29 7 / 2014
"Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate."
27 7 / 2014
As anyone who has met me in the last seven years knows, I’m applying to law school. Like a lot. Like much law. I’m planning on writing the optional diversity statement about disability. Now, disclosure is something that tends to evoke nuanced discussion in the disabled community that I feel myself somewhat separate from. Not only will it be blatantly obvious to anyone talking to me that I am disabled, but my disability is infused in the way that I move in the world and, by extension, my desire to do advocacy work. When people say “your disability doesn’t define you”, I sorta dig the sentiment, but am struck by the spacial inadequacy of it. To make this point, I often respond by saying, “Maybe not, but I live here,” framing the edge of the walker to indicate boundary. In short, I cannot ask them not to see it.
Everything I have read about the diversity statement tells me to frame my disability in a positive way Focus on what it has given you, I am summarily instructed. And it is real to say that my disability has given me things, but I am wary of the troupes that come too easily, familiar to any accomplished disabled young person you have overcome so much. I am informed, leaving me feeling that something has been left behind and I have not had the chance to say goodbye. Taken, not given by the teller of my life —these narratives are not of my own making. I am also wary of too simply conflating being disabled with a desire to advocate for disabled people because the truth is, I crave a career informed but not constrained by my disability. I love constitutional law, I love thinking about inclusion across the spectrum of human experience.
The truth is, I think it is disability that has given me my appreciation for complexity and skepticism of overgeneralization. To live as a disabled person is to hold within yourself seemingly contradictory ways of being: frustrated but happy or depressed but hopeful or struggling but good. I can only hope that when the time comes, I will look for the same complexity in my clients and their stories. I like weighing things more than I like all-encompossing anything, and I have a hunch that there is a lawyerly impulse in there somewhere.
But how to turn that sea of confusion into something that conveys. and I hate this word for its loaded ableism, competence. Ultimately. I want to say I can do the job. I can separate my raging questions enough from what it is that the client needs from me. Today. Now. Not only that, but somewhere here, there needs to be joy. Joy I authentically feel at the idea of fulfilling my childhood dream of being a lawyer.
Yet I will not turn my loose ends into party streamers because what you see is what you get.
All of this is just…beautiful.
26 7 / 2014
Y’all should really check out/contribute to the #BecauseOfTheADA hashtag on twitter!