For much of the quarter, the main focus of this class has been about ’embodied’ experiences. The word ’embodied’ entails an experience that you have within the body that you reside in, or at least thats how i have taken to make meaning out of it thus far. But this week’s readings are about how to deal with a physical disability with the body and how a person can still find a ‘voice’ and agency in the world. I found these readings to be very eye opening in that i do not know anyone close to me with a ‘disability’ at the current moment in my life, however my mother was ‘disabled’ at one point in her life.
My mother was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer which ultimately took her life. Although we have not discussed this particular disability in class or in the readings this week, it was a disability in that it disabled her from being who she was before she had cancer. My mother was always a very physically active person who loved to talk to anyone who would listen. When she was going thru treatment, the chemo and radiation therapy made her so tired and weak that she was often sick and could not do much more than sit in her chair and read. I found Mairs piece to be very interesting and eye-opening in that she talked about the mind/body split. Mairs says; “we say we ‘have’ a body not that we ‘are’ a body.” I think in our society we take our bodies for granted a lot of the time and do not appreciate them. We disconnect who we ‘are’ inside with what we physically reside in. Eventually, the disease took a turn for the worst and because it was in her brain it cut off certain aspects of her communication functions. I relate my mom’s story to our topic this week because her ’embodied’ experience and ‘self’ was dramatically different from before she had cancer to during her treatment. She was also in a lot of pain towards the end and it became more of a blessing when she eventually passed because then i at least knew she wasn’t in any pain anymore.
This week’s readings have reminded me just how lucky and fortunate i am to reside in a body that is currently healthy. With everything that could have gone wrong pertaining to me being born, and if just one gene or chromosome was abnormal, i could have been born differently. I am reminded to take care of the one body that i do have because it is all i have in order to survive. I believe that the core of who a person is resides in their mind/spirit and if they are a ‘good’ person. However, our vehicle in life is our body so it is just as important as our mind. People with physical disabilities can still achieve agency though through writing and other forms of creative outlets to express themselves.