Last week I sat riveted watching the first two seasons of an HBO production called Game of Thrones. This is a saga set in the middle ages about warring kingdoms. Of course these kingdoms contain warring families. Among these families is a rich and powerful line called the Lannisters.
These people are richer than the gods. One of them, Tyrion (The Imp) Lannester, is played by actor Peter Dinklage. Peter has dwarfism. The character he plays is philosophical about his difference. He explains that the things he does are to make up for what he realizes he lacks. Yet he doesn’t feel sorry for himself (much). He is a realist. He wears his dwarfism like a badge of honor while recognizing that he has limitations and that people will see him a certain way and there is nothing he can do about it.
This being said, he still acts like a Lannister. He marches into taverns ordering food, wine and women. He never backs down from bullies and by the end of season two he is leading a war.
In the play Side Show the conjoined twins Daisy and Violet Hilton never lamented their condition. They in stead felt sorry for the loneliness of the rest of the world. The sisters sing a song about feeling sorry for children they saw walking alone. They rejoiced in the fact that they would always have each other. They also sang a song about being stared at and being the proverbial fish out of water. “Like some odd exotic creature, on display inside a zoo…”
This is all true. I also have these feelings. But it does not mean I lament my albinism.
When I see and read about people who are different such as those with physical and mental disabilities I always notice that these people don’t lament their differences, they lament the way other people treat them.
Black and Brown people and LGBT people certainly don’t rage at the gods because they are who they are, they rage at others for treating them as if they were children of lesser gods.
Mainstream, non-disabled people all too often assume that we who are different are angry because we are different. They don’t get it that it is their offensive and ignorant behavior that enrages and depresses us. They can’t entertain the thought that we are fine the way we are.
(I want to note that true illnesses like cystic fibrosis are killers and treatment is desperately needed.)
Sure there are some people who have been brainwashed into thinking that they were born wrong. They look for a cure for their “birth defect.” They have been fooled into thinking that they are sick because they have albinism or whatever. This is sad.
People who don’t know any better see us in a less than favorable light. It is something we can’t do much about. We have no control over the way others see us. It shouldn’t be our concern. All we can do is be the best we can be, and not spend any time worrying about how others see us.
So the next time someone points out your difference don’t curse or blame the gods. At least don’t curse them for you being you. Ask them why they saw fit to put so many ignorant people on the Earth.