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My truth about being special.

October 30, 2015 • eparkin1208

“If an ordinary person is silent, it may be a tactical maneuver. If a writer is silent, he is lying.”–Jaroslav Seifert

I have been debating rather to write this for months. But today, I found it could not be denied. I ran across Jaroslav Seifert’s quote and he threw down the gauntlet and challenged me. When he said “If a writer is silent, he is lying,” what he told me is “Erik, when you write, write your truth.” Well, okay, I’ll do that. But in order to do that, I have to look deep inside myself and think about things that I don’t like to think about a whole lot, confront feelings I’d rather not admit to having, and write words that, were I to voice them aloud, would leave a bitter taste in my mouth. Before I write another word Let me first elucidate that I write these words to illicit neither pity nor adoration. I write these word because, as Seifert so eloquently reminded me, they are my truth.

I want to talk about being labeled, and how the labels that are attached to us can affect our lives. I’ve been labeled all my life: Spastic, Gimp, etc. These labels greatly contributed to my ambivalent feelings about my disability. But the word I was labeled the most is “Special.” Everybody said I have “Special Needs.”

The word “Special,” is a homonym that can vary its meaning depending on what society thinks about it. Being labeled special can either garner admiration or pity depending on the thoughts of the person who says it, and the person who receives the label. It can elevate, or lower people and influence their personal truth. The truth that Siefert compels me to set down here is that I don’t like being considered “Special.” I don’t like having a disability, or using a wheelchair I’d rather not have “Special Needs.” I also know that they’re a part of me, something with which I must contend.

Here’s how I try to think of myself. I’m a disabled man, yes, but I am a man first. I want what men want, I think what men think, and I feel what men feel, that doesn’t make me special. I am equal to anybody else. I don’t want to be special I want to be equal. I do what people do. I make choices and live with the consequences, but it doesn’t make me special, it makes me equal to everybody else, that is what I want to be.

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I Do Not Understand

October 13, 2015 • eparkin1208

Why do we write stories? A story is simply a way to explain things that we don’t understand. I don’t understand many things about my life. I do not understand why I was born with a disability I don’t understand why I was born different. I have read The Bible. Specifically, The Book of Job. Job was written so that people could understand how a loving God could allow the righteous to suffer. Job was a righteous man after all, so, why should he suffer?

Job found himself in the unlikely position of being the fulcrum between the holy and profane; good and evil. After losing his family and possessions. Job asks why and throws down his gauntlet, “Let the Almighty answer me!” he angrily proclaims. God confronts him and says “Where was thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me if you have understanding.” (Job 38:4) When this exchange is finished, Job realizes he’s overstepped his bounds, repents and begs forgiveness, which, of course, he is granted.

So, what is the moral of this story? What are we meant to take from it? Perhaps they’re some things we are not meant to understand. Perhaps our understanding is only shaped through our experience of questioning and wondering, and growing. If we knew all the answers, what need would we have to question, learn, grow, evolve?

So, how must I deal with things I can’t understand? Well, I write. I’m writing a story about an Elf in a world of humans. He is a square peg trying to fit into a round hole often I feel the same. I go through what he goes through, yet, even with all his hardships, he perseveres and usually accomplishes his goal. If he can do that, perhaps I can too. There will always be things we do not understand, but we must persevere in the shadow of ignorance.

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Burning Talent

October 4, 2015 • eparkin1208

Victor Frankl is one of my most favorite thinkers and Philosophers. The basic truth of his philosophy is that the last human freedom, perhaps the only human freedom, is that we van choose to react to the things that happen to us. because of my physical circumstance. It is often difficult for me to remember that I do have control over some things, most notably, my attitude and demeanor toward the events and people around me, for it is that control, which sculpts and shapes my character as a human being.

As a writer, Frankl has proven to be of value to me in another way, he said, “What gives light must endure burning.” I have often hard of light being used as for talent. Light burns out and talent can do likewise. However, talent cannot grow it is used and nurtured so there’s a risk of burn out. I guess its true that nothing is achieved without risk. Yet another of life’s paradoxes Frankel was fond of pointing out. Hopefully my talent can be nurtured a long time before burning out.

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