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.