6 June 2013
It occurs to me that over time my posts may appear negative. Let me assure you that is the farthest from my intentions. I am aware of the unfavorable and dissenting tone I may convey. This is my intent. I am creating an ironic situation for others to see. Too often folks with disabilities are interpreted according to other's point of view. This does everyone a disservice, by perpetrating a false image of what is really happening. We do this all the time. Often without realizing that we are doing so.
Take some of the harmless colloquialisms we often say without considering the hurt these patterned unthought comments bestow on others.
Example 1 : I once read on another's blog the phrase, “spanked and sent to bed without supper like a red headed step child”. I assume the intent was to demonstrate how misunderstood and how poorly treated the author felt. This author is another MS patient who maintains a blog, he has written that he finds it easier to use speech-to-text software as typing is so difficult for him. This may be true, however, I understand that speech can often spill out of us before we really have chance to edit or own thoughts.
I found this use of description to be somewhat offensive. Having had red hair all of my life, I am very familiar with such arguments of distinction and separation. Often being the only red head in my classroom, I was often singled out and teased, ridiculed and harassed for the entertainment of others – until I realized I was larger than them and I could trash them physically. Next thing I knew the teasing stopped. But there was a price to pay, the not too understanding adults in the school now had me pegged as some kind of troublemaker. Problem was I couldn't fight the adults, they play by different rules, which include worse forms of showing how much they don't (or won't) understand, including expulsion, police referrals, sent home to parents, and so on.
I wrote to the offending blogger privately and indicated how his flippant comment caused me pause, and would he consider some other phraseology next time. I got an immediate reply that basically said, tough, its a phrase the he grew up with and everyone around him uses it. Therefore there is no reason for him to consider being more careful with his phraseology.
So much for being more sensitive to those around him.
Example 2: The other one I often hear, mostly when folks are talking about someone else, usually some one who normally shaves their face, but in these instances, they haven't. The comment is referring to a shaved countenance as “clean shaven”. Does that by deduction mean that a face that has some facial hair growing forth is dirty? I have worn a full beard since 1969, forty-four years. I often showered daily. During this event I always washed my hair and beard. Yet I often heard people refer to someone being “clean shaven”. So what is the other choice, filthy bearded?
Do people even stop and query themselves as to what they are doing? As John Lennon once said: That's 'cause why I'm here.
My intentions are quite the opposite of being negative. I see my viewpoint as descriptive of what is really there, in as unvarnished a method as possible. After I am finished with painting a view how things are from my eyes so that others may be able to see how the “good works”that impact me are often the opposite, I like to let the whole package go. Just as in the comics with their thought balloons containing the ideas and notions of the character being portrayed, I like the effect of putting everything into a neat package, like those thought balloons, and then letting them go, with good wishes to another place, a warm sparkling place where they cam be transformed into something positive.
I take the following comments from the Smart Ass Cripple Blog http://smartasscripple.blogspot.com to be a good descriptor of the consciousness I am trying to nudge forth. I believe all of us are trying to reach this consciousness, even if/when we can't see it. Beyond our personality and ego the essence of us wishes to be free and unhindered to experience as deeply and fully as possible.
The term bitter cripple does not refer to a physical condition. It is, rather, an advanced state of consciousness. It is an exquisitely indefinable stage of enlightenment that is attained by freeing one’s self from the tyranny of bull shit.
So often when people are different they are collected into a concentrated situation in order to make caring for them easier and more effective. However, when operations become large enough the tendency is to codify actions to achieve a positive uniform response. One of the unintended consequences of this is that some people (more than you might think) abandon good sense (sometimes known as common sense)and just blindly follow the guidelines without considering any thought to substantiate what they do. This is often demonstrated as going through the motions, and can be accompanied by a verbally expressive, “Oops”.
Another consequence is that often there are folks being inadvertant “Oops”-sayers without ever realizing it. I'm here to help by illustrating those moments and pointing them out with Irony to help more conscious evolve as it always moves to do.
So if you find yourself reading and thinking “negative”, stop and consider that what you may be doing is finding something within you, possibly something that you don't like, and projecting it onto me. It can be so simple to do this and very satisfying to assign blame. Yes, it can be simple and easy to do. But the real issue is continuing here out of sight, safely out of everyday view, every moment of every day, behind the one way locked doors of thousands of facilities like this one. Many baby-boomers are headed for facilities just like this. When they get here it will be too late. For once you enter, you are rendered helpless, unable to think clearly, and considered to be as deficient as that dreaded lowest comon denominator. Done out of kindness and wanting to provide good quality care, people are reduced to the lowest common denominator, unconsciously dehumanized, often routinely met as if or spoken to as the other person is seeing them as an object. This is very discouraging. No wonder so many weakened people grow despondent and become morose or resigned to where they are without seeing any future for them. There is nothing more sad to witness than a person who has given up being human and just putting their time in waiting to die.
In the old truth finding way of actions speak louder than words, it doesn't matter what is said. Why is it at quitting time the staff an administrators are so eager to exit the building? Why is it that these people who are free to come and go as they please, never stay when they don't have to? Maybe a little personal one on one time with residents? Or maybe just being present when speaking or interacting with someone. Its really patronizing to interact with someone in a position of authority who has the potential of interacting differently and or setting the tone for others to follow, and they don't do it.
I still push gently, of course, to keep my mind entertained and challenged. I rail against being diminished due to anyone's preferred (often lazy) way of seeing me. I know if I allow myself to meet them where they expect me to be, I will begin a long, steady downward spiral.