Thursday, October 16, 2008

One Glimpse

Sometimes I wonder what it's like for readers who drop by and see one post from my blog, or even just a week's worth. There's a lot of personal history without a context: one daily struggle, but not set among many daily struggles; one incident of disablism, but not set among many incidents of disablism. The bigger picture is missing.

Also missing is the larger context of the blog itself, it as one of many disability blogs, my voice just one of many much stronger and with more to say, but each of us contributing to a shared cause, a shared destiny, a shared dream. Missing from a single glimpse into my blog is the sense of built community among people with disabilities, the support networks we have, the postcards from Elizabeth and the emails fron Donimo, for example, the comments that continue conversations and generate new ideas or refine them.

Missing too are my recognitions, ones that I began to have before I became a disability blogger myself, recognitions including but not limited to:
-my own disability identity
-that struggles for accessibility are not individual anomalies but part of a far larger pattern
-that part-time use of mobility equipment (almost full-time outside home) happens and is acceptable for me, that I will have to deal with judgments but can do so
-that the way is still being paved, and that I need to contribute to the process

I feel a sense of loss with blogging, too, often feeling acutely what I haven't written that needs to be said. People come here looking for "last resort to get out of pain," "does autism qualify for 504?," "proving disability with spondylitis," and so many other important issues. My blog receives major hits for ADA legislation, which I've not yet updated with new ADA Restoration information. Of course there are also people who come looking for Chris Martin and Yael Naim lyrics, but these are not my audience. I haven't updated my tags, so "last resort to get out of pain" directs to acupuncture, not intractable pain.

I believe in autobiography, in the power of each individual story by each individual blogger. Yours are stories that matter, stories that capture my heart, stories I go back to. You encourage me when I'm down, remind me to keep my eyes on the future. Through blogs, I read about the ADAPT activists who shut down offices in Washington, who risk their own health and well-being for all of us, for me and you and you and you--for those who are disabled and for those who are not disabled, maybe even callous toward disability, but who will be disabled in the future. How else would I know of you, of your courage and your arrests? There is too little information on disability in the media in general.

And I see so many reaching out to others even as they hurt--Dave for example, sharing tea with someone who needs it while his damaged wheelchair impedes movement.

Every one of you whose blogs I read, who read mine, give me so much. I have not had to struggle alone in learning how to navigate with wheels. Even in those first days, I had disability blogs to read at the end of the day. I felt supported, nurtured, loved through those initial challenges. I can always count on readers with disabilities to "get it" even when others do not, because you've been there and you've seen.

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