Everyone knows the saying, “Laughter is the best medicine.” Living with CP, I have embraced this idea. It has become my mantra, my way of dealing with the world. I seek the humor in all situations.
It is my opinion that people do not utilize this simple idea in their daily lives. Whether they are handicapped or not, I think people are afraid to look at the humor in the struggle. They would rather separate the bad things going on in their lives from what might be funny. If you can find a humorous aspect to your struggle, it is not your struggle anymore. You have to be able to laugh at yourself.
My CP affects my arms and my legs in which neither move very much, so I am in a wheelchair and pretty much dependent upon others. That has never stopped me from doing things my own way.
In my junior year of high school, there was a talent show. This particular show was run by the students and open to anyone. This was my opportunity to shine in my own very unique way. The talent I selected: Wheelchair Interpretive Dance! Let me set the stage:
It consisted of another person moving my chair to the music. During the dance I would shout out different directions, “Go left, turn right! Faster! Spin around now!”
As the dance went on, I would yell out more and more directions and I would become angry because the person wasn’t doing it right. Finally, the pusher of my chair got so fed up that he left me in the middle of the stage while the music continued to play.
I thought this was hilarious. I also thought it would give the audience an opportunity to see someone who didn’t take their handicap too seriously which would begin to help get rid of the stigma that handicaps have and make everyone more comfortable.
After the audience’s initial reaction which consisted of silence and nervous laughter, it turned into genuine laughter once they realized what was happening. The only people who didn’t find it funny were the Special Education teachers. That was very unfortunate. The Special Ed teachers were my target audience. I wanted them to see that being handicapped isn’t the most serious thing in the world. If they understood that, it would help them interact and understand people with handicaps better.
Not only is laughter the best medicine – it is also the great equalizer.