About what it means to be “handicapped”

So, Alon and I were talking about what it means to be “handicapped.”

This term in itself to me is not derogatory.

I have a friend who in her 50’s backpacked the entire Pacific Crest trail, which is over 1,000 miles. On parts of her hike, she had groups of people who joined her. One group was a group of people who had various disabilities/handicaps such as amputees, etc. They backpacked over 100 miles of the trail and it was an empowering experience for them. It was a “milestone”. When I described this group of people as handicapped, Alon was very direct and open about saying that he doesn’t see himself as handicapped. Me neither.

I reflected and opined that perhaps when he first had his stroke, had I known him back then, I would have understood him as handicapped. He had lost the ability to speak, the right side of his body was paralyzed, he had encountered a certain amount of memory loss, etc.

Alon has rehabilitated himself. He is brilliant, witty and uses wonderfully dynamic words to express himself. He drives, he is very active and does cool things like tango, ecstatic dancing, contact improv, sticky hands and Aikido.

Leave a Comment