I have often been asked if it were possible to do so, would I take a “magic pill” to cure my disability. The short answer is no!
My disability is an important, even critical part of who I am. Without it, I would not be the same person. It has helped to shape my life, and has contributed to making me who I am.
My disability is not the problem. The problem is the ableism and outright hatred that causes society in general to devalue and to dehumanize people with disabilities. Everyone is worthy of life, yet disabled people are the only ones that it is OK to kill or eradicate as a people. Consider the untold number of abortions of disabled babies or the sympathy that a parent gets for murdering his or her child with a disability. Indeed, the very question, “would you take a “magic pill” to cure your disability” is based on the assumption that my life is horrible because of my disability.
My disability is not the only reason that bad things happen to me, therefore, getting rid of my disability is not the answer. Just as life without a disability does not equal life without misfortune, life with a disability does not doom one to sadness and misery.
Physical pain and discomfort are a major part of my life, and has been so from birth. I accept that as “part of the territory” that comes with my particular disability. I take medications to manage pain and other symptoms, but I wouldn’t trade my disability for “normalcy” for the world. My disability is a precious gift!
There is nothing wrong with being disabled. Take it from me, a person born with, and who has acquired other severe disabilities – there is nothing inherently wrong about having a disability. What is wrong is the fact that I have to fight for the civil and human rights that you take for granted such as living on my own in my community, making my own decisions without someone questioning me, or my right to do so, getting a good education, and getting a job, indeed, a career. It’s wrong to have to fight to get on a bus or to get into a restaurant and know that once I get in, that I am unwanted and am treated badly. What is wrong is society’s view that it is better to be dead than disabled. Discrimination, ableism, intolerance and hatred are wrong, not having a disability!
Speculating about the possibility of my life being better if I were not disabled is useless. I am a person with a disability, and there is nothing wrong with that, or with me. I am happy and proud to be disabled. The speculation instead should be about how the world would be if people with disabilities were truly included and integrated into society. What would it be like if children with disabilities grew up knowing without a doubt that they are priceless gifts of the Creator, rather than burdens on their families? Imagine the pride in knowing that your people have a history, that they made great contributions to the world, and now, every school must teach this. Picture the possibilities that will unfold when we finally, truly, boldly go where others have gone before! I wish for a world where the question, “would you take a “magic pill” to cure your disability” did not exist.