Did you know that October is National Disability Awareness Month?
No? Well, did you know that October 2nd was World Cerebral Palsy Day?
Have I made you feel guilty yet? I hope so - because that may assuage my own aloofness. I had absolutely no clue about any of this until I accidentally stumbled upon it in an unrelated web search last Sunday. I suspect the reason for that is I'm often so busy I forget that I'm disabled. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that I neglect to notice my disability. Sometimes I remember it, like when I get my biannual craving for homemade meatballs and I conveniently forget I have a grasping reflex which renders said meatball creation very imperfect, to say the least.
Or when the 50+ years of spastic, incorrect movement land me in Physical Therapy to try to ease the pain that plagues more and more of the movements that come with my refusal to give up on living a "normal" life.
The truth is I'm utterly terrible at conveying what it's like to live with a disability. I can only show you what my life experiences are. I'm not always conscious of the fact that those experiences may be tempered or limited by my Cerebral Palsy - even as I type this rather haphazardly with my one good hand, missing the right keys more often than I care to admit.
So, in honor of National Disability Month over the next few weeks I'll let a few of my fellow disabled fashionistas share a little bit about themselves, their disabilities, and their fashion sense in upcoming posts.
In the meantime, to make up for my descriptive inadequacies I would like to suggest you check out something I'm fairly excited about. If you are even remotely curious to check out The Michael J Fox Show, which airs on NBC Thursdays at 9:30ET, I strongly urge you to do so. Most of us remember Fox from the 1980's sitcom Family Ties and the Back to the Future movie trilogy. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 1991 and has been a tireless advocate for Parkinson's research towards a cure ever since. But more importantly Fox has persisted in his quest to show us that he may have a disease, but the disease is not who he is. This notion is prevalent on the new show where Fox plays Mike Henry, a newscaster diagnosed with Parkinson's who retires to focus on his health and to spend more time with his family.
Yes, there are jokes about the symptoms of Parkinson's; the tremors, slurred speech, and loss of motor control. It is these gags, like trying to dish out a spoonful of scrambled eggs without shaking it all over the table, that I relate to; I do that! But the glorious thing about this show is that it isn't about a disabled person. It's about a man's relationship with his family, friends, and the outside world. It's about putting disability into it's proper context. Mike's disease and how he and those around him deal with it is subtext to the story of his life.
That's what it's like for me, and it's why I'm the worst at waxing poetic about disability. But my hope remains that the things I do speak volumes about disability, and perhaps broadens your awareness that there's quite often more to a handicapped person than what you see. I just want to make sure to get you looking long enough at my fabulousness to bring that to your attention.
Oh, and speaking of fabulous, congratulations to Kimmie J for winning the Amanda Valentine T-shirt giveaway!