Defining




Defining Stories




As children and adults we are silenced. We don't talk about how we experience.

We don't talk about how we experience our bodies, we don't hear other people talking about that, except for people who have been non-disabled all their lives. Whereas other peoples, with a culture in common, are used to living and talking their culture; discussing complexities and fullness; talking about the situation of being a discriminated and dispossessed culture but it's not like that when you're disabled, not often even if you're with a group of disabled people.

We've not been allowed to view ourselves in various ways, to develop our own understanding and approaches, to define ourselves. We're organised and controlled by the non-disabled. Even in a day-centre, that great dumping ground, a few of them control, impose their culture, i.e. a mainstream imposed rather than developing culture. We live within families who are usually non-disabled. We're treated, given an attitude about disability from non-experienced, non-informed society. The message given is that disability and our physical being is something appalling and repulsive.

Our actual experience is something that we learn to ignore, deny without knowing it.

When I move, of course it's real to me what's happening but I have to pretend none of this exists, to myself, as well as to other people and carry on holding conversation etc. But we both know that it exists and somehow this person is looking at me, has a certain attitude towards me, which isn't talked about and I am undergoing things and I don't talk about that, it's a silencing. Attitudes exist, my experience exists but no one asks, nor questions. I am never given the chance to explore this, instead assumptions are silently made, giving no opening for challenge.



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