Let’s Talk About Porn

Having a blog and a podcast is an interesting experience. Granted I didn’t think I’d be podcasting for that long. I thought it would be a sprint rather than a distance event, which this venture has now seemingly turned into.

I wanted to share our latest recording, and for a few reasons (1) it’s an important topic, (2) I didn’t feel the need to write down what I’ve already said, (3) I want your feedback on the topic.

I’ve talked about inspirational porn before but being able to have a mainstream TV show address it in a relatable way opened a door for me to be able to see the topic in a different way.

speechlessabc_fanpodcast_v02

Listen to H-E-R–HERO

How do you feel about inspirational porn?
Where or how do you think started inspirational porn?
Do you think inspiration porn started with Tiny Tim or someone else?
Did it start with the saints or maybe the life of Jesus Christ?
Do you think we’ll ever be able to get rid of inspirational porn altogether?

 

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The Clichés Of CP

There a lot of crazy (and very untrue) things you hear when you have Cerebral Palsy. In fact it’s often hard to pick just one thing that’s the most untrue. It’s actually pretty funny now, but as a kid it gets really obnoxious. Clearly there are a lot of people out there who don’t know a lot about CP, or at least what they should know.

I wish I could divide comments by age and background; unfortunately they’ve come from all ages and professions (even doctors).

One of the most common things I get is that we’re all retarded. Yup, I’ve had someone come right out and ask, “So are you retarded?” right after I tell them I have Cerebral Palsy.

While it can be true that individuals with CP can also have cognitive issues it’s not true for everyone. Hence why I say individuals with CP, sometimes all people in the CP community have in common is having a diagnosis of CP.

I’ll just say one thing on the word retarded. If you use the word do yourself a favor and update your vocabulary. You’re not only insulting others, you’re insulting yourself. You may think you’re cool, in reality, you’re an idiot.

Another thing I get a lot is, “Are your legs broken?”  I’ve gotten this question (& even phrased as a statement) for longer than I can even remember.

According to my mother I once came close to beating up a boy over it, and I swear I don’t remember this at all. My legs are not broken. My body works differently than yours, which does not automatically mean “broken.”

“Where is your walker/wheelchair?” Not everyone with CP uses an assistive device. I do use a wheelchair on occasion but not on a daily basis. I’ve been out sharing a meal with someone and when I get up from the table they ask me if I need my walker.

Use your powers of observation. Look around. If you don’t see an assistive device nearby it’s probably safe to assume they do not need one (at least in that situation). The same goes for asking, “How do you walk?” if you don’t see an assistive device around, they walk just like you do.

“It’s amazing what you’re been able to accomplish.” I admit this is probably the newest most common statement and it takes me a while to realize what people are talking about. In fact I’ll often ask them what they mean by that; just because CP is seen primarily as a children’s condition that it goes away at 18. At the same time we’re not much different than our average peers, it was expected of me to go to college, graduate, and get a job, and support myself. It’s not amazing, it’s normal.

“You’re most likely to old to see any improvement.” This one comes primarily from medical professions, and it’s probably the most wrong. It’s true that there are no (or few) studies of individuals past the age of 18 but that doesn’t mean making gains doesn’t happen.

I learned to jump, climb stairs without assistance, and pulled socks off my feet standing up (among other things) in my 20s. It’s more a matter of practice and guided coordination than actual ability.

This is just the short list of things I’ve heard about my condition. I’m sure I missed a bunch. Feel free to include your own if you’d like.

*A similar version of this post was written on April 7, 2013

I’m participating in WEGO Health’s Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge. If you want to find out more about Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge visit their blog, Facebook, Twitter. You can find more posts by searching #HAWMC.

I Don’t Believe In Miracles

One of the things I always admired, and liked, about the Catholic Church, even when I walked away from it, was their necessity to validate miracles. The main reason being, I believe people overuse the word “miracle.”

I’ll give you an example; I’ve had to relearn to walk multiple times (3 or 4, I think). Each time was during a different phase of life with varying circumstances. The only constants were they were after surgery and it was declared a miracle by multiple people.

