Creativity and Disability
I feel as a disabled person I am often shut up and told to sit here like a “good little cripple” and accept the crap that is often espoused about people like myself in society and be prepared for a life that is out of my full control. For me, the physical limitations and the visible problems disabled people face economically and socially leave me uninspired, energy deficient and just truly frustrated that I’ll never be able to have a platform to air my grievances.
That’s why creativity, specifically music, art and writing, truly are a gift that I behold. The only thing that people cannot take away from me is my ability to voice my concerns, and as I grow up in the world, my concerns aren’t alleviated, they continue to rapidly increase. For me my ability, even now as my ability to play guitar is nearly inexistent (after recent developments in my health), to write down how I feel via the medium of music or just general writing, gives me an outlet to let out pressure that continues to grow.
When I have a pen or when I can record my innermost thoughts I feel like a heavyweight boxer, who has the confidence to keep fighting through what life ever throws my way. I feel invincible and I feel like I have a voice and a purpose in life, which I don’t feel in many facets and areas of my existence.
My purpose is to make my pain and existence less futile, by writing down my experiences about the world around me, and analyse its flaws but also some of its strengths too. Maybe I can use my grievances with my physical health, the world around me and governments/systems who continue to add to my stress, to help people who come after me.
I think creativity helps me deal with disability, because as much as it’s escapism, it’s also a means of giving my pain a purpose, which is a huge part of overcoming a disability.
If you give your disability positive symbolism, it makes it so much easier to contend with. Instead of my disability just being the loss of something that really was a huge part of my life, it was the birth of my creative side, and it acted as the catalyst for me seeking to utilise the forces that I could harness/utilise
Writing articles like this, writing albums (which I can still do despite losing the ability to play guitar like I once did) and speaking to fellow beautiful humans who, unfortunately, go through similar treatment, is truly great. It feels like my way into other people’s hearts and minds, and the fact that people take time to read my work and take time to hear my voice, validates an existence that I seemingly always have to justify in other contexts.
The feeling of failure that I feel surrounds most of my life, whether that is rational or not, seems lesser when I am conversing with people through my writing/work, and when I feel I have created something immutable and perpetual that could last for nigh on eternity. It is special and it’s something that gives my life far more meaning than anything else I do within the realms of my life.
However, creativity for me, goes beyond when I am awake in the light hours of the day, it extends to when I am in a state of sleep. Although, I am not operating and I’m as still (during the night) as a log, I am still hugely cognizant.
When I dream, I find a place of freedom, where nobody can touch me and I can find my peace with life. I embody an eagle, and I can fly over rivers and lakes, and get time to take in the sights around me from the highest points on the map of the world. I see things that my brain and eyes would most likely overlook on the outside world, my perception is far greater than I could ever imagine. I can paint murals on the canvas that is the world and no task seems so daunting in this life.
My aural and ocular senses evolve in the times I am not awake. I can imagine things that the deficiencies of my body stop me from seeing, but at-least I get the chance to imagine a world of freedom, vibrancy and, most importantly, peace.
In times of pain and vulnerability, the creative parts of the vast mind, can often be a much needed guardian and friend. With disability I think the biggest battle you go through is perspective and overcoming self-indoctrinated criticisms and also overcoming how harsh society is sometimes.
Although, you cannot fix these issues that hamper you, you can find a short-term release through your own creative work and the creativity that goes on in your mind, naturally.
With everything you lose, you do gain some things, and I am very grateful that I can see things in my dreams that most people don’t see in real life. I am really happy I have found a useful way of using my pain in order to build a portfolio of work that could help raise awareness and inspire others, who are going through similar, to delve into the creative fields.