Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Media Portrays African American Woman with Cerebral Palsy

Minorities with disabilities, especially cerebral palsy, are rarely portrayed in the media as having "real lives" and the range of human emotions.  We're either doing some group activity, arranged by an organization, or being glorified as heroes and more courageous than others. Over the years, much  has been written about  me by many publications, however, my circumstances were portrayed as extraordinary because of my disability.   I have finally met a journalist, Alexis Morgan, who portrays me as I am, an intelligent woman  who is a valued member of her community.  I just happen to have cerebral palsy.  See her journalistic genius on this web site


This interview is the most accurately I have been portrayed and written about by the media.
Some of the photographs are from my memoir, It's Easier to Dance  See an overview of my book on page 2 of my blog.

I welcome your replies.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Create Your Own Work

One of the toughest challenges to  those of us with life-long or chronic disabilities is employment.  Although federal law requires employers to provide "reasonable accommodations" to employees who identify their disabilities, it is difficult to achieve.  However, some of us have achieved success or are working on it.   In 1979, when I grew tired of temporary, paper-pushing jobs set up by the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation,  I turned my hobby of writing poetry into a small business featuring lines of my poems on greeting cards.  I hired different artists to  illustrate the cards.  I managed to have enough cash flow to supplement my disability income start traveling!  I write about this first venture into self employment in Chapter 2 of my memoirs, It's Easier to Dance.
Have you ever heard it said, "Do what you love and, eventually, some one  will pay you for it!'  I have found this saying to be true.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Myth of Independence

This fantasy of independence that the western world idealizes and says one should strive toward is actually not true, nor is it to be desired or ever achieved.  It is, in fact, the developmental stage of adolescence.  As Americans, we seem to be stuck in this unreal state of being.   I realize, to some of  you, I am using rather strong language, but I chose my  words purposefully because I feel that all people, not just those most vulnerable of our society, are put at great risk unnecessarily because we need help on a regular basis.  Doesn't everyone?  Think about it?
The title of Chapter 8 in my memoirs, It's Easier to Dance is titled "Interdependence".  It is the state of the mature adult who realizes that, in essence, in order for any of us to live we need to depend on each other.  This is a fact, not an option.  In the United  States, there seems to be that certain segments of the population are, shall we say, expendable.  It is my perception, as well as the experience of those in my age group and disability category, that more and more people fall under this "disposable" heading.  I remember a time when the acronym DNR (Do Not Resusatate) did not exist.  Now it is one of the first questions asked upon admission to a hospital for any reason!  
I encourage everyone to find just one person in your community to visit weekly.  It will not only improve that person's life, it will improve your own life as well!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A great website

"Disability in the News" is a great website that I just found on Word Press.  It is disturbing as the topic is about abuse against women with disabilities.  The information states that women with disabilities are TWICE as likely to be sexually and or physically abused as able bodied women.  Care givers are most often the perpetrators.  I have begun speaking out in my community.  DO NOT remain silent!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Only You Can Decide

I have learned that, with all the dedicated professionals who work with us through out our lives, it is  essentially our decision as to what we are capable of and what we will do with our lives.  Whether your challenge is a diagnosed medical condition, a broken heart, or an  abusive pattern of behavior that haunts you, only you can decide whether or not it will ultimately define your life.

When I had written four chapters of my memoirs, I said to myself,  "This is going to be a book!"  A Penn State Student  in advertising said that she would volunteer to help me raise money for my project.  "After all you are actually providing a service of education and inspiration", she said.  So, on a HOT Saturday in July we held a bake sale.  Friends volunteered baked goods, time and money to help pay for whatever I needed to keep me living independently so I would be able to continue writing.  I hope this inspires you to GO FOR what you most desire.  Invite your community to be involved and chances are, enough people will want to help.