Question of Happiness

In Everyone has one, Opinion by Marelise Prinsloo Jacob

I’ve often thought the worst thing in this world is to have nothing to do. Not just being bored, but have absolutely nothing to do. It leaves you feeling dispensable, unneeded. It leaves you thinking somewhere in the world something big is happening, only you don’t know where it is, or when.

Like the whole world is passing you by and all you can do is sit back and watch. It is a truly terrifying feeling, one that can either spur you on to actually go out and get a life of some sorts, or one that can grind you into the ground.

I remember a day my sister came to visit; she brought her Eagles DVD with so we could listen to some of her favorite songs. One of these songs was about being still, about having a little peace for just a while. I remember she said how that song really had an impact on her since she’s always so busy.

I sat there, listening to her and the song, thinking – very darkly – how I would give anything to just get busy, for one day, be busy.

I think the world accepts the fact that most disabled people don’t really do much, don’t get around much. I’ve often wondered if the world or society rather, thinks this is because we don’t really want to get out there.

For sure, mobility is a huge issue, but I think many people believe disabled people have accepted their fate and along with that the fact that they will live quiet, safe lives. Undisturbed, with good, solid routines to keep them going.

I think it must’ve been a panic attack that finally got me out of my comfort zone. I realized that everyone around me, including my family, had accepted the fact that I will probably not achieve much in this life.

Not because they didn’t believe in me, but because, well, disabled people just don’t get very far in this world. It took a good long while, but I am finally at the point where I too can say – just a little peace, please!

It’s hard work and certainly exhausting at times, but I think my fear of having nothing to do still keeps me motivated, even at the worst of times.

There is a danger in all of this though, and that is the danger of losing sight of who you really are. You try so hard to keep up, trying to fit in that you start to forget who you are.

I remember I had dreams for the future, and an optimism to go along with it. Now most of that has turned into cynical realism. Sometimes, I realised, it is better to be ignorant. I am trying to find that girl with all those dreams, the girl with no heartbreaks and sleepless nights.

I guess you can’t ever really go back to who you were, but you can at least stop yourself from becoming someone you don’t want to be.

Changing your personality and trying to be someone you’re not will sometimes only work for so long, bitterness will start to creep in and soon you’ll start blaming those around you for your unhappiness.

It’s hard to be disabled in an able world. There is a fine balance between the two worlds, and keeping that balance can drain all of your energy. Perhaps it is because there is a certain standardization to the world. The standard being white, average built, normal men and woman, like ready made products coming of the factory line.

Disabled people then being the faulty products, not the standard. Is that not how society is taught to see the disabled?

I never use the words “make peace” or “accept”, because that just sounds like surrendering to what the world wants you do be. I am who I am and that is all there is to it, one would like to think.

But in reality that is not all there is to it. I still strive to be part of the normal world. I still keep emotions hidden from those closest to me simply because I know they wouldn’t understand.

I still wish I could climb a flight of stairs. These are all things we keep to ourselves for sharing them with others will certainly make us only seem more different.

It is a question of how much a person is willing to sacrifice in order to be happy, but then it is a question of what makes a person happy in the first place. For many years the gay and lesbian communities had to live lies in order to fit in with the normal world, for centuries black and colored communities were simply not allowed to live in the normal world.

Our conservative backgrounds have perhaps given us a strong foundation, but it has also given us a legacy of prejudice and marginalization.

Perhaps the standardization of people needs to be altered; new specifications need to be taken into account. If the world can become all-inclusive, no-one will be left outside to watch it go by.
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