Stop being handicapped. Just stop.

Stop being handicapped.  Just stop.

I know it sounds harsh, but hear me out.  I know people who have issues.  I deal with a couple of deaf people once a month and I am always more than happy to do so.  They are not “handicapped.”   They are different.

Merriam-Webster online defines handicapped as: “having a physical or mental disability.” These people I’ve described were handicapped but they are no longer so.  They are no longer disabled.  Certainly they require accommodation to do so, but the first step is theirs.  They didn’t want to be “disabled” which is part of being handicapped.

At the same time, I deal with people who, without mental defect are handicapped.  I deal with people who refuse or are incapable of learning the English language.  I feel sad for these people because they are more handicapped than the deaf.  Certainly, I understand that it works both ways.  I watched a friend have a meltdown at a post office in Spain because no one their spoke English and all the forms and signs were in Spanish.  We were both thoroughly handicapped there.  I felt sad for both of us there, but, without mental defect, I remain handicapped.

Have you ever seen someone with a physical “defect” struggle to do difficult things?  Some consider it sad and I am sure there is much frustration on their end, but I find it nothing but inspiring.  I wish I had that strength.  On that note, I also deal with people who have trouble speaking English, but try.  Hard.  And they learn and do not blame me for not speaking their language.  If you work to communicate, I will work with you.  If you can’t open the bottle because you have trouble with your hand, I will help.  There is no judgment.  We all have things we cannot do.  I understand you want to do it yourself and I respect that infinitely.  But just like the deaf who try to communicate and the foreigners who do the same, I will be there to help you.  Not because you are handicapped, but because you are human and have limitations that are just like mine, even if they are in different areas.

I beg you to understand that I have limits that are completely different than yours.  It makes me no better or worse.  I ask you to help me when you see me struggle, or at least offer.  I ask you to hold yourself to the same standard I do.  I have issues.  I am handicapped.  I am working on not being disabled.  Do the same and let us all help each other.  Let us all stop being handicapped, together.  Also, I am not saying you can or should be living a normal life, because trust me I can’t.  I don’t think it’s possible, because there is no such thing.  You can live a better life.  You can live a happy life.  Your disability is anything that gets in the way of that.

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