This is something I have wanted to write about for a long time. I avoided doing so because I know that there will be backlash, but I’m at the point where that’s a risk I’m willing to take. Besides, I’m the gold standard for what is and is not an appropriate comment, so anyone who wants to spew BS has to get past me first.
Here goes: I am done referring to disabilities as gifts. I am done pretending to agree with people who refer to disabilities as gifts.
As someone who lives with multiple disabilities and has had exposure to many others, I firmly believe that calling disabilities “gifts” is dishonest. I read this great article about the disservice that autism whitewashing does to all involved. That doesn’t just apply to autism. If you had to live with any of my conditions and you called them gifts, I would ask what you’ve been smoking. Please don’t misunderstand me. I’ve learned the hard way that the victim mentality gets us nowhere. But neither does faking positivity.
During the past couple months, I’ve had several experiences that show just how anti-gift my conditions really are. Being down to one working hearing aid and struggling to understand what’s being said is not a gift. Losing compassionate, knowledgeable providers to insurance changes and knowing more than your new doctors is not a gift. Incompetent pharmacies that botch your refills are not a gift. Being shamed because essential oils, while wonderful, did not miraculously cure you is not a gift. Being told that G-d is mad at you for being sick is absolutely NOT a gift.
There have been many gifts in the midst of these recent crapshoots. Friends who have seen me at my worst and love me anyway. Kitty snuggles that lower my heart rate and pain level, even if only by half a point on the pain scale. A husband who throws on his “caregiver” hat when I need him to. I am so grateful for those gifts and I don’t take any of them for granted. But it’s life itself that brings gifts. Disabling conditions just plain suck