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I am, generally, an observer of people.  It is built into the very essence of me.  Sometimes, without even meaning to, I zone out and watch people without even realizing I am doing it.  Other times, it’s a concerted effort and not only do I realize I am doing it, I exert plenty of energy while doing it.  I watch the way people stand.  The distance that they provide between themselves and others.  The tone of voice, the volume, the speed and force that people use when engaging others.  Are they trying to get someone to do something? To not do something? To go somewhere or try something new? Are they loving or harsh? How does the conversation change once a new participant arrives – what if they are a child or an elderly person? Does the gender of the speakers matter? It’s really an interesting study that takes me away from “me” and into others experiences of the world.

Having a physical difference, I have seen so many reactions in the world, this blog doesn’t have enough entries to to catalog them all. People stand further away.  They talk louder. And S-L-O-W-E-R.  They skip the “big ” words.  They try and think of a way that they can be kind and politically correct.  They often  do not see me as powerful or a force to be reckoned with – the best I get is brave for “overcoming my obstacles”.  I am not brave, I am simply living my life.  I am going to my job and using my brain daily because God gave it to me and a mind is a terrible thing to waste.  The most humorous part of the whole thing is that they do not realize that they, and people like them, are the biggest obstacles to me achieving what I deserve to have.  Their prejudices and fears are the ones that are throwing up the invisible fence to my choices and potentials.

The last few years have been a very interesting time of discovery for me.  Because of a life change and a move to Canada I began pursuing online work that allowed me flexibility of travel and the ability to work as long as I had my computer.  In doing so, I have been very blessed to work with a variety of companies in a variety of positions.  When working in-office, where my disability is obvious (and factors into hiring positions whether people like it or not) I have had numerous jobs as the receptionist.  Yes, one could argue that as the first point of contact, I have a large impact on a patrons experience of a business, BUT…. you know what kind of positions I’ve held when people COULDN’T SEE ME? Professional Speech Writer for a mayor and other government officials.  Human Resources Manager.  Operations Manager.  Senior Accounting clerk.

Stop for a second and really think about this and the commentary it gives on people and how we view other people.   Why is it that when you take away the body that houses me, I am management material? How does my brain suddenly become more brilliant? (It doesn’t I assure you 🙂 ).  God gave us all talents.  He gave us all skills and tasks.  If you are in a hiring capacity, I encourage you, the next time you hire someone, think of me and the points that I raise.  Just because someone has a slight limp or limited use of something does not reduce the value that someone will bring to you or your organization.  In fact, I’d venture a guess that it makes us smarter and more equipped because not being able to run around and do things gave us more time to read and stuff our brains full of facts and figures :).  It made us softer, gentler and more forgiving because we did not have a choice.  It makes us an enterprising problem solving Macguyver because for years we have already been figuring how to hold a soda and the rail with our one good hand to keep up with our friends, to tie our shoes when we could not bend over, or learning to drive because a two hour bus ride to go 10 minutes down the street is simply not acceptable. What awesome asset or creative mind  are you missing in your life simply because of the “package” that we come in?

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