In honor of upgrading the layout of this blog, I decided to share one of the drafts of my college essays, which explains my inspiration for creating this blog in the first place. I ended up scrapping this essay and using a different one altogether for the applications, but am glad it has the opportunity to be read by individuals now, as a blog post as opposed to a college essay.
The prompt was this:
Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
And I (almost) responded with this:
delbasid [DEL-buh-sid] (adj.): possessing a physical or mental condition/disease but by no means being incapacitated, weak, unable, or unfit.
The fifth-grade protagonist of a children’s novel inspired me to invent this word. This witty fictional character by the name of Nick from Andrew Clements’s book Frindle decided to challenge his English teacher’s claim that the word pen meant pen. Instead, in his cleverness and mischief, he set out to call pens “frindles” for the rest of his life, and he did everything possible so that others would, too. To this day, I owe this character for helping to shape my identity. Ever since reading this book in elementary school, Nick’s idea that words mean whatever humans decide they mean has been deeply instilled in me.
This was a preeminently profound realization for me because at birth, I was automatically given an identity based on a single word: disabled. A dictionary, and much of society, associates being disabled with being “incapacitated, weak, unable, or unfit.” Born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, I maneuver the world in an electric wheelchair, all physical aspects of my life limited. However, it is simply untrue to call me disabled, for I’m able to love, think, smile, help, and thrive. In fact, I’m more able than I’m unable, and I believe all people are, also. At the very least, everyone on this planet influences his or her direct surroundings. If everyone took on this duty to impact his or her small corner of the planet, the entire world would be altered. Thus, every individual has the innate ability of shaking the Earth. Who’s to say that being in a wheelchair diminishes this? Naturally, “disabled” was a word and an identity imposed upon me that I desperately wanted to alter.
No random combination of letters I came up with seemed satisfactory in both flowing seamlessly out of the mouth and taking on the role of changing the human race’s views on physically and mentally different people. However, soon, the word I’d been looking for emerged from right under my nose.
I’d formulated a word merely by spelling disabled backwards. Now, I had to use it, and do everything possible so others would, too. My attempt at doing so has been through the outlet of writing, or rather, blogging about my experiences as a delbasid person.
This word has allowed me to combine my passions of writing and changing people’s mindsets in order to take a revolutionary step towards discovering my true identity. I am enthralled by the fact that a single word has the immense power to do such a thing. I am fascinated by how words can be scientific, lyrical, political, and holy. Thus, I am infinitely drawn and motivated to learn more about words, their meanings, and their combinations.
In the epilogue of Frindle, adult Nick receives a gift from his fifth grade English teacher: a dictionary with the word “frindle” as an entry. I recall feeling content as I turned the last page of the book, as not only Nick, but also “frindle,” had made it. I anticipate and deeply long for the day when “delbasid” will also have found its place in a dictionary. I expect that day to be the same day the world realizes we’re all disabled and we’re all able, but only a few of us have the ability to proclaim that we’re delbasid. I am one of those lucky few.