My 'Problem' With the Word Disability

04/04/2016 04:06 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017
Hand of businesswoman writing with pen
Hand of businesswoman writing with pen

Today was the first time I filled in a job application and ticked a box about a disability.There was a question about whether I have a condition that may affect my work and I finally ticked the box. It took me 40 years. I ticked the box and then filled in another box with details. I wrote:

I am colorblind, and I may have difficulty if things are color-coordinated.

That's the truth. I have actually had difficulty at work in the past. It has been a "problem." Some colleagues have helped me. Others immediately, others after a bit, and I have been brushed off, cause, well, she didn't have the time for that.

I find it very difficult to use the word "disability" especially when it comes to work cause I am an Alpha type gal who sets goals and tries to do anything. I have told myself over and over again that my disability is something that enables me to do so many other things. It challenges me, it makes me resourceful, stronger, but does it? Why do I find it so hard to accept the term disability?

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Let's look at the definition of disability:

an ​illness, ​injury, or ​condition that makes it ​difficult for someone to do the things that other ​people do. (www.dictionary.cambridge.org)

I cannot do what other people do. That's a fact.

True Story

My vision is quite bad, not just cause of colorblindness. I went to the eye doctor and she mentioned that I was entitled to a phone with bigger numbers and loads of other stuff at work. I laughed. Me? Do I need special treatment? No. I ain't gonna have it.No way.

It's actually people like me, who have a disability and cannot come to terms with it, who make it difficult for the rest of those like me. I have written a zillion posts where I talked about my colorblind life. I have written even more about what I want to change, but when I get the opportunity for a change that would've made my life easier, I never took it. When it had to do with my work, I didn't want special treatment. I was scared. I said nothing. It took me 40 years to tick the box!

Why?

Is it because I have grown up in Greece and even from the ancient years, children with defects were chucked off mountains (Sparta)? I learned this at school as part of history. Is it cultural?

Is it cause I feel bad about myself? Not normal? Weak? Weaker than others? Do i feel like a burden? Someone always asking for help?

Is it because of my personality. I am a tough cookie. I can deal with it. It ain't a big deal.

Is it because I feel embarrassed or scared that someone will make fun of me?

This has actually happened.The number one question I get is, "What do you think this color is?" Recently, a makeup artist layered my lips with a lipstick so many times, just so I could "se"' the color. My students have told me that the marker I was using was a different color just to giggle. I was so pissed off and sad.

I actually don't have a problem asking for help. I am always asking for help. People help me. I don't feel weak, but I do get embarrassed. Is it the same for other people like me? Is it just me? I feel so comfortable talking about colourblindness, but I could never tick the box...

Today I did. There are reasons I have rights, and I shouldn't feel bad about claiming them.