Excuses Shmexcuses

How many of us make excuses for ourselves? Probably everyone. I myself am notorious for saying "okay, I'll get it done later." These are the things that we tell ourselves because we would rather not deal with something, or just don't have the time to complete a task right at that moment. Since we have created these statements on our own, we inevitably end up listening to these excuses.

How many of us hear excuses that are made for us? Probably everyone too. The difference between excuses that others give us is that it's not internal, and we do have the option to hear these statements. But what's evil about excuses is that they are so often the easy way out of things. They are tempting to buy into, the reward for taking an excuse is readily there at your front door, there's no effort or work to it - just nod and sign your name.

"Aww it's okay, don't worry about it -  she's disabled."
"He didn't quite meet the requirements, but it's okay since his abilities are limited."
"Well that's good enough especially given what she has to go through already!"
"We don't expect him to do all of this because he's in a wheelchair."

But from my own experience I have always found that accepting the excuses others present to us is quite frankly boring. There is no adventure to it, the ending of the situation seems to have already been known, and I find myself crossing the finish line guiltily because the "win" seems undeserved.
I have also observed that people are quick to present an excuse for people with a disability because it's just easier. But only for them.
There is nothing easy about swallowing assumptions that are being handed to you. Each time this happens a person is ultimately accepting a limitation that is being enforced by someone else out of various conveniences. Every time I have done this it seems like I have willingly taken on some part of me that is false or a fraud. For instance I have thought: "really? Did I really just agree that getting admitted to the aquarium for free makes up for the fact that it's not accessible? So getting a free ride is the solution to inaccessibility?" This is an excuse because it's just easier and more convenient, but for who? Since I can only speak for myself, free-loading off of society or our communities is not an image I want to reflect who I am.
By giving someone an ending that is already known is the easiest way to face fears, or to dissuage any discomfort. For the person with the disability? I often times see it as an assumption that people have of me, or a stereotype that at that moment I have the choice to either promote or change.

My FM system had died minutes before and my policy debate partner and I were prepping for the next round of the competition. As we shuffled through papers and talked over strategies for potential arguments, I kept glancing over to where it was being charged - hoping that the little red flashing light would miraculously turn green.
"Are you sure you'll be able to follow the arguments?" She asked me. Visibly nervous about whether or not I would be able to perform as well. [If you are unfamiliar with policy debate, just youtube it and you will see high school students gasping for air as they careen through 8-12 arguments in 2 minutes. Yes I was one of those nerds].
"Yeah I think I'll be okay. I'll just sit a little closer in front and not off to the side to read his lips better."
"Okay, it's just that they're one of the best teams in the state. I mean we could have someone substitute for you, he's gonna go fast and I don't think that you'll - "
"I'll be fine" I assured her.
During that next round my partner and I had better communication between us than all the previous rounds. We scribbled notes, changed courses of arguments, and were on the same page when it came time for us to respond. Maybe it was because we stepped up our game in the face of a tough challenger, but I think in large part it was because we were both focused and more determined to not miss a single word. The truth is that we were more than fine. We had won.

Excuses can come from the most well-meaning people like our families, friends, parents, teachers. They might not always come off as negative, and we might not even be aware that it is an excuse that we were just handed - the point is though that every time we hear a statement being made about us we have the choice to agree with it or disprove it. What could have been an easy exit may very well be your next opportunity to act.

"I must create my own system, or be enslaved by another man's; I will not reason and compare: my business is to create." - William Blake

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