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!


  1. Hi Annie - I thank you for the invitation to post on your blog. I hope this is in the right spot for you.

    As you know, media has gone crazy over persons with disabilities everything from prime time shows on dating issues (the Uneatable's) to the everyday life and times of people with autism, to sitcoms. Now the question being posed by many is - "is this a good thing for awareness or not?". Personally I have to side with NOT and for the following reasons, which apparently more people than I expected agree with.

    Everyone, OK not everyone, but a large number of people like to speak on recognition of persons with disabilities, which is wonderful, however, I for one don't particularly care to be recognized as such. No I am not in denial, I am who I am, that's it. Sure, I have a set of wheels strapped to my arse, does that really make me any more special than the next guy, that I need to be recognized as a person with a disability? Do we go around recognizing people with one ear slightly larger than the other, or receding hairlines? Lets face it, EVERYONE has a disability, I don't care who you are, you have a disability of some form or fashion or you'd be perfect, and there are no perfect people.

    I am not a subject for a sitcom, a talk show, a reality program or anything else. I do speak publicly to organizations and companies, but not because I am a veteran, nor because I am in a wheelchair. In fact I start my speaking assignments, with "I am not here to motivate or inspire you." (I then keep an eye out for the looks of panic on the faces of the people that hired me ) If that's what the company wants, a funny guy in a wheelchair, they can get someone else to speak at their conference, I'm not a freak show, I have a message, take it or leave it. I do compete in accessible sports,why, because I participated before and I'll keep on keeping on, not because it's "recognizable" or admirable.

    It's not the fact that someone may require mobility aids, or have autism that makes them stand out in the crowd, or it shouldn't be, it's what they have to offer, and who they are, just like anyone else. If you want to include a person with a disability in a television show, please, by all means, be my guest. Include them as an equal member of the cast, don't spotlight them, don't have complete shows relying on the awwww isn't that cute factor, because then all you are accomplishing them is making a spectacle of everyone with a disability and encouraging the stereotypes..We are not circus acts ladies and gentlemen. If someone wants to watch a circus act I would encourage them to watch the Kardashians or Jersey Shore. LOL

  2. Hi Annie, A passionate and sincere contribution. Let's comment on each others' blogs.