“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” ~ Elie Wiesel
When I started blogging a while back, I felt as if there were very few people who got me. The emotional roller coaster was a big part of the issue and being emotionally intense made me feel as if I lived in a world that so many people around me just didn’t see. In this community I feel my perspective is no longer so isolated.It has given me strength when I felt weak and a shared voice when my words failed me.
The challenges I (and many others who are gifted and have learning disabilities) face with emotional intensity is that no matter how hard we try, if we pit our area of disability against a standard norm, we will fall short. I will still fail to out memorize phone numbers against my 1st grader, or most first graders. —I shouldn’t use my children as an example because mine are simply the most awesome, and I’m sure I’m not biased. <insert eye roll>
My point is that if you are living with a disability, you have your built in emotional lows already set up for you. Set yourself up to have high points. Surround yourself with people who get you. If you take a job only for a paycheck, you will not find many high points there.
One of my needs is to fight for worthy causes and recently I was accepted into Partners in Policymaking leadership training. This is a solid step toward taking on more social injustices, standing up for the rights of individuals with disabilities. This may be filled with low points along the way, when change-makers don’t buy in to your vision, but it’s a passion for me and it will also be littered with high points that can more than balance out the lows.
When I was college, a professor and I assembled a small group of students who were gifted and had learning disabilities. We would converse with each other and I could almost see the room catch fire and begin burning with flames of hope and life because we not only got one another, we were living breathing testaments to how much more we could do. We called ourselves the Hedgehogs and were against educational hegemony. We saw in each other how much strength, determination and resolve we had. It got us through those low points we would face while going through school often without accommodations.
|First they came for the socialists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.Then they came for the Jews
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me. – Martin Niemöller
We still see injustices as we look around and know it’s wrong. It takes strength and courage to speak up, especially when you feel weak or alone, so I hope you have your own Hedgehogs to help you through those times. If you don’t have the strength you need, comment here, maybe we can be your Hedgehogs.