(update: I am, however, offering a series of guest posts called Librarians Don't Play. Read some other ways to do these programs and let me know your own!)
This is not to say that I don't enjoy email consultations. I love helping everyone breathe a little easier. But I can't hold anyone's hand; literally, for sure, but even metaphorically. This is because my brain goes where others don't; I don't think like other people.
I do not say that to toot my own horn; my brain is physiologically aberrant. I have cerebral palsy, which physically manifests itself in limited mobility of my right side. It also has physically manifested itself in a rewiring of my brain that was both automatic and adaptive. One party trick that shows how my brain rewired itself early on was that when I move the fingers on my left hand (my good hand), the fingers on the right hand (my affected hand) move, too, in an attempt to replicate what my left hand does. When I stop my hand from moving, the tendons move anyway. It's given my sister and me endless entertainment since we were little. She'll be like, "Sara, do a hang ten sign! Okay, now a peace sign!" and we'll laugh out loud forever (okay, so I'm sure normal culture--that's the PC term for "normies", right?-- is reading this and thinks it's totally mean, but it's actually super funny. My family has a weird relationship like that with my CP; it freaked out my fiancee when he first saw it).
The original rewiring that happened was in ways that I can't possibly tell, but there is another way my brain works that I haven't yet been able to figure out how to teach, even though I know it must be teachable. And that's the adaptive part.
|Old, but one of my favorite gifs I've ever made.|
More Knowledgeable Other: This is the way you do this.
Me: Cannot, in any stretch of the imagination, do it that way, but tries anyway.
MKO: Feeling uncomfortable while seeing me struggling Okay, you can stop now.
Me: Takes three more days and figures out something totally different that brings about a similar or equally successful result.
And that's what us people with disabilities do: we MacGyver life.*
I truly didn't realize until I worked closely with other people how much this way of thinking permeates my everyday life. I'm often called "creative" but I'm not sure that this is true. Creativity, I've always thought, is something innate and powerful. What I'm talking about is something much more concrete, a viewpoint where "dreams", like a "dream job", or a "dream wedding" a "dream library" or even a "dream program" don't exist. This may the opposite of what you think of when you think "visionary," but in my mind, everything is possible if its definition is malleable.
By the time I was eight, I had already reasoned that I would never be the following real-life things: Olympic athlete, surgeon, hair stylist, professional gamer like the kid in The Wizard (which I just discovered WAS a thing), foley artist, Ninja Turtle. Okay, so Ninja Turtle is not a real life thing but I really wanted to be one and was more bummed out about that than the others. There were things that I physically could not do. I didn't stop dreaming of doing cool stuff.
|Fiancee and me as Ninja Turtles for Halloween this year, proving anything is possible if you're not too literal.|
I still don't know how to teach this, but here are a few links to help you hack your brain:
"How to Rewire Your Brain for Success": http://bigthink.com/experts-corner/how-to-rewire-your-brain-for-success
"New Clues to Rewiring Your Brain": http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201203/new-clues-rewiring-your-brain
Life Hacker tag: Brain Hacks: http://lifehacker.com/brain-hacks/
Try it out! You may find that less frustration lies ahead of you.
Have any other Brain Hacks? Share in the comments!
*I don't mean that to be inspiring, because the last thing I want is to be an inspiration to anyone because I'm disabled. I know that's how normal culture thinks though so just cut that off right there. And I don't care if you never noticed my disability, or if you see the person instead, because that doesn't change the fact that I am a woman with cerebral palsy who was once a child with cerebral palsy and is now a librarian with cerebral palsy. So if you were going to say anything like that just don't unless you want a further rant about how pointless that is.
|I think this is supposed to be inspirational, but I don't get it.|