Please forgive my notable absence of posts most recently- the reason is this: I have recently got a job raising money for charity by knocking on people’s doors across the west of the UK. Now considering how much you know about my Asperger’s Syndrome experience, this sounds like a mammoth task, and some would think me heroic. What follows are two arguments, debating why I should or should not be considered a hero.
Against- This one will probably take more time and words to explain, and in my own opinion, this argument is infinitely more complex, and considered. To help explain this, I’m going to have to introduce you to something I have termed “Disability Porn“. Now, please don’t be offended. We watch and view different types of porn everyday. By definition, Porn is something that stimulates either thought or arousal. So every time we see a Marks And Spencer food advert and think “wow, that looks good!”, we have consumed a type of pornographic material.
My argument and explanation of Disability Porn is this- We’ve all seen those photos of people in wheelchairs and thought that they’re brave. Even I’ve done it from time to time. When we share this, we perpetuate the myth that everyone who lives through their disabilities is brave. However, this is simply not true. It takes little bravery to decide between my somewhat trademark Bow Tie or a normal tie in a half-windsor fashion. It takes little bravery to make my breakfast. It’s only same as it is for everyone else.
It takes far more bravery for someone like me to go and compete in sports and things which bring us national and international recognition. Paralympians are infinitely more brave than I could ever hope to be.
There is some bravery required in my job, but just going about my daily business is not something that requires a lot of it. Thus, admire and respect the people who go and climb mountains with prosthetic limbs. Those who are blind but can still write essays. Do not admire me just because I drag my scrawny, hairy arse out of bed every morning.
For- The very nature of my job requires bravery. The everyday bravery for which is demonstrated when I arrive at the street where my office is and I talk myself through dealing with work. The same sort of bravery in which police and fire officers “suit up” in the full knowledge that when they take it off, their lives may never be the same again. In many ways, that is me when I dress every morning and tell myself that I am going to beat every single damn challenge I face in a day. That is me when I tell myself to load up the podium app so that I can deal with everything that makes me feel uncomfortable during my day.
When I knock on somebody’s door and they answer, I have to use a bit of bravery to maintain eye contact with a perfect stranger in order to introduce myself and hope to get them to sign up to one of the various charities I represent. It takes bravery when I get to the more difficult task of form-filling, considering it requires non-secure bank details. This, understandably, raises people’s guards up.
It takes bravery, when I ring up my boss, but also my friend, I hasten to add, to tell him my results for the day, good or bad.
Whichever way you view me- please view me for the right reasons.