Thursday, June 2, 2011


Today I'm in Ft. Lauderdale seeing a Taylor Swift concert, but tomorrow I'll be in Orlando for the Family C.A.F.E. conference, a conference for families of people with disabilities. My mother was on the founding committee in the late nineties, and I've gone nearly every year since. Most of my disability-world friends go there as well, and it's a wonderful chance to catch up.

There's something incredible about being with people who inherently get it, because they've been there. This is why I enjoyed reading Knowing Jesse so much, because I saw people I know in her words about strength and fighting. It's part of the reason my friend Allison and I bonded so quickly--because she gets it without having to be told. Empathy is stronger when you've been there.

Not, of course, that able-bodied people don't get it. I have a whole post about the people i know who get it. But it's, in a way, the same thing as understanding someone because they like Buffy, or have Harry Potter memorized. Shared experience.

And this doesn't mean I am inherently friends with anyone who has a disability, any more than everyone from the same culture gets along like a house afire. There are people who have disabilities who are spoiled, who are bitches, who are boring. We're not all the inspiring Lifetime Movie subjects the world perceives us to be.

However, my friends are pretty awesome. They've conquered incredible obstacles, and are nice, funny intelligent people on top of it. We're all planning on doing totally different things in life--some of us with disability things, some of them not, but all of us will carry the knowledge, the ability to empathize with others who have dealt with disability-related challenges.

Plus, we've also done ridiculous things together, some things when we were nine and incredibly stupid weirdos, so sharing stories is always fun.