Questions with A Twist
When I usually receive questions from students most of the time the questions focus on my physical limitations. This group of O.T. student were coming from a mental health point of view.
1.Do you feel someone who does not know you or your story overlooks/stereotypes what is genuinely there? What is going on in your head when this happens?
When I am out in public, all of my accomplishments and successes are meaningless. If people are not aware of how I am, they still see my disability first and not me as a person. They still talk loud and slow as if I am mentally challenged. It depends on the situation, most of the time I just want to get away from situation and go on with my life. I am thinking they have not been educated and don’t know the wiser.
Then there is the disrespectful situation and I just go into a rage and make a total scene. When I do this, I may only make them right. But at least they feel my wrath, when I yell nobody can understand me. I end up biting my tongue, or lip and bleed. I realize that I end up looking like a total mental case in their eyes, but at least they know how I feel about their ignorance.
At Baltimore City's auction of The Senator Theatre on July 22, 2009, the auctioneer mysteriously moved the auction outside with less than 5 minutes notice. Weeks ago, the auctioneer had requested Tom Kiefaber's permission to hold the auction inside, it had been agreed between the auctioneer, the city, and Mr. Kiefaber that the auction would be inside, and it had been advertised as such and reported in the news media as such. Why did the auctioneer suddenly change the venue, creating a lot of confusion in the process?
2. 2.Currently, there has been debate in the special needs community about the concept of "labels" for the primary reason to purposefully address who the person is not what the person is. For example you would never address a child with autism as an “autistic child”. Even with your success, how do you feel about the label of "cerebral palsy" being attached to you? Do you accept it as part of your identity or do you see yourself or label yourself as "Dan the artist"?
I think I am the wrong person to ask about the using labels, or being PC. I mean I call myself gimp, not everyone is thrilled about that. Some people think it is wrong, other people feel like it tribal and strong.
I embrace my CP, I even conceder it as part of my personality. CP really makes me who I am. How else do I introduce myself, I’m Dan and I have C.P. why be a shame of it. Professionally I’m “Dan the artist”
3. 3.Dan, do you think art keeps you mentally healthy? How? Can you give us some examples please?
Yes, if you look back at my art over the years you can see the ups and downs in my life by the colors I use and the subject matter I choose. Art gives everyone the tool the to express the inner self the may scare people, or they do not know how express what they feel with words. I am sure I express things in my art would worry people if I but said it in words.
4. 4.Dan, we all are interdependent with someone in our lives no matter our backgrounds or abilities. Even as an artist, there is some sense of interdependency through collaboration. In your situation, how important physically and mentally is this concept of "interdependency" and support throughout your daily life?
Without help nobody can be in-depended I might get a little more then most people, but we all are depended on someone. When people look at my art, they just see the work I do. The do not think about the assistance that I get in my studio. My help mix the paint, cut the canvas, even put out drink, or gives me a snack to keep me going. The assistances even stay longer than what they get pay for. To the out sider, it would seem that I am the only one benefiting from this arrangement. My assistances see how determined I am to do my art and I would like to think they carry that determination over into their own life.
5. 5.Dan, as future occupational therapists our job is to modify tools and the environment in order for individuals to enjoy activities that are meaningful to them. What was going in your mind when you first had the chance to really dive into your passion?
This is what I want to do with my life. I did not care that it did not pay much, or if I did not achieved fame until I died. It was important that I get to express how I feel about my world. I think if every finds their passion in life, the world, as a whole would benefit.
6. 6.As future OTs', from your experience and condition, what is some advice you could give us in order for us to more efficiently assist individuals physically and mentally with CP?
I hope you don’t think this is cheating, but I wrote this last year and think it relates to this question.