Monday, October 20, 2014

Normal...what's that even mean?

If you've kept up with the blog, then you know I'm getting my masters in counseling.
Well I was reading articles and case studies and you know...doing the whole grad school student thing when I came across something about a professor normalizing one of his students with a disability and it kind of set off a little spark in my head.

Now this is a hot topic in education today.

I'm not here to say what's right and what's wrong.

There certainly can be benefits for putting students with disabilities in regular classrooms (depending on the disability) and there can be faults to that.

Once again, I'm not here to say what's right and wrong, nor am I here to talk about education.

What ticked me off was that the professor who is supposed to cater to the student's disability was sitting there ignoring it....not not ignoring it...downright against it. The professor wanted the student to act "normal".

Now...I've wanted to be normal my whole life.
But what is normal, because normal means something different to everyone.
Normal for me is playing whatever sport you want to play and still being in no pain the next day. Normal is not taking 12 pills and a shot just to survive.
Normal is not having to get labs once every 2 weeks to make sure your liver isn't failing.
Normal is not having a disability.

In this case, the professor is normalizing the student, therefore she doesn't want to be normal anymore.

Does society not do this on a daily basis?

You have to be normal or you get made fun of.

You have to act just like the others or else you'll never fit in.

What's wrong with this picture?

This student who needs the benefits to help her in life is not able to get them because society/the professor/average joe wants her to be normal.

How do we fix this?
How do we stop normalizing the stigma of a disability?
How do we demolish the idea that being normal is something that we should strive to be?

Go read my Accept Adaptation Post and you'll get an idea :)

We should be extraordinary with or without a disability.
We should want to be the best version of ourselves that we can be.

That professor was wrong.
Anybody who wishes normality on anyone is wrong.

See, I'm stubborn in the way that, let's take this example, that if I was forced to be normal...I wouldn't want to be it anymore.

In fact, I would downright ignore the person and be myself.

If you force something on someone, they aren't going to have a positive reaction to it.

Let the student have extra time on her test.
Let the kid stand up from time to time so his legs don't ache.
Let those who have wanted their whole lives to be normal, realize how uneventful it really is.

It's not hurting you in anyway, so why not?

While I've wanted to be normal my whole life, I've come to learn that nobody is ever really normal anyway.

And that's what's so great about it.

In the wise words of Grandma Aggie Cromwell from Halloweentown...

Monday, October 13, 2014

Life's Tough, Get a Helmet

I must apologize for my extended absence, life has been getting in the way of everything these days.
Actually, school has been getting in the way of everything these days.
Don't get me wrong, I love it....
It's just slowly chipping away at my sanity which is really great because I'm the one who's supposed to be sane helping those in my position.

Life is funny like that.

It's also not fair.

But then again we were taught that at a young age right along with the "Because I said so" line.

We had to do a little assignment in my first semester of graduate school about what are top 5 dream jobs would be if we didn't have anything holding us back or in the way.

Well, here are mine:
CEO of Disney (because we all know I would rock that job)
A Professional Lego Builder (have you seen my collection?!)
An Author (that's what happens when you grow up the librarian's granddaughter)
A tour manager (cough cough Taylor Swift I'm free whenever)
The Doctor's Companion (We all know that's a hard job, for those of you who don't know what this is, it's a doctor who thing)

Thing is, I could probably try for one or two on that list...

But the majority of those aren't stable enough for my reality.

I need insurance, I need to make enough to pay for my medicine and doctors appointments, and I need a job that is flexible for when I flare.

Life is not fair for a lot of people.

But when you're diagnosed at 6 years old, that isn't the first thing that pops into your head.
As a matter of fact, that thought didn't pop into my head until I wasn't able to play the sports that I loved.

Yes I'm stressed and going crazy, but my point isn't to sit here and bring up all the negatives in my life or to make you think about the negatives in yours.

It's to make you think a different way.

For those who love Cory and Topanga and who have seen every episode of Boy Meets World, like me, then you'll understand this.

Eric is telling his little brother that he needs to get used to the fact that life is gonna suck sometimes, he's telling him to get thicker skin, to get a helmet.

Well, yeah, that's true...but I like his helmet idea (at this point you're thinking I've jumped off the deep end, but I promise you as a counselor, I've declared myself mentally stable).

Get a helmet. Protect yourself.
Now you're saying "Kara you told us you take risks"
Yes, I do.
But protect yourself from the negativity.

Yes I need a job that will provide me with a stable income and insurance, thank goodness I found counseling because it's not only something I love but it provides me with just that.

Yes I can't be CEO of Disney, but I can go whenever I want.

Yes I can't be Taylor Swift's Tour manager, but I can still be her biggest fan (her album drops 2 weeks from today)

Yes I might be in pain, but at least I'm feeling something.

Yes I may never get to be on the Ellen show to talk about my new book or how the doctor saved the world again, but I can sure as heck still dance with her while she's on tv.

When the "tough skin" helmet doesn't work, get a new one.
Try the "positivity helmet" or the "friends"helmet or the "netflix" helmet (that's my favorite).

See my point is to find a different outlook on things because life isn't fair and it's not going to change.

If I had wasted my time years ago thinking how doomed I was that I had this disability, then how depressed would I be today.

You have to focus on what you do have, what you can accomplish, and how far you've come.

I remind myself of those things when I'm having a crappy day.

I'm lucky enough to have 12 different helmets of all shapes, sizes, and strengths that help me walk and move around every single day.

In fact, tonight is shot night.

Life isn't fair, but it gives us little things along the way to help protect us and give us the strength to get through those rough days.

The next time you think the phrase "life isn't fair", I want you to think of things that you have that other's don't.

Most people call this counting their blessings, but Eric Matthews is just reminding you to put on a helmet.

Disclaimer Note: While I have declared myself mentally stable, I am not a licensed counselor and this idea of helmets and blessings have nothing to do with the ABC or Disney broadcasting companies. Although one day when I'm CEO, that might change....