Maybe it is just because I have spent many years dealing with the same thing, but it seems like a lot of people are having difficulties trying to fit into other people’s boxes. What I mean by that is they let other people lead them to believe their life has to look a certain way, they have to act a certain way, and do certain things by some point in their lives. Not only did I spend many years trying to fit into the box, I have spent the last 8- 10 knowing I would never fit in anymore. Sometimes even being looked at and called names because I am now so different from the normal, because of my disabilities. A few years ago when I went to Disneyland I had some of the rudest and crudest looks, comments, and even actions because although I looked normal the only way for me to get around was my wheelchair. Even this I did not do like most. I insisted on a manual chair instead of electric and had a friend of mine that was an art teacher paint it all patriotic for me. It has cool red, white, and blue segments on the wheels that look awesome when I go fast. It also has an eagle on the back of the backrest. So needless to say I stood out a little more than I would have if I was in a normal power chair. I refuse to get one based solely on the fact that everyone I have ever seen that has one is pretty much obese. I have said it before and I will say it again; if most other people in this world are the normal, than I am glad to be abnormal.
I spent at least the first half of my life pretty much abiding to this philosophy. Especially when I was in the Army. We called it dress right dress, being uniform, or being a good soldier. You had to look, act, and behave in a given manner. My example of this is going into basic training I knew all it really was was a mind game. If I could play the game correctly I could blend in and not get noticed, or in trouble, for doing something outside the box. This worked so well for me that a day or so before graduation my drill sergeant was looking for a volunteer to demonstrate how we made our bunks at the graduation ceremony. I figured I had made it this long and it would not hurt to volunteer. The first thing out of his mouth was his way of asking who the heck I was and if I was even in his platoon. This is only one of many ways I tried to fit into other’s boxes.
Whatever happened to everyone being different and that was ok? It’s impossible to fit into everyone else’s box all of time. Yet it people are very quick to make at least snide remarks when I have issues getting around or doing certain things. I feel like I am immediately the outcast, or freak, even though most have no clue, nor do they want to, that I am disabled for simply serving my country and trying to save a fellow soldier. Just because it didn’t make the news, or become some idiotic movie, doesn’t take away from it. The good thing is I have learned that I do not want to, nor have any right, to judge other people. Whether they have disabilities that are visible, or not I do not judge someone simply on the way they look. There is no happy medium, unfortunately. You just have to be comfortable fitting in where you do, and yet possibly being the outcast sometimes. We all have to come to the realization of who, and what we are. What we stand for, stand against, represent, carry with us. I may be the only one, but I realize everyone is unique. Everyone has their own story to tell. Most of which are quite interesting! If the majority of others would simply take some time to truly listen they would be baffled. I guess that about wraps this up. Till next time… Joe