This afternoon, I was having a conversation when the subject of my memoir came up. She asked me what it was about.
“It’s about my journey with multiple sclerosis.”
“Oh!” This pained look came across her face. “I’m sorry.” She said. “I didn’t know you had MS. You don’t look disabled.”
“It’s all good. I was born with Cerebral Palsy, so the multiple sclerosis is just along for the ride.”
The pained look on her face deepened. “I’m so sorry.” She said.
“It’s really okay.” I told her. “The MS made me realize what to be thankful for. Every moment is a gift.” I said.
“But to live with both! That shouldn’t be possible.”
“Yet here I am.” I said.
“I’m so very sorry.” She said, reaching out to touch my hand.
I shrugged. “It really is all good. I’m living my best life because of and in spite of the MS. I just gotta sparkle.”
She smiled at that. I’ve been thinking of this conversation since I got home. I cleaned while I thought it over. I suppose for most people, hearing that someone has Multiple Sclerosis is a sad thing. I’d like to think I have her empathy rather than her sympathy though.
I think people need to change the way they think of those that are disabled. We don’t need your pity or your sympathies. But if you could try to learn, try to understand what we go through, that would be awesome. Empathy rocks.
I figure that regardless of what we have to live with, we decide to live. We look at the sometimes impossibly huge mountain in front of us and say “Screw you!” and either climb it or find a way around it.
I’d like to change people’s reactions to letting them know that I live with a disability and a disease. Instead of getting offended, I take the opportunity to talk about my disabilities, to educate others. How will they learn otherwise?
We are not brave. We are courageous. We are purveyors of our own bodies as we try to make sense of the world around us, even as the world within us changes shape.
We are warriors.