The Dreaded Word
Inspiration. It’s the dreaded word of anyone that I know who is disabled. We have trouble describing the fine line of when “being an inspiration” is a good thing and when it makes us as “the disabled” feel like a lesser human. Each person and situation is different. If someone wants to pray for me, I let them. I let them for their benefit more than mine. It makes many people feel better about themselves. It’s not to say I dislike prayer. I believe in the power of prayer. It’s the intentions of the person. I am completely happy the way I am, and just because I get out of bed and do my grocery shopping like any other person, I’m not an inspiration.
I’m an inspiration if I do something not even an able bodied person can do. I’m an inspiration because I’m content where I am in life. I’m an inspiration because no matter how bad my day can go, I can still make others feel good. The best example of when I accepted and felt GOOD about the word inspiration. I wheeled up this giant hill in Nashville (there’s plenty of them, but if you know 5th Avenue North between Broadway and Church…. you’ll understand) a lady rolled down her window at a stoplight and I had stopped for a rest. She told me that she had been feeling really down, but seeing me, she felt she could do what she thought she couldn’t.
So THAT is how you tell someone they’re inspirational. Not using the word… but telling them WHY. Sure, sometimes I’ll be in a better mood and won’t say a condescending “bless your heart” in my mind, and other times I’ll just say my thanks and go on my way. It’s nice to be noticed, and I do appreciate people who do go out of their way for conversation and don’t treat me like I’m contagious, but watch your tone. You can be condescending, overbearing and downright rude if you try too hard. I’m a person. I promise that my conversation skills are far better than many 25 year olds. Try to be MY inspiration for once.