Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Sometimes twelve days on a lake with your family and guide dog who suddenly acquired gills is exactly what you need to refocus. I left warn out from Pride and wondering how I should change my life. without consciously even thinking about it, I came home knowing what to do. My subconscious is so smart. I need to come clean about why this blog has been so silent. It began as a series of infections, then the habit of not writing took over, or so I thought. In actuality, I was avoiding emotional "stuff." Writing this blog with the frank honesty I want means digging in my feelings and uncovering what is underneath. Exposing buried emotional issues to the light of day can be hard and is definitely always intense. Since I was avoiding anything not immediately obvious on the surface, I steered clear of a writing process that would force me to examine things. When I eventually realized this fact, I made a conscious choice to continue not writing. My avoidance was in fact a smart decision on the part of my subconscious. The emotional issues are still there, but I have unearthed them, cleaned them off, sorted them into piles and assembled the fragments into a picture. There is a lack of emotional intimacy in my life that doesn't work for me. At all. I can accept many of the ways my life is directly effected by disability – unemployed, limited income, lack of access to information and even having to ask for help. As I've mentioned before, I have a far harder time with the ways disability indirectly impacts my life based on how the world reacts – fewer friends, limited dating, people's ignorant behavior and lack of respect. They all boil down to lack of emotional intimacy. If you think about it, the direct consequences of my disabilities are things I can figure out, like fining meaningful things to do that take the place of paid work. How do you change the amount of emotional intimacy you need? And how do you increase the amount in your life when you aren't the cause of the problem? I used to think I needed to change my behavior or attitude or mannerisms or deodorant or something. At least in this area, I swallowed the idea that disability was the responsibility of the disabled. I was required to do whatever was necessary to make others comfortable and that would make it all better. I had to crack the jokes, not get angry about being treated as less than, educate, explain and accept with a smile whatever I had to. In this way, I would make others comfortable with me and they would want to be in my life. In other words, if I was nice enough, things would change. And, if they didn't improve, I was obviously not being nice enough. My effort and attitude would fix everything. Um, no. I have come to realize that how others react to my disabilities is not based on something I did. It's about them. My only responsibility is to behave like a civil adult using the same measurements non-disabled people apply to themselves. Who, after all, would expect a non-disabled person to smile sweetly and thank the cashier who just handed your change to the person with you? Still, I was left with a big problem: how do I deal with my need for emotional intimacy not being met? Good question. No answers. While working my way through all of this, I couldn't write this blog without making my abject misery worse. Now I can at least write about it. Progress.