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Essay on being a cripple by nancy mairs

Much thanks to them! The only other location i found was a pdf scan of an excerpt for an AP english exam. It is this direct and confident quality that struck me the most, and provoked an intensely personal response. The paragraphing is so impeccable. Take a look at the second one: First, the matter of semantics. I am a cripple. I choose this word to name me. As a cripple, I swagger. It goes from short sentences to ones that stack on more clauses, then right back to a declaration that clinches the thought and also makes a good sound byte.

She claims the identity of cripple, and the next sentence emphasizes her agency in doing so. Maybe some people dont necessarily want to be separated from their condition when people talk about them, when their reality is that the self and the condition are inextricable. Or whining about singular they. Mairs takes you through the everydayness of her life. There are funny anecdotes, the anxieties that your loved ones are faking their care, games of Scrabble, teaching.

While each paragraph shows you a different slice of existence, the main theme is that humor and misery, optimism and despair, are inseparable. She leads an active lifestyle as one half of her body no longer functions fully, and the other side is going. She writes on the things she used to be able to do, running, swimming, that are now impossible except in dreams. For almost a week, until the negative results of the tests were in, I thought that I was going to die right away.

Every day for the past nearly ten years, then, has been a kind of gift. I accept all gifts. The cripple must be a perfect cripple, the college assault survivor must be a perfect victim. The part im excerpting i hope demonstrates the kind of balance she achieves in this essay. Perhaps she is more balanced in her voice than in her actual life as it was in the 80s — she does write that no one never adjusts to life.

But one of the things writing offers is a way to represent essay on being a cripple by nancy mairs kind of balance, whichever kind it is you need. In the past ten years, I have sustained some of these losses. Characteristic of MS are sudden attacks, called exacerbations, followed by remissions, and these I have not had. Instead, my disease has been slowly progressive. My left leg is now so weak that I walk with the aid of a brace and a cane; and for distances I use an Amigo, a variation on the electric wheelchair that looks rather like an electrified kiddie car.

I no longer have much use of my left hand. Now my right side is weakening as well. I still have the blurred spot in my right essay on being a cripple by nancy mairs. My world has, of necessity, been circumscribed by my losses, but the terrain left me has been ample enough for me to continue many of the activities that absorb me: My life holds realities—harsh ones, some of them—that no right-minded human being ought to accept without grumbling.

One of them is fatigue. I know of no one with MS who does not complain of bone-weariness; in a disease that presents an essay on being a cripple by nancy mairs variety of symptoms, fatigue seems to be a common factor.

I wake up in the morning feeling the way most people do at the end of a bad day, and I take it from there. As a result, I spend a lot of time in extremis and,impatient with limitation, I tend to ignore my fatigue until my body breaks down in some way and forces rest.

Then I miss picnics, dinner parties, poetry readings, the brief visits of old friends from out of town. The offspring of a puritanical tradition of exceptional venerability, I cannot view these lapses without shame. My life often seems a series of small failures to do as I ought. I lead, on the whole, an ordinary life, probably rather like the one I would have led had I not had MS. I am lucky that my predilections were already solitary, sedentary, and bookish—unlike the world-famous French cellist I have read about, or the young woman I talked with one essay on being a cripple by nancy mairs afternoon who wanted only to be a jockey.

I had just begun graduate school when I found out something was wrong with me, and I have remained, interminably, a graduate student. In addition to studying, I teach writing courses.

On Being A Cripple Essay

I also teach medical students how to give neurological examinations. I pick up freelance editing jobs here and there. I have raised a foster son and sent him into the world, where he has made me two grand babies, and I am still escorting my daughter and son through adolescence.

I go to Mass every Saturday. I am a superb, if messy, cook. I am also an enthusiastic laundress, capable of sorting a hamper full of clothes into five subtly differentiated piles, but a terrible housekeeper.

I can do italic writing and, in an emergency, bathe an oil-soaked cat. I play a fiendish game of Scrabble. When I have the time and the money, I like to sit on my front steps with my husband, drinking Amaretto and smoking a cigar, as we imagine our counterparts in Leningrad and make sure that the sun gets down once more behind the sharp childish scrawl of the Tucson Mountains.

This lively plenty has its bleak complement, of course, in all the things I can no longer do. I will never run again, except in dreams, and one day I may have to write that I will never walk again. I need all my attention for my wayward feet. Of late, I have begun to catch myself wondering how people can propel themselves without canes. With only one usable hand, I have to select my clothing with care not so much for style as for ease of ingress and egress, and even so, dressing can be laborious.

I can no longer do fine stitchery, pick up babies, play the piano, braid my hair. I am immobilized by acute attacks of depression, which may or may not be physiologically related to MS but are certainly its logical concomitant.

These two essay on being a cripple by nancy mairs, the plenty and the privation, are never pure, nor are the delight and wretchedness that accompany them. Almost every pickle that I get into as a result of my weakness and clumsiness—and I get into plenty—is funny essay on being a cripple by nancy mairs well as maddening and sometimes painful. I recall one May afternoon when a friend and I were going out for a drink after finishing up at school.

As we were climbing into opposite sides of my car, chatting, I tripped and fell, flat and hard, onto the asphalt parking lot, my abrupt departure interrupting him in mid-sentence. One elbow of my white turtleneck with the green froggies, one knee of my white trousers, one white kneesock were blood-soaked. We peeled off the clothes and inspected the damage, which was nasty enough but not alarming. The abrasions took a long time to heal, and one got a little infected. Even so, when I essay on being a cripple by nancy mairs of my friend talking earnestly, suddenly, to the hot thin air while I dropped from his view as though through a trap door, I find the image as silly as something from a Marx Brothers movie.