Breaking The Glass Ceiling: How My Laptop Is Helping Me Feel Less Disabled
“I choose not to place “DIS”, in my ability.”~Robert M. Hensel
Sometimes I miss using my old powder blue Smith Corona electric typewriter that was a high school graduation gift from my parents. I used to get a tactile “high” typing on those thick keys in quick succession, listening to the clickety-clackety noises and the clanging bell that sounded off at the end of every line.
I know it sounds strange, but I loved using the old girl.
Yet as much as I loved my typewriter, I love the convenience my laptop affords me even more. There’s the sleekness of the design, the innovative technology it provides and the sexy empowerment I feel every time I master a new skill.
“I do indeed write on the road. My laptop goes with me everywhere.” ~Nora Roberts
The most important reason why I love my laptop is it opens the world to me without the need to leave the comfort of my home. When you have a disability, that’s a very important reason.
I was diagnosed in the Dark Ages of Multiple Sclerosis, before the Internet was well known. I remember the first time we owned a computer. It was when our son was about seven years old. I’d sit him next to me in front of our new desktop, watching him carefully maneuver a tiny purple car in his favorite computer game, “Putt Putt Saves the Zoo.”
It was the perfect babysitter.
As he got older I worried whether I’d ever be able to return to work. I couldn’t imagine how I could hold down a full-time job, or any job at all. How could I work when my biggest MS complaint was my constant enemy of MS fatigue?
NOTE: I’d describe this fatigue by imagining your worst flu symptoms, then multiplying that memory by a million. Your body completely shuts down, leaving you unable to walk, talk or think clearly. Your only options are to rest or nap.
Today, having a laptop at my disposal allows me the luxury of working from home. It provides endless work-related opportunities that a few years ago I never would have had. With my MacBook at my side, I can be creative through my writing while getting paid for my work. I can work at my leisure, and take breaks when I need to. I can nap when I have to and work odd hours of the day and night.
It gives me the chance to be a part of the world again, not merely watching it from the sidelines.
It’s extremely satisfying to be able to financially contribute to my family while also being a part of the working world. Being useful helps me feel less disabled; using my abilities enables me to regain some of the self-esteem and confidence I had lost.
I have had the good fortune of meeting many extraordinary people during my new journey. I’ve met many people who share my love of writing, and my commitment to enjoying my life after the age of 50 and despite disability. Unknowingly they have lifted me up, helping me feel more “able” to continue writing what I’m passionate about while rekindling my faith in the kindness of strangers.
This new kinship has renewed my inner strength to finally give myself permission to imagine my fist breaking the glass ceiling, the one that accomplished women have broken time and time again with their spectacular achievements and successes.
“If Lehman Brothers had been Lehman Sisters…” ~Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the IMF
Who knew that a laptop could give back to me what my autoimmune disease took away? It’s a whole new world out there for disabled people, and my feet are finally dancing again.
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