April 18, 2013

Trying Harder

Today, yet another motivational-poster sort of thing making the rounds. Yet another figure, obviously disabled, doing something extraordinary. Because THEY are willing to try harder.
Another message of "inspiration" telling us that if that poor sap can do this really hard thing then you just need to quit whining.
And another message that tells us that if you aren't doing what you "should" be doing then you just aren't trying hard enough.

 Paralympic Curling - Who knew?

We did all the right things, like we had been taught since childhood. Gave it our very best effort. We kept trying to do the right thing. We dragged ourselves out and did what we had to do, when it took superhuman effort and caused unbelievable pain. We suffered and we perservered. We collapsed and recovered as we could, and tried again the next day. Some days are worse than others. Some days the body just refuses to go, refuses to push through. And so we ask for understanding, we ask for accommodation, we ask for tolerance. And we are told we aren't trying.
We are told that we obviously are able to do it today because we did it yesterday. They give us drugs for depression since that must be why we aren't willing to try harder. And we believe them. We feel guilty because we are not really trying hard enough and because we should be able to do what needs to be done. To do the right thing. And that person without legs who climbed Everest, and the blind CEO, and the armless boxer all stare at us from the posters on the wall, disappointed that we fail.
We have failed the expectations of those who do not need to plan how to put on their socks. Who do not need a shower strategy or a spotter. Who can "run out for coffee" or "stop by the store". We have failed to meet the needs of those who require us to be "ok" or "well" or "able" or "without limitations".
And if we can't be well, if we MUST be disabled - then we had darn well better OVERCOME. Because that is what disabled people do.
And you do it. You get up, and you push through, and you gather all your resources and your hidden reserves and you by god OVERCOME. You are an INSPIRATION!! They should make a frigging poster of YOU!
And then you go to bed and get up and it is tomorrow. And guess what? Yeah.
You do not have to climb a damn mountain every day, nobody does. It is unreasonable to expect it. And it is ok to tell people that you will not be running the 5K or skydiving today - gonna stay home and put on those socks!


Kirakitty, Dame Cat Extraordinaire said...

I wish more people felt like you. In my world, I apparently am never trying hard enough. The carpal tunnel, herniated disks, bursitis, arthritis, depression, they all mean little to nothing. I am, to all that surround me, faking whatever pain that I have. I am apparently pretending to get out of any work. The mountain gets harder to climb each and every damn day. If more people thought like you, maybe they'd install some handrails. And pass out some painkillers along the way.

Kirakitty, Dame Cat Extraordinaire said...

I wish more people felt the same way you do. I'm so tired of people (including family members) thinking that I'm faking, despite MRIs, X-rays, multiple doctors validating the pain that fills my days. You are a wise woman, Foggy.