I just finished the book, Off Balanced by Zachary Fenell.
It took him a while, but he finally saw himself as “An individual with a disability” instead of a disabled individual.
I have always seen myself as the former: “An individual with a disability.” Perhaps, this is since I grew up in an environment where I wasn’t treated any differently than those around me. Sure, I knew I was different from my friends and family, but they were more limitations than actual differences. I could still do a lot of the same things that my friends could do albeit slower, not as perfect, and sometimes in my modified method.
It wasn’t until I was a way from my family and friends, that I truly realized I was different. I would get stares, or asked, “Why do you walk that way?”, or got pointed at, or teased.
Later in high school I got: “You can’t do this,” or “You can’t do that.” Oh sure, they were just pointing out the obvious, but I always attempted things before I finally gave up trying and realized I couldn’t do it or do it sufficiently to be proficient in it. These persons kept hammering what I couldn’t do until I began to believe I couldn’t do anything right. I lost belief in my self and I lost the drive to even try. I fell into a great depression.
This went on for several years, until I hit rock bottom. I crashed and burned. It made me seek help. I got some assistance looking for work. I worked for several years. With each slow step forward and upward, my self-confidence grew. After a few false starts, I went back to high school to complete Grade 13 and OAC credits with the hope of going to university. I did, and I did okay. I could have done better if I picked a better major, but I completed it and I was satisfied; however, I could still not find a decent job. Eventually, I took a computer programming certificate, and then I got into IT, until the bubble burst.
But, life throws curve balls and life and knock one down. It was sometimes one step forward and two steps back. However, I have always been one to pick myself up and carried on (My Cerebral Palsy taught me this. I have fallen so many times only to pick myself up, dust myself off and carried on forward — Many with CP, will relate to this).
Life brings its ups and downs, its highs and lows. What is one to do? One cannot just throw in the towel and give up — Life is meaningless otherwise. No, if there is one thing I have learned to have a disability, it is one must pick oneself up when one falls and continue onward as best one can. It’s what I do.
— Robert Confiant 20 October 2017