I hid in perfectionism because I thought it would protect my freedom. Take a look at this experience that reinforced this garbage.
As a person with a disability, I have always been in constant fear of losing my freedom. I started college when I was 20. I understood from a thousand implied societial messages that I better not mess up in any way because my competency would be called into question. I could end up in an institution or living at my mom’s for forever.
When I was 27. I had to have a friend help me call the police because a man had come to my door of my apartment, asking for a glass of water. He had no shoes or shirt. He had brushed against my leg. After he left, I called my friend, and we called the police because I was scared. The police came to take my report. Then they questioned me about whether I should be living on my own. I went into my song and dance about my activities within my community and my past accomplishments, in order to reassure the police. In the hallway, they asked my friend’s father if they should call the Adults Protection Services. They were concerned that my cat’s litter box was smelly.
This just reinforced the pressure of how I can’t mess up in any way because my freedom would be threatened. People looked at me and made all kinds of assumptions of my abilities and capabilities. I never wanted to give people more reasons to doubt me. So, I learned to keep things inside. This interact showed me I had been right to do so.
The pressure of being perfect is suffocating for people with disabilities. It is just not something that is acknowledged.
When I got married at 33, my fear of institutionalized.decreased greatly. The reason is sad and I have never admitted it until now.
I knew people, especially those in authority, would see that I belonged in society. After all, someone thought I was good enough to married.
I found out that being married was more protective than having a college degree. A wedding ring is much more visible than a degree, you know.
Oh Jesus, I know my worth doesn’t come from having it together or is depended on another person. Help me when my disbelief gets in the way of You and me.
Let’s Keep Being Brave.