Photo by Jamie Nix
Have you ever been in a situation where the one piece of important information you needed to say was the LAST thing you wanted to share? I know that I have. You go over what you would say, what you should say, and how you want to say it.
Perhaps it is something so personal that disclosure would be followed by judgement, vulnerability, and revoked opportunities. This is when we see the significance that dignity plays in our lives; when we walk the fine line between entitlement and judgement.
As the end of my school placement nears, I feel myself really struggling with this thing….disclosure. Jobs, alone, are tricky enough to grab hold of. So, with this extra personal piece to consider, I find it tough to really know where I’d fit. You almost find yourself doubting yourself and your abilities because you don’t want to commit to something you’re not 100% certain you can do. You don’t want to let anyone down and, most importantly, you don’t want to let yourself down; all because you wanted this position so badly…all because you avoided one bit of truth for fear of losing your dignity.
Yes, I talk about my MS here; on the open web. So, why do I feel that I can’t talk about it with potential employers? Why do I feel that maybe I shouldn’t? As much as I don’t want to admit it, I really care about what others think of me. I’ll forget all about the pain that I am in and ignore my numb legs JUST so that they can see how good of a worker I am…how dedicated and committed I am…how reliable I am. AND it’s funny that I really don’t mind talking about my situation with others. In fact, I enjoy educating and providing my own perspective. This also then paves the way for others to share their own insight; whether it be about MS or another challenge they are dealing with.
Given this opportunity…this setting…yes, it is simple to talk about my MS. So why do I feel so much more exposed when I speak to a person of authority; of power? In all honesty, no one should hold that type of power…that type that makes you doubt yourself. So maybe that power is confabulated by my own insecurity with my disability. Why wouldn’t I be considered JUST as much of an asset as the next person? If anything, my perseverance to try and continue may just make me that much more of a desirable worker. Of course within my personal physical limits. Those limitations, which if known, would be appreciated by any employer; if disclosed honestly and sincerely.
With honesty, much can be shared. Much can be disclosed. This enables trust and establishes a ground of awareness. However, where does dignity draw it’s line? Therefore, I say (and many of whom I’ve spoken with) to share what is NECESSARY. With time, other points may surface and become known. But, keep that dignity and sell your abilities!
If there is something that I’ve learned in the short time I’ve been living with MS, it is that I am not worthless and definitely not less deserving of a chance than anyone else. I may…you may…be that perfect fit.
I know that my MS is now, and will forever be, a part of my life. And, though I can focus on all of the things I can no longer do, I can also focus on the immense opportunity I’ve been given…a front row seat to perspective. What a humbling and peaceful point of view!
So, the thing to remember is that, when given an opportunity to share bits about yourself with others, be honest. Disclose and take pride in knowing that you are different…a commodity…because you ARE deserving.