Why Can’t You Just Call Me Shari

I’d like to thank my co-worker Angela for today’s topic. She pointed out that lately, there have been many conversations about the usage of the word “disability”.  This made me really think about the subject and therefore, wanted to give my thoughts about what it means to me.

Over the years, there have been many words used to describe disabilities. Some I think were ok, while there were others that didn’t sit too well with me; like the word “handicap.” Recently, the new word being used is “differences.”

The definition of the word differences is a point or way in which people or things are not the same.

As I ponder this definition, I can appreciate its contents. Think about it, what a boring world this would be if everyone was the same. No two people are the same. Although there are many people who share similarities including names, I’m the only Shari Lynn Cooper on this earth. This is a good thing because the world couldn’t handle two of me! Lol

There are many things that make me different. Some of my unique differences is, when wearing socks, I cannot stand for the top lining to touch my toes. That really aggravates me. Another one of my differences is my legs won’t move until I count to three in my head. I’m not quite sure why, but that’s just how it is.

Now, to the definition of disabilities which means, a physical condition that limits a person’s movements, senses, or activities. 

The definition of disabilities is the one that is standard and the word that’s mostly accepted in the disability community. As a person with a disability this is the word I personally gravitate towards.

Although the word disabilities have been in play for a long time, it took a long time to catch fire. Growing up, I long for a word to describe my condition for children and some adults to use that weren’t so hurtful. You know the saying that starts off sticks and stones? I don’t agree with this saying for words really do hurt.

I wish more took to this word, especially the news media. Don’t get me wrong, for the most part they do a good job but occasionally, I’ll hear an anchor use the word handicap when referring to someone. When this happens, it makes me feel like I have cold blood running through my veins.

As I look at both words, if I had to pick one, I would stay with disabilities. It just sounds better.

I know this world is all about words and labels, but if you really want to know what word I like to be referred too, it would just be, Shari!

Shari is the name given to me by my oldest brother, Dewayne, and I happen to like it. When first meeting me you’ll immediately know I’m a proud disabilitian. My disability is attached to my name and I’m ok with that. No other words are needed as far as I’m concerned. This is my opinion, but I’m curious, what do you think?

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