“The Disabled” Problem

I was doing my usual skim & sip of one of my Social Work textbooks, a game where I sip coffee much more than skim any words–until I came across my favourite topic: disabled people. Every time I read about people with disabilities in any of my schoolbooks, a little voice in me shrieks, “Oh no, please do this right,” as if the authors of Policy and Legislation for Social Workers are somehow listening. This particular section of the chapter was on social assistance, specifically the people who are most likely to access it. My heart fell as a whole chunk of the paragraph was about “the disabled,”not because many people with disabilities would take a job over tax dollars any day, but because of the terminologyused. “The Disabled,” is a phrase I thought went out with the whole let’s-put-wheelies-in-asylums thing, but I guess not. What follows is why the term bugs me so much.

Perhaps most obviously, putting “the” in front of anything–whether it be food, a name, or your favourite conditioner (the fruity stuff), two things are happening: 1) You’re differentiating, and 2) you’re finalizing. “I want the Justin Bieber haircut” (gross), is quite different from “I want a Justin Bieber haircut,” (still gross, but you’re risking a generic ‘do that makes you look like more like Tegan & Sara or Miley Cyrus than Beibs). The use of “the” allows people to be specific, and differentiate from all those Beliebers who just think short hair is convenient. I’ve taken this example three lines to far, but my point is that “the” separates. In the context of wheelies, it makes it sound like we are an alien race. “The Disabled” is right up there with “The Blacks,” “The gays” and “The Extraterrestrials”. People with disabilities are not a distinct being, they just are.


Then there’s the “Disabled” part of this phrase. My issue with this is simple: The word “disabled,” standing alone or not(not standing at all…–___–), is an active, not passive descriptor. By nature of the term, it is understood that the person actively plays a part in maintaining a disability. It almost sounds like an ongoing affliction that needs keeping up, rather than a circumstance that just is. Humour me on this for a second. Think about if we were to say someone is “Blacked” or “Gayed” or “Womened”. We don’t because guess what–that’s doesn’t make sense, and would be incredibly offensive if it was accepted as proper English. Why? Well of course, by saying someone is “Gayed” were implying that their being gay is a circumstance they choose or have been chosen by, rather than just a sexual orientation they identify with. Looking at it from this angle highlights the need to look at people as having disability, rather than being “disabled”.

Anyway, whatever. I think my textbook is due for an edit, and I’m due for Sunday Wine.

Help with Self-Help

I recently finished a self-help book on personal freedom. I found the book on Huffpo’s list of books that will lead to personal change, and the darkest part of my heart said, “Buy it or stare forever into the abyss.” So I purchased The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Change, and was disappointed to find that while the book presents some fluffy-sounding nice advice, it severely lacks in the “practical” area it claims to cover.  In hopes of saving you precious time reading the book, I have summarized each agreement, along with my interpretation (–___–) of how each agreement be realistically applied in our pathetic lives.

Agreement 1: Be Impeccable with Your Word. Before I launch into this fully, I’ll mention that Agreements, in this book’s context, are like a new set of beliefs. They are the pillars by which to aid our personal change. The first agreement is pretty much to be mindful of what you say, and say what you mean, avoiding gossip and all that basic be-a-good-person stuff. The Christians would call it, letting “your yes be yes and your no be no,” (Matt 5:37, eeeyhoooo!Thanks, Google). By remaining honest, we are being true to ourselves, and not stepping on others’ toes or tempted to manipulate people. The book really only suggests that the way we practice this is to “Say no more than what we need,” and “[dodge] emotional poison.”(gossip, lying, etc). I’m gonna take a stab and assume this means stop pretending you’re fine with beer when you’re really after that purple-passion drink. Maybe quit acting like you’re “just too crazy busy for friends,” when the truth is something more along the lines of how you “haven’t washed your hair in 3 days and still find your pillow more endearing than a friend’s smile”. And for fuck sake, stop pretending like Miley disgusts you, when you really wish you could do whatever it is she’s doing without judgement.

Agreement 2: Don’t Take Anything Personally. Hahaha, oh wait, they’re serious. Yup, turns out the second major belief in here purports that when your boyfriend says “My love for bacon will always be greater than my love for you,” you’re not to go batshit nuts and spend the next 4 days planning a slutty bacon costume for Halloween. Why? Well partly because pig can never be sexy, but also because his crack-like need to be with his “true love” has nothing to do with you. It’s not you, it’s him and his struggle with gluttony, so, don’t take it to heart.


The wave kills it.

