I am going back on disability. I never wanted to say that sentence, much less write it. However, reality is a harsh master at times, and if there is one thing that has never been in the same room with bigotry, it’s reality.
Long ago, I learned that life happens to us whether we like it or not. What was it John Lennon wrote years ago? “Life is what happens to us while we’re busy making other plans.” So true.
If memory serves, I was on disability from 1985 to 1992. In 1992, after my mother committed suicide, I threw my all into getting off the disability rolls and succeeded. Although, when I told Social Security I wanted my benefits to stop I threw them into such a tizzy I began to think I’d asked them to explain Einstein’s theory of relativity by mistake.
My focus now it to do my best to make sure certain things in my life remain stable and strong: first and foremost, my sobriety (without that, all else perishes); my ability to help others by bringing them a message of hope that is based on real truths with real strategies, not just the kind of pie in the sky bullshit; my writing; and my ability to advocate for anybody who is being denied the right to be who they are safely in the world we all live in.
Human rights covers everyone and equal rights belongs to everyone – and I mean everyone: people who are gay and lesbian; people who live with disabilities; people from every religion; people who are poor; people who are rich; blacks, whites, Latinos, Asians, Arabs, Israelis – everyone. Everyone.
You can rest assured I will keep writing too.
I am closing in on the end of my memoir and I am going to send it to some agents. If any of you can suggest a reputable one, let me know. I may well send it directly to some publishers. I’d be open to any suggestions on that front as well. I have two novels churning around and I recently decided to write a book about what it has been like to work in the field of brain injury for nearly 15 years.
I’ve gotten some interesting feedback on the book last mentioned. Some people are thrilled and some are, well, worried, and some are scared. All I can say is I have no targets. My intention is to write it honestly and, as the saying goes, let the chips fall where they may.
Like any field I suppose, the field of brain injury has some extraordinary people working in it. There are company owners and management folks who are great. There are , you may be surprised to hear, people in the government, in the regulatory agencies, who are also great.
However, there are those in the aforementioned categories that belong on the other side of the coin from great, the darker side, if you will. There are those driven by greed and the lust for power. There are others, too many others, who descend on a badly wounded population of people with the sole intent intent of controlling them and manipulating them, in some cases through intimidation, so they can keep them in their programs or in their facilities to make money off them. Sadly, many of our badly wounded in life brothers and sisters find themselves herded into socially-approved corrals where their vulnerabilities coupled with the design of these corrals makes it a near certainty their rights and dignity will be taken away. I have witnessed this and fought this and paid the price for doing so over the years. I am paying the price even today. But this is something I am willing to give my life for. And if that happens down the road, I’ll be in good company.
You need to know that while my pen fiercely abhors dishonesty and distortion, its loyalty to honesty and clarity is unflinching and ferocious. There are some in “high places” today who go through their days wedded to the sadly mistaken belief that they are invulnerable. Wrong. Remember what I said at the beginning of this essay? Reality can be a harsh master. Always it is a just master; it spares no one.
Over the years, we have all seen many of the so-called mighty toppled from toppled from their perches, their eyes glazed over with disbelief, their expressions seem to say, “How could this happen to me? I was in my impenetrable fortress?” We’ve all seen it. Their faces etches in bewilderment, shock and dismay, their tormented expressions crying out, “Poor me! Poor me!”… Oh well…
But for now, it is back onto disability for me. As time goes by the impact of the damage I live with from the shooting changes. However, there is one thing that will never change: my unflinching commitment to doing all I can to advocate for every person’s right to be who he or she is safely in the world in which we all live in.