A blog post by Meriah Nichols post published October 16, 2014: “The Power of Narrative: StoryCorps & The Disability Visibility Project.”
The stories of minority groups are often told by others, others who may be allies and who want to empower the people within the group, but who are not actually wearing the shoe.
Within the disability community, stories are told strong and loud by parents through their blogs and articles, stories meant to be a part of the disability narrative, stories that are those of an ally that seeks justice, access and equal opportunity. Or other things like inspiration. Or they endeavor to show the value of their child, battle prejuidce and stereotypes.
As wonderful and needed as these stories are, they are not the stories of those who are wearing the shoes. They are the stories of those who have tried them on for a short time by virtue of walking next to a person who is wearing the shoes.
We need the personal narrative of a life lived with a disability. Allies will walk a million miles next to us and never know how it truly feels to wear our shoes. That’s the good in the shoe as well as the bad. It’s more than the apparent callouses and the blisters and the ache that the shoes may give us; it’s the intagible and inexplicable beauty of the lightness of the shoe as well. How softly it might tread, the richness of a blurred world that seems a dreamscape. Or it’s the perspective of seeing the world waist-high, the wind in your hair as you roll swiftly forward, feeling the power of nature at your back. It’s the lens that we with disabilities place over our experiences, because while disability is so many things, at its essence, it is a way of experiencing the world. It’s a way of seeing, hearing, feeling, touching, sensing, connecting, moving, thinking.
We need these stories, the stories of our lives, stories of our experiences. We need our personal narratives out there…If you have a disability, I can’t encourage you more to GO. Sign yourself up. Share your story. Get your voice – your review of your shoes – out there.
If you are an ally: of you are a parent, sister, friend, lover, child, auntie, boss or whomever to someone with a disability, please share the news of Story Corps and the Disability Visibility Project.
Help us get our voices heard.
We need our stories.
For the full blog post:
Meriah Nichols blogs about Deaf culture, Down Syndrome, travel and disability. Her blog, A Little Moxie, covers ‘stories related to one travel-hungry deaf mother finding her way through parenting three children, one with Down syndrome.’
Meriah’s A Little Moxie blog: http://www.meriahnichols.com