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The Fluidity of Physical Ability Goes Beyond Disability

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Physical ability is fluid. You pour it into whichever vessel suits it best at that moment.

One day you’re running around, the next day you’re using a wheelchair to move from A to B. A few weeks later it’s crutches, then maybe a walking stick. You start walking to work again, but then you realize it’s easier on your joints to cycle. So you do that.

Popping to the post box at the end of the road, you walk because you don’t get joint pain over short distances. Your friends live miles away so you use a car to drive that distance. Your parents live abroad so you fly to visit them; you use an airplane because you don’t have wings.

Everybody’s physical ability dances around on an enormous scale. For some people that dance is long and slow; for others it might be quick but with a regular rhythm. And for some it’s more freeform, with sudden unexpected fast bits.

My dance goes a little like this:

Sometimes I walk unaided.

Sometimes I walk supported by a frame and three wheels.

Sometimes I sit on my mum’s lap while she drives us around in an electric wheelchair.

Sometimes I drive my car.

Sometimes I go on a train.

Sometimes I use a wheelchair.

If you take a moment to think, sometimes everybody and nobody is disabled.

Physical disability is fluid. You pour it into whichever vessel suits it best at that moment.

Originally published: October 1, 2018
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