Ability as Accessory

I recently had reason to see myself on video. It really hurt my feelings. As far as I have come, I still look like a disabled person. It had been so long I guess, since I had seen myself in motion, that I forgot: the person behind my eyes is not the person presented to yours.

This complaint is aesthetic, shallow nonsense. I know this. It is just the same as lamenting my weight, or the fall of my hair. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t affect who I am as a person. And yet, we are social creatures and we judge others by appearances because — even in the digital age — appearances come first. Everyone judges me by the way I walk, by the slight drag to my left foot and the way that foot and knee turn in a bit. They judge me by how I hold my hands above my waist, at my sides (I think of them as my raptor arms). They judge me, and it’s not because they’re assholes. It’s just that we try to learn things, especially picking up danger signs, as soon as we can — before it’s too late.

I wish I could take the limp off. I wish I could set it aside sometimes because it’s just not work-appropriate. I am clever, creative, and intelligent. People learn this about me. But the learning curve is uncomfortable for me.

I didn’t like looking at myself on video this week, which made me not really like being myself this week. Could it be worse? Sure. Always. Am I grateful for what I have and who I am? Sure. Always. But I’m just asking: don’t we all struggle with this disconnect, from what we are to how we seem?

Always?

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