Friday, August 20, 2010

True Colors

Looking through a kaliedoscope © Barbara Bar 
Have you ever thought you reached a mutual understanding with someone only to realize you couldn't be more wrong?

That happened to me recently, but I waited to post it because I wanted to be sure I crafted my words with care. Someone I know had made some subtly rude remarks about disabled people a few years ago. I wrote them an email, and they thanked me for telling things from my perspective. I forgave them and moved on.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. A friend of this person said they believed in helping disabled people. I couldn't believe it. It saddened me to think a friend who thought they knew what this person stood for didn't really know them at all.

How can you judge someone [for their limitations]* when you are in a box yourself? I'm talking about a box that dictates what you say and to whom you say it. Be real with those around you. Don't put up a facade to impress people because your true self will eventually come to light.

It was almost as if I had been punched in the stomach as I read those words. You can't say you help disabled people when you don't even take the time to talk with them. Helping the disabled isn't about treating them like they are less than than human. You have to sit down and be willing to hear their story. Yes, this means making yourself vulnerable. Someone who truly listens is so rare these days.

*I don't really think of disabled people having limitations. Society does because they don't know what to do with people who don't fit into their mold of what normal people do. In my opinion, disabled people challenge others to think outside the box. How else would wheelchairs that can climb stairs be bulit? Yes, they do have an attachment that's made so wheelchairs can go up and down steps. Here's the link for those of you who are interested.


blue ♥ said...

This is an absolutely marvelous post. I feel the exact same way when my friends baby my autistic sister. I knew I was feeling something but I didn't know what it was until I read this.
Thank you for such a wonderful post. :)

Emma's Mom said...

I was thinking to myself, along these exact same lines earlier. About how a dear friend of mine claims that she is not homophobic, but will hurl a homophobic statement in a hot second. I considered doing what you did and write her an email to inquire why she says such things, and to hopefully paint a clear picture of how and why what she says is hateful. Its really about what you said, which is being true to yourself because at the end of the day, your true colors will always shine through.

LauraC said...

It has taken me forever to stop by and say thanks for stopping by my blog! Love your courage in blogging here and your openness!