Here’s the thing, it only looks like a miracle.

There hasn’t been a single time, during any of those, when I’ve gotten out of bed and suddenly been able to walk without some sort of difficulty during any of those time periods.

That would be a miracle. That hasn’t happened to me.

A lot had to happen in 1 year, 1 month & 1 day (for example) for those first independent steps possible.

The hours of PT.

The hours spent doing an at home PT and hoping you’re doing it right.

The hours waiting for and/or attending doctors’ appointments.

The early mornings.

The sleepless nights.

The pain.

The countless days spent trying to appeal insurance denials.

The hours at the gym because you’ve maxed out your insurance.

The co-pays and out of pocket costs.

The time out of work.

The time away from friends and family.

The prayers.

The hope that tomorrow will be better than today.

Calling someone or something they’re able to do a miracle discounts the hard work they’ve put forth to make this so-called “miracle” happen.

I’m not saying that miracles don’t happen. There wouldn’t be a need for The Congregation for the Causes of Saints, for one thing, if there weren’t indeed miracles. But sometimes we’re quick to “cry miracle” without realizing that it took a lot more than you can imagine to make that miracle happen.

So next time you witness a miracle, take a minute and consider what might be behind that miracle before you make your declaration public.

Can Inspirational Porn Have A Part In Social Change?

My newest advocacy peeve is inspirational porn (in case you couldn’t tell).

I don’t really try to bring it up at any and every possible opportunity, but it happens anyway, somehow.

I was shown a video ad during physical therapy that I had actually seen a few days before and while I like(d) the ad I wondered if it had an inspirational porn quality to it. So I mentioned it.

“Don’t you think you’re being a little sensitive?”

Was I being too sensitive? (Maybe)

But I explained my reasoning anyway.

I also had to explain what inspirational porn is/was.

Then I explained my reasoning again, my thought being that if you’re going to work in the rehabilitation services industry and the like than you should be aware of the current (and lingering) issues of the disability community .

“I think you’re being too sensitive. That’s not what they mean”

Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, as they say.

Days later I was still thinking about the conversation. I wasn’t thinking about whether I was being too sensitive or not. I wasn’t thinking about how everyone seemed to miss the point of what I was trying to say.

Does inspirational porn have a purpose?

I’m not saying that I’m now OK with inspirational porn. Nor am I saying that there should be an increase in its production. I stand firm in my stance that any and all inspirational porn must stop.

But can it have a part in social change?

Can something that someone with a disability sees as inspirational porn (like a commercial or news story) be used as a tool in engaging the non-disabled community in realizing the issues faced by the disability community?

I think I’m coming to realize that as long as it starts a conversation there’s value to be had. Once you start a conversation, on a separate issue (maybe), then you can address the issues of inspirational porn later on.

What do you think? Can inspirational porn have a part in social change?

The only disability in life is a bad attitude

*I’m a fan of Scott Hamilton and what he does on and off the ice but this now famous quote that’s attributed to him is one area in which we have to agree to disagree.

Truth Or Porn?

I always try to make a conscious effort to tell the truth but be as positive as possible. However I’m not perfect and my intention ends up being just that, an intention rather than an action.

An all too common problem faced by the disability community is inspirational porn.

If you’re not familiar with inspirational porn let me enlighten you inspirational porn is using someone’s disability to make the non-disabled feel better about themselves or trivializing a person’s disability.

The other day I posted a picture on my Facebook page that I’ve shared before because I thought it was an interesting take on Cerebral Palsy. But after I posted it I had second thoughts.

“Is this inspirational porn?”

I agree (with most of the disability community I think) that inspirational porn must end AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. I understand the intention in most cases but the execution is just so far off that the whole thing needs to end.

We’re more alike than we are different than our able bodied counterparts it’s time to be taken off the pedestal we’ve been put on and stop being objectified to make others feel better about themselves.

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What do you think, are these images truth, or porn (or both)?