If you could hide one part of yourself what would it be? I think everyone has that one thing in real life that they’d rather not have to deal with on a daily basis, what if temporarily you can live without it? Hello once again readers. Before I delve into the topic of this post I have to admit to a guilty pleasure, I like to watch the reality TV show Big Brother. Don’t judge me please. Just in case you’re not familiar with the show, the premise is 16 people are locked in the house together and go through crazy challenges to eliminate each other. At the end when only two remain, those that are eliminated vote on the winner. That is an oversimplification but you get the idea.
I’ve always liked the show and I like the idea that someone like me could actually compete on the show. I know I could probably not compete in a lot of the competitions, in fact at a simple glance there were only a few I could easily adapt to make it fair for me or someone like me using a wheelchair. To be clear this show has really shown a lot of diversity in its casting before, we even had a past winner on the autism spectrum. This year I felt more hopeful than ever as the runner-up won a significant financial prize without winning a single competition advancing only on his strategic and social game. At the finale one of the contestants who voted on the winner revealed that she was on the autism spectrum. However did not want to disclose it as she wanted the other contestants to know just her as she was as a person. This made me feel very mixed emotions.
24 year old BrittanyD’Angelo came off as a very spunky and energetic young lady who was a friend to all. While I admire and fully understand why she would choose not to disclose her disability, I couldn’t help but feel a little hurt upon hearing this. Please understand me, part of me was truly happy for Brittany. People with disabilities should not have to disclose any part of a disability if we don’t feel comfortable and I know she’s not ashamed of her disability. As much as I have come to understand why I was given this disability over the years, there were still days growing in when I wished I could have gotten out of my chair and played football with the other kids. Even as an adult at least twice a week I have a scenario where I say to myself “regular people don’t have to deal with this.”
What D’Angelo did was still a tremendous accomplishment and I am absolutely not trying to put her down in any way but I have to ask, is what she did really fair? I know it’s not right every time one of us has a chance to be seen in the public to represent the entire community and I argued against inspiration porn in past blogs but if we want to be seen as equals by society then why are we hiding our disability? So many people on the spectrum could never hide it, even the past winner couldn’t hide his own disability. If someone like me enters the Big Brother house I would have to roll in there with my entire chair and a caregiver for my personal needs. It would force the contestants and the viewing public to separate the person from the disability. In a way it’s hard for me because I can’t hide my disability, there’s nothing wrong or shameful about invisible disabilities. They do exist and they should be learned about by the public at the discretion of those who live with them. I just wanted to give people something to think about. The disability life can be very complex. See you guys next time and God bless you.