*Note: This piece is a work in progress. Consider this my way of dusting out the proverbial cobwebs.*
“The mind is its own place,
and in itself can make a Heaven of Hell,
a Hell of Heaven”–John Milton, Paradise Lost
Power. Power. Power.
I remember a woman saying that the most valuable lesson college could teach someone was how to use their power. She believed that everyone had power including us Honors Freshman. I don’t remember her name nor what she looked like. It may have been a dream, for all I know. The only thing that assures me that a woman spoke to a group of Freshman in the Ballroom of the University is fact she hesitatingly included people with disabilities among those with power. “Well, yes, e-even disabled people have power,” she managed to get out near the end of her speech. People with disabilities are rarely included in any list. Let alone a list of powerful people. I pretty much always notice.
I notice the casual ableism and taboo-like mannerisms of people around me because I am disabled. Disabled, but not disabled enough to be considered disabled…if that makes sense. If that statement doesn’t make sense, let me try again with a cliche: If I had a nickle for every time someone said, “I don’t see you as disabled,” I’d be rich. Classic erasure. Same thing as being “Colorblind.” I have power? Hmph, perhaps I do.
One thing is for sure: I did not learn that I have power in college.