I gave my first talk about a week ago. I could not have picked a more compassionate audience. They were a VFW Post. They even shared some of their experiences with people with disabilities. A lot of my talk is about words and "disability etiquette."
It is hard to not be able to do the things I used to be able to do without even thinking about them. I certainly appreciate more the miracle of the human body and when it works correctly how that functioning can be taken for granted. Still, there is no good that comes from feeling sorry for yourself. So, I keep a hopeful attitude and keep on "keeping on."
I know what it is like to be marginalized; to be the person they rush around because I am going too slowly or they don't look at me. (I have the cloak of invisibility.) This is why I am doing the speaking in the first place. It is because I do want to educate. It is the only way to make change. I can't imagine the difficulties that were encountered before the American Disabilities Act in 1990. People like me would have been shut away.
The most optimistic thing I will say arethe enormous number of acts of everyday kindness I see. Many people don't rush around me and say, "Take your time. Be safe." I think most people are kind. Kindness like this is a simple thing and so important. That kindness elevates me and it elevates you (the person who was kind.) Truly a win-win. We all need to do more. The kindness can be the counter to the lack of evolution of humankind exhibited in violence, death and destruction. I don't understand how normally kind people can be "for" the death penalty or killing other people (even when they have done horrifying things.) Let's all be kind and believe in the greater good.
My next talk is December 2. Each group is different. I hope to speak to the people at the county level and the news staffs of television stations eventually. The people who report the news can really change the language.
I have had it said to me "everything happens for a reason." I cannot believe that. I believe that when you are given lemons try to make lemonade. I can choose my attitude and I choose resolve and kindness.