And God Laughs
I told God my plans and He laughed. So now I am living, laughing, and loving according to His Plans.

The tags that rub

As a small child I was hypersensitive to the tags in my clothing. My mother had to painstakingly remove every last reminant of any tag from every single item of clothing before I would agree to wear it. I would hear her grumbling as she picked at seams with sewing scissors after every back to school shopping excursion. But those tags in something new were intolerable to me, I could continually feel them grating against my fragile skin and what to many would be a light touch was magnified to torture. Yet in old hand-me-down clothes that had been through the washer countless times and the tags had been softened with age I did not demand that every tag be removed because they had been softened with time. They were tolerable because they were in something broken in, something that had taken the abuse of the world and worn away the hard edges. It took time for the raw scraping to transfer to a soft and gentle touch; time and wear and use.

I realize after reading comments to my last post that it may come across that I have a huge chip on my shoulder or extremely high expectations when it comes to how others act towards me in relation to my disability. Using a wheelchair, using leg braces, not being able to walk independently - those are all brand new tags in my life. After two years they are not as intolerable as they were in the beginning but they are still no where near as soft and flexible and gentle as the other tags in my life that I have lived with for so much longer. I admit that it stings more when I feel someone react to my using a wheelchair because that tag is still grating on me. I use humor as a huge coping mechanism, and that is why I frequently just laugh at the situations that feel awkward or out of place. I also know that because these tags are not worn soft with time, I need to keep in my heart and mind the fact that most people have good intentions and just generally have limited experience with individuals with different abilities.

But I do also hold society to a high standard, because if we do not have high expectations than nothing will ever change. I will gladly educate and advocate. The inclusion of individuals with disabilities in our mainstream society has come so far, but has so very far to go. Ignorance is not an excuse, as it was not an excuse during the Civil Rights movement, but an opportunity to educate. Sometimes I need to remember that it is an opportunity to educate and ignore the rubbing of the tags. Ignorance is a tag that rubs raw, but it is one that is only softened by education and by teaching those who "don't know any better". It is showing the world what it means, and does not mean, to have a disability. It is working to create a world where having a disability is not equal to having a handicap*.

I hope this post makes sense. I tried so hard to explain what is on my heart in a manner that would be easier to understand.

* A disability is a difference of abilities as compared to a norm. A handicap is when a difference prevents the individual from being able to engage in a desired aspect of society. So it is possible to have a disability but not a handicap, and technically to have a handicap without a disabilty. In the game of wheelchair basketball, being ambulatory is a handicap because you are not used to using a wheelchair and you will struggle to keep up and not end up as roadkill.

I read all your posts and don't remember if I've ever commented but, I just wanted to tell you that this was really well written and I appreciate what you had to say.

Thank you for the very kind and sweet comment!! And of course for taking the time to read!!

I missed this post... darn it...
do you know about ?
If tags are still an issue... their clothing might help
(I know you were talking about other tags... but I like to share stuff that helps also...:) )

Job 8:21

"He will fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy."

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Wild Olive

Wild Olive

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Creative Victory

This is Me

I am a thirty year old enigma who has defied every expectation ever placed upon me and refused every definition created for me. My greatest passion in life is to make a difference in the lives of children with special needs and their families. As a special education teacher I broke all of the unwritten rules to make sure that my kids received the services they needed and had a right to receive. I have never been so proud to be reprimanded before in my life. Now, due to unpredictable twists in life, I am learning first hand what life is like when you rely upon a wheelchair for mobility. I am a medical puzzle with the pieces slowly being identified and put together, and my medical bills alone could fund a small nation. It takes a village to keep me alive. :) However, I am not defined by the genetic misspellings. I am a teacher, a daughter, an aunt, a friend, a dreamer, a reader, an amateur photographer, a writer, an advocate, a star gazer, a world changer. I am stubborn, situationally shy, quick to use humor and wit to make others laugh or cope with a situation, sarcastic, fiercely independent, giving, compassionate (sometimes to a fault), protective of those I love, defiant of arbitrary boundaries, perfectionistic, self conscious, self assured (yes you can be both!), articulate and occasionally dramatic. And that is just what I could fit in two sentences! :)

Who's On First, What's On Second, I Don't Know! (Third Base!!)*

Simple Vocabulary Definitions for those who may not speak fluent medical :)

Undiagnosed Progressive Neurological Disorder- This is the diagnosis that is believed to make everything else fit together. It explains my frequent infections, my muscle weakness and dystonia, my dysautonomia, my cardiac issues, my inability to regulate blood pressure, my dysphagia, my ataxia, my severe fatigue, my extreme nausea, my gastrointestinal dysmotility and IBS like syndrome, my unbelievable migraines, my sensory changes in my arms and legs, my vision issues, my hearing loss (so much for blaming medication), and so much more. Going back to infancy and childhood, this would explain the severe apnea, the significantly delayed motor skills, the reason why I could never keep up with my peers in physical activities, the neurogenic bladder, the malfunctioning thyroid, and my frequent illnesses and vomiting. This is the diagnosis now being used since the DNA testing for Mitochondrial Disease came back odd and I can not afford the expenses of a workup at the Mayo Clinic. We are treating symptomatically.

Pan-Dysautonomia- "Pan" means that it impacts many different systems of my body, "dysautonomia" is a failure of my autonomic nervous system or the part of my brain that does all of the automatic things that do not require conscious thought like telling your heart to beat, regulating your blood pressure, adjusting your body temperature, maintaining balance in space, digesting food, hunger and thirst, etc. It is believed that I have had this from birth based upon my history of symptoms, including severe life threatening apnea as an infant, but the cause remains elusive at this time

Dystonia- abnormal muscle tone and spasticity, including painful spasms, that primarily impacts my feet and lower legs and is now starting to be a problem in my back

Ataxia- difficulty maintaining balance and coordinating/executing movements

Dysphagia- difficulty swallowing due to any number of causes including muscle weakness and poor muscle coordination

Adipsia- the absence of a sense of thirst

Other Medical Issues- Lupus Anticoagulant (autoimmune disease that causes me to tend to form blood clots and has already caused two deep vein blood clots and one mild stroke), Migraines, unknown connective tissue disorder, abnormal gastric motility, allergies, history of v-tach and severe sinus tachycardia, changes to my echocardiagram that include leaking valves and a new murmur, low blood pressure, ataxia, untreated PFO (small hole in my heart that increases the risk of stroke), chronic lymphadema in my left arm, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Narcolepsy/Idiopathic CNS Hypersomnolance (believed to be a result of the dysautonomia and my brain's inability to regulate the sleep/wake cycle), mild hearing loss, malformed optic nerves, polycystic ovarian syndrome, pernicious anemia, vitamin deficiencies

* Title comes from an old Abbot and Costello routine that I chose to memorize in 6th grade and absolutely love.