( continues...) although I must be careful not to romanticizing rustic poverty.
As I come into midlife with a disability, aside from the sense that my future feels both fuzzy and nebulous since I'm single and neither changing diapers or waiting for the raise that some boss promised me three years ago, the most challenging part is that it's all challenging parts. I can't really separate my life from facing challenges for much longer than it takes to eat lunch, watch a show on television, or post these thoughts to the judges or my blog, but when the news was less troubling and overwhelming to the point that it overshadows some of my smaller goals I could pretend sometimes.
Maybe Americans, as the country starts to lose some of its exceptional stature, continue to look to disability stories for inspiration, not to feel superior, as I believed when I was younger and less secure, but maybe they need to believe there's someone, somewhere, that makes hanging on by a thread look elegant instead of scary. As crazy as it is to think that way (and dangerous to policy outcomes) part of me is still sad that I'm not her: some lovely updated screwball heiress that faces uncertainty with a drink and a smile, making the impossible look easy, instead of slightly less impossible.
On top of everything else, that seems like it would be a lot more fun than just getting through things. A lifetime of television in my eager youth did not prepare me for how often the same struggles would get in my way, without an indulgent relative or a super-crusading teacher moving heaven and earth to soften the blow.
Or a contest that offers the exact amount of the money you owe, or any number of half-hour quick fix solutions of which I absorbed thousands, sometimes as rewards for good behavior. I hate to admit how old I was before I stopped looking for real life to reward me in similar fashion, often based on one effort, as if I were on sitcom with my name on it. Maybe if we prepared more people for struggle, it wouldn't have taken into my mid-twenties to learn resiliency or stop longing for a glossy-magazine standard of perfection that even the people in the magazines don't live for longer than when the photo was taken.(I should be clear that I would never suggest that preparing for there to be struggles doesn't mean not fighting for what is right…knowing a struggle can be long with occasional moments of victory makes me a better activist, as it insulates me from minor flubs and setbacks. Sometimes, like anyone else, I get some good luck or a piece of synchronicity and am surprised when something is less difficult than I envisioned. With time, however, I've learned not to live as though the break, celebrated at whatever size or duration, is real life and the trials are the aberration. While there are times that are better than others, as daytime talk show host Phil McGraw points out "Life is managed, not cured." This is doubly true of those of us with chronic conditions or mobility impairments. Maybe even more. That's why the acceptance of those in similar straits, even offered across the miles means so much. Rather than blaming myself for an act of disability discrimination, over-thinking my own behavior and taking in the shame, there is power in knowing that others have rolled in my tracks, as it were. .While individual situations wax and wane, there won't ever be a situation where my life becomes a living vacation, no matter how much pleasure-seeking parts of my soul might long for it to be(although an occasional fantasy to take the edge off proves essential sometimes)However, just as it can't be Christmas all the time, no matter how much twinkling lights brighten spirits in the darkness of winter, you don't want to try to take possession and live full-time in your castles in the air. As a fiction writer and generally romantic person, the temptation to prefer my own plots to what life dishes out can be almost irresistible, but I like to keep one foot on the ground most of the time. So to speak. Sometimes, however, a sprinkling of (continued...)