Today I attended this month’s Seattle Weaving Guild meeting. Obviously the guild has nothing to do with bipolar disorder, it is an organization for people interested in weaving in the Seattle area. Basically, myself and a couple hundred little old ladies who appear to have been members since the 60’s and 70’s.
Every month there is a presentation on something related to weaving, and this week a woman spoke about her journey to create a show about weaving for a local public access station.
Before the general presentation there was another short presentation by one of the guild members who was born both blind and with cerebral palsy. She’s a very remarkable woman, and despite those particular hurdles she is an avid weaver and just retired. She told us about her childhood and how nobody knew what to do with her, and about having a terrible time trying to find a job until she had a social worker who helped her find a job where her talents were appreciated. All of this described with intense honesty and with a great amount of humor.
“Don’t live your life based on what other people tell you that you can’t do,” she said.
(Meanwhile, I’m apparently the only one in the room crying and attempting to do so casually as not to draw attention to myself).
The presentation really struck a chord with me. The last 8 months or so I’ve been living my life with the label of being disabled and I’ve just re-entered the workplace with that word still looming in my mind.
People don’t know I have a disability just looking at me (at least most of the time). I don’t require a wheelchair. I can see perfectly fine. But just because people can’t always see it doesn’t mean I don’t have a medical condition that is completely disruptive to my life.
I am very grateful for people like this woman who can bring awareness to others, and equally as grateful to the Seattle Weaving Guild for giving her a platform to do so.