Monday, March 30, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Oh, my friend, it's not what they take away from you that counts. It's what you do with what you have left. ~Hubert Humphrey
Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference. ~Winston Churchill
If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it. ~Mary Engelbreit
I don't usually start a post with quotes, but these seemed rather appropriate to the post I want to write. The title really says it all - It's all in the attitude.
Even commercials say it ("Never let them see you sweat" ring a bell?) and play on it, implying their product will infuse you with confidence. That's not exactly what I mean though.
And I'm not talking about a disabled person's attitude. But those of all the "normal" people around them. Those can make all the difference.
I'm a contrary person (if you haven't figured that out yet, go read the previous posts). All it takes to make me determined to do something is for someone to tell me I'm not capable of it. A lot of others don't have that, and that is where attitude comes in.
Everyone Can Make A Difference
It's true. Even I feel it. When somebody acts like my disability couldn't possibly put any limitations on me, it makes it easier for me to do the same.
Think about it. Which would you rather hear throughout the day?
(Said by an extremely old woman in the checkout line at the grocery store) "You poor dear. If I'd known you were crippled, I would have let you go first."
Or . . .
"I figured if you needed help you'd ask."
Personally, I'll take the second any minute of any day. It shows that they respect me - my abilties, my honesty, my courage.
I'm a big country music fan, and this song shows what I mean about attitude very well.
It's by Rascall Flatts, called Skin. It still makes me cry and smile every time I hear it.
So I applaud all of you who have the attitude necessary to keep people like me going!! Keep it up!
Monday, March 23, 2009
Shelly Mann, 1956 gold medal winner at the Olympics for the 100 meter butterfly, overcame the terrible paralysis of polio to become a world class swimmer. She contracted polio as a child and was left with weakness and semi-paralysis of all her limbs. At 10, her doctor recommended swimming as therapy.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
"Don't you know that if you love God deeply enough and believe in Him strongly enough and pray hard enough that God will let your other hand grow?" He dropped to his knees on the blanket next to me.
That incident has always stayed with me for a few reasons. I don't think I've ever been so scared in my life. It made me leery of organized religion. And it made me question why I had only one hand.
But I was willing to believe that this man was an anomaly, that he didn't represent the thinking of an entire religious group. I put it to the back of my mind. Until it happened again.
My ex-husband took me to visit his extended family the Easter weekend before we got married. I was so excited. My family had never been close and his was, so I wanted desperately to be accepted. Everything was going fine until we got to his cousin Maria's house.
Her husband, Bill, bible in hand, cornered me in the kitchen and repeated almost word for word what the man at the beach had said to me.
Monday, March 16, 2009
The Possible Dream Foundation
Run by Camille Geraldi, a pediatric nurse, and her husband Mike, a pediatrician, this isn't an institution by any stretch of the imagination. They have made a home for children that no one else could or would take care of.
Years ago when I worked for them, it was called The Up With Down Syndrome Foundation because when they started, all of the children they took had Down Syndrome. As they grew and expanded, taking in more and more children, the name no longer fit. So it changed as they had.
Working there was the most influential time period of my adult life. For the first time, I spent significant portions of each day with people who had much more severe problems than I did. Working with them, helping to teach them the most basic things in life, made me realize for the first time in my life, exactly how lucky I was that my disability was such a minor one. More than anyone else, those children taught what courage in the face of adversity really means.
Camille is who I want to be when I grow up :) She has the biggest, most giving heart of anyone I've ever met. Love for these children that society terms as "lesser" because of their extensive problems (many of which even make them look abnormal to outsiders) pours out of her.
I don't know how she does it. From the day I first set foot in their homes (Just about a month after Hurricane Andrew), she has been an inspiration to me. She taught me to keep a leash on my terrible temper when faced with verbal and physical prejudice. After all, as "Mom" to that many special needs kids, she knew first hand how it felt.
Check out their website if you have a chance.
The Wounded Warrior Project
I have to confess that I don't know a ton about this group, but what I do know is amazing.
I first heard about them from Celebrity Apprentice when Piers Morgan chose them as his charity that he earned money for. It is a group that:
To raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of severely injured
service men and women,
To help severely injured service members aid and assist each other, and
To provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of severely injured service members.
Considering how long our country has been involved in one violent conflict or another, and how often our service men and women are injured, it is a wonderful and needed group.
When working at The O'Callaghan Hotel in Annapolis, MD, I was lucky enough to be the night supervisor when a bunch of them came to town and stayed at our hotel. We stayed up late (well, they did, but my job was to stay up all night) talking about our disabilities. Most of them were missing a leg. They said that was much more common than a missing arm in the service sincemost loss-of-limb injuries were caused by mines.
I was amazed at how well-adjusted these men (because all the ones I met were men) were. None of the terror and lost feeling that used to show in this guy I knew in high school. He lost his arm in a drunk driving accident and ended up killing himself because he couldn't adjust.
Anyway, two admirable groups that should get more notice and acclaim than they do. (Sorry but no pics this time.)
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Inkblot: i can arrange for someone to stomp on your toes if you like
amputate a limb
me: if you amputate a limb, would you mind
making it a leg. i have a spare of those
how about an ear,
or something more expendable?
me: that could work
Inkblot: sweet. an ear
it is. and a couple of toenails %-)
What exactly qualifies someone as handicapped? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary it is having a physical or mental disability ; also : of or reserved for handicapped persons.
As someone who has been described as handicapped my entire life, I disagree. Having only one hand does not make me handicapped. Like I say in my blog's name, I firmly believe that handicapped is all in the mind. It's a way of thinking pessimistically that prevents a person from reaching their full potential.
I grew up hearing that the only reason my birth mother tried so hard to keep me is because she feared no one would adopt a handicapped baby. My adoptive parents met me when my mom became my occupational therapist to teach me how to use a prosthesis. In first grade, the school system put me in the remedial classes because "anyone with a physical handicap usually has a mental one too."
This blog is not going to be an authority on anything, just a way for me to share some of my experiences growing up in a society that tried to make me believe there was something wrong with me. That I was handicapped.