What a change!

Well the medals have all been put back into boxes, the parade has passed by and some of the facilities are being demolished. I think we can say that the events of London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games are finally over.

In my post ‘I Will be challenged AND changed’ I outlined my reactions to the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games and I feel I should come back and tell you how I feel now. The basic thing is I have been changed BUT – in quite an unexpected way.

We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to the stadium and as expected screamed until we were hoarse at the many events going on. I didn’t see the wheel chairs or the guides for the sprinters. I was not aware of the blades that the long jumpers wore or the lack of a ‘run-up’ from the javelin throwers. All I saw were athletes striving to do what they do best – compete.

Unknowingly I had been  nervous of disability with a sweet, sickly ‘There, There’ response to it but – no more!

Rather than sympathy, which can be so limiting and restrictive I’m beginning to understand. That doesn’t mean I’m anywhere near knowing about the physical impairments folks have but I do know they mean ‘different’. However, that is not different in a way that excludes them but different in the way things have to be done using different equipment and support.

This has meant that my expectations of the disabled have been raised. I no longer see someone who can’t but someone who not only can be should. That will not mean I won’t have consideration for disabilities but that I will seek alternatives rather than abandon the idea.

London 2012 has shown me that the need and use of a wheelchair or having other impairments are no excuse for not having a go and grabbing life by the neck. However, what is now needed is for the able-bodied world to present a life that is worth being grabbed! That is where we need the change!

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  • Since I am currently on the verge of becoming mobility challenged, this is very important for me – that people understand I AM different, but it does not mean I can’t do whatever needs doing, I just might need to go through a different process to get it done or do it differently.

  • Stephen

    I couldn’t agree more Julia. Wonderfully expressed, an inspirational challenge for us all.

  • Trish @ Mum's Gone To

    I think you’ve summed up many of the feelings I’ve had since watching the Paralympics – an extraordinary event that has challenged many of us to think again. Very powerful.

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