Nancy Mairs, the author of ‘on being a cripple, has multiple sclerosis, a condition that interferes with the nervous system, therefore, impairing the functioning of many body organs. The disease made her lame but did not take from her the spirit of doing certain things such as finishing her education and tutoring.Mairs thinks that it is not up to the society to describe people in whatever way and with whichever names they deem fit. She points out that people should be allowed to have identifiers for themselves. According to Nancy, the various names that the society sees as decent and use to refer to crippled people are the pure waste of time and a clear indication that the society is not willing to appreciate and accept this condition as much as they are willing to accept death. She would like herself to be referred to as crippled. Crippled to her is straightforward and is the clear truth about her condition. In the midst of all these, she says that she is not happy with her condition as crippled but does not hate herself. She only hates the disease. The paper is set to discuss Nancy Mairs perception in regards to how one sees oneself and how others see them. The opposing side of this attitude is also to be discussed.
Being handicapped, disabled or even differently able are some of the phrases that have been used to refer to disabled people. Even though they have been sought to be soft and friendly, it may not be the case on the side of these individuals. According to Nancy Mairs, such references portray pity and sympathy from the users. The individual crippling gets to feel that they are less worthy. Nancy insists on saying that she would rather be referred to as crippled as opposed to the other complicated English phrases. Crippled gives a clear explanation of her abnormal condition which cannot be hidden through words. In the view of oneself, people should always learn, to be honest with their self. One should know facts and not assume that other people’s references define them. Phrases such as differently able should not make one think that they are no longer lame or disabled. Being true to self-helps one appreciate each and every part of their being and enables them to cope with the daily challenges.
Even though other people’s opinions count, the way one see themselves has much effect on n individual. Amidst all the frustrations that come with the disability, one can still choose to live a happy life. Just the way Mairs accepted the various facts in her life and could not stop doing the little things that make her happy, things such polishing her nails and having merry with her friends. It requires much effort to ensure self-comfort. The society and the other people’s opinion of us have the effect on our well-being especially if you are crippled. The society tries to every means to see perfection in everyone. The disabled are expected to just adjust in their capacity so as to be like others in the society. Nancy Mairs describes how the society dictates the manner in which people wear and behave. A crippled is therefore expected to work extremely hard for a comfortable survival. They are for example expected to wear smiles regardless of the challenges.
However difficult it might be to change other people’s opinions about you, it is not impossible. Bold enough, one can stand for who and what they think they are. Others can stop dictating what they are. Regardless of the fact that the society has established individual names used for the disabled persons, Nancy Mairs stood for herself, decided on what she wanted to be called and even wrote about it. She decided that she did not want to be fooled by the English phrases put up by the society to try to hide up the truth about her condition. Anyone can therefore change and dictate how they want to be seen in the community. The physical status and appearances should therefore not be hindrances to what we feel we are. Being vocal about your opinion of yourself is the best way to change people’s perception of you.
However, as much as a person should have the liberty to decide on how they should be referred, they should not go against the societal norms which include respect and decency. Even though Nancy Mairs chose to be called crippled, it is against the moral obligations of the society to use such word on her. The society tries to show that such people should be identified with certain decent phrases that do not make them appear different from the others. The fact that such polite words are used does not necessarily mean that they are being looked down. The thought that such soft words are used to hide her condition is also baseless, bearing the fact that the disabled are very aware of their status and cannot be cheated about it. If anyone were to choose their references, then there won’t be universal recommendations for such people. Everyone would want a given reference for him or herself. As much as Mairs prefer being called crippled, another disabled person would prefer the phrases handicapped or even physically challenged. It is therefore not right to assume the intended purposes of those decent names as Nancy Mairs insinuated.
In conclusion, the author of ‘on being crippled’ had every right to present her opinion. Sharing her thoughts on how others should view an individual, using her case as an example. Nancy points out the fact that how an individual him or herself is critical. Mairs perception was sentimental with no backup to justify her facts. She insisted on the fact that the society was trying to fool them by changing the actual reference of their crippled condition. She, however, did not agree to call others crippled, a fact that leaves her discussion with more questions than answers. It is for a fact the role of the society to ensure a peaceful and healthy co-existence of everyone within the society. The reason for the universal usage of the descent phrases to refer to people with disability is one of the ways made by the community to ensure that everyone is accommodated and feel cared. Mairs thoughts are therefore opposed to this perspective. The idea that the society tries to fool individuals is baseless and should therefore not be the reason for anyone to refuse to be called handicapped, disabled or physically challenged.