For years the word Disabled has been used to insult each other. It has been used to insult those who are disabled and it has been used to insult those that aren’t because ‘it’s funny’.
For many years being Disabled was believed to be awful, disgusting and the wrong way to be. Although we don’t chose to be disabled those with disabilities were pushed aside and weren’t a part of society. We were labelled as useless, a waste of time, disappointing and inadequate. It was believed and Disabled People were taught that they had nothing to contribute and that they were useless. That the world would be a better place without us.
Disabled isn’t a dirty word, it isn’t an insult it is an adjective.
As a society we use our words and twist them to be something they’re not. We recreate the definition of a word to spite each other.
The term Disabled was used similarly to the word Fat and Skinny. The word Fat or Skinny is not an insult it is an adjective it describes a person or object. However, we took these words and a million other words and we have shaped them into insults and words we consider dirty and wrong to use. Unless we intend to use them to offend.
An adjective is a word that describes a noun. For example, I have long brown hair. I have beautiful bright lights on my wheelchair. I am sarcastic. I am Disabled.
The word Disabled in itself merely describes a person. If someone were to call me Disabled, it wouldn’t offend me because I am a Disabled Person.
There are many debates currently taking place surrounding the use of the word Disabled. Many people believe the correct term to be ‘a person with a disability’ rather than a ‘disabled person’.
I know many people will have a different opinion on the matter than I do and I respect the choice that each individual makes. However, I believe this change to come down the fact that we altered our language and used it to offend and to be looked down upon.
The argument is that the person should always come before the disability hence ‘a person with a disability’ which I can understand. On the other hand, my disability is a part of me. It has shaped me into the women I am now. It has shaped a lot of my life in ways I may not have wanted or in unexpected ways but it is still a part of me.
My disability is not all that I am but I am proud of the person I am because of my disability. It has taught me so much kindness and compassion. It has taught me to appreciate the small things and how to always find a way to laugh.
It sounds so cliché and icky but it is so true. I would not have the life I do now, I would not be the person I am without my disability. So I sit proud and call myself disabled because I am.
There is nothing wrong with the word Disabled it is an adjective. So can we please stop making it a problem? Can we stop adjusting the definition of the language we use to hurt others?
In 2019 we have spoken a lot about identity. We’ve spoken a lot about labels and what they mean to us and I don’t believe we should treat the word Disabled any differently.
I am Holly and I am Disabled.