Touchstone Volume 24, Summer 2016 - Page 8

IN FOCUS You get proud by Guest writer, Jax Brown writes... As a young person growing up with a disability, I had no positive role models, no one to look up to and think: “I could be like her and do what she’s doing when I’m older!’’ I rarely saw bodies like mine in the media and when I did it was depicted as a terrible tragedy or disability as inspiration, you know the ones: someone acquires their disability and feels their life is over, or conversely someone climbs a mountain on their hands and knees to inspire and motivate the ablebods. I would come to learn that these were disability tropes or stereotypes, and like any stereotype they don't allow the person to be an individual. What I longed to see were people with disabilities living, full, rich and interesting lives: having relationships, having sex, moving out of home, partying, having children, having meaningful work, feeling valued, respected and finding meaning in their lives. I spent a long time not feeling at home in my skin, feeling exiled from my body, trying to escape it, not wanting to call my body, this body, home. Maybe you, as a person with disability have felt this too? I had endured years of medical intervention on my body, intervention which taught me my body was ‘wrong’ and I should spend my life trying to make it as ‘normal’ as possible. It took me a long time to realise that this idea of ‘normal’ is elusive and unattainable. I started to set myself new goals: what if I no longer tried to tame my body, what if I abandoned the fantasy of being ‘normal’ and instead worked on being happy and liking myself just as I am, disability included? 8 Touchstone Summer 2016 Jax Jacki Brown is a guest writer in this edition of Touchstone. Photo credit Anne Standen. When I was in my early 20’s I stumbled across something which would give me a different way of viewing my body and my disability, something that would change the way I saw myself and the world: The social model of disabi 丁Qͽ݅́ɸ)ѡͅɥٕ́Ёѡ(ÊéѡUѕ-ɽ)ѡЁͅ䁥́Ёͽɽ)ЁͽՔɕѕѥ)͍ɥѥ፱ͥݥѠ)ɵѥ̸ٔ́((