That is what I saw on a form I was filling out. Do I? I mean technically I am but to I consider myself disabled?
Oh, meet me in the street and you will see nothing. In fact you will probably notice nothing. I don’t blame anyone for not. I do not have a neon sign above my head flashing that there is a disability. And I’m almost forty which means I’ve lived with my issues for a long time, and have found out what makes me appear normal. And I use all the tricks I’ve learnt.
So what have I got?
- Dyspraxia – basically I am clumsy. There isn’t a lot I can do about this, but you will never see me in high heels. I would probably break something, or me, if I ever tried to walk in them without a stick. Even in flat shoes I will still fall, but I tend to bounce.
- Meares Irlen – this is a kicker since I draw. Everything I see is purple tinged due to the corrective tint on my glasses. I mean, it can make my art darker. My black shadow is pitch black and my lighter areas not so light.
- Dyslexia – another kicker since when I’m not drawing I’m writing. Yes, I’m an author… But I’m lucky in that my mum used to be an English teacher so I have an editor on the doorstep. She doesn’t edit my posts, so bear with me for punctuation and grammar.
- Asperger’s – yes I have mild autism. No you won’t notice. Why? Because I have worked hard to overcome it. I used to be unable to look at people when I talked to them. I would look anywhere but at someone. A friend helped me over a year to meet her eyes as we chatted. Then I moved back home and did it myself. Five years later it had become natural and now only when I’m really nervous or, if the person I’m talking to is angry, I won’t. Other wise I am normal.
Of course you might also find me aloof. Think about being in a world that is a little confusing and being encased in a bubble. You can breach the bubble but it takes effort from you and the other person you are with. That is what my interactions are like. To be afraid to have a cuddle, but to crave it completely. And that is the irony. Despite the autism I want to be touched and held. I want to be kissed and worshiped, but I can’t ask. My bubble won’t allow it. Of course I’m getting better. Play nights are great. You have to ask to try something. I’m hoping that eventually my bubble will disappear. I just hope it happens before I’m eighty…
So, back to the form:
Do you consider yourself disabled? Yes or No.
Which should I pick? I have a certificate that says I am mentally disabled with a variety of learning disabilities…
Yeah, right. I’m not. Not in the least.
With a grin I tick the No box. I may technically be disabled but do I consider myself to be? No, not in the least. I am me and no amount of labels will change that. I do not feel disabled, so I can’t be.