Monday, December 16, 2019

The biggest disability lies in the mind, not in the body

When I first became blind, I felt as though I was shoved into a tiny cocoon, totally cut off from the rest of the society. The thought of having to live in the dark for the rest of my life haunted me deeply and shattered my dreams. I was alone, pressed on all sides by the weight of the tragedy. The love and sympathy I was showered by people at the time did not make me feel any better. I wished to be left alone. I wished to remain in my own cocoon, far from the hues and cries of human civilization. But as I spent days and nights in tears, trying to re-adjust myself in my tiny world, I realized that life has to move on with time. The journey of my life had just begun and I knew that sitting back and crying wouldn’t get me any farther. It was this realization that gave me the strength to pick up the broken pieces of my life and continue my journey. It took months and even years for me to completely break the walls of my cocoon and re-emerge in the society.

Today, my world has no dividers and boundaries. I love to stay connected with everybody who walks into my life and accepts me for who I am. But there have been instances in my life where I have been excluded and sidelined due to my disability. When I cannot independently do what I want to do or when I cannot get to the place where I wish to be, the pain of having to live with disability runs deep. I feel sad because I feel different from rest of the people in the society. It is at this point of time that I feel like setting up boundaries and start building walls around myself. I feel like returning to my own tiny world and live in isolation, free and happy. I feel like locking up myself in my closet and forget everything that does not have anything to do with my personal life.

But then I also feel that if I ever build those emotional walls around myself, I won’t be able to grow up with the rest of the world. I won’t be able to see what is beyond those walls and miss the opportunity to enjoy the other side of life. I don’t want to build walls and create a private territory. I want to keep my world open for all. I don’t want to feel different just because I have a disability.

For persons with disabilities, nothing is more painful than not being able to be part of the mainstream society just because we need little bit of additional support and adjustment. If you could look at the world through us, you would realize that you don’t have to walk an extra mile to help us break our emotional walls and come out of our closets. There are so many persons with disabilities in Bhutan who are still confined in their own small cocoons, not being able to come out and face the world. With right attitude, we can definitely break the barriers that divide us from the rest of the society. The actual disability lies in the mind, not in the body. If the society fully accepts us, we can also become somebody in life.

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