When you see a person who’s disabled, what are your initial thoughts? When you see that missing body part, a disfigured face, burned marks, or scars, what do you feel? Fear, concern, pity, wonder, or disgust? Do you automatically judge those people for how they look? Everyday, these people have to go through trials and tribulations for how they were born, or what life punished them with. I am taught that when I see a disabled person, I have to automatically try my best to divert my eyes from their disabilities. I pretend to not notice or care, but in my head I am wondering how and why they look the way they do. I want to know, but I won’t dare ask out of fear of making them feel bad.
Have you ever met a “normal” looking person that has mental problems? Do you feel scared? Or perhaps sad? I feel both emotions, I have little to no experience with people who are mentally disabled. I ask myself questions if they were born so, or if something traumatizing happened along the way. We judge people so quickly and easily, it is quite terrifying. No, very terrifying.
When I meet a person, I automatically judge them from the way they present themselves, and how they look. Society has taught me that if you do not present yourself a certain way or look a certain way in a certain place, you are automatically damned. Why not give jobs to people with body disfigurations? Is it because you are afraid the clients won’t appreciate their look or they’ll make you feel uncomfortable? How come you can’t hire a person for what they are capable of doing for the job, instead of how capable they are of looking “good.”
I reside in a country where being disabled is considered a taboo. I reside in a country where the focus is on putting money in materialistic things such as creating big malls and places just so to provide attractions for the eyes of foreigners. We need to put money into helping our people first, before trying to bring in more people. Why please others when you can’t please your own?
I see homeless and disabled people on the streets, begging for food and money. Some have gone crazy because of poverty and the realization that their own people and country don’t give a damn whether or not they live. R.I.P.
Just yesterday, I was playing basketball with my sister, and I saw this little boy who didn’t seem much younger than me, maybe 3-5 years younger. He was walking through the basketball court, heading to a different destination until he saw us playing. He walked around and stood against a pole, watching us play. When I saw the boy, I felt fear. His legs were shaped oddly, it’s like they were constructed to go the opposite way of the other leg. When he walked, it was strange as well.
I tried not to look. I wondered why he was staring so hard, I was afraid. I informed my sister of my uneasiness and she told me not to worry but to continue playing, and so I did. At first, I felt uncomfortable, but then I started ignoring his presence. I then noticed a small little detail that initially, didn’t seem that important.
Each time the ball would go his way, he’ll try to help me and give me the ball. I’ll smile awkwardly because I didn’t want to go near him, how judgmental I can be. My sister and me began to take turns shooting, we were having fun. I noticed something else again, the boy was smiling with us. He was entertained by us and wanted to join in. My sister and I would take each other’s rebound, but instead, the boy decided he’d do that for us from where he was standing.
As he watched us play and shoot, he analyzed the way we were handling the ball. So each time the ball would go his way, he would take it, and before passing it back to us, he’d copy our movements. We didn’t say anything about it, we didn’t mind it. In fact, it intrigued me. When she and I decided to take a break, I left the ball with the boy so he could play. As I sat down and drank my water, I watched the boy play with the ball.
I can tell he observed us well, and despite his disability, he still ran with the ball, and shot a couple times. Mind you, the ball went in 2 or 3 times. I was surprised at how much someone can learn just by watching. It reminded me of the other day when my sister and I were with our basketball coach, a group of little kids who were maybe 5-8 years old were watching us play.
They all just stood there, watching us intently as if we were the most interesting thing ever. Fast forward, we begin to leave considering we were finished practicing. My sister looked back and told me those kids were imitating everything we were doing and that, without a ball. If they continue playing like that everyday, I can only imagine how good they might become when they get older and do have a ball.
Now back to the present, our coach arrives and we take back the ball from the child so we may play. He takes the ball sometimes when none of us are using it to dribble as much as he can before we take it back. Ultimately, he goes back to the bench to watch all of us play. Our coach and us were doing a shooting competition, and I greatly despise losing. Therefore, from time to time, one could see me frustrated and fuming. My eyes caught the boy laughing at me, and at all of us as well.
He was smiling widely. I started smiling too because his smile was just so pure. I thought in my head, how could I ever be afraid of this kid just because he was born differently, and has poorer living circumstances. I felt ashamed. Time goes on, and he started sleeping while laying down. He seemed so peaceful.
We finished playing basketball for the day, and it was time for us to go. We said bye to the boy, and he resumed his route while we were going back to our car. In the car, I was thinking of him, and how judgmental I was because of how he looked and how he stared at me when in fact, his behavior was out of pure innocence and interest. I realized I didn’t know his name, and wondered where he was going.
Wherever his destination lies, I pray for his safety and for God to constantly guide him on His path. Although my time with this boy was short, and we barely interacted except exchanging a few smiles, this experience meant a lot to me. It made me realize even more that I needed to work on my judgement skills, or lack thereof and it reminded me that these people truly need recognition. I feel that this was meant to happen so that I could be enlightened, and it also helped guide me a bit more on the path that I might wish to take. I may never meet that boy again, but I am glad I did.
The story of me and the boy that I met yesterday is what inspired me to write this, the moment I realized he wasn’t harmful, I told myself I was going to write about it; And it came out more beautifully than I thought. I am proud at myself for writing about certain subjects, and maturing slowly but surely through time.
I feel that these topics need to be spoken about more often, and that actions need to be taken. Not just in my country, but every country needs to put more resources into those who can’t help themselves and are alone. When you have a child, and he/she is not feeling well, you feel the urge to heal them right away, correct? It’s this same exact feeling and outlook that a president needs to have for his citizens. A king is nothing without his subjects, the same goes for a president and his people.
Change needs to happen, and I intend to try my best for it to be possible by first, writing these poems and stories to make people think. Later, in the future when I am older, I will definitely bring aid to these people. It is one of my desires to help people, just like my mother. I hope you enjoy my thoughts, thank you very much for passing by. God bless.
Treat others the way you wish to be treated.