What scares me

By Adelyn VanTol-Wooden

May 11, 2017

Write about what scares you, is a recent work assignment and something easily said and hard to do. I have to start by saying this blog might be one of the hardest things I have done in a long time. When I have written about disability issues before, it has been from more of a distant, academic perspective. Writing from more of personal perspective, especially writing about my own feelings makes this a more difficult task and, to be honest, it scares me.

I believe that one of the reasons it is hard for me is because the disability identity can be so hard to define. For example, sometimes there are months when I am so depressed and even getting out of bed is a challenge. This impacts my daily living. Other times I am depressed and yet from the outside, I may look the same as I do when living without depression. Then, other months I do not come close to fitting the symptoms of depression. How do I fit into the disability community when my disability is something that comes and goes? The second layer of confusion is the broadness of the label. For example, I have close family and friends for whom the disability labels impact the way society views them because they have visible impairments. When people look at me they don’t see a disability, so in our society, there is a certain level of privilege that I have and they do not. Is it fair for me to include myself with a group of people who have struggles that I have only observed secondhand?

Finally, the more I personally challenge myself to deal with this topic, the more I recognize the strength and seduction of ableism. We have found ourselves in a society where being able-bodied and neurologically typical is so desirable, that we don’t even notice when Disabled people aren’t included. As I learn more about disability pride and examine my own thoughts, I am forced to reconsider what I consider desirable. In the words of Mia Mingus, Disability has forced me to shift racist, gendered, and capitalist notions of desire; of who and what is desirable. This is a deeply rooted problem, and I can certainly say as I start to write this blog, I am scared.

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Disability Advocates of Kent County

The vision of Disability Advocates of Kent County is that each person, regardless of their abilities, has equal rights and opportunities, and that our communities are accessible and welcoming to all. Our Mission is to work alongside people with disabilities as they seek to lead self-directed lives and to advocate for accessible and welcoming communities.

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