Blogger Widgets Ender-Chan's Thoughts: "Success" and Disability

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.


  1. "I have been threatened with working at a fast food establishment many times if I do not do well in school" oh my gosh that's terrible!!!!!

    Successful looks different to everyone. For some people, it's being a ceo. Other people maybe finishing high school, and others it's just getting up in the morning and getting out of bed.

    "I spiraled into a time of depression...where even Music couldn't fill." *hugs*

    If something makes you feel successful, then good for you.

    This was a very powerful post friend, thank you for writing and sharing it with us.


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