By Brandon Smith
This will be a celebration of those who define their circumstances. They do not allow their circumstances define them.
I want to emphasize the word “celebration” in this article. I am celebrating those who have taken what they’ve been handed and, instead of allowing perceived negativity dictate their actions, have painted that situation with their own shiny coat. While I personally strive to reach the heights these particular individuals have, I do not feel I have achieved that quite yet. Further, while no one is perfect, there are those who have made bigger strides in crushing preconceptions. So there will be no preaching from me.
Let’s take disability, for example, and more specifically, blindness. There are those blind individuals who are defining the disability with their actions. This ranges from the simple act of having a respectable job, and independently traveling to it every day, to those who take the admirable step of hiking across the country with a guide dog and a cane.
I know some will say we shouldn’t make a huge fuss about a blind person being employed and getting to that job independently. In some sense, this is true. It is a normal part of life for most people with no disabilities, and a blind person is just doing what the average person would do. But let’s remember many sighted people do not view it this way. Many nondisabled people still think people with disabilities should be sitting at home or in an institution, being taken care of and collecting government benefits.
That normal action of “just being employed” is redefining our disability for those who view it as not the way we should be living.
Blind musicians and blind professionals, such as attorneys and entrepreneurs, all play a part in putting a polished face on an ugly circumstance. Their inspiration and redefining of the roles can not only be felt by others in the blind community, but by those who have no disability.
So whether it is a disability, age, or whatever else that you are unable to change, make it your own. Own that circumstance and define it on your terms and perhaps in doing this, you may inspire others to do the same and better themselves.