When you see a young man in a wheelchair, hands pulled against his sides, fingers crossed tightly, and legs bent inward as he is trying to observe the world, a majority of us take a double look. He doesn’t look like the majority of people in the world. He is different.
He cannot stand up and walk away. He cannot push himself in a wheelchair to escape the glare of the curious or the bewildered. He simply sits there and absorbs the looks. I believe after a while, it become such a part of their life, they neither blink nor think anything about it.
But I think something about it.
I find it a privilege to live around, work with, and play with individuals with different abilities, different physical forms, and different avenues of thought processes. They are my friends and I see them in every aspect of my life and yet, sometimes I don’t even want to acknowledge those differences because quite frankly, it defeats my personal philosophy that all are created equal yet different, but all contain the potential and ability in whatever they set their minds, bodies, and spirits to do.
Recently, as I was shopping in a local department store, I came across a family with a beautiful young lady in a wheelchair. She was communicating in a different way than we may have on a daily basis, but still, she was communicating, and her family was perfectly aware of what she was saying.
She was bold in her physique, even as her body was shaped not in the upright position of walking around, but rather in a sitting position, head held down with slow attempts to life up and see things around her.
She was beautiful, with eyes of blue, curiously looking around before her neck gave away to a tired strain.
I stood for a moment and watched people walk by her. Some would turn around and look, others would make it an obvious point to attempt to ignore her. Sadly, even a few anxious salespeople avoid interacting with her family as this young girl looked on as best as possible to observe any action directly related near her.
What a beautiful, curious young lady eager to live as you and I, yet sadly, like many, ignored or avoided.
Did you realize YOU are one medical diagnosis, accident, unfortunate event where you are at the wrong place at the wrong time, and immediately find yourself sitting next to her or one of the thousands who observe life just like her from a wheelchair with a different perspective on life.
Just one second can change your life.
Don’t fear it.
You see, we must bust the myth that disabilities, different abilities, altered body appearances, medical diagnosis, and different ways of processing and thinking of life are unfortunate or some sort of punishment or consequence of life.
It’s just life.
It is a struggle and it makes life seem more difficult to maneuver in our fast-paced world full of perception for what is “normal” in our eyes. For the person who is different, is truly the same, in the very core of their being.
So when you see someone with a difference, a different way of communication, a different way of body development, a different view of life, or a different way of living-be it physically, mentally, or emotionally-take time to accept this person, not as different, but as someone who is advancing into life on a different path, with a different view.
For in the end, we are truly all the same.
Discloser: All information contained in this blog are of the writer’s opinion and reveal neither confidential or otherwise legally protected information according to HIPPA or State and Federal privacy protections. All pictures contained within this blog are either personally taken and released with written consent, published at the consent of the photographer, or verified royalty free, and are not copyright protected.