Last week was Resilience Week according to the Scottish Government. Citizens were asked to think about how well they would deal with any emergency situation such as terrorism, pandemics or power outages. This got me thinking about the meaning of resilience. Is it the same as ‘strength’?
The dictionary definitions are:-
1. The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
2. The ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.
So it occurs to me that people with physical or mental disabilities are more resilient than the non-disabled. It’s through dealing and adapting to problems that we become stronger. Living with any Disability is a test of survival skills. It’s strange that society tends to dismiss disabled people as weak because I think the opposite is very often the case. Just to get through one day can be as tough as climbing a mountain or winning a war. Many non-disabled complain about the slightest of ailments and crumble when things don’t go exactly their way. Any disabled person has to confront obstacles every single day, not least of which is discrimination and the patronising attitudes institutionalised within society.
I’ve decided to do a regular feature on this blog highlighting famous people whose achievements were due to the resilience gained from being disabled.
The first of these is Ian Dury. He had a difficult childhood after contracting polio, being brutalised by the healthcare and education systems. But later he channelled this rage and energy into his music. It’s doubtful that he would have written such unique and passionate songs if not for his experience of Disability. He was unafraid of what people might think, unafraid to be different, unafraid to speak truth about his life. He was one tough cookie.
Here is a YouTube video of Ian Dury performing one of his most controversial songs, Spasticus Autisticus which was banned at the time by the BBC and created a public furore. Stick around when the video is over to hear Ian Dury interviewed about why he wrote the song and how he was influenced by the film ‘Spartacus’.
I would welcome your suggestions for other famous disabled artists, musicians, writers, scientists, explorers, etc, who deserve to be featured on The Purple Hermit blog. Please leave a comment. Thanks.