Recently I have had several conversations with people where the subject of my blindness came up. Somehow that triggered a conversation all of itself. That is what we are going to talk about today, labels; I would really like to know why people are so caught up on labels. Some labels that I can use to identify me are; blind, low vision, vision impaired, and of course disabled along with several others that have nothing to do with what this article is about.
For the purposes of this article we are going to have our primary focus on disabilities and the labels that are put on us. While I will own, without any problem, any of the 4 labels that I listed above, some people with my same level of sight may have problems with at least 1 label on the list. In a previous blog post I wrote an article titled “Why is Blind a Bad Word?” I was talking with the Para-transit driver the other day and the conversation went from blindness to mental illness.
Many people truly are disabled because of their mental illness. When you think mental illness what labels come to mind? Here are some that I can think of; crazy. Lazy, scary, faker just wants to get out of work or just wants sympathy. While all of the above may be true a small amount of the time I would venture to say mental illness looks like you and me.
You would be surprised at the number of people that have some kind of mental illness. According to Newsweek the number is 1 in 5! Honestly I would be in that category since I suffer with depression and a little anxiety. If you would meet me you would never know, but this is another label that I wear.
There are many disabilities that we cannot see when we meet someone. A rather new disability that has been in the news lately is PTSD. I just heard on the news today that a vet could not take his service dog to the dentist with him because the VA did not recognize the dog as a service dog.
Now if we would judge everyone by what we only see inside instead of with our eyes and not their disability I believe that things would get better.
If everyone would use the phone to get to know a person then the playing field is pretty much evened out, unless you are deaf or have a speech problem. For those 2 disabilities you could have a translator and maybe talk via Skype.
Getting rid of all the different disability labels as well as all the other labels that people put on each other like, fat – thin, smart – dumb, straight – gay etc After all we are all the same people inside. The biggest label that has been in the news lately is black and white. At the end of the day we all bleed red and are very similar at the core.
While we may have different beliefs, abilities or color people in general just want to be happy. If we are all striving for the same thing, happiness and a good life then I think we need to help each other and most importantly be nice to each other. Think back to the time when people actually smiled at each other and said hello on a regular basis. Here is my challenge to you; this week smile and say hello to at least 3 people. You get extra fuzzy points for having a conversation. Then come back to the blog and leave a comment on what you did and how it made you feel. If I am right you will feel better.
I can’t go without asking what labels do you put on yourself? Many times we are our own worst critic. This is part 2 of our homework/challenge for this week; every time you find yourself saying bad things to yourself stop and turn it into something positive, you do not deserve label like; dumb, idiot, stupid, clumsy etc.
I look forward to reading your comments, and until then,