I believe in honoring my brain injury
On December 31st at 4 a.m., I will celebrate 32 years of living with a brain injury. Life back to what we call “reality” has been filled with many obstacles and barriers. Some of the obstacles were placed there by me along the way as I learned – mostly through trial and error – about how I would survive over the last 32 years.
Most of the barriers I deal with everyday are other people’s attitudes, prejudices and ignorance about brain injury and disability.
Living with my brain injury has given me new ways to look and deal with old issues and concerns. Many of the lessons I have learned over the last 31 years has made me a better person and as the saying goes; “what doesn’t kill you -makes you stronger”.
My new life with a brain injury has given me the opportunity to meet some really incredible people with disabilities who are changing the world as we know it – Justin Dart, Ed Roberts, Scott Darroch, John Hall, Tim Shearer, Roho Williams, Matt Junior – to name a few.
Most “temporally able bodied” people don’t concern themselves about the issues people with disabilities are faced with until they become disabled – it’s a part of human nature. It’s also called hindsight – instead of for thought.
Most people don’t concern themselves about disability because most of us grew up in an environment that didn’t include people with physical disabilities in wheelchairs, brain injuries or developmental disabilities, because “those” people were often segregated in “special education” and we didn’t have any contact with “them” except to be the brunt of our jokes and ridicule.
It’s not hard to hear many of these same remarks and attitudes today – MR, retard, gimp, crip, handicapped, invalid – the list goes on.
I read once that what separates “us” human beings from the rest of the other animals on our planet is our innate ability to nurture and take care of the sick and elderly amongst us. It seems to me that assisting the most vulnerable people in our society to become active participants in their communities is an honorable thing to do.
My brain injury has given me a new life and the means to help make this world a better place to live for everyone. When I help to educate the public or a business person about disability and the need to build ramps so that people in wheelchairs can enter their building, or making public transportation accessible by having a lift on the bus it makes it easier for everyone – mothers with strollers and seniors with walkers – it makes life accessible and our world a better place to live for everyone and not just the people who can walk, talk and are ignorant to the world of disability.
When I talk with a business person about hiring someone with a brain injury because it would help their business – studies have shown that people with disabilities are more productive and often are better employees than their temporally able bodied counter parts.
Doing this makes my community better for everyone because it creates the situation where people on Social Security can become – tax makers instead of tax takers and the business owner can receive tax benefits for hiring a person with a disability. It’s win – win!
Having a job, making money like everyone else and having something to live for – feels good and gives people self-worth. Helping people accomplish this – is an honorable thing to do.
Because of my brain injury I am a better person and am thankful for the lessons I have learned to assist others to be a part of the solution to make things better for our veterans coming back from the wars in Iraq and Aphganistan not the problem of keeping things the way they are.
My brain injury has helped me see things the way they should be and work on ways to change things from the way they are.
Making a difference – is an honorable thing to do.
It is honorable to help others learn ways to help themselves to become more independent and less dependent on others.
It is honorable to be part of making the world a better place to live for everyone by providing accessible transportation and jobs availible for other people brain injuries.
It is honorable to work hard for little money to give people with disabilities lives easier.
I believe honoring my brain injury – is more than these words – it has become my way of life.