Polio Place

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A Divine Assignment

Jean Hartley; Hawaii

Through the years friends have suggested,“Why don’t you write a book?” I was reluctant to stir old ghosts of the past - the traumas of surgery and hospitalization, ugly shoes, and disappointments. Most of these negative associations were the results of distorted early experiences. They were velcroed labels that stuck to my identity that I didn’t want to relive.

It never occurred to me that people would want to hear my story or could identify with my flaws and fears. I was too embarrassed by my attitude of not wanting to be seen as crippled and not wanting to be around disabled people. It was too dangerous to be coaxed to putting my feelings in writing.

It has only been in recent years that my life-long resistance to truth crumbled. That resistance was told in an article in Abilities magazine in 2008 but called out to be distributed on a larger screen for more readers. Go Beyond: Coping with Disability became the larger screen - a self-published paperback produced by a small off-line press. It’s part careful research on mobility issues. The remainder is light-hearted: “Get over it”, "Stop whinging," and “Go beyond your disability” to live as full a life as possible. It’s a simple message but so challenging to do day in and day out. A similar message was part of my TEDTalk in December. On my best days I think I’m successful and rather cute for 82 years.

I’ve carried out my assignment I was given from above - “Forget yourself and just write the book.” It is written, published and distributed. I encourage you to read it and pass it on.

Go Beyond: Coping with Disability, 2014
Lulu Press


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