Wednesday, October 20, 2010

To Disclose or Not to Disclose

Recently, I was asked for a brief biography to accompany a poem of mine when published. I wrestled with those few sentences for days wondering just what aspects to include. There is one detail in particular I kept circling even when everything else was figured out.

Should I or should I not disclose my disability? I am up front about it here, after all, so maybe I should but something stops me from pointing it out (and it's not fear or embarrassment).

I believe if some people read my work knowing I have Cerebral Palsy, they will let it transform the piece(s) into something different than what would have originally been intended or worse, my difference would overshadow my writing. I don't want to be thought of as, "good for being disabled" but just "good" if people think I am. I also don't want editors subconsciously slanting their views of my submissions.

But it IS a part of me. And probably a factoid readers would find interesting so...

In the end, I decided against it. The only thing that fueled my internal debate for so long was the image of me as a disabled teen writer having no commercially known disabled writers to use as a spiritual bouy when things got tough.

Disclosed or not, I'm still me and still typing away. And to all you unique teenagers out there: No matter what your difference, there's always someone who has been where you are and made it through.


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