Blogger Widgets Ender-Chan's Thoughts: October 2016

Friday, October 28, 2016

Collecting Pieces

Welcome to the path.
The path is very difficult and can lead most anywhere.
No one knows why it's been established in the first place
With no alternate route.
I've been on the path since I was very young.
I can see the divergences
Off the path
Into the unknown.
That's how far along I am.
And how did I get here?

On the way, we're supposed to collect
It starts out easy enough.
The pieces are small.
Some find them faster than others.
The goal is to find them the fastest
And the most.

We reach checkpoints in the path every so often
To tally up what we found.
Most people get around 70% of what they were supposed to find.
Others get higher and others get lower
But you'll be left behind if you get lower.

Things get harder with each step.
The pieces get larger and harder to find.
Some of them have sharp edges.
Others skitter around and escape
The moment you capture them.
You need to use your previous pieces to hold them down.

Eventually, the pieces get so large
That you have to start making sacrifices.
Which piece do you keep?
Unfortunately, the checkpoints demand more and more
Pieces at this point.
How did I make room for everything?

I started by limiting my food
To make room for more pieces.
Then, I sacrificed my shelter.
Could I make one from the pieces I had?
I would have forgone clothing
If it didn't have pockets for my pieces.
Even so, it still wasn't enough to count at the checkpoints.
They were never satisfied with me
And, frankly, I had similar sentiments.

My case isn't unusual either.
I've seen people die on the path all the time.
They either get eaten by wild beasts
Or starve
Or freeze
Or overheat.
All in the name of those pieces.
I've been wondering, now, if the quest should be pursued at all.

Friday, October 14, 2016

"Success" and Disability

Everyone wants to succeed, right? It's why we go to school, work, and carry out the course of our lives: to achieve success. The universal images of success include an athlete scoring points for their team, a CEO at the top of a company flaunting wealth, an A or equivalent score on a test, and rising from nothing to make it to the top. I have been threatened with working at a fast food establishment if I do not do well in school many times.

And what does success look like with disability? It doesn't look all that that different apart from celebrating smaller-scale victories more often and slightly more liberties within the aforementioned images of success. I thought I would be successful according to these definitions. The last time I tried to be, it didn't end up too well. It was then that I realized that academic success wasn't for me. I moved on thinking about "success" more and more now that I am at a time in my life when a failure to prove myself worthy will seal my fate.

At first, others defined success for me. If I met their standards, I was good to go. Even if I put in no honest effort, if I made the grade, I was proud of myself. I shouldn't have been, because, even if my work was high-quality in the eyes of others, it was sloppy and halfhearted in my eyes. That, to me, is unacceptable. Then came a time when, even when I was working honestly, I didn't yield any reward. I blamed myself for my lack of success. I thought I lacked the character to get through, but it turned out that I just wasn't what they were looking for. No matter how hard I tried to be that, I never fit the form they sought. Respecting these preferences, I moved on instead of demanding an apology.

It was then that I realized that success is something that I have to define for myself. One of my best grades last year was in Algebra II. That is something I am ashamed of because I wasted my time and energy on something that only made me hate myself instead of directing my energies towards my passion for art and language. I spiraled into a time of depression that robbed me of pleasure, so much so that even music couldn't lift me out of the hole I was in.

I thought success with a disability looked like a Paralympic athlete crossing the finish line in a race, someone with a mental illness graduating with a 4.0 GPA despite being dragged into hades, or an autistic person discovering a source of clean, infinite, and controlled energy. I then realized that such goals are not for me. These definitions of success are not compatible with the way I think. I think like an artist. I think in quality, not in quantity. Color, consistency, composition, clarity, intention, focal point, tempo, intonation, timbre, and emotion are how I measure my successes. Subjectivity picks up where objectivity leaves off.

Success is subjective. I wish I had known that years ago.