During the pandemic, the world saw how lonely it could be when no one was around or how frustrating it can be to be around the same people all the time. The world learned how to live in one place for a long time, and we as humans became discounted from everyone and everything we know. As the pandemic continued, the world found ways to connect with others without leaving their homes.
Now, the world is coming out of the pandemic and returning to life as if nothing had happened. However, did you know that long before the pandemic, there was a community that had trouble connecting to other communities? When the world shut down, everyone was angry, lost, upset, and confused about how to go on with life.
People within the disability community, however, for the first time, felt like they might have one up on others. Now I don’t want to say all the disability community understands; I should say parts of the disability community felt like they had one up on the world.
The part of the disability community that felt empowered by the understanding of the moment was the physically disabled community. When you have a disability of any kind, you feel a disconnection on some level. However, when you have a physical disability, you genuinely feel the disconnection from the community. I remember talking to friends in the early days of the pandemic and asking people to understand how we think. I would listen to people, laugh, and then say, welcome to my life and many others’ lives.
There are many kinds of people that enjoy living their life disconnected. Still, there are groups of people who, because of their disabilities and their disconnection from the community, being divorced is not their intent or to their liking. The lack of connection for some of the disability community is that it is hard for most of society to see past our disabilities to see we are people just like everyone else.
One thing that was great about the pandemic was that more people invented technology to be able to connect with others virtually. Having the technology to be able to have some connection to people and the community is excellent; it gives those people with disabilities a great way to be able to connect with others and not have to worry about getting to places.
Still, as much as it is to have something great to look forward to and feel connected, another side of a connection is lost. Physical contact is just as crucial as social connection.
When you are physically in the same place as a person, you connect with the whole person; you are not just clicking by talking but by the touch of a handshake, a hug, a kiss, a smell, and more.
When you’re not connecting to the community, you lose the entire process of getting to know someone fully. When combined correctly with the district, you lose the skills people develop over time.
I have always been good at connecting to the community. As I got older, a part of me was shattered because of my disability, and I didn’t want to face that. Growing up, everyone knew me in my small town; the kids and their families I grew up with knew who I was and saw me for me. When I grew up and started my life outside of my small town, I realized that connecting to other environments wasn’t my strong suit anymore.
I wasn’t that girl from a small town with a disability; I was now out in the world, living just like everyone else. When you are in a world outside your comfort zone, that uniqueness you are known for is gone because everyone in the real world has their identity or a similar essence to you; you just become an everyday person.
I had to learn the skills to socialize correctly. It took me so long to realize I didn’t have those skills. Being thick-headed put me behind in life. While living with family and working on my social skills prepared me for life.