Interestingly enough, the book is careful to point out that we are not even to take compliments personally. If a new friend says, “You’re the most beautifullest, smartest, coolest, awesomest person I’ve ever met, it probably just means they haven’t known that many beautiful,smart,cool,awesome people in their run of the mill. Don’t be too flattered, you’re still average just like everyone else.

Agreement 3: Don’t Make Assumptions. This chunk of wisdom kinda crosses my personal beliefs. It suggests that we take a step back, and not assume that we know/understand people’s motivations. I dedicated more than a year of my life to trusting my gut and realizing that if you think someone is being an asshole, they probably are, so I struggle to swallow this one. Someday, when I’m 55 and reading Jane Eyre for the 8th time, I might have a sudden burst of enlightenment and realize, “Ah, so that’s what it means to let go enough to recognize that you can’t assume you know why people do what they do”. And then I’ll sip lemonade and smile at my obese cat.

Agreement 4:Always do Your Best. With everything, including these 4 belief/goals/agreements. Stop farting in public and then walking away.  Don’t say no, I’m just not ready for a relationship,” when you could’ve more honestly said, “I’m shallow and your spare tire bothers the heck out of me.” Don’t assume that a known man-whore just wants to be FwB, ask him…you can’t assume, and maybe you’ll be the firecracker that he marries. And next time your brother confides that you smell, don’t take it personally, realize that he’s the one who smells like cat poop, not you.

The four life-changers, take them or leave them. Happy Saturday.

Pathetic Guilty Pleasures I Commit Daily.

It'll save you from yourself.

It’ll save you from yourself.

For me, guilty pleasures and ‘things I do when I’m sad’ are synonymous. Maybe I group them together because feeling sadness is associated with guilt for me. Too deep for this blog? I think yes.

In the spirit of keeping it light I have made a list of things I–and come on, some of my friends must do too (please tell me I ain’t loco)- do when I’m feeling sad. I’m talking about the things I know I probably shouldnt do, but do, under the “but I’m just feeling shitty right now” guise.I’m making it up as fast as my fingers will allow, so feel free to add any zingers I’ve left out. Apparently this blog allows for the preservation of anonymity. Thanks for the piano hands mom. Here goes:

  • Eating Nutella by the jar. Okay, truth be told, I just discovered the heaven that is Nutella yesterday. It took percisely 24 hours for me to integrate it as a coping mechanism. Meanwhile,I seem to have lost my abs. Hmphh.
  • Texting people I shouldn’t If you’ve ever thought “this would be exactly the sort of thing so-and-so-ex would understand” and then sent a picture of an angry cat with some witty sarcasm that no one’s ever thought of before, you know what I’m saying. The sad truth on top of sadness is that your ex has probably lost your number by now and your opening up worms that multiple faster than fruit flies. I LOVE MIXING METAPHORS. Take that, BA I still can’t believe I have.
  • Blaring Sinead O’connor and pretending that she knows your heart. Because it’s true, nothing does compare to your last boyfriend and we’re all gonna die alone.
  • Blaring Wrecking ball and laughing for half a second because apparently Miley And Sinead are openly fighting, which is silly, because they have the same root problem: SADNESS.
  • Wondering if Miley listens to herself when she’s sad
  • Posting too much useless info on Facebook. “Hey everybody, here’s me! I’m here. Like my pics and laugh at my jokes! Distract me from myself!” Me, everyday.
  • Fibbing to everyone that your just swamped with school, which you are, but sadness trumps all. Okay, really Nutella trumps all. Which came first, the sadness or the Nutella?
  • Gravitating towards other sadsacks. See other person with dead-eyes on the bus, stare deeply, and raise them your poker face. Misery loves eyes just as souless as yours. For a minute, you might feel something.
  • Contemplating your life, your choices, your peers. As if thinking is gonna change anything.
  • Thinking about how sad you are.  I’ll say it, I’m that girl who, when getting shitfaced, continually talks about how drunk she is. And even if I havent drank that much, my lies will scrounge up some extra buzz and I’ll start slurring my words. Sadness can also have this bio-feedback/placebo type effect, and it’s pretty hard to be aware of. Especially if your friends are too nice to tell you to snap dafuq out of it.
  • Writing in your blog. She just gets me, you know? She doesnt even have to say anything.
  • Going to bed early. Because YOLO, and when your old, sleep wont be for killing your emotions but because your body is slowly shutting down. I’d take the former any day.

MMMM Nutella and bed. Maybe I’ll wake up tomorrow, mature.

PS to all my worry-wart friends, I am fine. Just a little bit grumpy, no big D MY BLOG IS MY SHRINK. Biii.