This post was meant to be a review on the book You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero that I just finished listening to on audio. It seemed an appropriate follow up post since the last post was on the badassery in Shonda Rhimes’ novel, Year of Yes. However, extrapolating You Are a Badass was not a simple task. It wasn’t that I hadn’t written the review, I did, a few different versions actually. Writer’s block was not the problem either because that issue is as fictional as the books I write. I was having trouble tying together the end, telling where I discovered how much of a badass I am and how anyone else can be too. One of the tips Sincero writes in her book is; listing your subconscious thoughts versus conscious and then seeing which ones lack badassery and eliminating them. In order to be a badass, one must first understand where they are not and why they are not.
Knowing the importance of strengthening weakness to get my inner Beyoncé back on stage, I had to dig through my mind and heart to get to the origin of why I think the things I think about myself. What am I anchored in? What am I best at? Where do I lack? What pieces of me could stand to be a little more badass? I had no certainty until I stumbled upon a video about a model who has a disability and how it affected her dating life. Confronting something like that head on is pretty unheard of. Being disabled myself, I clicked the video out of curiosity. She talked about things that had absolutely come up in my romantic endeavors. It was nice to hear a fellow young woman put my own thoughts into words. Disabled or not, we all have things people make snap judgments on. Height, weight, style etc. I do it myself. Although, the way the world judges disabilities is different. For people like me who lack balance, it’s something that’s seen right away when I approach to shake hands. Having a disability is not like judging how fit someone is or how many tattoos a person has because those aspects are absorbed in minutes and then other things are factored in like mannerisms and eye contact. All to quickly other qualities begin to outweigh snap judgments but a phsyical disability is something that takes awhile to absorb. When I go out, I’m not the pale brunette with tattoos, I’m the girl with the dog. Most of the time, strangers don’t even notice there’s a human holding the leash.
It’s not that I blame people for only seeing my dog or wondering why I walk like a drunken sailor, it’s right there out in the open, I would wonder too. What’s disappointing is feeling like half a person because I’m only judged on what’s most obvious. People notice me always but I’m rarely ever seen. Fortunately, I have a lot of strengths to play since I am a people person who’s quick witted and very articulate, qualities that stun most people when they first meet me. They don’t expect the disabled girl to have such a bold personality. People with disabilities are people. Real flesh and blood, three dimensional characters.
This box I never chose to be in puts me in a peculiar place when it comes to dating because when you are disabled, people typically treat you one of two ways. The first being pity, they don’t know what to do other than feel bad for you because of perceived disadvantages. The second, they want to mother you, so much so that it can be smothering. These reactions I think are just typical human behavior. The majority of my experience in living differently is that people are overly kind and so very helpful. I’m usually viewed by the public as someone who’s bright and shiny and inspiring which is awesome but I’m rarely viewed as a young woman. I am rarely seen as someone who is desirable. My disability is such a roadblock that no one really knows how good my legs look. Seriously, they are thin and toned and super smooth when I bother to shave them but who really notices since they don’t move like everyone else’s? I won’t lie, it’s frustrating to know and believe you are so much more than one thing you happen to have and not everybody is going to stick around to see that. I won’t lie, it’s a heartache to not want to get up from a table because when the cute bus boy you’ve been flirting with sees you walk away, he may think differently. I won’t lie, it’s bittersweet that my disability seems to be a gift that draws people in because it also keeps many people out.
I suppose it only counts against me if I allow it too. I wonder who I would be if I had average balance and a proper gate. What would I be insecure about then? I’m not sure but the non-disabled people I know are not immune to insecurities. “My favorite part of that” Jessica said, when her partner talked about how her chronic fatigue affects their daily life; “is when I’m tired and floppy and useless and ill and you help me up the stairs, you still squeeze my bum.” She said that’s really important to her and I laughed because I know exactly why. Having a disability can make you feel like you’re not a whole person, let alone an attractive one. Why wouldn’t someone with a disability want attention and affection and sex same as any other person? I put my morality first and I’m not one to go with the world and use my body as currency, though it would not be the worst thing in the world to have the right kind of man look at me the way all women want to be looked at.