It's funny that this week's AAPD video is Andy Imparato --my facebook friend, as well as everyone else's (he's friends with over 4,000 people), the President and CEO of AAPD, and a Maryland resident, so people I know know him-- because I've been wanting to write a post about him for a week or 2.
I don't often look up to people, but I look up to Andy. I look up to Andy simply because he is bipolar and a giant well known activist. Although I identify as a person with a physical disability first (I mean I was born with one, so...), my bipolar is what is keeping me from doing what I want to do in life, and Andy is doing, and has been doing, what I want to do. That little box below my facebook photo says
I want to be a freedom fighter when I grow upAndy is a freedom fighter, and it just so happens that Andy is bipolar. My mom once sarcastically asked if you have to go to college to be a freedom fighter, and the answer is absolutely not, although it most certainly helps.
Andy got through it. Andy not only got through it, Andy is a lawyer. On those days when I think I just cannot get through it, on those days I think it's impossible, on some of those days I think about Andy. I don't know any of his specifics, but I don't have to. He's an activist, he's bipolar, he's open about it and identifies with having a disability just the same as a paraplegic, or someone with down syndrome. I don't know of anyone else who fits those qualifications (if you know someone else, please comment). So Andy isn't exactly like me. Andy's not in a chair, but so what. It's funny how I identify most with my physical disability, but I identify most with someone with my other disability.
I know I shouldn't place people on a pedestal, people are people, but I can't help it. Is that wrong? Is it wrong that Andy gives me hope for myself? I don't like when we're supercriped, and yet here I go supercripin someone...