Gianna Jessen rocks my world! On Twitter the other night she said:
“i write about the realities of limping through this world, and the pain of it. but what’s funny is, i feel sexy as hell. so i’m still on the painful road, but i don’t believe i’m ugly anymore. and i believe this road of much sorrow will grant me a tender heart. that is what i want. a funny, tender, wide, heart.
one reason i vocalize these things is, so often handicapped people are viewed as having little to no sexuality about them. i refuse to let myself be thrown into the “special” category. but many handicapped people are put there, and it’s no sex for them. just a life of inspiration.”
I understand exactly what Jessen means here.
There is an “otherness” to people with disabilities in the eyes of the “able-bodied.” In my experience, we are either
- a.) looked down on, pitied and even encouraged to end our lives when we feel miserable about our condition or
- b.) held up as inspirational icons for showing the world that we can be happy despite the incredible suffering we must endure.
Rarely are we seen as just regular people who have or are capable of the same emotional/carnal needs and wants as any other “able-bodied” human being.
Like Gianna, I talk a lot about life with a disability, often in terms of accepting suffering and physical weakness. But, such a life is not all sorrow and suffering and coming to terms with all that we cannot do.
Most of us live very “normal”, happy, active lives – lives that include the joys of love, marriage, sex and babies…or they can when someone is willing to see the real person and not just the disability.
See: Love, Sex and Spinal Cord Injury
Surprise! People With Disabilities Can Have Babies and Be Good Parents
Yes, I too have encountered the “inspirational icon” phenomenon, but I’ve successfully dodged that bullet simply because I have a very, very dark sense of humor that can slice through and disturb even the bubbliest of adversaries.
Me: “Oh yes, Jane Doe, bearing my cross is quite difficult. For example, when I had surgery to correct my scoliosis, the anesthetic failed. So there I was, paralyzed, the warm dribble of my blood tracing the small of my back, completely unable to alert the doctors to the hellish inferno of pain unleashed upon my quivering and frail body. But I always try and look at the positive in life. The ice cream afterwards was good.”
Jane Doe: “…”
Me: “Nah, I’m just joshing you! The anesthetic failed, but I didn’t feel any pain at all. I was conscious though. Was I scared? Only for a few minutes. Then I got interested hearing all the doctors talking. Then I got bored. It was a long surgery.”
Yes, I so totally did that to someone! And what I said was true, well, the second version of it. The look the person had after hearing the first version was awesomeness incarnate! I got them laughing and shocked them out of Hallmark mode. Did the same thing to Deacon Joe at my church.
Mother: “So, after his spine surgery, he couldn’t walk.”
*Deacon looks like someone shot Old Yellow*
Me: “But then again, I couldn’t walk before it either.”
Good times. Good times.
Anyway, regarding dating…sexy is just not an adjective that describes me. Even excluding my disability. I’m the minivan of men, not the sports car. I’m chunky but reliable, and very family friendly. But I don’t accelerate that fast and I hold an almost unnatural amount of gas, which is released at an incredible rate. At least I’ve got a GPS–direction in life–unlike the trucks who are only interested in off-roading through places no one wants to go anyway.
I agree with your point about the word “sexy”. So I’ll say you are very attractive in a theology-of-the-body kind of way.
Does that work?
TOBesness? Somehow, that doesn’t sound right.
At the risk of sounding too “rated G”: you’re really *very* pretty, and you have a personality and a personal depth that other people would (forgive the phrase) kill for; any guy would be trebly blessed to be married to you, and only the blind or insane could think otherwise! (I say this as a happily married man, mind you! 🙂 )