I was listening to a tape on the Internet at Greg Smith’s On-A-Roll Talk Radio on Life and Disability (excellent site by the way). At first, I was surprised at the diversion in the disability community over Christopher Reeves’ activities to focus on research for recovery from his spinal cord injury. Then it made me angry.
What is the criticism about of Christopher Reeves? We all have gifts. We all can do something no one else can. I don’t want somebody undermining my efforts because I don’t understand completely what someone else is going through. He has a perspective no one else has. We all strive to be recognized for our uniqueness, however that may be played out. I don’t want someone envying me because I can talk and they can’t. I may be able to express something verbally they are striving to express. Do I deserve to be attacked?
We need a vision. A collective vision and a personal one. Is it our desire Christopher Reeves be without the love and support of his family, friends, colleagues so that he ‘knows what it’s like’? This is the type of mentality that keeps people, in this case people with disabilities, tied to a lot in life of poverty. I want out. I want a dream and I want others to have theirs. Everybody has something to give. I want to be thankful for what I have instead of attacking someone.
Is it necessary to force our brand of reality on Christopher Reeves (or anybody else for that matter)? Let him make connections on whatever level he has access to. If he were struggling for the type of survival many others have, including myself, he wouldn’t have the opportunity.
The attack mode is not coming from the mind of a person who has the capabilities for success (on whatever the level you want to define that).
When I was going to twelve-step recovery meetings, in my wheelchair and my wheelchair mentality, I thought no one would be able to relate to my sacred wound. And I listened and I listened. I dumped and I dumped. And I dumped the same things over and over. And I came to discover how un-unique the wound of the human condition is. My disability wasn’t as big of a problem as was my mental attitude and my learned dysfunction. I connected with a lot of good people who did and didn’t have disabilities. I began to notice when talking with other friends with disabilities that I wished they had had the experience of breaking through this kind of undefinable thing, that special state of consciousness that was holding them back – called ‘terminal uniqueness’ as the twelve steppers say.
I would love to have a nice loving family to stand by me and care for me in that special and wonderful way. In that traditional way. I have good loving friends instead who are the family that shows up for me.
If Christopher Reeves has something nobody else has, good, let him have it. He has work to do. We each have work to do. It’s not fair? HELLO? Why do we have what we have? Maybe someone thinks you live a life in paradise. Maybe they want your whatever your speech, your brain, your family, friends, money, warm home, your creativity, your god. Why is it so important to attack Christopher Reeves because he doesn’t have to cope with the status quo?
If he listened to this controversy, what would he have? Your dream that he should be down trodden – to know what it’s like? We are each entitled to our own dream and gathering whatever resources we can bring to that dream. What is the value of attempting to break someone else’s spirit because of a narrow mind and an attacking heart? Will it promote any healing? Isn’t this one of the primary ingredients in all levels of war?
Copyright © 1999 Celia Casper. All right reserved.
Name: Celia Casper
Date: 18 Feb 1999
Remote Name: bar-ns-1-45.jvlnet.com