Monday, February 28, 2011

Self Image And Disability


One thing I wanted to do with this blog is answer questions that I am often asked. One of the big ones is "how does being disabled effect the way you think about yourself?" First off, my main disability causes some skeletal deformations. That means some of my bones are shorter, and warped.
That's my arm, and probably the most normal looking limb I have. Thanks to my disability my legs are different widths and heights, my arms are crooked, not to mention the 15 scars from my 10 surgeries, it's safe to say in general my body does not look "normal" by any standards.

That being said, I can't say I'm terribly self-concious about these imperfections. I used to be insanely self-conscious about every imperfection my disability bestowed upon me. When skinny jeans and leggings started becoming popular I REFUSED to wear them due to the fact that my legs are kinda crooked and are different widths. One day I got tired of limiting myself because I don't look "normal". I obtained a pair of skinny jeans and go figure, they didn't look half bad. Sure, my legs looked crooked but when I went out in public no one seemed to notice. It was then that I realized that all my "flaws" are not visible to the untrained eye and thus NO ONE CARES! No one cares if my arm is slightly warped, no one cares if I have a giant scar on my leg. Once I realized that other people don't care, I stopped caring.

Along with realizing that no one else cares about the imperfections, I made peace with my body by gaining some control over it. I did this by getting a tattoo. Most of the visible alterations of my body are scars, I had no say in what they would look like and while they are kick-ass they're not particularly attractive. The tattoo was an alteration that I could control, and it was colorful and beautiful. Tattoos in general are becoming more and more popular within the disabled community, actually. While I can't prove it, I'm gonna say that I'm a trend setter.

In conclusion, being a cripple can have a negative impact on one's self-image, especially if your disability leaves you severely deformed. But if you make peace with what you cannot change and change what you can, a cripple can have the self-esteem of a normal person... if not more!

Crippie's Tippie of the Day- If people laugh at you, tease you, and bully you because of the way you were born, ignore them. They tease you because they are idiots who do not know any better. They might want to make you feel weak, but you are stronger and braver than they will ever be.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Pros And Cons of Being Disabled


People often ask me if I could somehow be magically cured, would I take the opportunity? Honestly it's not an easy question to answer. I decided to make a list of the pros and cons of being a cripple to see which one would win.
1- Everyday tasks are challenging and painful
2- People treat you differently
3- You feel like an outsider
4- You are never "normal"
5- Flat out inability to do certain tasks
1- Handicap Parking Permit... HOLLA!
2- Inner strength and character
3- Different sense of reality
I'd like to elaborate on the last one. Thanks to my disability I've learned a lot of life's lessons in a relatively short period of time. This altered, and in my opinion, improved sense of reality is the best perk of being a cripple (although handicap parking permits are freakin' awesome). So to answer the question... if I could be magically cured would I take the opportunity? While I would love to be free of illness I would have a massive identity crisis without it, so I'll just save myself the trouble and stay as I am.

Extended Crippie's Tippies (Crippie's Life Lessons) Part 1
1) Sometimes you have to do something regardless of whether or not it is painful. I learned this with years of physical therapy. Physical therapy is crazy painful, but if I didn't do I wouldn't be able to walk.
2) All things will pass. Whenever I am in a lot of pain or going through a particularly hard day, I remember that's all it is, a bad day. It will pass and it will get better.
3) Be thankful for everything you can do. This is probably really hard to do and practice, but it's important. I know what it is like to suddenly lose the ability to do something, once I lose this ability I feel like crap for not realizing how awesome it was to be able to do it. For example, I've recently lost a lot of mobility in my shoulders, thus I cannot reach very high. I miss being able to grab something on the top of a cabinet. Now I am thankful for every little ability that I do have. While I will probably have more instances throughout my life of losing my ability to do something, sooner or later everyone will experience this. Take a moment every once in a while to appreciate what you have when you have it.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Crippie Explains Why She Is a Cripple


Since a main focus of this blog is going to be me dealing with my disability, I should probably mention why I'm a cripple. Ready for the laundry list readers?

1- Multiple Hereditary Exostoses (MHE)
What is it- A genetic disorder that causes benign tumors to grow on your bones.
What does it cause- Pain, fatigue, limited mobility, possible mental side effects.
Is it curable- Nope, the only treatment is pain medicine and surgery. I've had 10 of them.
Will it go away/get better- Nope, if anything I'll get worse with age.

2- Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)
What is it- A chronic illness that involves nerve damage.
What does it cause- A whole lotta pain, more pain, insane amount of pain, hypersensitivity.
Is It curable- Depends on when you catch it.
Will it go away/get better- It can go into remission but it never really "goes away".

3- Early On-Set Osteoarthritis
What is it- A chronic illness that involves swelling of the joints.
What does it cause- Pain and restricted movement.
Is it curable- It's treatable.
Will it go away/get better- No, it will probably get worse with the natural aging process.

So those are the main diseases that I have. They definitely impact my everyday life. I walk with a cane because tumors in my hips are slowly pushing them out of socket and arthritis is destroying what cartilage I have left there. Pain and restricted mobility have always been and always will be a part of my life. I guess after 20+ years of living like this I'm getting used to it. I'll post in future posts how I cope.

Crippie's Tippie Of The Day- Don't underestimate how heavy a cane can be. My cane is really heavy, piss me off and feel my wrath.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Crippie's Introductory Blog Post

Greetings and Salutations!

My name is Nicole. I am very close to completing my degree in graphic design. As the title of my blog suggests, I am disabled. Over the next couple of months I will be trying to make my way through the world, attempting to get a job and all the fun things revolving around growing up. Regardless of who you are, the transition from college to the real world is not an easy one. I have the additional burden of a major disability on my shoulders. This blog will be about the trials, tribulations, and triumphs I experience as I try to overcome my illness and become a productive member of society.

And yes, I am fully aware of how calling myself "Crippie" might be considered offensive. To me, calling myself a borderline offensive term is a way of rising above my situation. I don't let the word cripple bother me. Actually, the word cripple is starting to lose its offensive power in my opinion.

Crippie's Tippie of the Day: Just because I am comfortable with the word "cripple" that doesn't mean that everyone with a physical challenge is. If you are gonna call someone a cripple, I would recommend saving it for your crippled friends that have a sense of humor.
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