March 7, 2022

What Came First - My Personality or My Disability?


For centuries, people have been pondering the age-old question of the chicken or the egg. While scientists attempt to find answers within archaeological evidence, I am more interested in the philosophical nature of the question. To put it in the context of my own life, I find myself questioning: what came first? My personality or my disability? To clarify, I wonder if I would have the same personality regardless of my disability, or has my disability shaped my character? Like the chicken or the egg, will I ever know the answer?

I find myself to be a pretty unique person. I’m a straight shooter, honest to a fault, and I’m highly motivated. Every year I become more comfortable in my skin and personality. With that said, I don’t typically share much of my character publicly. While I may appear to be outgoing, I really thrive in my time alone. Some people say I have a narrow range of interests. I’m not sure if this is true; I just know what I like and what I don’t. I love watching sports both in person and on TV. My favourite sports are ice hockey, NFL, NBA and soccer. However, unlike many sports fans, I don’t always pick a team to support. I’ve been watching NBA for over 10 years, but I don’t support a specific team. A quick peek into my closet, and you will find an NBA jersey from almost every team.

When it comes to other forms of entertainment, I prefer YouTube over TV. I enjoy acquiring new skills and getting to know real people on a deeper level through YouTube. With that said, I am a creature of habit when it comes to TV. I discovered crime dramas at thirteen years old and haven’t looked back since. It’s basically all I watch. My all-time favourite is Blue Heelers. I become invested in the characters’ lives and emotionally attached to the shows. That is partly why I rarely watch movies, as I find it hard to connect knowing it’ll be over within an hour and a half. I have genuinely gone years without watching a movie.

I’m sure it’s not surprising that I don’t have much interest in pop culture. If you were stuck in an elevator with me, I wouldn’t be able to spark up a conversation about the latest celebrity gossip, new music or trending TV shows/movies (besides crime dramas, of course). While I admire certain celebrities for their talents, I don’t believe they should be glorified as much as they are.

I spend most of my days on the computer, for both business and pleasure. In my leisure time, I play games like Football Manager and Civilisation. These are both strategic games without time pressure, making them accessible for my disability. In a sense, my disability has dictated the games that I play as I’m unable to play real-time games or games that require two hands. In saying that, I am truly hooked and genuinely enjoy playing these games.

I’m not an exceptionally sentimental person (again, excluding my beloved crime dramas). I hate festivities like Christmas, Easter and Valentine’s Day, and I also don’t see the point in celebrating birthdays. Some might call me the Grinch; in fact, some have. However, I don’t believe we need a prescribed day to show people we care about them. Maybe way back when, Christmas was a day about celebrating the birth of Jesus, but in today’s capitalist climate – it’s really about the money.

Relationships are an area I have struggled with, both romantic and platonic, and I’ve always attributed it to my disability. With romantic relationships, in particular, people take one look at me and turn the other way or swipe left because they see my disability. I feel that I exist outside of the perfect relationship people imagine for themselves, so they don’t take time to get to know me. The same goes with friendships; I think most people see me as a challenge, and they’re afraid to even try. While I believe the reasons mentioned above to be valid. I’ve come to realise that my personality, on top of my disability, has compounded to create one very unique and complex person. So finding people with similar interests or personalities who also have the patience and openness to communicate with me is no easy feat, but it shouldn’t have to be.  

As I reflect on these elements of my life and personality, it makes me question things further. If had I not been born with a disability, would I enjoy my alone time so much? Would I live off-the-grid? Having my disability means that I must see people every single day to exist. If I could cut those ties, would I choose to live a more solitary life? Is the reason I love being alone because I am forced to constantly be around others?

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