10 January, 2010

Two kinds

Do you agree that there are two kinds of disabled people--people who are visibly disabled, and as a result tend have people overestimate their disability, so that they really desperately want people to be less likely to express sympathy for them and offer to do things for them; and people who are invisibly disabled, and have people constantly tell them to apply themselves and tough it out, and therefore really really enjoy it when someone tries to help them, even clumsily?

I find this idea impossible not to think about, just because of the symmetry. This is probably Like a Person Part Four I guess, but whatever. And also, disclaimer, there aren't really only two kinds, it's just that I am talking about two groups of disabled people, but there are other disabled people who aren't in either group, I'm sure.

I feel like--and not to be a dick, my parents are really nice and everything, but anyway--my parents have always made me be both kinds of people at once, meaning that they'd do lots of things for me that I had trouble doing, but they'd never stop reminding me that I should be doing those things, and it was really bad that I wasn't doing them. They did things like making a point of having me go and order food at McDonald's when I was a kid, because they knew that it was hard for me. So even when I was actually doing the things, I didn't feel normal, because it was A Lesson. I'm probably not being coherent. I don't have much time to write this.

Pretty much my only disabled friend (I have some friends who have mental illnesses but don't identify as disabled) is physically disabled, and he is super spoiled just like I am, rarely has a job, executive function skills are possibly worse than mine are, just learned to drive at age 21, last year his roommate would sometimes come up to me and say, "Can you please get FFD to put a sheet on his bed because he's sleeping on a mattress and it's grossing me out?" At the end of first year, his mom told him not to pack or clean his room, he'd worked hard enough, she would do it.

My parents got to school at the end of first year, and I wasn't done packing--I had taken all the paper off my walls, which you can imagine took a long time, and packed some clothes, but my room was very cluttered, when they came in. So my mom had a very negative reaction about how I was disorganized and hadn't done anything.

I'm kind of rambling and maybe shouldn't be posting this because it might be a gender thing instead of a visible/invisible disability thing, or just something completely different. I do think it's interesting, though.

Anyway, when my friend was in school, he was mostly in mainstream school, but at camp, and as a little kid, he was with kids who had severe intellectual and physical disabilities. He has this thing about how teachers would always tie his shoes for him instead of letting him do it, because it took him longer. Also when he was a kid he sometimes fell down and some bystander would make a production out of it even though he was obviously all right.

My teachers basically thought I was a major bitch and in fifth grade my teacher took me on as a project and forced eye contact on me while telling me how self-centered and arrogant I was until I started crying. She would also take books away from me to train me to talk to other kids, etc. etc. and basically snap at me if I said something she considered impossible, like, "I can't tell if I'm joking with someone or bullying them."

So, if a friend and I go to a movie theater or something like that, and my friend automatically does the talking for me, or if a friend brings me along to her boyfriend's house where there are a lot of people, and talks to her boyfriend in an attempt to find out if I could go play with his guitar, this is something that I find hugely touching and wonderful. Whereas, if I get up to plug in FFD's computer, or bring him his shoes or something, it makes him annoyed.

(I should give myself more time to write things, sorry; am I saying anything interesting?)

1 comment:

  1. (I know this is from a long time ago, but I just discovered your blog, so...) Yes, you are saying "anything interesting"; keep writing! Or don't, if you have something better to do, but otherwise, you should definitely keep writing.