In March 6th this year 2015, Mr. Diego Rivera posted this at Facebook. A friend of mine that I have wrote something about here tagged me just today and it’s only now that I have known of this. My friend says she feels very sad for the kid for having a hard time eating (yet managed to finish the serving on her own). I would love to know this kid more and talk about her here. I hope this post will inspire more people to treat us better and to respect our rights and privileges in the society. Through this, my friends and I hope to stop discrimination, promote social awareness, and rally for equal opportunities (particularly with employment) for people with disabilities.
My friend Lyle was born male. Named John Kyle Tutor, she said she just coined her nickname that way to make it sound like her other boy name. She had always been effeminate and her choice of gender was highly respected by everyone in her family. She says she is very lucky for having the kind of family she has because, compared with others just like her, her choice was never doubted; they just accepted her decision with not much ado.
Outside of her clan, however, was a different story. Although her home life has been happy and easy, in the real world was the exact opposite. Not only was she mocked for being a member of the third sex; she was, worst of all, constantly bullied for walking with a limp.
When she was yet a toddler, she was in the care of an aunt when Lyle was diagnosed with poliomyelitis (or commonly called polio), a highly infectious viral disease that targets the spinal cord affecting mainly young kids. It results in paralysis of one or both lower extremities, thus one or both legs. It is debilitating and crippling in worst cases. For my friend Lyle, vaccination was too late.
With the unwavering support of her loving family, she vowed to be oblivious of what the world has to say about her. What mattered most was the fact that she stood by her Live and Let Live philosophy: as long as she doesn’t hurt anyone, she has also the right to live her life like everyone else, no matter what.
Lyle is a graceful spirit loved by everyone she has come to touch the lives of. She loves to have fun, and she’s never boring to be with. She tries to be there for her nieces and nephews, and she catered to the family business alongside her parents and other siblings.
She has the knack for business. Just recently, she branched out of the family business to set up her own niche in the same food industry with a franchise– and blessings– from her family. Her career keeps her busy, but she never fails to be there for those who need her.
Through sheer will power, happy disposition, and a resilient faith, she has managed to triumph over her handicap. That’s my friend Lyle.
We call them freaks. We pay money to see them make fools of themselves.
We make fun of them as if their feelings don’t count. As kids, we harass them the first
chance we get. Because we have no tolerance for the askew, the crooked, the odd and
the physically gross or absurd. We think of them as non-human. Maltreatment and
injustice are only a common form of torment. .. (in this era wherein ‘beautiful’ is
defined by the perfection as to physicality, elegance and sophistication,and largely
depends on the carats of gems on the bejeweled class of the society where the rich and
the famous choke on over dosage of fame and overwhelming wealth).
In an age and time where everything gets fixed or “converted” into
something new and beautiful (at the right price) in the ultimate quest for the
preservation of youth and for aesthetics’ sake, some of us born rather ‘differently’ seems
to have been thrown in the backstage. Amidst the clamor and din of this fast and furious
rat race, these least of our brethren have been, since time immemorial, considered
We tend to forget that amongst us, between the living and the dead, there
thrives a breathing, feeling faction of our race that silently, in the shadows, desperately
struggles to outlive a cruel, indifferent civilization where only the best, the brightest
and the most able have the privilege to rise up and hear the bells.
What does it mean to be congenitally defective today? True, more and more
consideration for the physically disabled and/or “special people” have never been better
with the rise in growing social awareness for the physically challenged members of our
society. Special seats, lanes, marked lavatories, especially designed walkways and
tracks, custom- made prosthetics, gadgets and what-have-yous became commonplace in
our feeble attempt to show them we care and that they count.
Truth is, these attempts are just to quench the guilt deep inside us. We
should be convicted and hanged for enjoying so much while they suffer in the shadows,
out of the limelight, unwillingly bathing in shame at the mercy of the bonds of
insecurity, hopelessness, envy and hate-forever stuck, forever needy and forever
irrelevant and useless. We should be fined and punished for the awesome feeling after a
nature trail hike where we got the chance to bask in the glory of seeing the world from a
different light and being able to fully experience all of its wonders. We should be
tortured and made to suffer for the awesome sights and sounds that travel makes
In the end, nothing can ever make up or suffice even, for the feelings of
deprivations and the pain and suffering of the physically unfortunate. These are beyond
reimbursement. Nothing can ever make up for the torment, grief and the sorrow that
inability and disability gift wraps them with at birth.
But everything gets to be alright
when we are loved. The world seems better, brighter. To quote anew, LOVE is the KEY.
When Jasmine was born, everybody gave thanks for the wonderful gift of a new child in
the family. Like any other baby, she was cherubic and her smile never failed to warm the
heart. She was the center of attention; a princess everyone adored and just can’t get
enough of. So cute and cuddly!
