I have spent the last 57 years of my life trying to show the world that a disability is not a death sentence. Again and again, I found my achievements rejected as impossible. They were castoff, unwarranted, and discarded; as the experts and all their knowledge could not measure my learning disability. I was conveniently deemed, mentally retarded, on three separate occasions because of an IQ test that could not measure my abilities. Then, when I went ahead, proved them wrong, and mastered my goals, alone, instead of helping me further, my wonderful experts gave me a thousand new obstacles to overcome. Would it have been so terrible for me to receive a friendly word of encouragement in place of their arrogant criticism?
I guess it was not meant to be! As I had to rely upon myself and those few brave soles that could see my capabilities, what I needed to be successful, and what I would develop into if nurtured. I went from being unable to write a letter to my boyfriend, at the age of eighteen years old, to publishing articles and a book.
Besides my other brandings, I was conveniently classified as having “scattered thoughts” because I dared to have multiple interests. I used dance to build and strengthen my body, while empowering and encouraging myself with words of permission to succeed. My self-worth and confidence soared. I learned not to take no for an answer. I was even able to hang up my full length leg brace in the closet, never ever to wear it again at the age of eleven years old.
It seemed that these professionals were actually ashamed that I had the guts, backbone, and morel fiber to make my life better. I would not settle for the comfortable, docile, submissive existence they were kind enough to allow me to live! What’s even more appalling and inexcusable, is that people who don’t rock the boat, are more likely to get help. Yet, people like myself, get the run around, and no help at all.
In spite of all my achievements, I am still struggling to make a living of my own. I still receive supplemental income despite every effort to be self-sufficient and independent. What’s more is that I am even more single-minded, driven, and determined to live my life on my own terms. I haven’t given up by any means. And, I will continue to live to tell the tale, and thrive, in the gifted and talented ways I was born to provide.