Owning My Disability

“I am a person with a disability.” I believe that this is the first time I have ever written this sentence. I just finished a post explaining the Americans with Disabilities Act–and realized that it was littered with personal possessives: “we” “our people” “us” “our.” I have been organizing for disability rights for a little less than a year and I was worried some might feel I was inappropriately identifying myself with others in the disability rights movement. I am not trying to appropriate another’s culture. I not only organize for disability rights, I am disabled and benefit from increased rights for people with disabilities. For many years I have lived with a condition known as lymphedema. I am fighting off abnormal buildup of fluid that causes swelling in both of my legs and both of my feet. The condition develops when lymph vessels or lymph nodes are missing, impaired, damaged or removed. 11714_986256424725999_6515004058868081236_n My condition is not curable, but I can minimize problems by wearing compression garments on both of my legs–sort of a higher-tech Ace bandage. This reduces the amount of swelling and reduces the pain in my legs, the heavy feeling in my legs that uncontrolled fluid build-up brings and I can even wear my regular shoe size. I will most definitely be writing in the future about disability issues and the unique situation of being both an organizer and a member of the community being organized. But for now I wanted to own my disability and move forward in the fight for disability rights. Free Our People!

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One thought on “Owning My Disability

  1. Well, you caught me offguard with this one; then again, I guess you’d have had to. In a strange way, most of us end up with something that could disable us as we get older. I have diabetes, and if I’m not careful and stop my walking regimen it could affect my eyesight, making me blind, and then I’d be disabled for sure; let’s hope it doesn’t get to that. Like yours, mine isn’t curable, but in many ways it’s manageable; whew!

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