It has been a few months since I finished a course that aimed to develop leadership skills in people with disabilities and like most things it has got me thinking. I must admit that I actually found participating confronting.
Not that the course was bad (it was fantastic in so many ways) but for the first time since I had left my special school in the UK I had been in contact with disabled people that were not patients in the hospital that I work in.
This made me think of my identity and my world view.
It is not that I am in denial because I don’t think I am. I am reminded of it every time I see my parents play music together that I haven’t been blessed with the two functional hands needed to be able to play a violin or cello.
I am also reminded of it when I trip over my own feet or an uneven pavement, often in front of everyone or when I’m told I can’t do something by a well-meaning individual who thinks that I can’t or shouldn’t be doing something. Oh and the self-doubt……..
But I have never been one to let having a disability define me as an individual.
I just don’t see my life that way or the world from that perspective.
When I chat with others what comes up first is my love of travelling, books, music, coffee but never “oh and by the way….” as usually the conversation has moved forward and it just never seems relevant.
Maybe growing up I felt that being disabled had a negative vibe associated with it which made me ashamed of identifying as such.
It was as if the mantra of my childhood was ‘pretend to be normal’ and I spent my late teens and twenties manically trying to prove to others (but probably more to myself) that I was more than my physical imperfections.
But it was such a tough act to keep up.
Now I have made peace with the body I’ve got to focus on what works and chosen to work to capacity as life is too short to be limited by the restraints laid down by others.
I am so glad that I did this LeadAbility course as it got me thinking about so much. The good thing about life is that you never stop learning about yourself and the world that you live in. Everything is always changing and the more people you meet, the more your ideas are challenged; that is what makes life so interesting!