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Friday, July 12, 2013

A Day of Shame: Identity, Indifference and Humanity - Part 1

Part 1: Hollow Identities?

This July was a time I felt that I had to re-evaluate who I was and to reflect on my position on this Earth and wonder once again on where I belonged. I decided to leave FaceBook as I was growing concerned that, in spite of all the good things it offered me, I found myself too dependent on it and sometimes felt I had to project an identity that pleased the public which I felt more and more to be somewhat oppressive, encouraging a culture of impulsive reactions which didn’t promote finding time for reflection or cultivate personal growth. I felt that sometimes I had to hold back too much parts of who I was and perhaps the reason I finally left was to be found in my past.

Yes, there was another reason I decided to leave. Perhaps I realised that being on FaceBook was my way of validating who I was because I still felt like an outsider. I still felt without acknowledging it, that I wanted to be accepted and taken for who I was or what I believed in. But, then, I always ran the risk of posting something for the sake of it. I might have felt that the media had once robbed me of my right to claim an identity as an individual when I was still a child. And, yes, while I thought I got over it, the scars in my mind were still there and still bleeding.

Indeed, I found that the painful memories I had when I was still a disabled boy were still there hidden in my mind. I realised that these ‘demons’ of the past which I thought I conquered were still acting in the background. I cannot say that this was a positive experience. It was not. I made that clear in my entry and recording found on a recent post entitled “Is Virtue Its Own Reward”. For, even if it was a difficult time in my childhood, I admit that it also taught me about myself and about how society viewed me.

Many times, we often judge things in terms of good or bad.

However, life is more of an experience that is in-between. And there are many experiences in my life which may be judged as bad or terrible. The fact is that while our experiences may be a source of pain and anger, sometimes they are inevitable and necessary to learn and grow up. When I could still walk, I remember that there were many times I fell from my bicycle when I was first learning how to ride a bike. But, eventually, I had mastered the skill of riding a bike. Yes, I know that today I won’t be able to write a regular bike at least but I did benefit from learning that skill the time I could do it.

In the same way, the pain I felt as a disabled child when I realised that to the world I was just a one-dimensional boy ‘afflicted’ by impairment and a ‘burden’ and ‘sacrifice’ to society and to my best friend was when I lost my balance on the ‘bicycle’ of life and face the fact that no matter who I was or what I did, I will also risk being judge by my impairments.

From that day on, I felt I could relate to the countless times I found myself ill-at-ease when I listened to so-called grown ups making fun of people who were different than them, whether they were of a different faith, whether they were black, whether they were women or whether they were gay.

Unfortunately, I do confess that at times I did join in to make some witty remark but, at times, I remained silent. But my silence was not that better. I didn’t know I had a choice. However, the experiences I had when I realised that for society I was to be an outsider with people arrogantly thinking that they can tell my story and distort my life to the extent it sounded more like melodrama.

I just wasn’t that boy they had constructed out of their assumptions and misconceptions.

It was from then on that I must have started realising I was an outsider. Society wasn’t interested in who I really was, it preferred to create an image for the sake of increasing sales and popularity. I was like a Joseph Merrick whose physical differences were the only reason he drew the interest of the people of his time.


PART 1 - PART 2 - PART 3

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