Sunday, 20 May 2012

Rotten to the core?

Here's a question that has been bouncing around in my head for some time, does being disabled change the 'core you'?
I am not talking about a sudden change from able bodied to disabled that can occur quickly and unexpectedly although the question would still be appropriate but I have no knowledge of that at all so maybe if someone reads this who has faced that change they could answer it from their own experience.
I am talking about a slow, progressive change over many years that means you become more disabled as time goes on, how does that change a person? And is that person still the same inside even if the outside has changed drastically?
If we take the emotional struggles out of the equation, I.e. the benefit fiasco that has dominated my thoughts of disability recently, and if we remove the physical changes from our thinking will we still be aware of the familiar 'core' being inside?
I have had people say 'but you are still you deep down' but am I?
Are my beliefs, morals, interests and feelings the same as they ever were?
Do I still laugh at the same things? Cry over the same things? Am I basically the same as I ever was?
I am not sure if it is possible to strip off the outer coating of thoughts and feelings to explore the 'original' persona that has always been there as we all change as we grow older, learning and experience changes our beliefs along the way.
I can look back to the quiet shy insecure child and recognise the me now in the images I recall but was that the 'core' me? If it was then that child has certainly changed as indeed she had to in order to survive and become an adult, has disability had an impact on those changes or would they have happened anyway?
Situations and circumstances throughout my life have dictated the directions I have taken with regard to work, social life, family etc as is normal with everyone but is there a 'core' being that remains the same, the centre of you, the unchanging part of you even as changes occur?
My body is packing up on me bit by bit and my physical being has changed but my attitude, my beliefs, what is important to me remains pretty much the same, how I deal with the changes, how I deal with life and how I view things now is different through necessity but that is illness, the environment and society that have forced those changes, have they forced 'me' to change also?
There is no simple answer, I really don't know because I am still searching for the 'core' me, still looking inside when the outside let's me down or hurts me.
I want to believe that the me that ever was still is and will continue to be so, unaffected by my failing body or the trials and tribulations of today's society.
That somewhere deep inside is the me that nature made before nurture got hold of me and twisted life around.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


feline9 said...

I think all through our lives experiences mold us and alter us to greater or lesser degree, if only because our minds are more informed and learn from experiences. In the same way that our development might be halted or at least slowed down because of the the changes forced on us. Where we might have been headed in a direction which is now out of our grasp, we have had to regroup and set off in another direction. So I guess I think the core is the same, but somewhere along the line we have had to adjust and so we are the same people we were, but perhaps not the people we could have been?

onethoughtfulwoman said...

What an excellent post this is. I read it slowly to fully absorb what you were saying. I have been following on and off Melanie Reed's experience of disability- spinal paralysis after a horse accident. She writes for the Times and her adjustment and struggles as she comes to terms with a disability that happened overnight. It is a good question to ask about chronic disability and how that invades you overtime. I think it can change the core you. If the outside is affected then surely it can seep through to the internal body. You may want to keep your core values and beliefs, and indeed retain many but the reality of the now lived experience must shape the core that is now part of the changed you. It is a very good question thought and one well worth asking.

Jane said...

Interesting question....
I firmly believe that I am still me, just stuck inside a body that doesn't work properly anymore. I'm still a cantankerous stubborn so and so, still beat myself up (yes I always have!), have the same moral code, am passionate about things I enjoy and try to do the best I can.

It is the 'core' of me that has helped me come to terms with my life as it is now, and continues to drive me forward. If we weren't the same deep down as before we wouldn't feel frustrated about things we can't do, or the fact that doing anything has repercussions where before we did them with ease.

The day I lose myself is the day I give up the fight. I hope that doesn't happen anytime soon.

Deb aka AbcsOfra said...

I think we are changed by shades. Have you ever looked at one of those big Crayola crayon boxes? Ever notice the different shades of say blue or pink or purple? I believe that our core is impacted by experiences but only by shades. So we are basically the same but just a slightly different shade of pink or blue or purple.

Trace aka @Trace_Lucas said...

Your blogs are always food for thought Penny & you know how much I enjoy reading them & this is no exception. This one certainly gets you thinking,found my thoughts going round in circles,every thought seemed to lead to another question & that alone made me realise,this is a part of me that has always been there,an insecure person always questioning myself for fear of getting something wrong or offending someone. What my thoughts led me to in the end is a theory that,Yes life changes us,it's bound to but our original core(our original person within) & our personal life experiences determine how we change. Two people could go through the same experience.& it would change them in different ways partly due to the person they were to begin with. I don't know what it is or how much of us remains the same,it may vary for each individual depending on the nature of their life experiences(like the crayon analogy,the shades vary),but I do believe there is always some of our core self there,however diluted.