Quotable – @AimeeMullins on the Power of Words #Disability #Adversity

Yes, this is an old speech, but I thought it’d be great to put in an excerpt as this week’s “Quotable.”

“I’d like to share with you a discovery that I made a few months ago while  writing an article for Italian Wired. I always keep my thesaurus handy whenever  I’m writing anything, but I’d already finished editing the piece, and I realized  that I had never once in my life looked up the word “disabled” to see what I’d  find.

Let me read you the entry. “Disabled,” adjective: “crippled, helpless,  useless, wrecked, stalled, maimed, wounded, mangled, lame, mutilated, rundown,  worn-out, weakened, impotent, castrated, paralyzed, handicapped, senile,  decrepit, laid-up, done-up, done-for, done-in cracked-up, counted-out; see also  hurt, useless and weak. Antonyms, healthy, strong, capable.” I was reading this  list out loud to a friend and at first was laughing, it was so ludicrous, but I  just I’d just gotten past mangled, and my voice broke, and I had to stop and  collect myself from the emotional shock and impact that the assault from these  words unleashed.

You know, of course this is my raggedy old thesaurus. I’m thinking this must  be an ancient print date, right. But, in fact, the print date was the early  1980′s, when I would have been starting primary school and forming an  understanding of myself outside the family unit and as related to the other kids  and the world around me. And, needless to say, thank God I wasn’t using a  thesaurus back then. I mean, from this entry, it would seem that I was born into  a world that perceived someone like me to have nothing positive whatsoever going  for them, when, in fact, today I’m celebrated for the opportunities and  adventures my life has procured.”

-Aimee Mullins, actress, athlete, model