The truth about being disabled… or how it feels to be an outsider

The following is an except from George Baker’s new book “The Adversity Edge: How To Finally Create The Life Of Your Dreams By Turning Shit Into Sugar”. If you’d like a chance to get a free copy (and other cool stuff) please click here.

Do you know how it feels to be an outsider?

Maybe you’ve just always felt like you’re a bit different, like you don’t quite fit in even if everyone acts like you do.

You don’t always feel inferior, mostly just out of place.

Sometimes though, you feel a pang in your chest, a bit like a short, sharp stab. You know what it is instantly…

Its there to remind you – you’ll never be quite the same, never on the same level, you’ll never have quite the same opportunities, the same privileges, the experiences and the rites of passages everyone else takes for granted.

You worry you’ll always be ‘that guy/girl’ the one who’s defined by ‘it’ no matter what you, or anyone else, does.

The ones who know you for who you are, your true friends, often try to help, to dispel your classification…never works though…

…its inevitable. You’ll always feel it, even if you can’t see it in their eyes, which most of the time you can.

Like when you were in the playground and you felt like you weren’t actually there, like you were in a bubble all of your own. Everyone else was playing, running and having fun – while you were just there, out of place.

You weren’t necessarily bullied or treated differently on the outside, but its there, you can feel it; you were the elephant in the room.

If you were lucky you may have had some good friends who made you feel normal for a while…It’s still there though; you’re still the elephant, even if they swear they can’t see it.

Like at school or college when you had to have someone to help you in lessons. You could never quite fit in with a middle aged school assistant sitting next to you; no messing around, drinking or smoking for you because now you’ve got an elephant handler to keep you reigned in.

Like when you go shopping and people stare. Funny thing is, you get used to this one over time, it affects you far less than it does your friends. They hate it and stare back or make comments – “why are people so rude, you’re not a circus animal?”. You feel like saying “actually, I am” but it wouldn’t help, you just want to shop.

Like when you had your first crush. You’d never noticed them until then. I’m not talking about your crush, I’m talking about the feelings of crushing inferiority: “why would someone like them want someone like me; you’re an elephant for crying out loud, people don’t date the elephant in the room, do they?”

Damn this is lame, things were so much easier when all you were worried about was hanging out and playing, now you have to compete for shit and look cool doing it while dealing with what feels like an insurmountable disadvantage. Why bother…

You’re just gonna go home and entertain yourself with something less potentially threatening to your self-esteem.

Sometimes, when you’re on your own, you wish you were someone else, someone normal who didn’t have to put up with this shit – “I didn’t choose this, why me?” is how it usually starts…

Something small has irritated you, something someone said this morning in the playground, the cafeteria, work, wherever and it’s beginning to bubble up inside you. The irritation quickly turns to anger, and then…

Despair. You can’t change it, public anger makes you look bitter and twisted so you keep it inside because talking to people makes you look weak, pitiable (argh, not MORE pity).

This is your lot; there’s nothing you can do about it, might as well suck it up and carry on.

The adversity edge - FrontYou worry you’ll never know how it feels to enter a room and have everyone stare at you in awe.. Actually, you chuckle a sad little chuckle because you know exactly how it feels to be stared at, just for the wrong reasons.

You worry you’ll never feel the rush of adrenaline as you cross the finish line first while your friends and family cheer you on. Well, not unless you’re against other people who get stared at for the wrong reasons too.

You worry you’ll never enjoy your privacy because you’ll always need so much help, you might even need someone with you 24/7.

You worry you’ll never be able to get anywhere in life without first getting the proper modifications in place and putting everyone out in the process…You didn’t ask for any of this; all you want is a level playing field. why do people either act like you’re fixing the rules in your favour OR ironically, offer to fix the rules for you because you’re ‘special’?

Someone knocks on the door or more likely, just barges in (why are you not allowed ANY privacy, you don’t barge in on them?)

Time to look sharp; you crack you’re biggest smile.

This is how they go, your dark moments, the ones you don’t want anyone to see.

It’s not your fault, you didn’t choose it, it isn’t fair…but its still there: This is your life.

But you know what, you’re NOT alone…

…And guess what…

There’s hope for you yet.

You see, I haven’t always enjoyed the freedoms I do now; my life used to be a lot more restricted.

I could easily have spent my whole life feeling like that.

Fortunately, I was brought up in a way that taught me I was more than that, that there are good things about being the way I am.

Still, I sometimes felt, very occasionally still feel like an outsider looking in.

I was originally going to write this book for people with disabilities because there is nothing else like it.

I’m fed up with the lack of genuine practical advice around for people with disabilities or other shitty circumstances.

Of course, then it occurred to me the content applies to everybody. There is nothing special about being disabled, it’s just a word.

This book is designed with a very simple goal in mind: to help you take life’s adversities and turn them to your advantage.

If you’re looking for someone to pat you on the head and tell you it’s all going to be ok, you’ll be sorely disappointed; you’re going to find nothing but actionable advice you can use in the real world.

You’re probably wondering what, other than the audacity to write a book about it, qualifies me to teach you this stuff. Well…

You might be surprised to learn I don’t consider myself the master, I’m still learning and very much a student, just like you.

What I do have to share with you are some very specific tools and strategies that work really, really well.

By using these tools and strategies in my own life I am able to:

Live independently from the help of friends and family despite being very disabled and being able to do very little for myself.

Work and provide a modest income for myself.

Manage my own team of 12 privately employed Personal Assistants who provide all my care needs using funding secured from the local government.

Have an active social life.

Go on holiday wherever and whenever I like.

Please understand, I don’t say this to impress you but to impress UPON you that I do at least, have some idea what I’m talking about.

In truth, other people have achieved far more than me and worked much harder for their achievements. It’s time for me to step up and play at the level I’m capable of.

This book is my humble attempt to make it easy for you too, I hope it helps you.

If you’d like to get your hands on a copy simply click here to enter my giveaway for the chance to win one and a bunch of other cool stuff.

By George Baker

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