Disability and the Selves




“You write about disability but aren’t you really writing about the self?” (The question comes from the pesky alter-ego who is ever so busy). “No,” I reply. “We know there is no “self”–people are a collection of performative identities; all are equally authentic or inauthentic.”  

Like a grade school kid the alter-ego has taken apart a Bic pen. He’s making a pea shooter. 

“You can’t dismiss pain,” says the alter-ego. “You’re a visually impaired guy. All the normal people stare at you with their Sphinx eyes–they do this all day long. They pity you or else they’re afraid of you. They make your way “steep” in the world.”

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent,” I say, quoting Eleanor Roosevelt. “Besides,” I say, “there are no normal people.”

“Well, distracting particulars are to be avoided, eh?” says the A.E..

“Normality is not a particular,” I say. “It’s a universal and painful social lie.”

The A.E. shoots a spit ball at a bust of George Washington. “I think,” he says, “I think that normality is the pursuit of happiness and you’re just a whiner.”

“That’s as may be,” I say, “but physical defects are universal–it’s a high gravity world my friend, and chasing the impossible ain’t my game.”

When all the alter-egos shut up at once, a tremendous amount of energy escapes back into the universe.



0 thoughts on “Disability and the Selves

  1. Normalacy a fallacy? You worship strange gods, SK. Endless pursuit that it may be, and yet, if one strays too far from the ever-elusive, collective norm, by circumstance or intent, bad things can happen, mark my words. As hard as you work on being unique, you’re working at least as diligently as the most of us to maintain normalacy. As a result of your efforts, you’re much more normal than you would ever care to admit. A woman with vision impairment from diabetes and with no current address who no longer uses insulin because she’s trying to lose weight, traveling about the country with a 13-year-old who also has diabetes, vision & hearing impairment, sickle cell anemia and autism — there’s an example of someone who may very well have strayed a bit too far afield from normalacy. I can pray to my gods on her behalf, but will they listen?


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