Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Living with a Disability, Part 3: Enjoy Your Journey

Leaping Larry, author photo
This post is the third in a series that will explore attitudes and assumptions about disability.
1. People 'on the outside' (having no disability or no visible disability) make a lot of assumptions about disabilities.
2. But people have a disability in the context of  living real lives.

Why does the Condolence Coach care about this topic?  The loss of health precipitates significant changes in life. Even persons with disabilities from birth, can experience distress with grief-like emotions. It is stressful to live in a world designed for the 'able', a world that champions strength-speed-beauty. Gaining awareness is always enriching. Instead of not talking about the elephant-in-the-room, we can learn to compassionately co-exist--and support another aspect of human diversity.

Last Fall, I attended a forum, "Disability from the Inside: Conversations with Disabled Metro Detroiters."  It was hosted by photographer Patricia Lay-Dorsey as she neared the close of her Detroit exhibit, Falling Into Place: Self Portraits,  Since that evening, I have had marvelous conversations with many participants.

Meet:

Lawrence Dilworth, Jr. aka 'Leaping Larry'. Retrieving a business card from the pack on his lap, I watch the enthusiasm of his life motto:  Live, Love, Laugh, and Learn. Life is short so enjoy the journey! 

Now 70, Larry never attends a pity party--he is way too busy! Born June 25,1944 with spina bifida, he has used a wheelchair for mobility since 1982. "I call my wheelchair a CHARIOT OF FREEDOM."


Larry continues:  "Living is not an easy ride. I try my best to see the POSITIVE side. I have done more things from a wheelchair than most people walking and never let my so-called "disability" stop me from things I want to do. I have completed 2 marathons, water skied, snow skied, hot air ballooned and skydived. I never know what adventure is next on my life journey." 

Larry destroys stereotypes!

"Photography and art are my passion; as is anything creative or filled with adventure."

Larry has a B.S. degree in Radio and TV Broadcasting from Siena Heights University in Adrian, Michigan. He currently takes art classes at the University of Michigan, Dearborn campus. Larry combines his love of music and photography by attending festivals. "I have photographed the Detroit Jazz Fest for over 25 years."  

Marion Hayden performing at an Ann Arbor Blues Festival
Painting by Lawrence Dilworth, Jr.

A Display of Passion

Larry's work will be displayed in late February, 2015 at Eric's I've Been Framed Shop & Gallery located in Detroit, Michigan. Check back to the shop's link for the announcement!


"I have received The Spirit Of Detroit Award from the Detroit City Council, and photographic awards. I've been featured on local radio and TV shows in Detroit. My photography has been published in The Michigan Chronicle, The Michigan Citizen, The Native Detroiter. As an actor, I have been cast in local independent films and worked in many roles as an extra in Hollywood films and a television series." 

Larry is also a member of WOW, Warriors on Wheels of Metro Detroit. We will meet WOW leaders in the next part of this series.


Life is full of challenges
How we face them
Is what makes us who we are
and
Namaste ("My spirit honors yours.")
Leaping Larry

What can readers take away from meeting Leaping Larry?  

Respect that the people around you are all on a journey, and living with DIF-ABILITIES. Put your judgements and biases on the shelf and get busy facing your own challenges and living your life to its fullest potential.

Readers:  catch up on the other posts in this series!

Thank you for caring!

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