Saturday, 8 September 2007


Ladies and gentlemen stand by. I'm about to put my controversial hat on. Please understand that it is of course not the hat itself that is contentious, but the opinions I spout whilst wearing it!

Since beginning my blogging career I have taken it upon myself to do a little research. I've been browsing and reading blogs similar to mine, especially those by authors with disabilities or illnesses. Whilst many are both well written and entertaining, I've been put off by those few who seem to want to live life as part of an oxymoron. They write virtual-reams of text demanding that they be treated as 'normal', that they're just like everyone else and want no-one to act differently towards them than they would an able person. (Apologies for the use of the term able, I'm well aware that we are all able in some way or another). I understand where they're coming from - too many people struggle to know how to act around those of us with disabilities. The answer to that is of course to treat us as 'normal' but that's where it gets tricky. We're not 'normal'. I'm not going to bother trying to define 'normal' but I'm pretty sure that a person who at 23 years old has a blue badge and a wheelchair, needs to sleep during the day and is unable to manage any sort of work or studying, is not it. And these bloggers recognise that. This is the problem. They are insisting that they must be treated as normal whilst simultaneously complaining that their needs and restrictions are not considered. We can't have it both ways. If we want our constraints and limitations to be recognised and taken into account then we can't let people treat us as 'normal'. 'Normal' doesn't require parking directly outside a shop or making sure that hospital appointments are at the right time of day for our energy levels. It doesn't necessitate wheelchair access to shops or some sort of crazy exclusion diet. In short if you want to be able to get on in this world with a disability or illness, then at some point along the way you're going to have to accept that it's ok to not be normal.

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