by Tab Moura
As someone who lives with chronic illness, there have been many concessions I’ve made over the years in order to make things run smoothly. For me it meant not being able to travel long distances anymore, having to spend extra on groceries so they had cleaner ingredients, and willingness to try on new hobbies due to physical limitations I experience as a disabled person.
If we haven’t met, let me share a little about myself. I didn’t grow up in Oklahoma, I moved around a lot as a kid. My hobbies varied greatly, depending on the area I lived in… but something that’s never changed was my love for writing.
For me, writing has become something of a discipline that helps me remember who I am. Good writing is rarely rushed, because readers can feel the difference, you know? Writing has been a teacher of many disciplines I practice, but today I will only be sharing three.
Writing has taught me about kindness:
I was 16 years old when I got instant messenger, I remember the day my mom had to have a talk with me about “keyboard warriors.” She told me how the invention of online communication was a powerful tool, but also a major responsibility. A stationary letter could be thrown away or burned, but a hateful IM would be out there forever. Nothing is private online, not really.
So it was my responsibility to consider my words carefully, just as though I was speaking face to face. It’s still not my default setting, it requires a lot of creativity… but as a writer, I like the challenge of finding kind words.
Writing has taught me about critical thinking:
We have been bombarded with so much information this year; true and untrue, useful and not, helpful and harmful… writing has taught me about critical thinking. How do I know that what I want to say is true? How do I know if what I want to say is useful? How do I know if what I want to say is helpful?
I research, I weigh, I write, I get feedback, I research, I weigh, I write, and so on. Writing has taught me about holding space for more information.
Writing has taught me about resilience:
On a more personal note, writing has been a difficult discipline to maintain at times. I mentioned that I am disabled, I live with Epilepsy, along with a few other health issues that limit my mobility. There are days when my seizures aren’t completely controlled by plant medicine, this usually impacts my language center. On these days I cannot complete sentences, let alone write 500 words on something of interest. And that has taught me a lot about mental fortitude and the necessity to build resilience.
This moment is just a moment, history tells me that these symptoms will fade and my words will flow again. I have to see the bigger picture.