I found this analogy of what it means to have a disability thought-provoking. It comes from Emily Ladau’s Demystifying Disability p31: “Let’s think of disability identity as a pizza. The crust is the foundation of who you are—your actual being. While every pizza has a crust, it’s the toppings that make each individual pizza what it is. There can be infinite combinations of toppings. And even though millions of pizzas are made with the same toppings, no two slices are exactly alike. Having or not having a disability might seem like the most straightforward of the factors that influence what disability means to a person, but it’s actually not quite that simple.”
Of course, we’ll excuse Ladau for her speaking of having a disability as one’s identity. For us who are Christians, our identity is in Christ thanks to being sealed in Him through baptism. Still, the point is made since being blind, deaf, quadriplegic, etc. is a thread in the fabric that makes up each of us. There are times where our disabilities matter in what accommodations we make for work or school or at home. There are times where we talk about everyday stuff like sports, theology, macroeconomics, or the prices of gas around town. At those times, we don’t necessarily interject disability-related remarks. I’ve known teachers who are blind who simply teach English, history, math, and so forth just like any other teacher who’s sighted. When I was working for the Fed., folks on the other end of the phone line would have no clue at all that I’m blind even as was setting up installment agreements or giving warnings of enforcement action. On my end, of course, with one ear having JAWS screen reading software chattering away about what my monitor showed, my accommodations made themselves quite evident. Plus, folks walking down the aisle in the middle of cubicalville saw my fingers traversing the refreshable braille display I used.
So often, our disabilities become what we make of them and that in itself isn’t always black and white. I’m not the greatest at crossing lighted four-lane streets though I can in a pinch. But, put a job for me to do on the computer, and I’m doing that pretty well. Some folks who are blind rock out when it comes to street crossings or cooking fancy meals while they don’t get the internet so well.
As Ladau says, no two slices of pizza are exactly alike. And thank God for that!