When music emanates from the family radio, Jasmine gets carried away. Music would signal a
the music, (oh how good she can move- so flexible, so in time with the beat, so
inventive for moves) she’s awesome. Music and dancing takes her to planes and
dimensions she alone understands. She’s taken by the music like a feather taken by
the soft wind. Time stops when she hears music or dances with it. Almost surreal,
Jasmine’s congenital anomaly is rather chromosomal in nature. Persons with Down
Syndrome may vary in levels and thus their personalities differ.
The realization that a child is suffering from Down Syndrome can be devastating to the
parents. The best way to contend with it, is to accept it and give the child all the love,
care and understanding more than doubly afforded the typical child.
It has been observed and well-studied, that the majority of congenitally defective
individuals are very sensitive people. They are easily provoked, and the least
unintentional action may be easily taken as a threat or intimidation. They can
exaggerate reactions deliberately or without any much thought.
Persons afflicted with Down Syndrome, however, are mostly quiet, contented and
extremely happy. For Jasmine’s parents, they didn’t mind at all that their daughter was
different. They were proud of her in fact. She is sweet, loving, kind, graceful, easy and
above all, always happy. They love her as she is; they take her everywhere; people are
fond of her jovial, peaceful nature; and her being happy 99% of the time is very
Being 18 years old now, Jasmine started to menstruate at 13, like any other girl. It was a
mess at first but later she had learned how to take care of herself when it comes every
month. She wouldn’t even bother anyone for a napkin; she buys it herself and fends for
her well-being during the period.
She is also amazingly more independent of others than most persons like her. She takes
a bath by herself, takes care of her baby nephews and nieces, sets the table and eats by
herself, and even washes the dishes and throws away the garbage and does all other simple
Antics cannot be avoided. For these people, they never run out of silly, cute, and odd
mischiefs. Keys are not where they are anymore, the food disappears and appears on
the table; wallets, all sorts, are in the second drawer of her cabinet; slippers don’t have
their pairs anymore, and a bear hug, a quick kiss or sudden pat in the backs can startle
members of the family; and a huge, warm, hearty laughing streak would ensue for sure.
For Jasmine, her circumstances are the most ideal for someone like her. She can be
considered lucky-particularly in this part of the world. For, her lifetime is one with a
lot of love and understanding; one that has learned how it is to be truly loved in spite
of what she ‘happened’ to be.
- Baby Jasmine (photographybyardeanblog.com)
- Power of the Jasmine (mix4ever.wordpress.com)
- Jasmine V Wants to Make You “Werk” (thehollywoodgossip.com)
- No Right Answer: Mulan vs Jasmine (escapistmagazine.com)
- Tunisian Migration, during and after the Jasmine Revolution (thehumantsunami.wordpress.com)
- Beyoncé I’m a Huge Fan: A Photo Shoot With Nigel Barker! (popsugar.com)
I’m a disabled person, handicapped; a freak, an odd one. Call me anything but normal, because I’m not like you at all.
You see, I walk with a limp, and forever can never wear fancy footwear. And that means stylish, elegant clothes are allergic to me. What a shame! But, who cares? It’s not the end of the world, or something. Fact is, it’s not my fault I was born with half of my left foot missing.
Birth defects may be mental or physical. The most common and the most alarming I think, is Congenital Heart Disease. But I won’t talk about that for now.
Most physical defects are easily corrected, especially in childhood. Corrective and plastic surgery can fix the problem; gadgets, and other what-have-you’s can aide the handicapped. With breakthroughs in Medical Science and advances in technology, innovations have tremendously helped the physically challenged lead better lives.
Anyway, growing up with a physical defect haven’t been easy for me. I know firsthand how it is to grow up with something that makes you different from the rest. It’s like taboo; it’s there, it exists; yet, it’s not something that you’re supposed to talk about. Everyday was a struggle; for it meant I had to be out of the house to face people, and limp, limp, limp.
I was miserable each waking hour; I hated everything and everyone especially my parents, whom I blamed for my misfortune. As much as possible, I avoided people. I was too ashamed, inferior, insecure and depressed to be mingling with the “normal” ones. I remember crying a lot at night in self-pity, feeling sorry for my circumstances .
We’ve always been branded as freaks, abnormal, handicapped, disabled, scums of the Earth, scourges from the gods, aliens, even. Heaven knows how much that hurts, the branding. Mockery, discrimination, and social stigma take a great toll on our emotional health. Worst of all, we have to live with the “curse”. It was like a battle for survival that you know you’d never be able to win.
That was then, more than 20 years ago.
For now, I’m starting to embrace myself for what I was, what I am now, and what I am becoming. I now consider my physical anomaly a boon, instead of a bane. I don’t care what other people may think of me; I don’t get affected by that, or by anything trivial, anymore.
And I’m proud to be finally heading somewhere.