Archive for the ‘Down Syndrome’ Category
In my office we have a lot of hallway corners, and I have already started to develop the reputation for coming around a corner too fast and almost making impact with a co-worker. Now, granted, when this happens, the other party is likely just as much at fault for going too fast. But there is always that insecurity as the guy in the wheelchair, that people are going to start saying “Hey, slow down there Speedy Gonzalez!” or something else similar to that. I don’t want to be “that guy” and I write this blog posting in the hopes that I will internalize this, and become more mindful in the hallways. At the same time it is something not to be taken too seriously, I know. So I try to remember it could happen to anyone. But when it happens a few times, I start to think I am becoming “That guy” in the office in the wheelchair. Speedy Gonzalez. Aargh!!! I really dislike that reputation. But I am the only one who can change it.
So did you hear the one about the woman in the wheelchair in the crowd at the paralympics. Its not a joke. She was told she could not sit with her family. Apparently the people in charge are planning the event did not plan for disabled people sitting with walkies? Click here to read the entire story. I don’t even want to get into it. It just defies logic, and I don’t do well with that.
Now that I have stated my demand, clearly and concisely, I’d like to note that once again in 2012 the Paralympics follows close on the heels of the Olympics. Once again it has been relegated to a Youtube channel, various other online live feeds, etc, while the Olympics (the Walkie version) is again a world-wide network TV 24-hour a day, weeks-long extravaganza. It’s probably on TV right now. Let me go check………….Yup. It is. Water polo.
Eighteen percent of the U.S. population has some form of disability. That statistic throughout the world is comparable. Everybody knows someone who has some kind of disability that would be represented by athletes in the Paralympic Games. Why is this not on NBC? Do we need a specific TV network just for disability-oriented programming much like African-Americans did with the BET network?
Come on, NBC, it’s 18% of the population! Think of the ratings! Even if just out of curiosity, huge numbers of people would be tuning in to see this. Think of the new ad revenue you would generate from a wide variety of sponsors.
And lastly, you would be providing a service. Network exposure for Paralympic athletes would show the world at large a new side to disability. For one thing, it would demonstrate how many disabilities are not visible, yet very real for the person living with that disability. And it would help able-bodied people become more knowledgeable about a wide array of different types of disabilities. This can only be a win-win situation. The Olympics this year got Paul McCartney to play the opening ceremony. I say we get John Mellencamp to play the 2016 Paralympics on NBC. He’s got spina bifida. See, a disability that is not visible. You’re learning something already.
If you agree, please pass this on.
I wouldn’t go scuba diving myself, but I think that knowing the opportunity exists to have the type of experience that Diveheart makes possible is a great thing. It makes me think back to when I was given the opportunity to go downhill skiing in Lake Tahoe. It was the greatest feeling of liberation I’d ever felt in my physical body. And I wish that feeling will manifest in many disabled people through Diveheart. Check it out. I saw a bit about them on TV this morning and I thought about all of you.
For anyone who has been in a wheelchair since birth, as a result of a maturing process, natural adjustment and development of sense of self, there comes a time when the thought that you are “in a wheelchair” does work it’s way to the background of your consciousness. I have never been particularly conscious of my wheelchair. Not since my turbulent teen years, social pressures, dramas and traumas, all that. But I also know that in the past four years, meditation has helped to expedite this personal evolution.
In meditation, one becomes aware of that which lies beyond the thoughts. There comes a time when one can actually see himself observing the thoughts from a separate, neutral corner. As a method of “turning off” the mind, one finds that he is not merely the sum total of his thoughts. And as long as that is true, then he certainly is much more than his body. One finds, eventually that the mind, – and more importantly for the purpose of this blog posting – the body, are tools of the true Self. That being the case, one holds a much healthier opinion of these tools.
Throughout this process, one should see self image improved. Self-image is different from ego. Meditation is a way of neutralizing the ego and its negative influence on our decision-making, thereby freeing Self-image to encourage, enlighten and inform our actions, and enrich our lives.
What could be better for a person who is often defined by those around him by the condition of his body and what it can NOT do?
Before I tell this story, I think that though it probably goes without saying, it would be prudent of me to note that not everybody with a disability has a sense of humor about it. So if you are a walkie and you know someone disabled, my advice would be just to really know your friend, don’t go thinking that anything goes. I’ve already told you about some of the things I personally don’t like, on this blog.
At work I sit next to a guy who I have only known for about a month but we’ve gotten to know each other well, and he is already well aware that I don’t really have boundaries when it comes to jokes about my disability. Or so he thought!
He’d made some jokes throughout the night about it tonight, and I joked back. At the end of the night as we were leaving, he made another crack, and in a moment of inspiration, I turned to him and I said “that’s not funny.”
He said “It isn’t?”, still smiling at his cleverness, and assuming I was joking.
I said “No. I mean I have a sense of humor, but come on, grow up.”
His face went dark, and he said “Seriously?” I said “Yes, seriously.”
“I’m sorry, bad joke,” he said, trying desperately to back-track. ” Did I cross the line?”
Now, I don’t consider myself a cruel person. As such, I could only let this go on for so long. I cracked. And so did he.
“I can’t believe I fell for that!” he groaned. I assured him that I didn’t think he really believed me anyway, because I’d already made it so clear that nothing was sacred when it came to the disability. And the way he’d said “Seriously”, he looked like he thought he’d just been zapped into another dimension.
Anyway, I love it when my night at work ends on a high note like that.
A new survey reveals that 2/3 of Americans say that “able-bodied” people parking in “Handicapped” parking spaces is amongst their top driving pet peeves. Surely a hefty percentage of that 2/3 are not people who would have needed that parking space. Surely most of them are able-bodied. So this, to me, is a great sign of the expanded consciousness of Americans – a sign that we as a country are looking out for each other. I assume we always have been but when much of the news reveals the selfishness and consumerism of Americans, this is really refreshing to me.