To that end, I want to talk about the most insidious barrier that faces our community, a gun that every disabled person finds themselves staring down the barrel of at one point or another. It's the barrier inside our own heads, the barrier of blame, the barrier of inadequacy. The barrier of internalized ableism. The barrier of fault.
"If I just stopped stimming in public, I'd be able to fit in."
"If I just shut up, and didn't make a big deal out of my disability, maybe people would like me more."
"If I just bit the bullet and walked instead of using my chair, I'd be able to do this."
"If I just sat up in class instead of slouching, my professors wouldn't yell at me."
If I just...
If I just....
If I just.
If you take away nothing else from this post, I want you to take away this: it is not your fault. You don't have to do anything, say anything, be anything that you don't want to be. You don't have to meet other people's expectations of you. You don't have to mitigate, castigate, hide the effects of your disability. You don't have to cut your corners to fit into that round hole. I know it feels like the only way anyone will ever love you, want you, is if you're that round block and you fit neatly into that round hole. But your corners make you who you are. They make you unique. And if no one else loves you for it, not your friends, not your family, not your teachers, I do. I don't care if we've never met, if we've never spoken, if I have no idea who you are. No one is a stranger in this land of the freaks. I love you, you fellow disabled soul, you fellow prince or princess of heartbreak, of pain, of self-imposed failure. Bring me your tired, your battered, your society's prisoners yearning to break free. I welcome you with open, spastic arms.
"You see, it’s my job
to unlock doors
break through glass ceilings
motivate, inspire, and challenge you,
I’m here to challenge you"
-Dare to Dream by LeDerick Horne