A Time Of Accessibility
September 7, 2022
Cristina Crescenzo (she/her/hers), Low Entropy Volunteer Writer
I would like to think of the few things universally acknowledged, one of them is that there is a certain set of questions you are bound to be asked at one point in your life, for instance, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” and “what is your favorite colour?” or “if you could reside in another period of time what would it be?”’ This is a question I have tried to answer for myself. Moreover, it is through my own personal experiences that I understand the answers are subject to change for most people because we are seldom the same people we were yesterday. We can shed our opinions as easily as a snake can shed its own skin and whether we want to admit it or not the world influences us in everything, even in the most minute aspects of our personalities.
Therefore, I have realized that because of the way I came into this world, I don’t have the luxury of thinking I could belong in any particular place in time without considering the consequences and limitations of my disability. Yet, since time travel is unlikely to happen in my lifetime, this is a mere fantasy so that I could imagine being able-bodied in any era if I wished it. However, with a question like this I can’t help but want to think logically and ponder how I could live as I am in a time that is not my own. However, if I didn’t have Cerebral Palsy my answer would be the 1950s.
Ever since I was 12 years old I have been obsessed with that entire decade, granted I wasn’t thinking about the ramifications of being a woman let alone a disabled one. As a preteen I could only imagine the glossed over version of the 1950s like suburbia and the Old Hollywood film systems. I always thought it would be wonderful to be an actress like Marilyn Monroe or Audrey Hepburn but again, I was only viewing it through a glittered lens so when I used to watch those films I saw only perfection and I believed that I had to follow a certain path in order to find true happiness. In my mind, I had two choices: I could be married, have kids, and live the rest of my days as a housewife or choose stardom and despite being constantly in the public eye I would have all the riches and comforts life could offer. I thought if I got to be a young woman in the 50s my life would be so simple, but then reality set in and I understood if I was living back then as a disabled woman my days would be filled with nothing but chaos and hardship.
Once I decided I couldn’t answer this question as no one but my current and authentic self, I did some research and I was overcome with emotion reading about the harsh experiences of people like me in the 1950s. I would have most likely been ostracized from the community, put in a poorly funded asylum, and I would have been physically/verbally harmed on a daily basis if not worse. To put it plainly, the world during the 1950s wouldn’t be accessible to me.
As a result, I have mourned for the older generations and accepted that this is how I was created and I can’t pretend to be someone I am not even if I didn’t actually exist in the 50s because if I did those would be the obstacles I’d have to endure. In conclusion, it has made me truly believe in the statement “there is no better time to live than right now” because even if there are still traces of the old ideals of the past you cannot deny humanity has made tremendous strides to make the world more inclusive and accessible to individuals with disabilities. Therefore, I could live in no better time than the present because 2022 is where I can live my best life just the way I am and constantly working towards making the world an even kinder and more accessible place for the future disabled population.
My name is Cristina Crescenzo and I am an English major and aspiring writer just hoping that my words can help someone in some way, and that I can always strive to increase awareness for mental health and the disabled community.
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