Laurie and Debbie say:
“Of course a body that can do more tricks is physically superior, better, handier to have. And for past generations and people in different locations then and now, a tricksier body has been advantageous to survival. I don’t disagree with that, so far as it goes.
But often the added implication is that there can’t possibly be anything good about a body with impairments, and that isn’t necessarily true.”
This got us thinking about the myth of perfection and perfectibility. Blue is so right that this ability-centered, independence-myth-saturated culture can’t see anything good about being disabled. Thus, the impossible pressure to have a perfect body–one that can do everything, never hurts, never wears out.
What’s wrong with this? Well, first of all, it’s yet another impossible goal, so those of us caught in it have yet another reason to be beating ourselves up all the time because we can’t achieve it. (Where have we heard that before?)
Next, it’s yet another way to keep our minds and hearts off real problems, keep our energy and effort spinning in a tiny circle around ourselves, and not be able to look up and see what needs to be changed. (Another familiar song.)
Third, and maybe most interesting, it keeps everyone in the rat race, from the disabled folks through all of us 99% of ordinarily able-bodied people all the way to Olympic silver-medal winners, from noticing–let alone enjoying–the immediate sensual and physical pleasures of our own imperfect bodies.
Here’s Blue again:
It’d be easy for a nondisabled person to say these little joys I mention are really sour grapes about what my life is missing. Or that I’ve stirred up a bit too much lemonade from my supply of lemons. Fruit metaphors aside, I inherited my optimism and always find that here and there life is sweet. But the point is, there are aspects of this specific, highly-flawed body that are uniquely enjoyable, and I’m not the only disabled person to make that claim.
Here and there, life is sweet. Here and there, our bodies give us sexual pleasure, sensual pleasure, physical pleasure, active pleasure. Here and there, and everywhere, that’s worth noticing.