10 Apr

I went for a run the other day and ended up running 17 miles. I wasn’t necessarily intending to run that far, but once I found dirt paths and trees, distance didn’t seem to matter. I hadn’t realized that I needed a break from the malls and freeways, to escape and remember that I can get pretty far with just my two legs. Society often subscribes to the work hard play hard mentality, implying that our time off should be as effective and well-crafted as our time of productivity. There are moments set aside to relax, but you better relax to the best of your relaxing abilities and waste no time with pillows of the wrong softness and music of the inappropriate genre. Escaping society’s burdens is like solving a puzzle made from the wood of your bones or going on a treasure hunt where the prize is your own right shoe.

Escaping only becomes more difficult when you have a disability, exit doors lacking bright red signs to signal proper paths. There are struggles to brushing teeth, to washing dishes, to putting on socks. Simply waking up is a reminder that a life with disabilities doesn’t come with vacation days. It’s not like leaving work for a Caribbean cruise, preparing pineapple drinks with small umbrellas to celebrate a hiatus from days of drinking water and being healthy. As soon as you begin to forget that life is challenging, and get lost in the story of Harry Potter, you stand up to get some crackers and remember that your legs are two different lengths. There are no sick days, no holiday breaks, no mornings in which you can hide under the covers. Sometimes the house members complain about taking their meds or waiting for the bus and I wish I could tell them that tomorrow could be an exception to the routine. I wish that for just a day I could give them complete independence, complete capability.

Upon second thought, this can’t be awarded to anyone. Disability or not, none of us can escape from our individual obstacles. We are always already living in our thoughts and influenced by our personalities and traits. Even when we are away from our household chores and 9 to 5 jobs, our hands still sweat when we look over the edges of tall buildings, we still jump at the sounds of slamming doors and compliments. The most enthralling of movies won’t take away our less than perfect visions, won’t erase our biases and opinions. We are stamped by the thumbprints of our cultures, upbringings, and genetics, unable to interact with the world with anything other than our uniquenesses.

It is a popular belief in L’Arche that all people are disabled, with some of humanity better able to hide it. Maybe it’s also true that we are better able to escape it, to ignore morning meds every once and a while, to not have to wait for a bus when we want to leave the house and just drive our cars until the road ends. Unlike those we call disabled, we can go on Caribbean cruises and forget that breathing is incredible and not always so easy to do. We can run for 17 miles and forget that two legs shouldn’t go that far.


5 Responses to “Escaping”

  1. Rosalie April 10, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

    Wow, Diana, this is so beautiful and true and I feel so lucky to have read it! I am inspired by your choice to engage so intensely with the world this past year, and hope I get to see you sometime soon. I hope you are doing well and I am sooooo happy to hear you’re having this experience. So much love!

    • diana2450 April 10, 2012 at 8:54 pm #

      Rosalie! It is so good to hear from you! Thank you for taking the time to read this! How have you been?! I hope I get to see you sometime soon as well. I can’t wait to hear about what’s next for you! I hear rumors through Jamie, but we all know she can’t be trusted :).

  2. nicolegodwin April 13, 2012 at 10:52 am #

    Great post. The picture is excellent – really drew me in. Did you take it?

  3. Deacon Patrick April 21, 2012 at 8:36 am #

    Diana, what a powerful article! You have a great way of expressing your profound thoughts. Thank you for putting things in perspective for us. And thank you for your choice to be part of L’Arche. Hope to see you next time you visit!

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