Wednesday, September 12

note to self

Just when I've started to adjust, I'm leaving. Isn't that always the way.

I've been thinking of the time I lived in London when I was nearly twenty-two. I was just a lowly film company intern then. Unlike now, with years of experience on me, and currently unemployed. But I'm actually quite liking the view from here, ten years later, at the ripe old age of thirty-two.

When I was interning, I went to work each day, walking and by tube, all the while wearing my prosthetic arm. It's unthinkable to travel by air with that thing now––can't afford the extra weight––but it was a regular part of my attire back then. Talk about baggage.

You can read about my great love for prosthetics in earlier posts.

This time around, I was fake-arm-free. I took to the streets of London uninhibited and unencumbered. People stared, of course, but in the intervening years, I've begun to wear handicap like a badge. I'm a member of an elite group of enlightened individuals who see inability as get priority seating on the bus, primarily.

And at the British Museum yesterday, a complete stranger chased after me just to tell me that I'm special....and because he wanted a picture with me. When I consented, he got some passing tourists to snap the photo. I felt ridiculous, but not nearly as much as when, after several takes, the conscientious tourist felt we needed another go 'round to be sure of a keeper.

It's a bizarre life I lead.

But taking photos with tourists is far better than hiding behind a facade, a body that isn't mine.
Now, at thirty-two, I inhabit my own body, and I'm happy with it. Well, within reason––haven't reached nirvana quite yet.

Do the Paralympics really change perception of disability? Some say it does disservice to the averagely handicapped, setting too high a standard for those of us who are not elite athletes.

To those I say, you've got too much time on your hands (or hand, as the case may be), if you're begrudging those among us with greater ambition or, dare I say, ability.

If all I take away from the Games, as I did the first time in Athens, is the ability to wear sleeveless shirts without fear, then I'm satisfied. Isn't it our own perception of self that matters most, in the end?


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