Have you ever stopped to take a second and look around to see who is in the seats that surround you when in class? I don’t mean just a lazy spin around in the chair, but to really look at your peers. Some people are just the typical college goers. However, if you pay closer attention, you’ll notice that among your classmates are probably some anxious, disabled or chronically ill students trying to shelter themselves from your gaze, afraid of your judgment. To you, this may just seem silly. Shielding away a mobility aid, a scar, maybe parts of the body that is affected by a specific kind of treatment, or so many other things that could make a person feel unwanted attention.
It is true that students who are seen as chronically ill and disabled often don’t want the stares and unwanted attention. Most of the time, we are told to “deal with it,”either in a gentle or in a more to-the-point way. Society tells us that we must expect the stares, the whispers, the questions from our peers and even sometimes the cruel jabs that we get. “It’s just how kids are these days, don’t listen to them!” If only it were that easy.
In our own classrooms, the students fighting to try to gain acceptance from their peers, make friends and form meaningful relationships are still struggling to accept themselves and who they are. Often, disabled/ill students are too nervous to participate in social activities due to the fear of being shunned or ignored, thinking they are too different or can’t keep up with their able-bodied peers. These kinds of actions are what sends those already sad students into yet another whirlwind of “why’s”: “Why can’t I be like them? Why can’t I be normal? Why am I like this?” It’s okay to kick, scream, cry and shout about that once in a while – it's healthy to get that out.
Many days and nights are spent with broken hearts, trying to mend and perfect ourselves to society's eyes so that we can get the affection, companionship and acceptance we so desperately desire from our peers.
Of course, all that worry is in vain. All of us must realize that we are already perfect. There already is perfection in imperfection. It would be such a boring world if people didn’t have flaws, imperfections, quirks and talents. Even our disabilities and illnesses make us who we are, and add on to what makes us unique. If you want to think of it in a different light, you’re the main character of your own story.
So, what’s the moral of the story? Our imperfections are our perfections. So, don’t cry. You’re perfect.