Monday, March 30, 2009

Proudly Disabled

I am proud to be disabled. Proud of the challenges I've learned to overcome. Proud that I can be an example to others who have their own challenges. I started this essay thinking about friends who are not proudly disabled or have family who are not proud of them. Many are shocked or even angry when doctors tell them they are disabled. Believe it or not, I have a few friends whose families don't want them to go to support groups or doctors, blaming the disability on the groups or doctors, or just not wanting their spouses, parents or children to be seen with "cripples." It is especially sad to see people ashamed of disabled family members.

We should look beyond our disabilities to our abilities, and face the challenge of finding ways to use our abilities to overcome our disabilities. The brain tumor support group I attend has an annual talent show. It is amazing to see what we disabled people are able to do. If we identify and embrace both our abilities and disabilities, we can learn a lot and be better for it. Those who know me know I hold nothing so sacred as learning and teaching. I have learned and taught so much through these difficult but amazing experiences, and thus I am proudly disabled. A disabled friend once said that everyone is disabled in some way. Wise words from a guy with brain damage. We should all be proud of our disabilities, for perfect people have nothing to learn and are pretty boring.

10 comments:

gbolt said...

Hey Joshua, Gordon here - I met you at the little cafe a week ago last Friday.

I notice you are interested in holography. Are you also interested in other optical stuff? I brought an demonstration of the variance of circular polarization with frequency to one of the lunches. By the way, I can see why you like holography, since you are a mathematician and holography is very heavy math - coupling coefficients, Kogelnick's equations, etc. My experience with holography is practical - I'm a chemist and I used it to make laser filters and some other stuff too.

More later, cheers.

Skavookie said...

ohh.. We should definitely get together. I've got pretty much all the equipment to make basic holograms, but I haven't had the energy and time to put it all together. Also, since I have only one working hand some things are difficult.

Poppy said...

Josh, I really enjoyed this blog. People often speak proudly of coming from a disadvantaged background socio-economically and overcoming obstacles to succeed, but this notion is not always carried over to other obstacles in our lives. I know you have every reason to be proud.
Poppy

Anonymous said...

Josh,
I read your CB site, converse with Trueda, and check in here every once in a while. I must tell you, you are an amazing man. This last essay is so very right. Keep learning, teaching, and sharing your thoughts with others on this journey. It is definitely what makes life worthwhile. I love your comment on perfect people. Your insights on how a person with a disability, a person with a struggle, has so much more to offer others in the way of ah haaas in life is poignant. "Perfect" people are shallow, substance is what we need.
So, you remain in my prayers, I enjoy your mind!
Cindy Leibner

Seattle Montessorian said...

Joshua, you are awesome - I admire you a lot. Thanks for following my blog!! :) Didn't realize it was you until I just checked now.

karen gerstenberger said...

Boy, this is really true. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about this.
I tried to leave a comment on your CB page today, but it wouldn't work, so I just want to tell you that your new photos are awesome. It's great to see your smile, all the way up into your eyes.
Blessings to you and your family as you have your MRI today.
Karen (Katie's and David's mom)
www.caringbridge.org/visit/katiegerstenberger

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