To Thine Ownself Be True
You know, I was thinking today of how I often mention my disability. It would be more accurate to say that I have a learning difference, which accurately describes the issue of being able to learn material in a certain way that doesn't happen to be the accepted way. I used to refer to myself this way but switched to the term "disability" in high school when people who had disabilities were being made fun of and I didn't want to perpetuate this tendency by looking as if I were trying to pretend I didn't have what society defined as a learning disorder. To me, it was part of demonstrating that the stereotypes held about such students at our school were/are wrong. Much of what "disability" entails is not bad, it is only a disability because society says so. LGBT people can certainly identify with this, because the medical community referred to LGBT individuals as having a disorder until the 1970s.
People with my learning disorder (specifically called nonverbal learning disorder, which can be researched by referring to a link I posted on my 'cut the crap' thread or by googling NVLD), tend to be more honest, frank, genuine, and innocent than the average person. While this can cause friction with social norms, I believe that all of these are good characteristics that are very difficult for most people to develop and nurture. For NVLD individuals, these things come naturally. People with NVLD are also highly intelligent writers, readers and thinkers, even if we may get our directions mixed up or have to think carefully when interpreting social cues. Since everyone has issues with something, I feel that the advantages and disadvantages conferred upon me by my intellect are quite natural within the context of human frailty. For whatever reason, our society is more accepting of people who lie than of people who can't tell right from left, but that really doesn't make my challenges any more extradinary than those of someone who comes from a broken home, or experiences discrimination because of having a different color skin, sexual orientation, etc.
In fact, I am proud of my "disability." I think it makes me unique and that God made me this way because I have certain jobs that he wants me to perform, including reaching out to others and helping to make the world a more accepting place for everyone by sharing my experiences. I hope I can do this with a sense of self respect and love.
Is there anything in your own life that might conventionally be considered a disadvantage but that actually impacts what you feel God is calling you to do?