Friday, 18 November 2016
Guest Post: The Living Prison by Adsum T. Ravenhill
This awe-inspiring piece, reflecting on life with a disability, comes from my friend Adsum who previously wrote about the "Class" premiere which we attended together.
I used to be a pessimist through and through. No positivity was allowed to permeate the solid steel walls I had built up around the perceived logic in my mind. I saw it as a fortress, I now know it was a prison. How do I know this? Because I now know prisons all too well, because I live in one.
My prison isn't made of thick concrete and barred doors and windows, but instead of over sensitive skin, wasting joints and muscles, surrounded by rivers of fire and burning ash where nerves had once been.
From the prison courtyard, the place I am allowed to go when I am freed somewhat by my little white pills, I get to see the sky, see the world. It isn't true freedom but I am learning to enjoy what I can. Over time those pills will grow in number and some of them will become long cold needles. The courtyard will shrink and the grass will begin to die, the clouds will overwhelm the blue sky and rain will begin to flood my wotld, my lungs struggling to find breath.
These are not the words of a pessimist but a realist. I do not pretend that all will be okay, nor do I choose to spend what time I have left mourning the loss of the time I spent within the mansion that was my youthful healthy body. I do wish I had been given the opportunity then to see the world as I do now, but it is no matter, there is nothing I can do to change it.
Many options are closed to me, I will never run, I will never drive, there will come a day when I need help to do the most simple of tasks and I know that I will never be able to call a child my son or daughter and I will never watch as a vision of beauty walks down the aisle, making her way towards my side. I have accepted my position, I have understood that these things are a part of my fate and are members of the crowd of individual truths that make up my destiny. They are however NOT the only members and I will refuse to let them be the headline acts in the story of my life.
I promise to use whatever strength I have to cast myself in the roles of teacher, mentor, uncle, brother, friend. I will strive to work on this mind, putting it daily to a whetting stone and filling it with knowledge and using my experiences, not to grow sour, not to become disheartened and weak, but to make the acquisition of wisdom, understanding and humility my goal.
Above all else I vow to push on forward until my dying day, to try with all my might to help those who live in mansions to enjoy what they have, to honour that gift. To those in prison I will seek to meet them in the courtyard, our shared experiences strengthening us further as we make our way down this path of life together.
May I one day be remembered as being the one to have made the cane a symbol of hope and power, instead of frailty.
I long to see the heroes that don't wear capes, but instead ones that use canes.