Wednesday, October 08, 2008

able-bodied disability

as i was walking home yesterday, i saw the usual football (soccer) practices at the varembe stadium near my house. i saw children aged 10 or 11 with their football shoes, one with neon spikes! as i watched the little boys, i also saw a little girl. she was wearing a loose maroon shirt and baggy shorts, with her long curly auburn hair tied back over her broad shoulders. she watched the two little boys and had the look of beckoning in her eyes as if to say "can i play with you?" she also looked a little masculine. whether that masculinity will stay till adolescence well into adulthood, only time can tell.

when i had deposited my things at home i went for a longer walk/jog (more walk than jog) before going to a friend's house. from far off, i saw a little girl being pushed by a carer (maybe her mother) in her colourful wheelchair. i vaguely remember whether it was her wearing the colours or that her wheelchair had colourful wheels with kaleidoscopic designs on them. all i remember is seeing the colours from about 100 metres away and seeing the little girl. she seemed happy.

then i thought to myself ... look at that girl, enjoying her "walk" and seeing life. then i thought about our blind translator here who comes in to translate day in and day out.

what do all these three have in common? disabilities.

the first girl is disabled by societal norms. she is not "normal" as she is a little girl playing soccer with the boys. the second and third are physical disabilities.

i once asked a priest, if disabled people have crutches, hearing aids, etc., then what do gay people have? he couldn't answer me. i often think that to myself ... what is a gay person's crutch? if God made us the way we are supposed to be, gay people included, then maybe we are supposed to make the most of what we have and have a sort of positive "crutch" to help us live as normally as possible.

not everybody would say that a girl playing with a ball was bad but some also would. girls "should" be playing with dolls. aha! so, no more girl engineers who like to play with tools! and no boys around the sewing table! i just found out last night that a guy friend sews! i was amazed and felt frustrated again as i want to sew my curtains! it's only a straight line after all! but that's another story.

see, there's a lot of should's and shouldn'ts in this world. the social sciences would like to call it all "social constructs". in the Bible in Genesis, it's said: He created man in His image, Man and Woman, He created them. one colleague told me: the literal interpretation would be the anatomical man and woman. but God is infinite in His ways: we are all made with more or less testosterone or estrogen in both species. thus, you have effeminate men and muscular women.

i got to talking to my colleague about "insecurities" which i think is an able-bodied disability. it's similar to my concept of "prisoners of our minds". we are only restricted by the confines of our minds. if we are constricted by the confines of our bodies, there are ways to go around that disability. but what do we do when the disability lies in ourselves? what is our crutch? who should we call?

repeat these words to yourselves: I AM BEAUTIFUL, I AM LOVED, I AM FORGIVEN BY THE MERCY OF GOD. (something i learned from my mom who got the mantra from the Dominican Sisters of Regina Rosarii.)

you are beautiful, you are loved, you are forgiven by the mercy of God. who can argue with that?

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