(Dis)Ability

Labels.
They’re on everything and, thanks to the digital age, everyone.

I’m not talking about those sticky things that you put on your shirt at mixers that say “Hi, My name is:” I’m talking about social labels that we metaphorically stick on each other to describe and classify them.

I am not a stranger of being labelled. Throughout my life I have been labelled as many things; dancer, student, runner, friend… epileptic. The last one in that list is the one that sticks. I remember in my first year of university being introduced a little something like this: “This is Hannah, she has epilepsy” (as a side note, I cannot explain how annoying this introduction was when the person being introduced to me was a cute guy!). The thing is, I am one of thousands of people who have been diagnosed with a medical condition and yet do not know whether we deserve a label slapped across our chest reading HI! I am disabled! because the truth of the matter is that often I don’t feel that I am.

Type disabled into google and the definition is: (of a person) having a physical or mental condition that limits their movements, senses, or activities. Technically, I could be classified as having a condition that fits the above definition, even if the limitation of my movement is only for those few minutes in which I am having a seizure.  Talk to me on a good day and I will say I’m able bodied; talk to me after I have spent the night awake, worrying that a seizure might strike any minute, and I’ll say I definitely have a disability. What I’m trying to explain is that not all disabilities are visible, sometimes even to the people who actually have them…

But here lies my problem with my particular sticker. I don’t agree that being disabled means that you are dis-abled. I guess that you could say I agree with the school of thought that re-brands people identifying as having a disability as being differently-abled. But even that, I feel, has negative connotations. The whole point is that I don’t want a sticker slapped on me that says Hi! I’m different to you! 

I want a sticker that says Hi! I’m unique. As are you! I was made the way I am because that what was planned for me. I may get upset about it sometimes but I can promise you that there is so much more to me than a silly label – let’s have a coffee and hash out the details!

…but that might be too long to fit on a sticker…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s