I am disabled.
I don’t have broken retinas, like Dad. And I am not in constant pain like Mom. The only body parts I’m missing are seven teeth and my tonsils. And actually my tonsils have grown back.
But I’m not perfect. I’m not completely capable.
I can’t drive. I’m 22 years old, with all my limbs and senses in mostly-working condition. I’m not exactly attention-deficit either.
I’ve been taking lessons. I wrote about it two years ago. It was funny back then. I was only twenty. It’s worse now.
My baby sister is turning 18 this year – the legal driving age in South Africa. I have a good feeling she’s going to be driving legally before me – heck, she already drives more confidently than me.
I could blame it on the fact that she has a patient boyfriend who teaches her. She lives in a small suburb with non-scary roads. Cape Town has scary roads and scary drivers. She has Mom by her, who can teach her whenever they have a moment.
Little Sister is wonderfully athletic. She has great hand-eye co-ordination.
Put me behind a steering wheel and I want to freak out. I don’t know how to handle gears and pedals and a wheel and all those damn mirrors all at once. My eyes are weak, my hand-eye co-ordination is weak…
Can’t I just get rich and have a chauffeur?
Truth is, I know disabled individuals – with actual recognised handicaps – who can drive with their handicapable vehicles. If they can do it, why can’t I?
Am I lazy? Wow, I’m ashamed to admit it, but perhaps I am. I don’t book lessons regularly. It takes me forever to book license appointments. But it’s more than laziness. I think. I hope.
Fear is one, that’s for sure. Driving isn’t safe. South African roads are a nightmare. But many things are dangerous. Do I want to bubble-wrap myself? Hell no.
I’m tired too. But that’s another disability, and I’ll write about it soon.
I need to learn to drive. I must. I just don’t see it happening.
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Nisha is a young lady from my home town with Cerebral Palsy. She is remarkable and blogs about her struggle for independence. She has raised funds for a well in rural Kenya. She is breaking down stigma little by little.
Nisha experiences discrimination and misunderstanding of her CP regularly. Just browse through her blog and see. To address the stigma associated with disabilities she started a campaign called #IamDisabled. This campaign aims to show the world that everyone has things they want to do but can’t – like Nisha can’t fully use her right hand and I can’t drive.
Yet. Nisha’s hand gets stronger and (hopefully) I’ll fix my deplorable driving.
Link up with Nisha for this campaign here and let’s break down these artificial boxes society insists we belong in. You can be diagnosed disabled, or be like me. We’re not all the same, but we kind of are, too.