Dear Ms Castner,
I really appreciated your post on the POP ANTH blog, “The handi-capable body”. But seriously though “handi-capable”? You need to take another look at some of your terminology. Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself. You wrote about your sister who, because of her physical disability needed multiple surgeries to “modify” her body. I liked how, in the end, you realize that she is perfectly happy as herself and needs nothing to “fix” her. That’s a rare realization for an able-bodied person to have, and for that I commend you.
But I’d like to add to your piece. To add your “sister’s” voice to your narrative of her. After all, one of the biggest slogans of the disability rights movement has been and continues to be, “Nothing about us, without us”.
See, I could be your sister. We both have the same condition (cerebral palsy). I have had the same surgeries as her, the rotational osteotomies, and I have recently had my third baclofen pump implanted into my abdomen.
So here’s the thing, our bodies are NOT normal.There is something wrong with them. Accepting one’s disability is not about becoming normal. It’s acknowledging that our bodies are imperfect, that in some respects we are simply not as capable as our peers. It’s acknowledging that, and being ok with it. Not just ok with it, but proud of it, letting it become one part of the person we construct as ourselves.
We are not, as you describe your sister, “brave”. We do not exist to be an inspiration to others. We’ve just had a different set of choices. to make. It’s all just another day living out our highs and lows in our chaotic and imperfect world. But, then again, couldn’t that describe anyone’s life?