Letters to the Editor
August 12, 2009
HNN Readers React
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Limitations, not disabilities
(Re: A Third World Existence, Humanist Network News, Aug. 5, 2009.)
I was touched by the article about discrimination toward disabled persons in a recent HNN edition. The story by Cass Lambert could have been my own - it affected me deeply. I also deal with autoimmune disease, sleep disorders, and severe pain which limits my ability to move freely and sustain employment.
Although I'm officially "disabled," I think of myself as having limitations, and go about my life as much like everyone else as I can. We all have different levels of ability, and just because I can't run a marathon or walk up a staircase doesn't mean that I'm worth less. I can do many things that others can't, but I don't label them "artistically disabled" or "musically crippled." I've learned to ask for help when I need it, even though I'm quite shy, and people usually are happy to help.
I almost always wear a smile (or have one handy), and when things go wrong I almost always laugh. Life can be so ridiculous sometimes! (Sometimes I laugh and cry at the same time).
After buying groceries recently I came out to find teeming rain, and my umbrella was in the car. I decided to go ahead and get wet rather than wait out the storm. Half-way to the car I dropped a bag, and stuff went everywhere. I just stood there, getting soaking wet, and laughed, and about six people came to help and started laughing (and getting soaked) with me! I have my moments of despair and depression, but I try not to dwell in them. I try to do something fun or something that makes me feel warm and fuzzy - my garden is a great place to recover my equilibrium.
I hope Ms. Lambert's article will inform readers about the feelings of disabled people, and encourage them to reach out and help someone who needs a hand and some kindness, or just a smile.
Thank you for your excellent e-zine - it's the only one I get that I read "cover-to-cover."
--Christine Baker, Cape May, N.J.
Desperately seeking humanist community.