Why I Relate to 'Sherlock' as a Person With a Disability


I’ve never been able to hide my disability. I’ve never wanted to hide behind it either.

I walk with aids just like Sherlock Holmes walks with Watson down Baker Street. I wear ankle braces like the famous detective wears a deer stalker. My poor balance is not an option; my abnormal gait is not a disguise.

Cerebral palsy is not a coat I can shrug off any time I feel like it. My condition is a thread woven through the very fabric of my being. I’ll never have the luxury of leaving my canes behind in a London restaurant. I’ll always be the patient, never the doctor. That’s life.

But they say that a reader lives a thousand lives and I’m inclined to say the same about a TV viewer. Acceptance is a wonderful thing, always hard-won. Inclusion is a lovely thing, but so is respite.

As Watson’s psychosomatic limp disappeared, I ran with him. I chased a black cab carrying a criminal. I solved the aluminum crutch case too.

This week’s episode of “Sherlock” saw the brief introduction of one Faith Smith. She was a reflection of John, the Afghan war veteran with his post-traumatic stress disorder. Unfortunately, I identified quite strongly with this particular client, limping along, living in isolation, with her fair share of scars. But my disability is a long-standing part of my identity, not merely a temporary alias. I’m not Sherlock’s sister.

I’m just a fan, getting by with a little help from my friends.

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