Thursday, April 22, 2010

Disability Blog Carnival #65: Balance

Welcome to the Disability Blog Carnival on balance. I have been thinking a lot lately about how hard it is to balance knowing about issues related to my son's condition and his education with just treating him like a regular kid. It's easy to get wrapped up in what Kathie Snow at Disability is Natural calls "Disability World"--all the therapies, doctor visits, IEP meetings, etc. I recently saw Kathie speak at a 2-day conference, and as much as I loved what she had to say, I wondered if even attending the conference was being part of Disability World. I know I need to be knowledgeable, but I really need to devote my time to making sure my son has a "regular life" (whatever that might be). But then the more I think about creating a regular life, the less regular it becomes, in a vicious circle. Add this to the “regular” stuff of raising a child—who is intelligent, hilariously funny, creative, adaptable, adventurous, and outgoing—and it becomes hard to balance it all. Let’s see if any of the bloggers have solved the problem of finding balance.

Standing, Walking, and Dancing—It’s All About the Angles
At Wheelie Catholic, Ruth has posted Oh grasshopper! To achieve balance, you must get the right angle. She talks about literal balance, which means to her getting the angles right: “Achieving balance in my world usually comes down to angles. With limited grip and grasp, I often feel like a juggler in my kitchen. It's become second-nature to me to think of angles whenever I try to pick something up.”

Wheelchair Dancer has posted The Art of Balance: “Balance is such a literal kind of thing for me. I am aware of it every day -- in part because my personal life is one of such extremes that it is very unbalanced, and in part because, in my dance professional life, my ability to balance (or not) is crucial.” She describes balance while she is dancing, providing this eloquent description: “Frequently, I think we present or think about balance as a moment of held stillness, as a moment where you seem to stop motion -- perhaps against all odds.”

And TherExtras also discusses balance in the literal sense, as in standing, at Adaptations to the Environment. She talks about the benefits of using standers for kids who cannot stand without assistance. (TherExtras also invites us to participate in another blog carnival with the theme Childhood Expressions. Due... uh oh, today!! The carnival will be posted by April 25. If you can’t submit anything by then, at least check out the carnival when it posts!)

Figurative Balance
Spaz Girl at Butterfly Dreams writes about balance in literal and figurative ways at Balance, or Lack Thereof. She describes finding balance as “incredibly complex,” from walking down the hallways at school to balancing her work. And she ends with a hilarious last paragraph, reminding us of the importance of humor in balancing our lives. William Arthur Ward (known for numerous “inspirational sayings” such as “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it”) said about balance: “A well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life.”

Haben at Haben's Travel Blog writes The Shadow of Stereotypes about an incident when she fell down and faced "magnificent drama" by onlookers. Taking on the thoughts of many of the bloggers, she finds that there are both figurative and literal ways of thinking about balance and disability. This "can also be seen as the general struggle of people with disabilities to balance an identity as independent and autonomous individuals, and individuals who need a little help now and then," she writes.

At A Writer in a Wheelchair, Emma writes in the post titled Balance: “One of the hardest things for me to balance however is the judgement of whether or not a thing is a disability thing or not. It's led to me being accused of being too ‘disability centric’ at times.” This reminds me of my attempts at balancing “disability things” with “regular things” in my family’s lives.

Cheryl at Finding My Way: Journey of an Uppity Intellectual Activist Crip says she did not plan to write for this carnival but was inspired by Emma’s post above. That is so great, one post inspiring another, all for this carnival! :) Ahem… anyway, Cheryl says at her post titled simply Balance that she has a visible disability and an invisible one, and she finds it difficult to balance how to deal with both of them and how to let other people know about her disabilities.

Balancing a Career, Activism, and Disability
brilliantmindbrokenbody posts Balancing career and disability (part 1), writing “Part of the trouble is that the world outside tends to have an all-or-nothing perspective on work: either you can or you can’t work full time, you can or you can’t.” I look forward to part 2 on this important topic.

irrationalpoint at Modus dopens talks about the balancing act of being an activist and having a disability at Everything I ever needed to know about access activism, I learned in kindergarten. She is expected to always do more and more, and sometimes she must refuse for the very reason that she has a disability that causes fatigue.

Some Tips on Finding Balance
Finally, Terri at Barriers, Bridges and Books writes Balance... Yeah, It's a Problem, leaving us with some tips for finding balance. “Time for some reading, some writing and some socializing. . . . Because they just aren't as frivolous as they seem.”

Thank you for all the wonderful posts! I don’t think we have solved the problem of balance, but we have reflected on it in a unique way.
Next month's theme is Story at Barriers, Bridges and Books.