Friday, 8 June 2012

Inspiration or Perspiration?

Lovely imagery from the title I know, but I know it's something a few of my friends have come across as well.

I'm not being ungrateful, but I just don't get it. People tell me I'm inspiring, brave, wonderful etc... which is lovely to hear, but I don't think I do anything to justify these words. I'm just living my life to the best of my ability. Isn't that what most of us are trying to do, or are meant to do?

I do work hard to have the life I do, hence the notion of perspiration!! Those mornings when I'm dragging myself out of bed, at 6.30 AM to do my medication before my carer comes, to not go back to bed after she's been, but to get out and do things, does take a lot of effort, when you're exhausted, in pain, and know that the hospital appointments you've got that week will be soul destroying and frustrating, but still I get up and get on with the rest of life.  This to me isn't inspiring, just the tale of my wonky body. Thousands of people out there are doing similar things. Can we all be inspiring? As a friend of mine said, what exactly are we inspiring people to do? Are they just using the word, but with no real implications to their life? If so, are we really inspiring?

It seems to me, that so many people have the notion that a person in a wheelchair should be horribly depressed, and just sit around doing something. Now I know of people like that, but it had never occurred to me, until I was in this situation, that the majority of people had this image of a disabled person.  It's not in my constitution to be like that.  I'm fortunate in that my get up and go didn't get up and go without me, but still I don't believe in that striving to be the best I can be should receive words such as inspiring.

Although, I probably am hypocritical, but If I tell someone I think they're inspiring, it's not because of what they're doing despite their illness, it's that I'm impressed with what they're doing full stop.  I think it's hard to think of yourself as inspiring though, especially if you're British as it's not the done thing is it!?

Thinking rationally I can see that I have a bit of a story, to have travelled through my journey and still be smiling, if it was someone else's journey, with the same hopes and dreams at the end of it all, would impress me, but to live in it and be on that journey, I don't think anything of it, just that it's my life and I want to make the most of it.


  1. I thought of "inspiration porn" when I read your post...the posters and pictures of disabled athletes in particular, with the slogans like, "The only disability is a bad attitude". Someone blogged that the audience for that sort of thing is non-disabled people...there's an implication that if that poor, pathetic disabled person can do all these great things, anyone should be able to.

    As I've read more about "inspiration porn", it's made me realize that, as a person with disabilities, I don't want to be seen as the one that pushes people to do better because if the girl who had the stroke can do it, they don't have any excuses. That seems really dehumanizing. When people call me "inspiring", I'd love it to be just because I did something that they really want to do...not because I did it with disabilities.

    But I don't know what the best way to ensure that is.

    Hope that makes sense...

    1. I'm really sorry, I wrote a long reply to you, about a week ago, and have just come back to discover it's not been posted. Grr.
      So I'll try again, I've not heard of "inspiration porn" before, sounds intriguing. I completely agree, those types of slogans annoy me intensely, I think it's quite insulting for many disabled people to basically be told that it's their attitude stopping them doing things. Must remember that it's my bad attitude making my hips and knees dislocate!!

      I know what you mean, it's almost like people are using you as a marker post. If the "poor helpless girl in the wheelchair" can do it, then what excuse do they have. I'm not sure I feel dehumanised by it, but I think it's their loss if they have to measure themselves against other people, they should be striving to be the best they can be, not comparing themselves to other people regardless of whether they have a disability or not.

      It's such a fine line, but I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing, and let other people worry about whether I'm inspiring or not.

      Not sure I'm making sense either!!