Today is January 20th. We celebrate today as a International Day of acceptance. This “social experiment” was started by Annie Hopkins, who founded 3E Love. You can read more about her and the day at https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/day-of-acceptance/. It is a quick read so please check it out.
I’ll wait here.
If you’ve been a reader for awhile you probably know this about me; for most of my life I was, what I’ll call – A disability denier. This was a way of thinking about my own disability that allowed me, if only in my head, to be “normal”. I even go as far to use a common phrase for people who are getting to know me and have tendency to be protective or want to help mitigate what they see as a difficult situation. I say this:
I’m fine. If I need a hand I will tell you. Ignore the fact that I walk or move differently and sooner than later you will forget about it.
I have several people I can refer you to who will tell you that they have heard me say this. They accept it because I give them no choice. I have friends who laugh with me about it over time because they are in awe how they do actually forget, and there are times that I have to ask for help with a comment something like “Hey, dude! CP here…Little help?” we chuckle at the “Oh yeah, sorry, forgot” response.
This, to me sums up how I have nurtured acceptance in my life. I did this because my parents were strong enough to let me fail. My Father was strong enough to say to me “…the only disability you have is in your own head…”
Honestly, I only started to embrace my disability very recently and mostly through Lauri and Casper. I have learned that they are great gifts to me. Lauri has taught me the power of words. Casper has taught me the power of silence and presence.
There are a great many people out in the world with all levels of disability. Please, as you go through your day working with your own disability (spoiler: we all have one if you think about it) be respectful and kind. Try and remember that you can be the light in someone’s day with something as simple as a asking to hold a door, and don’t be upset if we respectfully decline. Or, it may be something even more difficult, but much more helpful, don’t see the disability at all, and simply respect that I just happen to wear my weird on the outside and yours may be hidden.
Today, accept the similarities in yourself and others and you will be able to accept the differences! It’s Okay if it takes practice. You are loved!