The Nerve To Dream

In A Sedentary View, Columns, Features by Gregory Banks

Most people have secret dreams, hidden desires, and unexpressed wants that we know will never come to pass, and yet deep down we maintain hopes and prayers for that somehow, someway, that a miracle will bless us and these wishes will be made real.

We disabled folk are no different. Despite how others may look at us and see only our limitations, we have the capacity to see far beyond the near horizons society lays out for us.

I too have a dream. Actually I have several, but today I’m thinking of one in general–I’d love to be able to dance. And when I say dance, I don’t even picture myself in another body, long and lean and muscular and agile, so light on my feet that I feel as though I could fly with just a single leap into the air.

When I see myself dancing, it’s me, short and plump and adorable, spinning and twirling and grooving to a soulful beat right from the comfy confines of my wheelchair. I envision myself in a group in perfect sync with my fellow dancers, even moving my feet to the steps like one of the Pips rocking to Gladys Knight’s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.”

I picture myself in a production number, the lead in a play about a disabled guy who goes on dance auditions as if oblivious to the fact that he is in fact in a wheelchair, and experiencing the hardships and disappointments one would expect such a person to go through. But of course in the end, my final dance would be one of victory.

Of course such is the liberties that the one who has authored the play can take!

I dream of myself on “Dancing with the Stars” with gorgeous Cheryl Burke, managing to produce routines that blow both audience and judges away, making them forget the shortcomings of not being able to touch the floor with one’s feet.

I can even conceive of myself on stage in front of thousands rocking hard to a driving beat, the energy of the crowd more intoxicating than the most potent drugs ever devised, and my drinking in every single moment of it.

Heather Mills McCartney is currently setting a great example with her grace and style on “Dancing with the Stars,” and I know there are dance troupes out there doing wonderful things for children and adults alike. But I dream of a day when disabled people can perform on equal ground with their “abled” counterparts.

I yearn to see a disabled person on stage dancing step for step with the likes of Prince, or exhibiting such prowess that they put the talents of Michael Jackson to shame.

Being disabled in body does not mean our dreams are any less broad, that our needs and desires are diminished in any way. We can aim for the sky just as earnestly and passionately as anyone else, and sometimes, just like anyone else, we wind up floating among the moon and the stars. You just have to have the nerve to dream.

I always have and always will. How about you? Do YOU have the nerve to dream?

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