Contributing opinion writer
Ben T. Elwy
Ben T. Elwy ’23 lives in Quincy House. His column “Living a Disabled Life” appears on alternate Tuesdays.
I didn’t choose to be disabled, to be mentally ill, to be queer, to want time to stop. But that’s how I am, and I’d like to be proud of that. So at this moment, I want to understand how to move on from uncertainty, regret, and pain, within the limits of this world; how we define and accept ourselves through the smiles we choose.
If my writing has made you imagine anything you’ve never imagined before — made you question yourself and your world, made you uneasy, made you uncomfortable — don’t push that away. Think about it, talk about it, bring it with you on your own path; live it, remember it. Those are dreams.
Living a disabled life means that I fall, and as I lie stunned, I see my reality of existing in this world reflected on a mirror of concrete or tile. But it’s a broken mirror, cracked by many falls; and in its brokenness, it refracts light into a million component shades, revealing not only my struggles, but — if I focus beyond my newly-acquired scrapes and bruises — all the smiles and tears of my life.
Until Kirby lights up screens and smiles once again, players can reflect on 30 years of naptimes and snacks, and they can gaze up at the sparkling stars, each in their own unique way.
Living a disabled life means that the obstacles I face don’t end with my genetics. On the contrary, as much as my condition may hurt, the ableism I endure in social spheres always inflicts the deeper pain. We live alone even while surrounded by others, isolated in plain sight. It’s time that people, individually and collectively, learned to look beyond the glare into the shadows.