Believe it or not, I’m happy. Imagine that: little old spastic me, barely able to walk and talk, happy! What have I got to be happy about? Well, when you think about it, is it so hard to believe? I have a wonderful partner, a great home, a loving, supportive family, and live in the greatest, most exciting city on earth. What have I got to be sad about? Yet according to this excellent article by Tom Shakespeare, many people still assume that people with disabilities must be miserable; they associate disability with sadness. That baffles me, I must say. Certainly, having CP can be a pain in the butt sometimes, but that is most often due to external factors:* I’m not miserable because I use a straw to drink, but I’m miserable when a restaurant doesn’t have any straws. I’m not miserable because I use a wheelchair, but I am when I can’t go to places because there are no ramps or lifts. The situation is therefore much more nuanced than many people seem to assume. I do not lounge about all day feeling sorry for myself, just because I can’t physically do some of the things others can. I enjoy life: I write (using my special extended keyboard); I go for walks (in my wheelchair); I go to pubs (armed with straws). I have done so many incredible things in my life, I genuinely don’t get why people would assume I’m miserable, or that I live a less satisfactory life than anyone else.
*This is, of course, leaving aside the experience of going to special school. Watching one’s classmates pass away one by one is certainly not a happy aspect of being disabled.