A few weeks ago one of my friends said something to me which slightly puzzled me at first. Apparently someone has asked her for something and she immediately thought of me - not because I had anything to do with the request itself, nor were my services required (apart from my money - as a result of my friend telling me about this request - because I put in a request for the exact same thing). I am now the proud owner of a tshirt which says exactly what I think about labels, people, and jars.
I am still trying to get over one label which was stuck on me by a well-meaning person (or people) unknown. Of course, nobody can see the label as it is a metaphorical one but it still has the power to hurt me (even 19 years after I escaped the clutches of the people who had most use for it) because it marks me out as different.
Now, anybody who knows me in real life will probably have no hesitation in telling you I am different (without the italics) - and I will have no complaints. Yes - I am an oddball with a quirky sense of humour, and a strange way of usung the English (and - in some cases - Dutch) language to get my point across. However, I am a friendly, caring, oddball. I may look and act like I have got a tough casing but I am a bit like one of those cookies with the gooey centre. My casing might be pretty thick and difficult to get through but - once you have managed to get a drillhole through - I promise you I will ooze friendliness (until you upset me - but that is another story).
Tell me I am different though and you will find yourself potentially dealing with someone as safe as an unexploded bomb - blue touchpaper has been lit and I suggest you stand well back.
The italics make all the difference in this scenario. When the word is written in italics it means something completely opposite to the word written in normal type.
Different to me means "abnormal", "Special (as in Educational Needs)", "Should not be let loose in public without a minder", etc.
You will say I am disabled because I am seriously shortsighted (to the point of being Registered Partially Sighted). I would strongly disagree with that one. I am seriously shortsighted (to the point of being Registered Partially Sighted). However, there are only four instances when I would consider myself to be disabled as a result of it (brightly lit spaces, dark spaces, and going down strange staircases - oh and when the "helpful clueless" attempt to assist me without asking me first).
Why the distinction between those occassions and the rest of the time when I am seriously shortsighted???
The words "helpful clueless" may give you a hint. I have been seriously shortsighted my entire life. This means I have ways of getting around and doing things which may not make any sense to you but they work for me. In other words, I have adapted to my sight (and - in some cases - somehow managed to adapt it to allow me to do what I want to - you would have to spend time with me to see what I mean by that one).
Seeing as the word "Disabled" means unable to do something - or cope with something - you will have to excuse my attitude when I say that, whilst I am the one with the sight problem, you are the one with the disability until you have spent sufficent time with me to learn about my sight and how it affects both of us.
What is written on the tshirt??? Labels belong on jars not people.
||Add New Comment