Friday, May 24, 2024
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On Adaptation

I consider my lifestyle to be extremely normal for a delbasid person. For a while I have been trying to pinpoint what makes me different than some delbasid people. To be honest, I’m still not completely sure. However, attending a transition into adulthood seminar for “disabled” people gave me a new thought that sparked what might be part of it.

Not only at this seminar, but also just going through life, I have been exposed to so many wonderful opportunities for delbasid people. The people in the world are so accepting and gracious toward delbasid people, and there is so much technology and different systems to adapt and help people with “disabilities”. Just think about it. It can be as simple as having ramps on all curbs or as significant as having the Paralympic Games for delbasid people to excel in athletics. Schools and universities have fantastic systems for students to succeed in the learning environment. At the seminar I attended, I learned about a college that has a dormitory all adapted and equipped with the materials and people that would allow delbasid people to attend college. Also, I recently went to get evaluated to see if I would be able to drive. I was told that if my only issues are physical, there was a way to make it happen with high-tech vehicles. All of these things are amazing things that are available to allow delbasid people to live life, and I am truly so grateful for these opportunities. 

On the other hand, I also have a different mindset about life with a “disability”. I do not live a disabled life. I just live life normally; the only difference that I have is that I can’t do what most people can. But then again, I am confident in saying I also can do some things that other people can’t. If one person can sing, and another is tone deaf, is the tone deaf person disabled? There is no way to define who is disabled and who isn’t…everyone can’t do something that others can. 

My ultimate point is, why should I live a “disabled” person’s version of life? As I think about attending college, I want to get the full experience that everyone does. Although that special dormitory is probably very helpful, inevitably it creates a separation between the “disabled” people and the “able” people. This idea of a separation really bothered me, so I started thinking. I understand that there are some things that people are physically incapable of doing. Obviously I’m not going to be able to win an Olympic medal for basketball, hence something like the Paralympic games was created. But then there’s that separation again. So how do we get rid of this separation? After thinking about it, my conclusion is this: we can’t. It’s simply impossible. The truth is the physical barrier divides us. But here’s where I think my mindset is different.

Many would stop there, and submit to living an adapted life. But the problem with that is that their attitude changes also. Although physically I may need adaptations that lead to that separation, mentally, I don’t. I refuse to make decisions in life based on the fact that I’m delbasid. I won’t choose to attend a college because the system for delbasid people is nice. I will choose to attend a college that is right for my academic needs, and that will help me succeed in my career. I won’t define life based on my physical needs, and in my opinion, life is so much easier when you put your mind first. 

The physical barrier is there. The mental barrier is up to you.

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