

I wouldn't be me if I didn't have MS.
Wow, she thought. Profound. Seriously, I thought? You're XX age (I won't out you, sorry I'm implying you're old), you've been a crip most of your life, and this is the first you're pondering this? All through my life people have asked me "If you could take a pill and not have CP, would you do it?"

"No," I'd say to a shocked face. "I don't know any different and I wouldn't be me. And I get out of lines at amusement parks." I'm guessing I was 7 about then.

Last week was the first week of class. The professor asked a question and as usual someone answered "at risk populations."

"What does that mean?" the professor prodded.

Teenagers, people in poverty. "Everyone, in this economy," I answered. "Everyone is at risk of being homeless, at risk of not being able to pay their mortgage, because everyone is at risk of loosing their job."

Then I raised my hand again. "To use a real life example for me, I'm friends with a lot of people with pretty involved disabilities who are at risk of being stranded, of having serious problems because the developmental disabilities adminadstration has taken huge budget cuts and their attendant services are being cut."

"Can you explain what attendant services are?" she asked. "I'm not sure everyone knows what that means." Uh... I thought in my head. How do I explain what a Medicaid HCBS waiver is in a sentence? But I did.

Wow, I thought in my head. I wouldn't be me...

I Wouldn't Be Me If I Didn't Have This Funny Brain

I wouldn't be me if I didn't have this funny brain

I wouldn't be me
if I was born breathing
and if I hadn't had a brain bleed
and I didn't have CP

I would look just like everyone else
and wouldn't catch people's attention
I could blend in with the crowd

I would think just like everyone else
and talk just like everyone else
and I wouldn't have to speak up to be heard

I wouldn't be tired all the time
but then small things wouldn't be an accomplishment
getting to class on time would no longer be a celebration
and celebrations are fun

I wouldn't be me
if I didn't have that genetic variation
that lead to me having psychological issues

I wouldn't be a writer
and I wouldn't be passionate
because I wouldn't have that extra energy
passion brings a rush
and I like that rush

I wouldn't break barriers if I didn't have both bipolar and cerebral palsy
because who has 2 disabilities?
a psychological and a physical
a visible and an invisible
I do

and it makes me proud
that I can use them to change the world
because I DO stand out in a crowd
and I have had to learn to stand up and make myself heard
To try harder when someone tells me no
and learn that no does not mean no

I am odd
and I am different
I am an activist
and most days I like it
everyone has an off day

who would I be
if I had grown up playing soccer
and had not been forced by necessity to navigate the public bus
and had not had extra hassles
and had not had to learn to speak up to be heard

I would not be a writer
and I would not be an activist
and I might not have compassion
and the passion to change the world

if I did not have CP
and if I was not bipolar
I wouldn't be me
and I can't imagine
not having passion and compassion
and not being me


Anonymous said...

WOW! Great Post, but it feels like after all this time, you and I still don't read each other well. Since BEFORE you were born, yes I'm 'old' I have known well and appreciated the fact that I would not be me without ALL of my disabilities. I always think it is kewl, and an endorsement, when I hear/read someone who acquired their disabilities as an adult realize how kewl they are with their disability, not despite their disabilities. Thanks for this post. I've been meaning to finish so I can give you the book! TODAY is the day!

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