UnMasked, Life Isn’t Faire

A most perceptive fellow at work unmasked me. My colleague was perceptive enough to realize that in the context of work he had the disadvantage and I had the advantage.

My colleague’s comment was “life isn’t fair”. I asked him what he meant. He continued with “I can’t compete with you”. He had my curiosity by this time so I asked the obvious question, “Why?”. I was totally taken aback by his answer. He continued by explaining, “You use a totally different set of signals and have the competitive advantage, I can’t compete with you”.

I had this conversation with someone on the commuter train last week. Its funny to me that I get paid for my emotional and intellectual systems for coping with my disability.

My friend is partially right. I have the competitive advantage when an organization uses me properly. Uses me to facilitate change or execution. Gets out of my way enough to make it happen and trust me that I’m not going to drive to the result. I am paid to solve impossible problems make the big change design and implement the big solution. I get paid for energy, facilitation, and communications. All things I use every day to get by with my disability.

Its my tenacity I’m stupid enough to keep getting out of bed. I feel so blessed to have another day on this earth. To spend another day with my wife to continue to ping my children and let them know I’m here for them and love them to work to contribute to make a difference. I pray everyday and give thanks for this new day.
Many are scared to leave their bed, too beaten down by the thousands of razor blade cuts you get everyday when your different, apart, or disabled. The looks, the comments, the judging. That is the worst for me you are judged as not being blind or blind enough because you have the balls to get out of bed take a bus and go to work. Its like you’re only disabled when your a victim.

I haven’t written about it much yet but in general i’m not a big fan of national organizations focused on disability. Those organizations aren’t out to make you better they are there to keep you at a certain level of victim so they can justify their existence and keep their funding. Broken people required. If I ever work for one you can beat me up.

I get where I get on my own merit and my own work. I don’t owe anyone anything. It takes a lot of work and a lot of energy but I don it. do I feel sorry for myself absolutely and occasionally I get a needed kick in the head and a quit feeling sorry for yourself and get on with it.

I am extremely adaptable I like to live I like to do things. The trick is finding a way to do it to make it happen. I’m not a believer in can’t I’m a believer in there is a way to find a solution, to get the thing done to move it forward to grow and learn and live. That’s why I get the big problems. None disabled people don’t have the emotional fortitude they go it can’t be done and I can’t do it. I’m only handicapped when someone tries to paint that picture on me. When people paint it on themselves I think they’re stupid. If you’re not sticking your head out to learn to grow to get messy and make mistakes what are you doing? Most people look at me and say you’ve done all that you do all that, WOW. I look at them in wonderment, “you haven’t?’, then sometimes I’ll ask, “Why?”.

Being disabled is like running a marathon there is a wall and you have to keep moving forward. You just keep putting one wheel or one foot in front of the next one and keep moving forward, “WHY!!!”, BECAUSE!!!!

I learn best from others. I effectively can’t read, some would argue I can’t write either, so what. I go and interact with people that do it that think about it. Then I try things until I can make it work, then I extend the knowledge by trying new things and learning new things by making the activity accessible to me. Then I tell everybody about it. Occasionally the trick is getting me to shut up… I am insanely comfortable in front of an audience and love performing, presenting, teaching, whatever. No I don’t take my cloths off, wouldn’t that be disturbing. Ewww..

Life isn’t faire. As much as I “preach” for a level playing field there isn’t one. We all have our gifts and our own talents. The mistake is falling into the trap of measuring ourselves against others. We are all here for a purpose and we will all have the opportunities to express that purpose. I do have talents but I also have serious barriers to some of the things that I want and need to to. I figure it all works out in the wash and I’m no better off or worse off than the rest of you. Like you when you look at me and say how terrible or pathetic I could never live like that. I look at you and think the same thing, how pathetic, how terrible, how can you live like that.

I won’t hold your abilities against you nor will I judge when you can or can’t do something. What I promise I will do is share my knowledge, my experience, work with you and try and find a solution together. Will you do the same?

About the Author:

Kyle has ocular albinism and has been legally blind since birth. Kyle leads a very active live and is besides his professional career involved in many projects for persons who are different.

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