THE PHYSICALLY CHALLENGED: a race forgotten, misconstrued


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

second class citizens.

 

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

possible.

 

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.

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JASMINE GARCES


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

moment of jolly good time-full of laughter and merriment. When Jasmine dances with

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,

almost sublime.

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

infectious.

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

house chores.

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.

ABOUT ‘SPECIAL PERSONS ARE PEOPLE, TOO!’ BLOG


Special Persons are People, Too is a literary hub where everyone is welcome to interact with persons with congenital physical deformities or defects, give advice, offer opportunities, or just simply to give support and show they care.

Being provided a fantastic site you can call your own is simply irresistible.  Best of all, you can do whatever you want with it (for as long as you don’t go over the boundaries). It’s like winning the lottery;  a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you feel you have to really take care of and make the best of.

Thanks to the kindness of all the staff at wordpress.com and the community and other outfits that support them. Words can never suffice to show our gratefulness for these selfless people. Without them, Special Persons are People, Too could not have come into existence.

People like me-bloggers, authors/writers, companies, associations, and other organizations geared towards sharing and community interaction to foster goodwill among those who believe they can make a difference, now have a great avenue where they can impart insights and other important stuff to the world.  It’s simply awesome!

Here, we hope to discuss about, and share experiences of, people who have physical deformities- their adversities, exploits, and most of all, their TRIUMPHS over their misfortunes.

Also, we will be posting about Bacolod City as a gateway to extend a glimpse about where we hail from, and we hope to feature articles about individual persons, entire organizations, government agencies, and other professionals somehow akin to our city and our advocacy.

We’re a newbie in this endeavor, and whatever help we can get, we would appreciate it very much.  Kindly feel free to contact us for any suggestions, literary contributions, advice and other relevant things we need (like topics, articles, or links that can further help us improve).

Thank you.