To Be or To Have

If you read the blog I posted last week, you may have noticed (with some irritation) that I repeatedly used the rather clunky phrase ‘people with a disability.’

Why not just say ‘disabled people’ you might think. Well, my choice of wording was deliberate.

When we refer to someone as being ‘disabled’ or ‘disfigured’, we are effectively defining them by their condition, when in fact it is only one part of a complex, multidimensional being.

That is why I insist on saying that someone (such as myself) has a disability or a disfigurement. In fact, I have both a disability (hearing loss) and a disfigurement (cleft), but neither condition defines me.

My hearing disability, for example, presents a challenge only in some aspects of my life, while being completely irrelevant in others.

Similarly, my disfigurement (a concept that I take issue with, by the way, and which I will address at length in a future blog post) is limited to just a part of me. I am more than my cleft.

As I’ve said before, words have power; they can enable and disable people, which is why it matters a great deal how we choose or words.


3 thoughts on “To Be or To Have

  1. Susan May 12, 2016 / 12:25 pm

    Truly !


  2. Jeni May 18, 2016 / 6:11 pm

    Hi Jenny – I’ve been listening to the Hay House World Summit and one of the speakers brought you and your blog into her talk. Before she mentioned you a voice inside of me said to listen and that she was speaking directly to me, so I did. Then she said your name, Jenny, and I really listened, because my name is also Jeni (spelled differently). Then she mentioned your cleft, and I knew we were meant to communicate. My son is 5 years old and was born with a cleft and other health complications. I’m on a quest and journey to write and explore more about cleft for myself for my son and for all who might benefit from my findings. Your blog on anger really resonated with me. My son had some anger issues that thankfully are resolving with the help of his therapist, whom I call his angel. I wanted to touch base, introduce myself and hopefully communicate more. I wish I could remember the name of the speaker who was on Hay House. I’m hoping you might know her name? I love your blog and will continue to follow it. I’m writing some books about cleft and look forward to sharing them with you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenny Engström Baron May 18, 2016 / 9:50 pm

      Hi Jeni,

      Thank you very much for your lovely message and I’m so glad that my post on anger resonated with you. It’s a topic I feel particularly passionate about myself and I’ll probably write more on it in the future. There’s so much to say!

      The fabulous lady whose talk you listened to is Julia McCutchen and she’s got a book out called Conscious Writing, which I highly recommend.

      I look forward to hearing more about your own writing.


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