[this is an extract from a mail to my pen friend]

Dear Lipsa,

I woke up today morning ready to reply to your mail. Then something that happened here invoked the biggest insecurity in me, distracting me for a while.

I am at a friend’s place and in morning, his mom prayed that “There are many with disabled children, thank you God for giving us healthy children”. I won’t blame her – it’s a common thing that nearly everyone thanks God for though I logically disagree with the idea of “thanking God for some harm that never happened to [me]”.

As I have told you, I am partly disabled. The first thing that ran in my mind is if my mother will be able to say the same. How hurt she would have been if she heard someone pray like that the days she was still syncing in to the fact that I am partially blind. I don’t know if my friend read my mind – he intervened then and there and told her not to do it.

My disability is one of my deepest insecurities, which I am in a constant struggle to overcome. I fear it. Subconsciously my eyes tear up when I am requested to explain why and how I became almost blind in one eye, things I can’t do because of it etc. The attempt to overcome it so far were all futile.

It’s deep-rooted, and that makes it a hard thing to get rid of. I’ve been called “kannu pottan (blind)”, “cyclops” (Greek mythological giants with one eye) many times while I was in school, though it was for fun, it did hurt me. You might understand why I cried when the person who stood up for me that day and told them not to do it passed away two years back. He was and is always a hero in my eyes.

On a bright side, I realised calling a weak person “dumb”, as everyone does in our society is actually also referring a real deaf and dumb person as weakling. I have been, ever since the revelation trying to stop using such words in my day today conversations.

The only thing that helped me a bit so far is looking at the bright side of it – how it helped me develop some of my good skills, and understand the need of someone who might not have had any exposure to encouragement much as me or those who have much higher disadvantages than me.

While in proVISION ASIA, even in most of them who claimed to have overcome this fear seemed to hide this inmost fear, insecurity in them, which popped up at times.

I must actively start hunting this insecurity down now I think – I want to root out it’s origins!

I hope I am not boring you – this is something you’d notice in almost every disabled person’s eyes the next time you see them, though they may sound confident enough to conquer the world.

It helps a lot to speak up about one’s fear. In fact, I think this is the first step towards conquering it.

[and some more content, irrelevant to the topic of this post].

Write soon!

Jesse P Francis

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